Monday, February 24, 2014

Rodeo days

February 17-23, 2014:

I reluctantly sold my Honda Generator to someone in the campground.  I hope the built-in Onan on the RV is as reliable as it was ?  We also put another pile of stuff out front for sale, a few things have sold, the rest will now be free and if that doesn't work, into the dumpster.

I crammed in a lot of musical and Rodeo entertainment during the week;  

Monday night I went to the Chicago Bar in Tucson to see the Rondstadt Generation play.  They play there every Monday night and seem to have a dedicated following.  They should as they are really good and can play about anything.  The Chicago Bar actually does have a Chicago theme to it, but mostly of sports teams and beer signs.  There is a good stage and dance floor and they have live music several nights each week.  They were a few couples who could really dance well to the western country swing stuff, (that's probably not what they call it). The guys here seem to love to dance, I'm not used to seeing that, kind of weird. 

Bright lights of Chicago

Tuesday was a husband and wife duo called "Laughing Bird" at the campground.  This couple, Tupe and Janey, have been performing together since 1978 and although a bit overly comical and enthusiastic for my taste, were actually really funny, interesting and super talented.  Their shows always include Janey's famous "Red Dress" number where they do this song where Janey pulls concealed items (must be a dozen things) out of the top of her low cut red dress including a full size golf club and fishing pole.  In addition, Tupe plays several instruments and is a great guitar player when he gets serious and Janey was amazing with spoons.  They travel in an RV and perform at many RV parks and were truly great.

Wednesday night was a return to La Cocina in Tucson to see Lana Rebel and Kevin Michael Mayfield perform.  I love these guys and have become one of their biggest fans of late.  Wednesday was also a big lunch gathering put on by the campground with money saved during the year due to recycling.  Practically everyone attended and brought a dish to share.  The food was great !  

Campground lunch feast

Thursday was a really busy, tiring, great day for me because it was all about the rodeo and I love the rodeo.  First was the Rodeo parade, the largest non-motorized parade in the country, probably the world.  After about 3 hours I was wondering if there was a end.  It is a school holiday in Tucson, so the kids can see it and a real family event.  

Have a Coors, support the Rodeo

Must have been a hundred wagons like this

And beautiful horses

Vaqueros showing their roping skills

and several rodeo queens

and the next generation of cowboys, I want that shirt !

So many horses !

and pretty senorita's 

Afterwards was a parade of street sweepers
After 3 hours in the sun, ice cream was needed

Then it was the 89th annual Tucson Rodeo, better known as ,"La Fiesta de los Vaqueros".   Not sure why I love the rodeo so much, I don't care for animals that much, actually hardly at all, but I marvel at the speed, agility, power and grace of the horse and rider.  I feel like I'm watching ballet at the rodeo !  I also love the look, the clothes, the dorkiest guy can put on a some Wranglers, cowboy boots and hat and look like a stud.  I can't even look at the cowgirls, too hot to handle !  I sometimes feel a little disoriented, like I was meant for another time or place, maybe there is something to reincarnation?

The opening riders

Bronco riders were exceptional, he's hanging onto his hat

That's really stretching it all out

Women barrel racers

One minute you're looking good

Next minute, you're ejected

I didn't know that ?

A young rider with a good look

This young girl was a beauty and won her event a minute latter

The bronco riders getting tapped up in the chutes

That's flying !

Nice throw

This is true

Thursday evening we went to Los Nopales restaurant (the Prickley Pear) which is only a few miles away, a very small BYOB type mexican restaurant with great food.  It is like home cooking with fast service and low prices.  (not to insinuate that my home cooking is slow and expensive)  Our first visit this year, but every time we have gone there, it has been crowded and the food has been great, they are on to something there.  

Friday I had to buckle down, back to work on the RV reinstalling my re-welded rear bumper and installing a Surge Protector on the RV. The Surge protector was an easy install but gave me a scare when I powered it up and the display said code E10 - replace surge module.  I took another look inside the unit and then saw that one of the internal connectors to the circuit board was off.  After plugging it back in, all was good.  I have decided not to mount the spare tire back on the rear bumper and instead get rid of it, although I may save the wheel.  There is no room underneath for it.  It will be roadside assistance from here on if we get a flat !

