December 16 - 25, 2015:
Pack Rats are an issue again this year and are striking fear around the campground. A number of campers are having issues with pack rats building nests in the under carriage of their RV’s or vehicles. We are in the desert where they thrive and they find RV’s and vehicles to be very nice nesting places. The popular theory to deter them is to string lights all around the vehicle and under hood areas. This however, hasn’t proven very effective and since poison is out of the question, trapping seems to be the next best viable option. We haven’t had any Pack Rats yet, but since they are in an RV next to us, we are concerned. This could get interesting ?
Oddly, flipping through the TV channels last night, I found the the classic horror movie, “The Giant Claw” playing. It is about a giant bird with a protective antimatter shield terrorizing the world, perched on the Empire State building in NYC with people running and screaming in the streets. A secret weapon was built by a couple of scientists to penetrate the birds shield to enable killing it by conventional weapons. We may need this weapon here to deal with the Pack Rat situation.
|The terrifying Giant Claw|
It was a cold night at La Cocina and as result, Lana and Kevin played inside the cantina. It was filled to capacity with a large birthday party and various other hungry diners. A second birthday group eventually showed up and several “Happy Birthdays” were sung. By 9 PM the cantina cleared of diners and the party crowd was left allowing Kevin to unleash into a somewhat rousing rendition of “Johnny be good”.
After driving around for a year, I decided to add side step bars to the Jeep, which you would think should be standard equipment. I ordered them on Amazon, received them in about 3 days and as advertised were an easy bolt on. They look nice, but actually are not very effective, in fact they sort of get in my way when getting in and out of the Jeep.
|New step rails|
We unpacked our one Christmas box and put up our little tree this week along with a string of colored lights on the front of the RV. The Christmas presents must also be of a manageable size for the RV. Bigger is not always better !
|That's an RV Christmas|
|A sampling of Twinkles gifts|
I went out on Thursday to explore around Tucson, to see what is new or has changed since last year. I saw some positive signs of much construction and renovation of historic houses in the Barrio Libre section. There are 27 of these neighborhoods in Tucson of differing ages and architectural styles. The original Spanish walled outpost from around 1860 is where the city of Tucson started. The older sections of Tucson were originally all Mexican, of mostly adobe construction. The surviving houses from this period are now appreciated and highly sought after for renovation. The real charm and treasure of Tucson is the cross cultural Spanish/Mexican/Anglo “get along together” respect and attitude. Where else could you have a statue of Mexican revolutionary Poncho Villa in a downtown park ?
|Tucson street side art|
|Another Tucson art panel|
|We stand with Rosa is a Tucson movement to keep Rosa|
from being deported back to Mexico
|A Baptist church in Tucson|
|Ugly but honest ?|
|A Christmas shrine in a Tucson window|
|Kindness, Beauty and Truth in downtown Tucson|
There were two good campground concerts this week. On Friday evening it was a group called C,S &M that really does justice to Crosby, Stills and Nash (C,S & N). They were way better than expected and had a decent comedy routine as well. On Tuesday it was Heather “Lil’ Mama” Hardy who is a classically trained violinist who now does mostly blues. She plays around town with many of the local blues players in various formats. The bands that come into the campground usually tone down down their volume and are expected to do a more “senior” repertoire. This is not necessarily a bad thing, at least here people are listening and applauding and often times the musicians are making more money than they would in a bar or club.
Saturday evening we went out to dinner with a few campground friends to celebrate Jack and Carole Cornell’s 50th wedding anniversary.
|That's Jack and Carole at left rear of the table|
Wednesday night I am back to the Hotel Congress for a music event. It was a great show with a couple of Tucsons’ most legendary, or perhaps notorious, musicians along with a couple of rising local stars. As I was leaning against the bar, this hunched over man with a cane hobbled in and a number of people came over to give him hugs. I had no idea who he was but thought he must be somebody special, which became apparent when he took the stage. I had never heard of Billy Sedlmayr, but I was mesmerized by a song he played called “Tucson Kills”. Latter, I did a search on the internet and found his full story and what an incredibly wild, crazy and sad story it is. I also found a great video of his song Tucson Kills done at LaCocina. This show kicked off with Gabriel Sullivan and Brian Lopez who just returned from a European tour. They were so good and compliment each other perfectly.
|Gabriel Sullivan and Brian Lopez|
I’m reading a book about Everett Rouse in hopes of understanding his short but famous life. He did some wandering around the southwest in the early 1900’s visiting many of the places we have been to. He mysteriously disappeared on a trek, a massive search effort took place, but he was never found. He was an artist and intellectual of sorts, if that is possible, at the age of only 20 years. He actually became much more famous and revered after his death.
|We have traveled on many of his paths|
Christmas is a family type of holiday that can be kind of weird and sad for us wandering nomads. My oldest daughter Jessica celebrated her birthday on the 23rd which always brings back fond Christmas memories for me. Happy Birthday Jessica ! On the sad side, this is the first Christmas that I will not be speaking to or visiting my dear mother who I am sure is now in a better place. This Christmas we will be spending it here at Desert Trails for the first time, while in past years we always went to my sisters house in Phoenix.
We had a sort of block party in our “M” Row of the campground on Christmas Eve. Actually it started around 3 PM and continued into the evening with lots of food, drink and merriment.
|The "M" Row Christmas Eve Party|
Christmas morning, we opened our presents which were kept conservative this year. This was followed by a Christmas pot luck dinner with turkey and ham supplied by the campground. There was much heavy duty eating which is usually the case when it is free. This was followed by the singing of Christmas carols and the arrival of Santa Claus. Afterwards a walk out into the desert behind the campground felt especially nice. It was then more deserts at a neighboring RV.
This is a good place to end this blog with one final week to go in the year,
Twinkles and Slick