Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter & Everyone is leaving us

It seems like everyone pays for the campsites by the month and Monday is the beginning of a new month.  Hard to believe April is here already.  Friends Gerry & Dorothy came by to say goodbye since they are leaving for Iowa on Tuesday.  Our neighbors to the left of us got their truck repaired early and pulled out today.  Steve & Judy, Cliff & Ginny are leaving Monday morning.  Lynne & Jim also are leaving on Monday.  

This place will be deserted by the time we leave here in late April.  If we didn't have doctor appointments, we would be out of here also, but the knee doctor says to wait until he checks me out on April 11.  Then we have eye doctor appointments late April and can't leave until then.  Medicare will only pay for a checkup once a year and that is what is keeping us around. 

The weather has turned for the better and it was great this evening.  We had a couple chores to do and were able to ride around with the windows down and no a/c.  Super.  Ron K fired up his Harley this morning and hit the road also.  He said it was great weather for riding his bike.  

Other than the above, it was a slow day.

We hope everyone has a Happy Easter and they find all the eggs and chocolate Easter bunnies they want.


Friday, March 29, 2013

Minion Blimp & Guadalajara Fiesta Grill

One of our favorite restaurants in Tucson is the Guadalajara Fiesta Grill on Kolb Ave.  We went there last night and got there early for the Happy Hour prices and then hung around and listened to the Mariachi Band that entertained us.  We sat outside on the patio and enjoyed the great weather.  Ron & Dee C joined us for a trip down there and we had a great time.  Hot food, cold drinks, good friends and music.  Service was slow, but we weren't in a hurry and managed to fit in two drinks before Happy Hour ended.  Ron & Dee ordered appetizers and we had a mixed fajita that was more than enough food the two of us.

They sell a huge house margarita and Gerry & Dee each had a couple of them.  The margaritas are a little weak so Gerry brought in some Tequila to spice up the drinks.  It works out great and they almost finished up the additional tequila before we left.  The Dos XX was great as usual and went down easily.  

Arizona was playing Ohio State in the NCAA basketball semifinals and most people ate inside so they could watch the game.  I checked on the score a couple times and thought Arizona might pull it out, but a late 3 point shot by Ohio State did them in.  They had a great season and return some key players for next year and big things are expected out of them.  Go Zona!

It's a bird, an airplane, no just the despicablimp flying over the RV park.  This morning we were sitting there all comfortable and nice when Gerry noticed an unusual sight in the sky.  She jumped up and ran for her camera to get some shots of the blimp flying toward us.  It was flying very low and we managed to get some nice photos.  Lots of nice photos so what do we do with them?  Blog, of course.

Double click below.

despica blimp

Low & slow

Really low & slow

It was flying so low that I thought they were looking for a landing spot, but they continued on flying past the RV park.  Our neighbor, Jan came out to see the blimp also and three of us decided to drive up a little closer and get some more shots of the blimp.  By the time we got to the front of the park the blimp was a long way off from us.  I jumped on I-10 so I could catch up to the blimp but he was flying a lot faster than I realized.  We closed the gap, but not close enough to take any more photos.

I later read that they were headed for Deming, NM for the evening and they had a 200 mile flight ahead of them.  At the rate they were moving along, it shouldn't take much time to get there.  The route they had laid out will take them along I-10 until they get to Florida.

Sharon & Al began their trek back to the Midwest today by heading west.  We dropped by early this morning to bid them farewell until this fall.  Their first night destination was Wickenburg, AZ for a few days and then on to Las Vegas to visit with Al's brother.  Long lost brother at that.  Have a great trip guys. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sharon & Al join the carnival

Cousin Sharon and husband Al have spent the winter at the Pima County Fairgrounds campground.  They really like it over there and they have a great view of the Santa Rita mountains, plus they have free access to many of the free events that are held there.  The events held in the buildings usually have an entrance fee, but otherwise they have access to a number of free shows.

They can only stay until the end of March since the Pima County Fair starts around mid April and they have to set up the rides, booths, etc.  This year the carnival people decided to show up early and they have taken over one section of the fairgrounds and that is the section where Sharon & Al are staying.  I think they like the carnival so much that they are going to join it soon.  What about it Sharon & Al?

Sharon & Al plus friend.

This is what they are facing now until they leave on Friday morning for Las Vegas.  

Sleeping quarters on the way in.