Saturday was spent running around Tucson to a quilting fabric store, then lunch at "Beyond Bread", then Sam's Club and finally to the "Boot Barn" for a new belt.  We are gearing up for our departure from Tucson on March 4th, lots to do in the next week.  I bought another GPS unit for the RV as Twinkles plans to drive the jeep and stop at all the quilt stores along the way, I am now on my own with no navigator !

Sunday was back to the rodeo for the finals, I even wore my cowboy boots !  I think I've now had my fill of rodeo for a while. 

Happy Trails,
Twinkles and Slick

Monday, February 17, 2014

RV work and Tucson play

February 10-16, 2014:

We have 3 mirrors that are glued to wood cabinet doors in our bathroom that appear to be slowly sliding down.  I can't believe someone would purposely install a glass mirror like this, but then again it is RV engineering, or lack thereof.  The mirrors are 1/2 inch below the door top and 1/2 inch below the bottom door edge with no edge or corner protection, you have to open the door by pulling on the mirror edge.  It's crazy !  So, I took one door to a glass/mirror shop to see if they could remove the mirror and reposition it and possibly add some kind of lower edging piece.  Of course, they said they wouldn't be able to remove it without breaking it, so I gave them the go ahead to do it.  Then when I pick up the completed mirror, they said they were able to remove the mirror without breaking it so they only charged me for the reinstallation.  I then tried to remove the mirror from another one myself and was successful, although it was a hard, slow process and did the other two myself.  I  added a piece of wood trim to the door bottom to prevent the glass from sliding down and to act as a pull handle.   

Mirror before

Mirror after

It was our 15th anniversary on February 11th and we celebrated by going to La Fuente Restaurant.  The decor inside is really colorful and pleasant and the food was equally good.  There was a musician playing who did everything from traditional mexican mariachi, to Johnny Cash to Jimmy Buffet to Crosby Stills Nash. 

La Fuente interior mural

La Fuente musician

I spent much time during the week working on a additional slide out battery tray for the RV to house a second battery. I fabricated it out of angle iron pieces bolted together and a sliding tray that I purchased from Mor-Ryde.  This tray allows me to utilize two 6V Golf Cart batteries, saved from the 5th wheel, for increased battery capacity while boondocking. There have been way too many trips to Lowe's and Home Depot for parts on this project.    

Thursday night I returned to LaCocina to see blues player Stephan George perform for the dinner crowd. He is a great blues guitar player but the delta blues guitar style seems a bit out of place for the dinner crowd.  

We went to the Tucson Convention Center on Saturday for more incredible Gem and Mineral displays and vendors.  Twinkles said in the afternoon as she was admiring the gem specimens:  "The Bug is bitting me hard".  That's trouble !

Gem Show display

Russian Dolls

Gem Show specimens

More gems

This is prime time in Tucson, the Gem and Mineral Show is now ending and the Rodeo started last Saturday.  The Rodeo, La Fiesta de los Vaqueros, goes on for a week and is another major event. It is one of the oldest, (89th year) and most prestigious rodeo's in the country.  An interesting fact is that approximately 2,000 cowboy hats are sold during the event.

Saturday night we were out with friends for dinner at the El Charro Cafe.  It was established in 1922 and they claim to be the nations oldest Mexican restaurant in continuous operation by the same family.  Gourmet Magazine called it "One of America's 21 most legendary restaurants.  It lived up to its reputation, the food was great ! 

It was 88 degrees on Saturday, a heat record for the date in Tucson, giving us a chance to test the AC.

