Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A new year in Tucson

January 2 - 17, 2016:

Happy New Year to all from the desert southwest !

Another trail view

Twinkles went with friends on a ceramic shopping spree, buying a few new plates and bowls although our cabinets are now full.  She claims that some old ones will go, I've heard this before, we will see about that !  I actually like most of them and they are cheap.

This is a pattern made exclusively for the "Ahwahnee"
Lodge in Yosemite National Park

  It was then decided to make our first visit to the local “Casino del Sol” where we wagered our usual $20 on the slots and walked out with about $75. We are on a winning streak, so why not buy a few “Power Ball” tickets ?  I am not deterred by the million to one odds of winning, it’s healthy in this world to have hope.  

We then stopped at another local institution “Tiny’s Saloon”, first time this year, for dinner.  I’m happy to report they haven’t ruined the character yet with a new healthy menu or excessive cleaning and renovation. 

It is a “El Nino” year which is giving us colder than average temperatures and more cloudy and rainy days. The weather forecast shows this trend continuing well into February.  We even have had water flowing in the local washes (arroyos) and the Santa Cruz River lately.  The Catalina Mountains now have some snow coverage and are a beautiful distant sight.

Entrance of the Santa Cruz River Park

The Santa Cruz is flowing

The snow covered Catalina Mountains from a hike

I am loving the quantity and quality of live music in Tucson, there is something about every night.  I go to Monterey Court for a singer songwriter, Joe Marson from NYC who puts on a great show, great guitar playing, voice and stage presence.  Of course, I do my usual Wednesday night at LaCocina with Miss Lana and Kevin joined by Willie for a rousing rendition of “Geronimo’s  Cadillac.  Willie is a local who is really quite good and often gets up and plays a few tunes.  Then back at Monterey Court to hear Nancy McCallion, Danny Krieger and Heather Hardy perform.  It’s then the monthly Tucson songwriters showcase again with a cast of 9 local and touring songwriters performing.  There were two exceptionally entertaining musicians, Jamie Anderson and Eric Hansen with amazing bio’s.  Lastly I go to the “El Casino Ballroom” for a fund raising concert for the Tucson folk music festival which takes place in April.

Willie, Kevin and Lana at La Cocina

Joe Marson at Monterey Court

Danny Krieger, Nancy McCallion and Heather Hardy

Jamie Anderson and Eric Hansen at Monterey Court

The Ronstadt Generations at the El Casino Ballroom

I hate the gym scene, it’s no fun, but I do feel better after the pain.  I just feel that it’s not “right” to be building muscle with all these phony machines, you should be out in a field doing real work like lifting 100 lb. bags of potatoes, baskets of tomato’s and fertilizer bags like I did in my youth.  I have noticed that my elliptical machine workout picks up if I get on a machine in front of a TV playing Fox news.  Those nasty, biased, hate mongers sort of get my heart rate up.

We took a ride to the town of Oracle, about 35 miles north of Tucson to look around.  It is considerably higher elevation and there was a little snow on the ground in places.  It’s mostly ranch land surrounding the town with beautiful views of the Catalina Mountains.  We found an interesting antique shop where I bought a September 1975 issue of Arizona Highways.  I wanted to stop at the biker bar for some local atmosphere, but Twinkles rejected that idea, sometimes it’s better if I do these explorations solo ?

View outside of Oracle

Old metal outside the antique shop

On the hiking front I have been out for several hikes with several people, but when I hike I still prefer to hike alone.  There are several hiking groups here, lots of road bikers and mountain bikers, from mild to wild, a most active group of seniors.

We are bushwalking uphill to get to the cave

The Cave was a great rest stop

Pictographs inside the cave look rather new

Next on to the stone cabin ruins

Another hike in Tucson Mountain Park

Saguaro view

Totally beautiful !

I am in the middle of cleaning and waxing the RV exterior, applying UV coating to the roof and cleaning the batteries.  I also need to do something with the decals on the rear that are fading badly.  The front ones are also starting to fade.  I may attempt to remove the rear ones, but it’s only a matter of time before the side decals will go as well.  The answer in another year or so may be to paint the RV, I’m thinking a custom color job without those goofy RV graphics.

I am finding it more and more awkward to do a travel blog when I’m not really traveling so I may stretch these posts out to about two weeks for the next couple of months.

Stay tuned for more,
Twinkles and Slick

Friday, January 8, 2016

2015 in the rear view mirror

January 1, 2016:

2015 was a great travel year, we were able to stick closely to our original travel plan.  We had no accidents, breakdowns, break-ins or flat tires.  We also missed the wildfires (mostly), the tornadoes, the hailstorms, the flooding and other natural disasters.  We made many stops along our route as evidenced by the (60) campgrounds we stayed in.  We traveled through the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana putting 4,217 miles on the RV and 18,500 miles on the Jeep.

We visited six National Parks, 15 State Parks, 10 National Monuments and around 48 museums along the way. We alternated between the scenic wild places and big and small towns, although some of the towns that I found interesting, many would disagree with, including my wife.

I keep thinking of that song by the Little Feat that starts off from “Tucson to Tucumcari”.  Our version would be from Tucson to Bisbee, Lordsburg, Radium Springs, Alamogordo, El Paso, Guadalupe Mountain NP, Carlsbad Canyon NP, Lubbock, Amarillo, Logan, Las Vegas, NM, Santa Fe, Pilar, Chama, Durango, Silverton, Ophir, Ouray, Ridgeway, Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP, Fruita, Jensen, Green River, Pinedale, Grand Teton NP, Yellowstone NP, West Yellowstone, Bozeman, Butte, Missoula, Kalispell, Glacier NP, Great Falls, Lewistown, Billings, Cody, Thermopolis, Casper, Laramie, Steamboat Springs, Leadville, Salida, Pueblo, Trinidad, Las Vegas, Santa Rosa, Ruidoso, Carrizozo, San Antonio, Caballo, Silver City, Safford, Globe, Miami, Buckeye, Phoenix and finally back to Tucson.

Looking back through my (71) 2015 blog posts and 12,087 photos for review was a mind boggling task and I was reminded of so many great places and moments, to numerous to list, a few photos will have to do.

Ok, now to concentrate on 2016,
Twinkles and Slick

View from our campsite in Bisbee, Arizona

Walking up the dunes at White Sands National Monument

Amazing salvage yard near Alamogordo, New Mexico

Deep inside Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Admiring "Goldies Bar" in El Paso, Texas

Santa Fe railroad and cattle in Slaton, Texas

Durango & Silverton Railroad excursion

Frozen Lake near Ophir, Colorado

Great hiking site at Dinosaur National Monument

View at Flaming Gorge National Monument

View at Grand Teton National Park

Buffalo herd at Grand Teton National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Glacier National Park

Butte Montana architecture and signs

Livingston, Montana downtown view

Bozeman, Stampede rodeo action

Buffalo Bill Museum of the West in Cody, Wyoming

Thermopolis, Wyoming hot springs

House of Wonder in Shoshoni, Wyoming

Double rainbow at Casper, Wyoming campground

University of Wyoming marching band inside the
Old Buckhorn Bar in Laramie, Wyoming

Tabor Opera House in Leadville, Colorado

Salida, Colorado view

Pueblo, Colorado riverwalk

Trinidad, Colorado

Las Vegas, New Mexico

No scum allowed Saloon in White Oaks, New Mexico

El Cortez theater in Caballo, New Mexico

Buffalo Bar in Silver City, New Mexico

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

Antique Store in Miami, Arizona

Orpheum Theater in Phoenix, Arizona