January 3, 2018:
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We get together occasionally with Desert Trails campground friends and it’s interesting to hear the campground news and gossip, especially when we aren’t a part of it. Coming here is sort of a vacation for the snowbirds to escape from their home problems and the cold and for the full timer crowd it’s a time to just lay back, relax and rejuvenate in the warm sun. Sadly, I’m not presently having many of those “On Vacation” feelings, but I’m definitely not bored.
November and December were a very busy time here with lots of activities around town. We seem to do the same events every year because they are simply just that good and we don’t tire of them. It’s the Tamale Festival at Casino del Sol with all the tamales and other Mexican taste treats you could desire. Next is the La Fiesta de Tumacacori with more wonderful Mexican and Indian food along with hispanic and native dance troupes. Then the 4th Avenue Winter Festival, one of the best art and crafts festivals of the year and finally the La Fiesta de Guadalupe at the DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun. Then comes Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. It’s hard to stay on a healthy diet amongst all this temptation !
|We left the festival with a piece of wall sculpture|
|After listening to the deadheads at the Hut|
|The view behind the DeGrazia gallery is special|
|The dancing was great at La Fiesta de Guadalupe !|
|That's the definition of adorable|
|DeGrazia painting on display in the gallery|
|Extremely colorful folkloric dancers at La Fiesta de Tumacacori|
|Along with great mariachi music|
|The Tumacacori Mission|
We have learned, much to our satisfaction, that the approximately 80 acre of natural desert area behind our house is officially saved from development and is a Pima County Park system project called the “Enchanted Hills Trail System”. They are taking out (erasing) some of the existing roads and trails, improving other existing trails and building a couple of new trails.
The Tucson music scene continues to grow, there is a lot going on. Everyone thinks I know all about it, I really don’t ! I only follow a small faction of it, I don’t follow the college music bands, the jazz bands, the hip hop crowd, the dance bands or the mostly cover bands at all. That being said, I do follow a lot, in the past month or so its been the Kevin Pakulis Band, Petie Ronstadt and the Company, the Birds and Arrows, the Carnivaleros, the Wayback Machine Band, Freddy Parrish, Lana Rebel and Kevin Mayfield, Eric Schaffer and the other troublemakers, Golden Boots, Big Grin, Harpdog Brown, Rich Hopkins, Billy Sedlmayr, Oscar Fuentes and Mark Febbo.
|Kevin Pakulis Band is ready for Christmas|
Terry True of Terry Trash and the Train Wrecks doing a song
|The Wayback Machine Band|
Twinkles and I go to an Archaeology Southwest presentation at the Loft Cinema and enjoy an excellent presentation on amazingly preserved artifacts found at a small pueblo complex in central Arizona. Archeology Southwest is an amazing organization with tons of literature available for sale. Impressive enough that I have become a dues paying member.
My 38 Dodge is back in operation, but it was quite an ordeal. A clutch actuation rod had worn through the clutch fork causing the original failure. I bought a new clutch fork on eBay, installed a new clutch throwout bearing and put everything back together. The new throwout bearing was immediately noisy which resulted in taking everything back apart. I then bought a second new throwout bearing from a reputable name brand company; the first one was a no name bearing (China perhaps). I put it all back together again and it was even worse. I compared the two bearings dimensionally with the original bearing and could see no difference except that the new bearings were somewhat tighter. I decide to just put the original bearing back, it had been working fine. The third time was the charm, the bearing is now perfectly quiet and everything is good, but It remains a big mystery.
I’m been watching U tube videos with abandon these days, one thing seems to lead you into another, it’s very additive ! It’s yet another social media trap to take over your life, like a drug addiction, but I have it under control. I’ve been reading about how this stuff works in “Wired” magazine, (a hard copy) which I find to be very insightful. I have to read everything a number of times to half understand what they are talking about. I then ask questions of my techno savvy wife, Sue, aka Twinkles, who tells me all the answers are on the internet, big help !
There are thousands, actually millions, of videos on everything and anything you want to know. It’s all quite amazing, you can be an overnight star doing U tube videos and it pays ! Campervan Kevin who interviewed me in the 38 Dodge gets 1,000’s of views on everything he puts out, not sure why, it’s a mystery? I’m pretty convinced the world has gone crazy !