At the library while Twinkles was updating and backing up the computer, the iPads and iPhones, I checked out the latest issue of "Hot Rod" magazine.  On the last page, I found a great essay (I use that term loosely) called "Road Trippin' ".  It really struck the basic "anti tech/old school nerve in me, I thought; This is the way I want to RV, how great would that be ?  So, I took a photo of it to share, to get the word out.  Am I inspired enough to return to New Jersey in June, get the 38 Dodge out of storage and drive it to Detroit for the Dodge Brothers Club annual meet and 100th anniversary of the Dodge Brothers ???

Keep an open mind,
Twinkles and Slick

Monday, February 10, 2014

Gems, minerals, beads and the Beatles

February 3 - 9, 2014:

Lots of very disgusted Colorado fans after the un-Super Bowl game.  I half watched half the game on Spanish TV, a different perspective, thought it might be better not understanding the play by play.  

Monday was back to the torture chamber, dentist that is to install my two permanent crowns.  Hopefully that is it for the year.  I now have two dentists in Arizona, one in New Jersey and one in California, that's enough.  Afterwards in the afternoon, I went to the Recreation Hall for the Monday jam session.  It is always interesting, the music tends to be old school country, there are old guys who still sound good along with novices who will never sound good.  There was even a blind guy with his seeing eye dog playing a banjo.  Then there was a young woman (under 50), very shy about getting on stage, who played the violin beautifully. 

I am getting serious now with my to do list on the RV, have to be ready for the road on March 1st.  The rear bumper is at a weld shop for repair, I have a new battery tray on order, I have various pipe clamps to improve and several other minor (to boring to mention) issues to address. We also need to get a bike rack and GPS units.

That didn't stop me from going out Wednesday evening back to LaCocina to see Lana Rebel and Kevin Mayfield.  I'm really liking their vibe and their strange mix of songs.  LaCocina has a great outside patio for dining, (with heaters), a small pub area with many local Tucson beers on tap and is surrounded by a interesting complex of artistic shops.  

Or stop me from going on the campground group hike on Thursday on the Blackett's Ridge Trail at Sabino Canyon, a very strenuous 6+ mile roundtrip rocky uphill hike.  It was a killer hike, I was sweaty, soaking wet by trails end where we took a lunch break.  It was over 4,000 feet elevation at trails end with great views, but it was a cold, cloudy day so we didn't linger up there for long.

Hiking group

View from the trail

View from the top

Friday was another Tucson Gem and Mineral Show at the Kino Sports Complex area. There can't be any gems or minerals still left in the ground ?  Latter in the evening our friends Karen and Gary invited us to go to the Nimbus Brewery for dinner.  I had been wanting to go there and it is an interesting place with great beer.  They had a $5 cover charge and a live rock band that started to play at 6:30 which seemed weird to me for the dinner crowd.  

All kinds of exotic gems

Huge fossils

Lots of jewelry 

Saturday was a big family day with my sister Marie, brother-in-law John, niece Cindy and great niece Tatum coming to visit us from Phoenix to go to the gem and mineral show.  We went to several show sites and are now kind of suffering from gem and mineral show burnout. 

Huge Geodes

Beautiful !

Photos of Gem Stones

Twinkles with my sister, niece and great niece

Twinkles and Tatum

Sure would look good in the RV ?

These would fit better

Beautiful Mexican Pottery

The weather is definitely getting warmer now, the daily highs are climbing into the 70's with 80's (near record) forecast for next week.  That's HOT !!!  I'm getting back into the shorts frame of mind again.

It's Sunday night and I'm watching the The Beatles Grammy Salute to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.  I actually remember watching the original show although I cared about as much about the Beatles then as I do about Justin Bieber now.  They did eventually grow on me as time went on.  Hard to imagine I'm watching another Beatles spectacular 50 years latter in Tucson, Arizona.  

JoJo left his home in Tucson, Arizona……………..
Get Back !!

Twinkles and Slick

Monday, February 3, 2014

Gems, minerals, a wedding and the rodeo

January 27- February 2, 2014:

We received disturbing news from my daughter Jessica in Florida about my granddaughter Mallory who had to have emergency appendix removal surgery on Saturday evening.  The surgery went well but the appendix was somewhat ruptured and she will be in the hospital for a while dealing with the infection.  It seems to me that the doctor who did the original diagnosis on her illness totally missed the call.  Jessica eventually took Mallory to an Urgent Care facility, who would not do anything, then to the hospital ER where they sat for hours to see a doctor which resulted in immediate emergency surgery.  A real horror story, but by weeks end she is recovering. 