6 sleeping quarters.
 I'm not sure where they all came from but the park is filling up fast.  They have others parked in another section of the park, along with many rides.  One ride takes up two semi-trailers and looks to be quite large.  

We've been here for many of the County Fairs, but it is usually too hot to walk around the place.  There aren't that many rides for people our age either, but they do have some nice entertainers at the Fair.

Free entertainment - click below.

Pima County Fair entertainment 



Monday, March 25, 2013

Empire Ranch, Sonoita, AZ

We were experiencing some cabin fever and decided to hit the road for a short drive.  We've been past the Empire Ranch a number of times and never really checked it out.  It has an interesting past and rather than try to explain it in my words, I am including a writeup that I found on the internet.

The Empire Ranch was originally established in the 1860's as a ranch of 160 acres with a four-room adobe ranch house and adjoining corral.
  Owned by Edward Nye Fish, a Tucson businessman, the ranch was acquired in 1876 by Walter L. Vail, a native of Liverpool, Nova Scotia, and Herbert Hislop, an Englishman.
Over the next 20 years, as a part of the historic expansion of ranching, railroads, mining and other growth in the West, Vail and various partners expanded the original land holdings to include over one million acres.  The ranch house became an extended complex with more than 22-rooms and many related structures, and remained a Vail family enterprise until 1928.
In 1928, the Empire Ranch was purchased by the Boice, Gates and Johnson partnership, successor to the Chiricahua Cattle Co., when their cattle had to be moved from the San Carlos Indian Reservation. The Boices were respected cattlemen known for their promotion of the Hereford breed of cattle in the Southwest. Partner Frank Boice and his family lived on and managed the Empire Ranch, and became sole owners in 1951. During their tenure they also hosted Hollywood production companies for the filming of a number of classic western movies.

Many well known western movies and TV series were filmed on or near the Empire Ranch. They include:
Red River, John Wayne, Montgomery Clift (1948, Howard Hawks)
Red River, James Arness, Bruce Boxleitner (1988 TV, Richard Michaels)
Oklahoma!, Gordon McRae, Shirley Jones (1955, Fred Zinneman)
Duel In the Sun, Jennifer Jones, Gregory Peck, Joseph Cotten (1946, King Vidor)
The Big Country, Gregory Peck, Jean Simmons, Charlton Heston (1958, William Wyler)
Gunman’s Walk, Van Heflin, Tab Hunter, James Darren (1958, Phil Karlson)
3:10 to Yuma, Glenn Ford, Van Heflin (1957, Delmar Daves)
Broken Lance, Spencer Tracy, Robert Wagner, Richard Widmark (1954, Edward Dmytryk)
Hombre, Paul Newman (1967, Martin Ritt)
The Last Hard Men, Charlton Heston, James Coburn (1976, Andrew V. McLaglen)
Monte Walsh, Lee Marvin, Jack Palance (1970, William Fraker)
The Outlaw Josie Wales, Clint Eastwood (1976, Clint Eastwood)
 The Young Pioneers, Linda Purl, Roger Kern (1978 TV series, various directors)
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Rhonda Fleming (1957, John Sturges)
War Arrow, Jeff Chandler, Maureen O’Hara, Jay Silverheels (1953, George Sherman)
Last Train From Gun Hill, Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn (1959, John Sturges)
The Young Riders, Stephen Baldwin (1989-92 TV series, various directors)
Night of The Lepus, Stuart Whitman, Janet Leigh, Rory Calhoun (1972, William F. Claxton)
Bonanza, Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, Dan Blocker, several shows (1959-73 TV series, var. )
Gunsmoke, James Arness, Dennis Weaver, Amanda Blake, several shows (1955-75 TV series, var. directors)
Tom Horn, Steve McQueen (1980, William Wiard)
The Cowboys, John Wayne (1972, Mark Rydell)
Winchester ‘73, James Stewart, Shelley Winters (1950, Anthony Mann)
The Furies, Barbara Stanwyck, Walter Huston (1950, Anthony Mann)
The Wild Rovers, William Holden, Ryan O’Neal (1971, Blake Edwards)
Pocket Money, Paul Newman, Lee Marvin (1972, Stuart Rosenberg)
Hour of the Gun, James Garner, Jason Robards, Robert Ryan (1967, John Sturges)
Gunsight Ridge, Joel McCrea, Mark Stevens (1957, Francis D. Lyon)
Return of the Gunfighter, Robert Taylor, Chad Everett (1967, James Neilson)
A Star Is Born, Barbra Streisand, Kris Kristofferson (1976, Frank Pierson)
Posse, Kirk Douglas, Bruce Dern (1975, Kirk Douglas)
Desperado, Alex McArthur, Yaphet Kotto (1987 TV, Virgil W. Vogel)
Ruby Jean and Joe, Tom Selleck, Ben Johnson (1996 TV, Jeffrey Sax)
Posse, Mario Van Peebles, Stephen Baldwin (1993, Mario Van Peeble
Westerns were very popular from the 1940s through the 1990s and then they began to not be as popular as long car chases and shoot em ups have taken center stage recently.  They had many westerns where people would band together for a crisis and it would start off as a couple riders on horses and as they rode along others would join in.  Finally there would be 30-40 riders converging on the problem.  I guess this was the forerunner to the car chase of today.  The Westerns all had a theme of good winning over evil and were well received.

