Monday, February 27, 2017

Back at Desert Trails

February 8 - 23, 2017:

I manage to finish a book that I bought a couple of weeks ago, “The Girl on the Train”.  It’s a weird, complex story that held my interest, I now need to see the movie to see how it relates to the book.  The book starts with the main character riding on the train and fantasizing about the lives of people in a passing house.  Sadly, I think I’ve also done this on occasion. 

We went to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show at the Kino Center and the 22nd street show areas.  My big purchase was a key chain with buffalo head nickels.  Regardless, it’s most interesting to just walk around and look at the amazing stuff that’s been taken out of the Earth.  The logistics to ship this vast quantity of minerals, rocks, jewelry, wood, fossils, bones, etc  to this show is incredible.

Wouldn't fit in the RV

It's not all gems and minerals

Interesting fossils 

Even a carousel horse ?

Hollowed out stone lamps too !

And dinosaur skulls

We are in need of some exercise so off we go for a hike at Brown Mountain.  This is a favorite hike of ours, a decent workout of about 5 miles with a fair amount of ups and downs and very scenic.  Of course we ran into some Canadian hikers on the trail.

Going up onto the ridge

Nice Hawk circling overhead

This trail view never gets old

Next was a hike in Tucson Mountain Park off Irvington Road.

We were dog sitting and took Li-Li along

Twinkles posing next to a large barrel cactus

The fairy dusters are blooming nicely

View of Tucson in the distance

Friday night takes me downtown to the Hotel Congress for a CD release event for Hank Topless.  My friends from LaCocina, Lana Rebel and Kevin Mayfield open the show.  Hank also plays at LaCocina and has a self proclaimed “country honky tonk Blues”  music style.  He also has a Neil Young look going on with a dynamic stage presence with much attitude and drinking.  He is a character and will never be called boring.

Hank Topless in action

I loved the poster

Since it is our 18th anniversary on Saturday, I can’t get out of the “Valentines Day” dance at the campground.  It was actually one of the better ones, I almost had a good time.  The campground owner came over to tell me he had contacted Kevin Pakulis about doing a show at the campground per my recommendation.  He also has scheduled a show for Lana Rebel and Kevin Mayfeld who I also recommended.  I am kind of relieved to know they will play after we leave, in case they bomb.

I am pretty much a regular at Kevin Pakulis “Summer Sessions” jam at Borderland Brewery on Sundays.  Kevin is a Bruce Springsteen fan who is recommending Bruce’s new autobiography, which I just happen to be currently reading.  I can relate to this book as I saw him perform at a few venues in the late 1960’s, lived in the Jersey shore area for a while and knew people with connections to Bruce and the E Street Band.

Kevin and the band playing at LaCocina for a food bank benefit

There was a huge birthday party for a neighbor, Linda, that lasted from 4PM to over 10PM.  Unfortunately, Twinkles had dentures installed earlier in the day and could not attend.  It’s a nightmare, she won’t be eating real food for weeks.  I’m buying a new tooth brush, lots of dental floss and a water pic immediately.

A campfire at the birthday party

Thursday evening I go to the Hotel Congress for a much anticipated concert by Alejandro Escovedo and Jesse Malin.  I had seen Alejandro previously in a more acoustic performance and liked him a lot. Jesse Malin is another one who I have wanted to see but have never been in the right place at the right time.  Interestingly, they are both favorites of Bruce Springsteen and have played with him in concert.  Jesse Malin was the opening act and totally lived up to and surpassed the hype. He was dynamic with great stage banter, strong playing, strong vocals, rock star looks and an unmistakable New York City attitude.  Alejandro Escovedo who is a veteran Texas songwriter did a totally different kind of show, kind of back to his punk rock roots, with deafening electric guitars which sort of canceled out his vocals.  The sound was pushing the limits of distortion and pain at times, but it was exciting and overall one of the best concerts I have gone to in a long time.

Another great concert poster

Saturday night I'm in watching a classic film on Svengoolie TV, “Godzilla vrs Mothra”.  I was tired and wanted to go to bed but couldn’t stop watching, had to see how our world was saved.  I had forgotten about the anti-nuclear weapons testing message in the movie which may have been cutting edge stuff for its day.  It was great !

Godzilla on the rampage

I next check out Jim Dalton and Gerald Collier advertised as “A couple of cowboys with guitars” at the St. Charles Tavern.  It was my first time at the St. Charles Tavern located on south 4th Avenue.  It is a single story building with a glass enclosed front section that looks nothing like I expected the St. Charles Tavern to look like.  However, it did seem to be a pretty cool venue for a band to play in.  Regardless, there was a large country crowd to see these musicians play who were hooting and whooping it up like they were big stars.  I’ve noticed that the country music crowd is awfully excessive in that way.  It was interesting, but a little too honky tonk for me so I left after one beer for my regular Sunday sessions at Borderlands Brewery.

Couple of cowboys with guitars

Another nice poster

I went to the Mission San Xavier del Bac hoping to see the Mission with a background of dark storm clouds, but it was not to be as ominous as hopped, but still pretty interesting.

The Mission is incredible from any angle

I liked the starkness of the tree against the dark clouds

I went with a few other campers for on hike on the Cardiac Ridge Trail at Sabino Canyon. This was a beautiful 9 mile hike and a good workout as it is mostly uphill with plenty of steps and rocks to overcome.

Along the trail looking back towards the Tucson

The hiking crew taking a lunch break

The hillsides are so green 

Trail view

Alice is doing very well, her fur is growing really long in places, she says HI !

