Monday, February 1, 2016

Jazz, Dillinger, Hiking and the Gem Show

January 18 - 31, 2016:

The Tucson Jazz Festival is going on this week with performances at various venues around town.  On MLK day there was a free downtown event and we met a few of our neighbors there at the main stage.  The bands were Hispanic and it seemed to me more Salsa than Jazz, but jazz takes on many forms.  This is one of my least favorite music genres, but everyone else was loving it.  The highpoint for me was when I was walking around by the stage and some guy said; can I get a photo with you ?  I said sure, he posed with me while his buddy took the photo, a few onlookers gawking, then he said Kenny Rodgers right ? 

View from the crowd

 Over the years we have seen several wacky, happy dancing guys at bars and festivals, who usually dance wildly alone or with others, it doesn’t seem to matter to them.  Tucson has one who we have seen for the past three years at the 4th street festival and I have seen him twice during the past week at other places.  I sort of admire these types and wonder if they lead normal lives off the dance floor.

A happy dancing man

We are getting a run of warmer weather this week, in the 70’s, but the minute the sun sets it drops like a rock, even the Canadians get cold.  This usually limits the duration of “Happy Hour” which is probably saving us from alcoholism. A couple of key players in our Happy Hour are two Canadian couples from British Columbia.  The Canadian currency exchange rate is currently very poor and a usual topic of conversation.  They have about convinced us to travel up to Canada this year, visit them and take advantage of the currency rates.  

I am off hiking again with the more serious hiking crowd to the Romero Canyon Trail at Catalina State Park in the Santa Catalina Mountains. It was a difficult rocky uphill climb, but interesting with excellent views.  We topped a ridge and then descended to a wash with flowing water where we stopped for lunch at the second of the Montrose Pools.  It would have been a great place for an icy cold soak if one was so inclined.  Once back in the parking lot there was a store where we rewarded ourselves with an ice cream.  Also as the drive took us past the  “Total Wine store, a stop was made for happy hour supplies, or life saving products as Bill called them.

Water crossing

View from the trail

The going down is not so easy

Another water hazard

A cold refreshing mountain stream

Another great hike was taken in Sabino Canyon on the Esperero Trail up to “Cardiac Ridge”.  It was a strenuous hike in sections as the name reflects, but equally beautiful.  On the ridge top you are in the edge of the wilderness area with miles of views in all directions.

Heading uphill

On top of Cardiac Ridge

Twinkles and I do a more relaxed hike on the Star Pass and Yetman Trails in Tucson Mountain Park from the end of 36th street.  The Saguaros are so thick and lush in portions of this area and the views are great as well.

Houses with special views

Twinkles strikes a pose on the trail

Music this week was Miss Lana and Kevin at LaCocina with a local player sitting in for an especially nice rendition of “Blue Eyes eyes crying in the rain”.  At the campground we had the “Sonoran Dogs” who are a really good bluegrass band and quite comical.  Bands love to play at the campground as they have an attentive audience and usually make as much, or more, money than they would at a local club.

There was a campground yard sale and craft show on the 22nd and a group in our row set up a few tables.  The girls had much fun hawking the sale items.  We even had live music from Hughes who was selling his electronic keyboard and demonstrating it.  It didn’t help, no one took it for his $25 asking price and his wife was saying it couldn’t come back into the house.  Not sure what the outcome was ?  We made a whopping $18 in sales ! 

There were big happenings in downtown Tucson at the Congress Hotel with a “Speakeasy” event on Friday night with hundreds of people in 1920-30’s period clothing.  This was followed on Saturday with the annual “Dillinger Days” festival.  They do a very professional reenactment of the Dillinger gang and their rescue from the burning Congress Hotel in 1934 along with a description of their capture. There is also an antique car show, food and craft vendors and live music.  What would Public enemy number 1, John Dillinger, think if he could see how his life is celebrated and revered today in Tucson.

Dillinger Days poster

Watching the reenactment from over the fence and
over this woman head

Also from behind the 100% Italiam  ?

John Dillinger with gun

1939 Chevy University of Arizona bus

This week there is no way to avoid the Saturday night dance at the campground.  All the girls want me there ?  I am told that you can’t miss “The Retro Rockets”, they are the best.  It is a very fun crowd, the dancing is about on par with mine, everyone brings a food item and wine is provided, all for $10 a person. Everyone had to dance around Donna when “Donna” was played and then again around Sue (aka,Twinkles) when “Run around Sue was played”.  This is a senior event and there is a campground noise curfew at 10 PM, which ends the dance, after which a few of us tok a full moon hike in the desert behind the campground.  

It’s been a very social week for us with my old pal from childhood days, Gordon Tindall, and his wife Val made the trip from their home in Lanesboro, Minnesota  to Tucson to pick up an antique Pool table.  This table originally was installed in the Douglas Mansion in Bisbee, Arizona. Gordon is currently building a Pool Hall with several old classic pool tables he has obtained and a table that originally belonged to his grandfather.  This is a table that Gordon and I spent many hours playing on in our youth. If you are ever in Lanesboro, Minnesota you must stop and have a meal at his classic, “Spud Boy Diner”.  Lanesboro is also a beautiful small town to visit.

Two old "Spud Boys" getting ready to eat some good mexican

We then and old neighbors from New Jersey, Bob and Sandy, visit us for a day. 

Bob, Sandy and Twinkles

Then my sister Marie and her family come from Phoenix to meet us for a day of shopping at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.  This show is always amazing with vendors from all over the world selling mega tons of precious gems, rocks, fossils, dinosaur bones and all forms of jewelry.

Mid 1700's pipes for sale

Auto engine sculpture for sale

Dinosaurs on display

Leaf fossils for sale

Hand carved masks for sale

Fish fossils for sale

That’s all for January,
Twinkles and Slick

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