In 1969 the lands were sold to Gulf American Corporation for a proposed real estate development, and later resold to Anamax Mining Company for mining and water potential.  None of these developments materialized, however, and to this day the lands and ranch headquarters have  supported only cattle operations.

In the 1980s a groundswell of public support developed to preserve the ranch and its natural resources in their pristine condition.  In 1988 a series of land exchanges put the property into public ownership under the administration of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), a division of the U.S. Department of Interior.  In 2000, the U.S. Congress officially designated these 42,000 acres to be Las Cienegas National Conservation Area.

The Empire Ranch Foundation was established as a private non-profit organization in 1997 to work with the BLM to develop private support to preserve the ranch buildings and enhance the educational and recreational opportunities it offers to the general public.  The Foundation has developed a number of educational pamphlets on Empire Ranch history.

Timeline of Empire Ranch

We only had a limited time to spend at the Ranch, but did get some good pictures of the place and were able to view much of the reconstruction going on.  They also allow boondocking on certain sections of the ranch without any hookups.  I would not like to take our rear engine diesel motorhome down the miles of dirt roads since it would mess up our air filters.  It is a little cooler there than in the Tucson area due to the higher altitude and there are some great vistas.

Life blood of the ranch, water.

Old original bldg

2nd addition to house

 We enjoyed the short visit and plan on returning before we leave this spring to see what else is out there.  There are thousands of acres of prairie grass and rolling hills and we'd like to get some photos of that portion of the ranch.  

BTW:  We didn't see one cow or horse on the ranch while we were there.  Lots of evidence they were there, but no actual sighting.  Next time.

The Things You See In A RV Park

I was heading out for some groceries and noticed a van with a large trailer attached to it.  The other day the van was there but not the trailer.  Or, maybe I overlooked the trailer.

During the Canadian breakfast they handed out some Jelly Bellys with some of their giveaway prizes.  Gerry loves Jelly Bellys and quickly took charge of the ones they gave us.  The people with the van and trailer were the ones who contributed them for the breakfast.

Ed & Wendy Jones travel all over to fairs, drag races, airshows and wherever they are invited.  He has a souped up stage coach that does wheelies at over 100 mph.  He performed at the drag races Saturday night along with two jet powered trucks.  His stage coach and jet trucks would have been worth the price of admission and if we had known about it, we would have been sitting in the stands watching him perfrom.

Ed Jones
Wendy Jones

Stage coach painting on trailer.

Ed sits in the glassed in area in front of the coach.
  They said Jelly Belly and Lucas Oil are their two sponsors and they have been making a living this way for the past 36 years.  He performs the work on the coach and also is the driver.  When he gets the coach around 100mph he controls it by levers on both sides that make it run straight and true.

Double click below for a shot of his act.

Ed "The Outlaw" Jones 

They were packing up and getting ready to leave and I only managed to talk to them for 10-15 minutes, but they were very friendly and interesting people.  They said they would be back next year and maybe we can chat with them a little longer.  You really don't know who you will meet in the RV lifestyle.

Sunday was more basketball and I finally had my fill and had to get out and take a ride into the countryside.  


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Free Breakfast

There are a number of Canadians who spend the winter at CCRV and they are a great bunch of people.  They attend all the events, volunteer at functions and are a pleasure to have around.

They began a tradition of preparing an end of year breakfast free of charge to everyone in the park.  When I say everyone, the hall was full with no seats available once it got into gear.  It was slated to start at 8:30am and we decided to go a little later and let the first rush get fed.  We didn't wait long enough since there was still a long line when we got there after 9:00am.