I took the RV out of storage just before Christmas in preparation to selling it, there are a few things to repair and it needs some cleaning. It has been a remarkably dependable RV which I would drive across country tomorrow without a worry. It would be a great RV for someone with limited funds, but I know it’s going to be very tough to get rid of, unless I practically give it away. I truly dislike car sales people, particularly RV sales people and am not looking forward to this at all. I prefer to take a cash payment, however cheap it is surely to be, rather than mess around for months, or more, doing consignment or selling it myself.
|Wish there was a way to save those bumper stickers, the photo will have to do|
It just after Christmas and I’M FREEZING MY ASS OFF HERE IN TUCSON as we are having a string of freezing cold winter weather ! We are finding this to be a relatively cold house and the heating system has been acting up. Its a heat pump system which is more complex than a regular furnace, but more economical. It is also 1991 vintage and close to the end of its life expectancy. The service guy has been here twice, the first time he didn’t really take my observations too serious, checked the system function, found nothing and blamed the issue on a slightly dirty air filter and intake duct screens. It sort of worked normal for a while, but eventually acted up again after which I investigated myself finding the compressor contacts to be burnt. This was causing the compressor to continue to run after the furnace would shut down. After getting the service man back and replacing the compressor contractor, a secondary issue was found with an intermittent failure of the furnace blower motor control board, but when that was replaced another issue developed. The repairman seemed pretty confused about all this, finally concluding that the Heat Pump compressor is failing. After he left the system started working almost normal again, but since the system is 27 years old, about the end of its life expectancy, we decided to bite the bullet and just replace it with a new system.
2018 (for me) has been an emotional, costly, trying, stressful year and 2019 will hopefully be easier. In spite of this we had an excellant RV adventure from the end of March to mid June. I also had two interesting cross country trips between New Jersey and Tucson. The trip in the 38 Dodge back in February was a truly classic ride, can’t get much more interesting than that, may have to do it again ? The other trip to get house items out of storage to bring back to Tucson wasn’t as exciting, more like work, but for me any road trip is good. It was interesting spending the summer in Tucson, in spite of the intense heat, the monsoon season can be exciting and you get to see many desert plants in bloom that you otherwise miss.
|I always knew it would make it|
|with just a little help from "Boss Hogs" welding shop|
|A nostalgic stop at Steins Ghost Town seemed appropriate|
|Barrel Cactus under a threatening sky|
|Monsoon storm approaching|
During 2018, we stayed in (20) campgrounds consisting of (10) full hookup, (6) Dry camping and (4) boon-docking sites. We visited (4) National Parks; Grand Canyon, Capital Reef, Mesa Verde and Petrified Forest. We visited (7) National Monuments / Preserves: Escalante, Mojave, Tent Rocks, Natural Bridges, Bandelier, Aztec Ruins and Canyons of the Ancients. We visited (2) State Parks: Valley of Fire and Cathedral Gorge.
We kept very busy, possibly overwhelmingly so, visiting ruins, pueblos, petroglyphs, visitors centers and museums at the following Ancestral Pueblo sites:
Arizona - V-Bar-V Ranch site, Montezuma Well, Montezuma Castle, Honanki Ruins and Besh-BA-Gowah Archeological Park
New Mexico - Chaco Culture National Historic Park, Salmon Ruins, Aztec Ruins National Monument, Coronado Historical Site, Acoma Pueblo and Natural Bridges National Monument
|Huge Kiva at Chaco Culture National Historic Park|
Colorado - Mesa Verde National Park, Bandelier National Monument and Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
|Ruins at Mesa Verde National Park|
Nevada - Lost City Museum and ruins and Valley of Fire State Park
|Petroglyph rocks at Valley of Fire State Park|
|Lost City Museum in Overton, Nevada|
Utah - Edge of the Cedars Pueblo and Capital Reef National Park
|Great ceramic vessels at the Edge of the Cedars Museum|
|The Edge of the Cedars Pueblo is now on the edge of a new housing development|
We didn't forget Christmas this year.
|Alice loved the wrapping paper|
|600 pages of Bob Dylan lyrics for me|
Our full time RV days may be over, but count on more travels sometime in my future.
Happy New year;Twinkles and Slick