Thursday, March 24, 2016

Solar Power, Books, Art, Music and a Pow Wow

March 7-20, 2016:

The Pow Wow setting

My major project is a 200 watt solar installation on the RV.  I purchased a kit from A & M Solar that is well designed, complete and robust.  The hardest part of the job is to decide where to locate the solar panels on the roof, how to route the cables from the roof into the RV and to the batteries and where to locate the charge controller.  The layout of the class C; the lack of a basement area and a roomy battery compartment make this a much more challenging installation.  Hopefully this will eliminate having to run the built in Onan generator 90% of the time.  When camping in a remote, beautiful, serene area the last thing I want to do is run that noisy, smelly, obnoxious generator.  This solar installation will never recoup it’s cost, really don’t care, but it will add to the pleasure of my camping experience.

The finished result

The object of it all

Live music during this period was my usual Wednesday evening at La Cocina to see Miss Lana Rebel and Kevin Mayfield.  Every time I see these guys I learn new things about them, there’s always more to the story.  We compared our finger injuries, I loose, Kevin has a really bent one from an old school wrestling injury.

This was followed by a campground concert by the first musical family of Tucson, the Ronstadt Generation.  They are always incredible, so much talent, such a range of musical genres and so inspirational.  They almost seem to get better every time you hear them.

Ronstadt Generation

I then went to a special concert event at Monterey Court to see Eliza Gilkyson perform.  She is a grammy nominated, top rated singer/songwriter who mostly travels the folk circuit, but her music is so much more.  She has a rock edge to her folk music along with a throaty singing voice that I love.  She was accompanied by a female guitar player, Nina Garber, who was exceptional, a guitar players, guitar player according to her website and I would agree.


On stage view

And behind the stage

On the 20th, I went to Borderlands Brewery for a special Sunday event to see the Kevin Pakulis Band.  Borderlands is in an old building in the warehouse district that has been saved and turned into a brewery and lounge.  The railroad runs right next to it which adds to the charm as freight trains are running past frequently.  Every once in a while, you go to an event that is just magical, you have a good seat, the band is interesting, the ambiance of the place is great, it’s just about perfect.  This was one of those, one of the best musical events of the year for sure.

Great musical vibe at Borderlands

Tucson has a annual event, the “Tucson Festival of Books” which is sponsored and held at the University of Arizona and is one of the largest book festivals in the world.  It is huge 2 day event with over 350 book authors and presenters in attendance and a 46 page guide to list all the, events, activities and exhibitors.  An incredible event !

View of the exhibitors area

Interesting sculpture at gate to University building

Walking into the Brain

Mariachi performers

On books, I started reading a new one, “The Last Knight”, the twilight of the Middle Ages and the birth of the modern era.  It is interesting to read about the evolution of the European aristocratic class and the culture during this medieval period and how it compares to our current world.  I do worry, based on our country’s current political climate, that we are headed back into the dark ages again or at least to pre World War II Germany.  History does repeat itself.

We attend the Wa:k Indian Pow-Wow at the beautiful and historic San Xavier del Bac Mission. This Pow Wow is an event of the Tohono O’odham Indian tribe which is located southwest of Tucson.  It was mostly dance competitions with crafts and food vendors.  The dance costumes were incredibly colorful and I find it extremely interesting to see the people up close.  I really liked to watch the drum circles.  The fry bread pop overs with beans and cheese were pretty special too !

Twinkles and Linda in front of the Mission

Very ornate dance costumes

Very attractive dance judge

Drum circle

Mission interior detail

Looking into the Mission

It was then to the DeGrazia Galley in the Sun with a group from the campground.  We have been there a few times, but there is a new nocturnal exhibit as he did much of the painting at night.  Ted DeGrazia was a true renaissance man of his generation and really interesting.  It is a beautiful gallery to visit at any time, even the buildings and the grounds are works of art.

The Lady of Guadalupe shrine

Twinkles, Donna and Linda posing

DeGrazia back in the day loading wood into his car

Vibrant colors and motion

Horses were a favorite subject

One of several gallery rooms all built by the artist

DeGrazia's easel, paint box and red man tobacco

A depiction of an Indian creation legend

Mike, Cathy and Jim resting outside the gallery

Kathy, Twinkles, Bill and Linda taking a break

Lots of fellow campers are departing in the next few weeks, several extended happy hours, lots of goodbyes, but most will be back next year and we may hook up with a couple during our travels the year.

Laurel pouring the margaritas

Bill, Mike and Kathy

Our tentative travel plan for 2016 is from Tucson to San Diego, CA then north along the eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, then north through central Oregon and Washington to Vancouver, BC.  We are then going east across Canada into the Canadian Rockies to the Banff / Lake Louise area.  We will then look for a route back to Tucson to keep ahead of the cold.

Two more weeks in Tucson,
Twinkles and Slick 

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