They were selling chances on door prizes and while Gerry bought the chances I filled our coffee cups and saw our neighbors Frank & Jan waving at me to let us know there were seats at their table.  Thank God they caught my eye since there were only a few open spaces at that time.  I grabbed three seats so Ron K could join us and waited for Gerry to finish with the chances.  She picked up two breakfasts on the way to the table and we enjoyed some pancakes and sausages.  

Ron K won two prizes, Frank & Jan won the best prize and Gerry won a prize also.  Lucky place to be for us.  We had a good time and chatted with a lot of people and finally got back to the MH after 10:30.  Tired, but not hungry.

Later in the day we made a Dairy Queen run with Ron K and took advantage of the last day to get the special price.  Now, maybe we can loose some more weight. 

Later that evening we rented Zero Dark Thirty from Redbox and watched it.  That is one powerful movie and doesn't pull any punches.  The beginning is brutal, but once you get past that it is very interesting.  In case you don't know what it is about, it is the story of the search for Osama Bin Laden and his eventual demise at the hands of the Seal Team 6.  I would not recommend it for younger children and the faint of heart.     

Friday, March 22, 2013

Counting Basketballs

Whew, this has been a marathon for me the past few days.  It is March Madness time and I am on overload with all the NCAA basketball games being played.  I enjoy watching all the teams play since I don't get a chance to see many of them during the regular season.

The experts pick the various teams and rank them 1-16 and break them down into 4 groups.  Basically, the highest ranked team in each group plays the lowest ranked team in their group.  The best games tend to be games between the 8-9 teams since they are more evenly matched.  

The games are televised on 4 different TV channels, so a good clicker is essential to have.  Then you have time outs, halftime, time between games and those are dead time if you only watch one team.  I manage to catch significant portions of games and keep my eye on the other games.  When it gets down to the end of a game and it is close I switch over to that TV channel.

Today was a good day for me since I always pick a team to win for one reason or the other.  Other than NC State losing, it was a winner for me.  Seeing Georgetown lose to a #15 team was sweet.  No, I am not a Georgetown fan.  They play a slow down, defense oriented offense and it is boring to watch.  I like to see some running and shooting, not pass, pass, etc. and then shoot.

Larry Jr. called us this evening and told us to turn to the ESPN channel where the U.S. was playing Costa Rica in a World Cup qualifying game.  The U.S. team wore white jerseys and the game was played in a blizzard.  They had to constantly dig up the sideline and goal box markers but couldn't keep up.  Part way into the 2nd half they wanted to call the game and finish it later, but the players said to let it go and finish it now.  The referee has the final say and he let it continue.  The U.S. scored in the 16th minute and that was the final score.  The U.S. needed this win badly and the team pulled it out.

We are experiencing extremely high pollen count and high winds.  That is a bad combination since the pollen is everywhere.  We are feeling better from last week, so I hope this doesn't set us back.

Now it is time to go to bed and I guess I will count basketballs instead of sheep tonight.  Goodnight all.     

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Bikers

I was up early this morning and drove by the campsite for the bikers who came in yesterday.  They were all gone before 8 AM and the support crew was taking down the tents.  They have two rental trucks that they pack the tents, luggage, food, etc into and the large one was almost full.  They pack up, move to the next spot, setup, sleep and repeat this drill for 52 times to complete the trip.  Sounds like a lot of work for the crew.

Later on in the day at PT one of the staff heard me mention the biker group and she said they left right in the middle of rush hour and caused some cars to stop real suddenly.  I guess they took up a lane and cars coming upon them had to brake really hard.  The way they drive around here on the secondary roads would prevent me from riding a bike out there.  I wish them luck.

Sharon, Al, Ron K, Gerry and I went to McGraws Tucson Cantina for dinner today.  Sharon loves the artichoke dip and orders it all the time.  It comes in a huge dish and she can barely finish half of it and then enjoys the remainder the next day for lunch or dinner.  Gerry and I weren't that hungry and ordered a Nachos Grande for dinner and split it.  We almost finished it off, but couldn't handle it all.  It was good, but very filling.

The pollen level is still very high, around 10.2 out a of a possible 12.  Thursday is forecast to be in the 11+ range, so that will mean a/c all day and no fresh air except when I go to PT.