I checked out the RV roof seam sealing this week, that's always a thrill.  The RV dealer had cleaned and recaulked all the roof seams and it appears good, but I kind of wonder what lies under all that new caulk.  I moped it again and applied another coat of roof UV protective coating, just to feel better.  I then removed the spare tire and mounting bracket, next to remove the bumper and get it rewelded.  It seems that most of the heavy electrical stuff like the Convertor, Invertor, transfer switch and electrical circuit panel wiring is installed under the bed in this RV.  It makes me a little nervous sleeping over all that stuff.  I want to take a look, see if all the connections are tight and if there is a surge protection devise.  I don't expect to find one, so that could become another potential project. 

I went downtown to "LaCocina" on Wednesday night for a couple of hours to see Lana Rebel and Kevin Mayfield who are sort of like modern day hippies, who play a fun interesting mix of tunes and have a music shop in the "Old Town Artisans" complex where LaCocina is located.

Lana Rebel and Kevin Mayfield

I played wedding photographer on Friday afternoon for a new campground couple, Gary and Karen, a bit out of my comfort zone.  We have been friends of Gary and Karen since coming to Desert Trail last winter.  It's a little scary having the potential to screw up someones memories of the big day, but it went pretty well.  It was a nice service attended by many from the campground.  

Karen and Gary

Mt. Zion Lutheran Church has an inspiring  mountain view

The great sunset on Friday evening couldn't be missed.

Could not resist the great cloud formation
Or the sun beams

Or the blazing sunset

Friday evening was another really excellent concert at the campground with a long time singer songwriter originally from Texas, Steve Spurgin.  He was the total package, good guitar player, good voice, funny, good stories and great songwriting.  

Saturday morning I was awakened by the sound of raindrops on the roof, something we haven't heard in a month now.  It didn't amount to much, just enough to wet the ground.  Good news was that we didn't see any water leaks in the RV roof.  

The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show is now underway, it goes on for two weeks and is one of the largest shows in the country.  We had gone to this many years ago when Twinkles was in the bead world.  It's a must see attraction in Tucson.  The quantity of exotic rocks, gems, minerals, fossils, petrified wood and dinosaur bones is pretty amazing. 

They even have fozzilized Turtle turds

Those are big feet !

Twinkles is checking out this gem stone for size

Have a hankering for some shark teeth ?

Our TV reception here is poor that when I do watch TV, the choices are very limited.  One channel that somehow comes in strong is "Me-TV" which shows old classic reruns and "B" movies that sometimes are actually a relief from todays crappy sitcom and reality shows.  Saturday night after an exciting "Star Trek episode I watched the "Tarantula" about a mad science experiment gone wrong where a tarantula grew to 100 times normal size and was going around killing animals and people.  This movie took place in Arizona making me think back to a few months ago when we were seeing real Tarantulas.

Sunday was a ride to Sells, Arizona to the Tohono o'odham Indian Rodeo.  Sells is in the middle of the Indian reservation and all the rodeo participants are required to be native Americans.  It was a three day event with the final round of competition on Sunday to determine the winners.  The spectators were at least 90% indian, I really felt like a minority. It was the usual rodeo announcer and clown, they all sound the same, with an excess of corny jokes and antics.  I naturally love any rodeo, but this was extra good due to the natural setting, the closeness to the action and especially because it was all Indian.  They also had a Pow Wow going on, a fair midway filled with rides and lots of authentic Indian and Mexican food vendors.  

The grandstands

Bucking Bronco

Cowgirl barrel racing

One bad ass Bull ride

The midway

The Indian Pow-Wow

A rare photo of me with one of my pals.

My old prospector pose

Having fun in the Sun, 
Twinkles and Slick