February 16 - 23, 2015:
|A view from the rim of the pit|
We visited the ASARCO Copper Mine this week and took their bus tour. I am not a fan of mines in general, but recognize that Copper mines are necessary for our lifestyle, there is no viable alternative. The bus tour was way better than expected and explained the entire Copper mining and smelting process. This mine was started in the late 1800's as a traditional tunnel type mine which eventually became an open pit mine in the 1950's. It's pretty amazing how they get the copper out of the rocks and they claim to have about another 20 some years of copper left in this mine. It is presently owned by a Mexican company, Grupo Mexico.
|Ore truck passing the tour bus|
|This gives some idea of the size of those tires|
|The Copper particles attach to the air bubbles and float to the surface of the|
water where it is skimmed off
|One of the monster trucks at the visitors center|
|Inside the building where the rock is crushed to remove the copper ore|
I am looking into class III tow bars for the Jeep, there are many suppliers out there who have decent ones on the market at reasonable prices. One would think that a Jeep, a vehicle that is about the most popular towed vehicle in the RV world, would have a nice simple rugged mounting bracket for a tow bar built in. Not So !!! Most universal Tow Bars come with mounting brackets to bolt to the Jeep's steel bumper provided you remove the bumpers fiber shroud. This attachment method is really not recommended for heavy or extended use as it does not attach to the Jeep's frame. The bumper is also sort of ugly with the fiber shroud removed. The recommended attachment method is a steel face plate bolted to the Jeep's frame, which costs about twice the cost of the Tow Bar. I could easily fabricate my own face plate out of a heavy pieces of steel bolted together at a fraction of the cost. But, working on this in the campground is not practical and we may start towing more frequently in the future so I'm going to bite the bullet and buy the ready made bracket and tow bar from Blue Ox and be done with it.
My experiment about a year ago with an alternate Gray Tank sensor manufactured by Horst was a total failure. The sensors totally stopped working and when I removed them I found that the pig tail shaped probes were covered with a clump of hair and soap scum. Looking at it now, I can't see the logic of how that design could ever work. Maybe if you don't have hair (we do have a strainer in the shower) and if you don't use soap when you shower ? The original button shaped sensors had nothing for hair to catch on.
Sometimes in this life it can all go bad in a heartbeat. We learned today that the campground owner, who is a serious bike racer who finished in 13th place in last years "Tour de Tucson" had a terrible crash while riding at speed in a tight pack of riders. He has multiple broken bones and is undergoing surgery for a shoulder replacement. Hurts to think about.
The Jeep failed me on my way to a concert at the Hotel Congress on Wednesday night. I very sadly missed seeing my usual Wednesday musicians Lana and Kevin playing in their full band, "The Hermanitos". I had the Jeep towed to a local repair shop, using my Good Sam Club roadside assistance. It was the first time I have used it and I'm happy to report it was very efficient. Checking internet reviews the following morning however, I find that the repair shop has terrible reviews. I sort of understand why after they call me to tell me I need an alternator because the diagnostics say the system voltage is low. When I start questioning about whether they have tested the alternator output or tested the battery, which they haven't, they tell me they will talk to the mechanic again and get back to me. I get a call back latter to tell me that they have determined now that the battery is bad, after putting a known good battery in and then getting proper charging voltage from the alternator. I have seen this before when a battery will lose one cell, lights will still seem bright, but not even a click out of the starter. It makes me wonder if many of today's mechanics know how to perform basic diagnostic test procedures or just replace parts based on the on board diagnostic codes, sort of a process of elimination. On picking the Jeep up, the shop is sort of a back alley operation, although the woman at the office couldn't have been nicer and so far all is OK.
After picking up the Jeep I celebrate by going to 44th street looking for the Nimbus Brewery for dinner. Twinkles is on a vegetarian diet currently so I need to escape once in a while for a beefy burger. Entirely by accident, the GPS takes me to the Ten Fifty Five Brewery on 3810 E 44th street. It is a local Tucson Brewery that has a small bar area in the front. I had a "Leap" brew, very good, but no food to be had there so I continued on to Nimbus Brewery which was around the corner. Nimbus is much larger with a bar, pool tables and large dining area. I sat next to a woman who proceeded to talk my ear off about her military career to extreme. I don't know how the Army has been able to survive since she retired.
|Lovely day for a Leap says it all|
|Nimbus Brewery sign out front|
We go to the campgrounds 13th annual recycling picnic on Friday, everyone goes to this it appears because it's free and it's really great. Lots of volunteers to make it all happen, everyone takes a dish and the campground supplies the burgers, hot dogs, rolls and various other stuff needed all funded by money made from the recycling of campground trash during the year. What a concept !
Friday night I finally make it to the Hotel Congress for another concert event. Downtown Tucson in the vicinity of the Hotel Congress is bustling with activity. There is a sold out Lucinda Williams concert at the Rialto Theater across the street, I procrastinated too long, it's a sold out show, no tickets available ! The Congress is having a special concert event with several bands highlighted by a "Decker Band" album release party. I really have no interest in the Decker Band ? The main band I wanted to see was "Carlos Azate and the Kind Souls", (great band name) who are Tucson based, very cool. I also saw "Steph and the Articles", "Keli and the Big Dream" and a band called "Sweet Ghosts". The Congress Hotel has a tremendous ambiance after dark with the colorful painting of the buildings interior, the classic architecture of the building itself plus the glow of the lights, the music, the sounds of merriment, the John Dillinger legend and some even believe there is a ghost or two wandering around.
|The Hotel Congress outside patio|
|Sweet Ghosts - Certain Truths CD display|
Saturday night I headed to Monterey Court in Tucson for a performance by Dave Riley and Bob Corritore. Bob Corritore is one of the most highly rated blues harmonica players in the country and is the owner of the "Rhythm Room" in Phoenix. Dave Riley is a great Mississippi delta blues musician. These guys have a new album out called "Huss your Fuss" and they are fantastic together. The crowd was really into it, very enthusiastic, a great show. I have been wanting to get to Monterey Court for a while, it is an old motel transformed into an interesting music/bar/cafe/art shop venue.
|Bob Corritore and Dave Riley|
I took a few photos of our friend Carol's beautiful quilt. It is a true work of art, really meticulous work that even I can appreciate.
|That's only half of it !|
|A detail of the edge|
Take Care,Twinkles and Slick