Alice posing for me

That's all for now;
Twinkles and Slick

Monday, February 13, 2017

Back to Ft. Myers, Florida

February 1 - 7, 2017:

I lucked out with a nice clear travel day and a smooth flight to Ft. Myers, actually arriving a half hour ahead of schedule.  My last trip here had me arriving late at night, near mid-night, and I had a tough time finding my way to my daughter’s house in Estero.

I could just hang out here comfortably for the duration

And play with the the perfect pet, a Rabbit

After everyone is home, we head to Outback Steak House for dinner.  I’m thinking that I have been eating out a lot, feeling kind of bloated, but this sort of a vacation time and the gorging will therefore continue.  I was actually thinking of getting a salad, but how can you say “No” to that wonderful “Alice Springs Chicken” entree on the menu.  
The issue of dieting is further reinforced the following day when shopping at Bass Outfitters and those shorts that should be fitting me are too tight.  I also have to spring for new “fit-over” sunglasses since I seem to have lost my prescription ones.  Great, now I feel fat and look like a geezer too !

My granddaughters, Mallory and Morgan are big into Soccer, there is a game or practice about every other day.  We go to watch a National Soccer team practice at the Florida Golf Coast University field with Morgan and Mallory’s team, I being sort of over whelmed by the sports fever here.  Morgan has two games on Saturday in the Miami area, an hour away and a game on Sunday morning. The girls on the team all seem to be best friends, they go to school together, the parents hang out together, it’s a whole lifestyle thing.

The girls in action

My daughter Jessica and husband Jerome, with Jerome
displaying his macho man look

The proud parents on the sidelines

I visit Korsham State Park for a short hike on a trail along the Estero River. It's a beautiful short trail through jungle like trees, plants and bamboo, but wonder why people have to carve dumb stuff into the Bamboo along the trail ?  This is a canoe or kayak river that leads out into the gulf, something I may do some day.  I have been at this historical utopian village several times and it is a fascinating place.  There is also a nice campground here which is something to consider when in this area.

Beautiful place to kayak, but watch out for the alligators

One of the historic houses at Koreshan

Beautiful flower on a Red Silk Cotton Tree, exotic trees
were planted all over this compound

The Koreshan's believe that they live inside the center of the Earth

Another of my favorite places is Lovers Key State Park where I take a walk along the fishing beach area on the Gulf of Mexico.  There are some huge Osprey nest sites along the shoreline and several old dead trees on the beach.  Obviously this shore line takes a pounding during storms.

Nice Gulf view with Ft Myers beach is the distance

Many shore birds who are rather tame

They hang out near the fishermen hoping
for handouts

The real fishermen, the Osprey, live here

My favorite beach view

I saw several starfish washed up on the beach

A view looking back at the causeway

On Saturday while my son-in law Jerome takes Morgan to the soccer games in Miami, Daughter Jessica and grand daughter Mallory go to downtown Ft Myers for the Art Fest.  It’s a beautiful day, the event is great and a big crowd in on hand.  It’s a predominately senior crowd, this area is full of seniors during the winter, with plenty of money to spend.  We also go into the old post office, now the Sidney & Bernie Davis Art Center with an exhibit on art done by local seniors.  Ft Myers downtown has been revitalized and is now a destination again, nice to see.

Granddaughter Mallory on left and daughter Jessica

A shell covered VW with a heart on the hood is not exactly my
style, but I admire the craftmanship

I also admire the sidewalk art

Mallory and Jessica checking the art work

Mallory made a leaf to hang on a tree sculpture

The former Ft Myers post office

An interesting car parked in the downtown

The Sunday soccer game has Morgan’s team winning and afterwards we go to the “Barefoot Beach” in north Naples.  It seem my kids don’t get to the beach much these days as they are are pale as me.  Big fun is had holding up food for the sea gulls to dive in and take out of the hands.

Morgan on the beach

The view on Barefoot Beach is pretty nice

Jerome taking a nap

While I'm wide awake

Morgan feeding the gulls

Time for a walk on the beach

Jerome explaining how he used to vault  over people
on the beach in his youth

Mallory tries

It’s Super Bowl Sunday with the soccer team crowd and other friends congregating at a nearby house for a Super Bowl Party.  There was only about one person in the group routing for the Patriots, but I am with a bunch of southerners.  Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is easy to hate, he’s way too perfect and successful.  The first half was a rout in favor of Atlanta with everyone gloating, don’t know what transpired during halftime, but the Patriots took charge in the second half, tied the game and won in overtime.  It was definitely one of the most amazing comebacks in Super Bowl history.  The really good news was that my son-in-law Jerome won some money.

I ride out to Sanibel Island with all the other tourists in stop and go traffic.  I drive to Captiva hoping to find a parking space there with no luck, but it's a beautiful ride.  As an alternate, I stop at “Bowman’s Beach” on Sanibel where there is a large lot and spend a couple of hours walking the beach, scooping up shells and taking photos.


Taking the six dollar toll bridge to Sanibel Island

But, the view from the bridge mid point might be worth it

The view on Bowman's Beach is always great

As are the gulls 

And the amazing Pelicans

Pelican cruising overhead

When spotting a fish below, they collapse and dive
straight down into the water for the fish

I’m now at the airport at Ft Myers where I breeze through check-in and security.  It seems at my age or for whatever reason, I’m not considered dangerous any longer and and get an expedited quickie security check, no line, no shoes to remove, laptop can stay in the bag.  This doesn’t make any sense to me, but I’m not going to argue.  

I have aisle seats on both flights to Tucson with a stop in Dalles-Ft. Worth and arrive a half hour early.  It feels good to be back !