BTW:  The boss was my PT person today and she gave me a good workout and I could barely walk out of the place.  She is great, but does work me very hard.  She will be there Thursday also and I will have to really work to get ahead of her. 

No pain, no gain.


Monday, March 18, 2013

Coast 2 Coast Bike Tour

Coast 2 Coast
March 8—April 29, 2013

Each spring there is a bicycle tour group that stops overnight at Cactus Country RV Park in the tent camping area.  In the past there were groups from Colleges and various other groups have stopped by.  This year a group of 24 bike riders are riding from San Diego, CA to St. Augustine, FL.  The group this year looked like an older selection of bikers.  I chatted with one man who looked to be in his late 60s or early 70s and he looked very fit.  

The company that runs the tours provides campsite, tents, food, roadside assistance and just about everything else.  All you have to do is ride your bike for 52 days.  That is more than I could imagine me accomplishing now or even 30 years ago.   All the more power to them.

I did notice they had a massuese to help work on tired and worn out muscles.  I thought about slipping in the Q and getting a free massage.  Then I heard the guy moaning on the table and thought better of it.  Too much like the PT that I get twice a week.

Gerry has come down with what I've had for the last week or so and sounds just as miserable as I feel.  The pollen level here is sky high and that is what is causing the problem.  If we could, I would pack up and leave for an area with less pollen.  No such luck.

That was our excitement for the day.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St Patricks Day & Christmas

This is going to be a two-fer day for the blog.  We have two Xmas cacti that we haul around in the motorhome and they bloom twice a year, but never bloom at the same time.  The larger of the two decided that it is Christmas and is in full bloom.  It definitely adds some color to the motorhome.

We had visitors this morning real early.  Our neighbors Frank & Jan came a visiting.  Actually, they wanted to wish us a Happy St. Patricks day and it looked like they were in the celebration mood.  They both were decked out, but Jan didn't have her hat with her.  Frank is part Irish & German, much like my heritage.  They were heading for their son's house to watch the NASCAR race and only stayed a few minutes.  Party on Frank & Jan.

The park had a season ending yard sale with many of the people selling various items.  Our neighbor, Jan, makes super great purses and had some on a table in front of their motorhome for sale.  Gerry can't resist a bargain and checked out some of them and found one that she really liked and there went some $$$, but she is happy.  What do you think of this purse?

Gerry is getting ready to go to the 1st Annual Stamping show at the Tucson Expo Center.  We went there late yesterday and she only had time to scope it out and now she wants to go back an pick up all the bargains.  Maybe she will take the new purse and fill it with must have stamps and supplies.  I am not into walking the aisles at these events, so I will stay behind and guard the motorhome.  

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Hacienda Del Lago Golf Club & Bottled Water

The big topic of the day around here was the record setting high temperature we had.  The old record was broken by 5 degrees and the high reached 92.  Average temp for this day is 71.  Yes, it was hot and the a/c got a little workout.

Gerry had a card crafting session to attend and I went on a bottle water run at Costco.  We needed some other items so I combined them into one shopping trip.  Costco was crowded as usual, but when I got to the bottle water section I was very surprised.  They usually have a number of pallets of water stacked high and into the aisle.  Not so today and what water was there was being grabbed by people picking up multiple cases.  I managed to snag a case and then had to wend my way out the of area.  I wonder if these people knew something that I didn't?

Since it was so hot outside, Gerry wasn't that interested in doing any cooking and heating up the motorhome.  She has been wanting to go to the Hacienda Del Lago Golf Club for dinner for a long time and tonight was the time to go.  We could have sat on the beautiful patio, but I was concerned about the heat.  Bad move on my part We should have dined out there.  There is a beautiful view of the golf course from the patio with the Rincon mountains in the background.

They have a very nice restaurant, full menu and great service.  The prices were reasonable for what you got and we will be going back there again before we leave.  I ordered the club sandwich and it was so large I could only eat half of it.  Gerry had a steak sandwich and brought back home half of the sandwich also.  She had a nice margarita and since I have been congested, I ordered an Irish Coffee.  It really it hit the spot.  If you are in the Vail, AZ area check it out for lunch or dinner.  Oh, they also golf there.

Our neighbor at the park works next to a bagel bakery and brought us over a huge bag of bagels.  That's after he took a number for them.  We've had the bagels before and they are great.  It looks like we will be freezing some bagels for later use.  Yumm!