Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Visit To Arcosanti

On our way to Camp Verde we noticed a sign for Arcosanti and wondered what it was all about.  I got on the internet and found this statement of purpose of Arcosanti:

 Arcology is Paolo Soleri's concept of cities which embody the fusion of architecture with ecology. The arcology concept proposes a highly integrated and compact three-dimensional urban form that is the opposite of urban sprawl with its inherently wasteful consumption of land, energy resources and time, and tendency to isolate people from each other and the community. Miniaturization creates the Urban Effect, the complex interaction between diverse entities and individuals, which mark healthy systems both in the natural world and in every successful and culturally significant city in history.
Arcology reduces city's dependence on the automobile. Today’s typical city devotes more than sixty percent of its land to roads and automobile services. The multi-use nature of arcology design would put living, working, and public spaces within easy reach of each other and walking would be the main form of transportation within the city.

Pollution is a direct function of wastefulness, not efficiency. In a three dimensional city, energy and resources are used more efficiently than in a conventional modern city. Suburban sprawl mandates a hyper-production-consumption cycle and creates mountains of waste and pollutants.
An arcology’s direct proximity to uninhabited wilderness would provide the city dweller with constant immediate and low-impact access to rural space as well as allowing agriculture to be situated near the city, maximizing the efficiency of a local food distribution system. Arcology would use passive solar architectural techniques such as the apse effect, greenhouse architecture and garment architecture to reduce the energy usage of the city, especially in terms of heating, lighting and cooling. 

In 1970 a group purchased a large parcel of land north of Phoenix and started work on the concept.  The work has processed slowly and there are about 100 people living there.  It was originally intended to provide space for 5,000 people away from urban sprawl.  

They have some very interesting buildings out there and give tours to explain what they are doing and hope to accomplish.  We didn't take the tour due to limited time, but it was an eye opener.  

Visitor center, cafe and living quarters all in same building

Workshop & living quarters

View toward a private living area.

Ceiling in the restaurant at Arcosanti

Cosanti Bells

Ceramics  work space

Side view of visitors center, cafe, living quarters
 It was interesting seeing the area and how much they have accomplished.  The buildings needed some TLC, but they were neat buildings.  All vehicles had to park on the outside of the main buildings and there were walkways between the different areas.

If you are in the area it would be worthwhile to stop and visit Arcosanti and take the tour.  It isn't a place where I would like to live, but to each his own.

We also found a number of geocaches while we were out on our ride.  Some were a little difficult to find and there were 3 that we did not find.  DNFs.  You don't get a smiley face for those.  It was a nice day for geocaching since the temperature wasn't that high.  We did have some brisk winds and we had to hold onto our hats.

Gerry remembered there is a Dairy Queen in Camp Verde and we stopped for two medium blizzards.  The medium size up here is the same as the small size blizzards at the Vail, AZ DQ.  It seems to me that a medium should be the same at all DQs, but I guess that isn't the case.

That was our day, how was yours?


Friday, April 22, 2016

We Went to That Brewery

We needed some groceries and decided to head to Cottonwood and pick them up at the Safeway store.  All went well with this plan until we got out on the highway and changed our plans.  Rather than go grocery shopping we googled Craft Breweries and came up with That Brewery in Cottonwood.  Plugged the address into the phone gps and off we went in search of a cold beer.

It wound up being in an industrial area and the phone directions got us close but we wound up coming in the back way.  The brewery is in a warehouse and doesn't advertise their presence that well.  We knew we were in the right place when some people came stumbling out of the door.

As soon as you enter the brewery you can see the vats and equipment right in front of you.  They were preparing to add a couple more brewing vats to the brewery due to the increased demand for the beer.  The increase is expected to triple their output.

 They had 8 craft brews on tap and offered a "flat of beer" ( 6 samples in 4oz glasses for $7.00 ).  Since neither of us care for Stout beers, we wound up with only 6 choices for our tasting.  Easy solution to making a decision which ones to try first.

 They had a chalk board behind the beer taps that labeled what was available.  I usually like an Amber beer but felt their version of it came up short.  Gerry liked it better which was a surprise to both of us.

Note the baking tins on the bottom left.  They put the sample glasses in the tins.  Unique idea.
 Off to the side they had a small sitting area where you can enjoy the beer.  We chose to sit at the bar so I could question the bartender about the brewery.  She had worked there a couple years and knew a lot about it and it's history. She also mentioned their location in Pine AZ, giving the brewery another plug.

There was a small game table, a checkers board and also their section to sell t-shirts and other items about the brewery.  

 They were loading beer kegs while we were there and opened the freezer/cooling room to move a pallet of kegs in there.  I asked if I could get a picture of the room and they said fine.  It was very cold in there and I didn't linger very long in getting the picture.

If you have followed my blog for a while you know that we like to visit wineries and breweries when they are in the area.  We've found some great wines and beers this way and have had a good time tasting the product.  Overall I didn't care that much for any of the beers that I tasted except for one that was ok and had good flavor.  Gerry liked more of them, but she doesn't like a heavy beer so that was understandable.

After the brewery tasting we wound up at Panda Express for an early dinner.  Gerry was in the mood for some Chinese food and we've had good luck at Panda Express in the past.  Our luck ran out in this one and neither of us liked our meals.  If it was our first stop at a Panda Express it would be our last one.

After the meal we went to Fry's grocery store rather than Safeway.  We never know exactly where we are going until we get there.  The Fry's in Cottonwood seemed to have higher prices on just about everything we were looking for. Guess we will have to give the Safeway store a chance and go there later in the visit.

Both of us had upset stomachs by the time we got back to the motorhome and think there must have been something bad with the Panda Express food.  It wasn't anything serious but the food didn't settle that well.

We watched The Amazing Race on tv and enjoyed it except for the snakes.  Gerry hates snakes and can't stand to see them, let alone carry one around her neck.  I suppose if we were contestants, it would have been my task or we would have had to take the penalty and wait it out.  They did eliminate two more contestants and are heading down the back stretch for this season.

The weather has been fantastic since we arrived.  It's been in the 70s and 80s during the day with a nice breeze to make it comfortable outside.  Nights have been cool and that makes for great sleeping weather.  What more could a person ask for?

I've noticed a lot of the RV bloggers have gone back to their homes and are preparing to shut down their blogs until something interesting happens or they go back on the road this fall.  I know how they feel when we stop for the summer and I can't think of anything interesting to blog about.  

That was our day, how was yours?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Back On The Road To Camp Verde

We arrived at La Mesa RV early on Wednesday and got in line for service.  Shortly thereafter the tech said everything was fine and was releasing the MH.  Well, he must have misunderstood the instructions since he hadn't made everything o.k.  He took it back in and this time fixed the problem.  Of course, all this took the better part of the day.  Since it was so late after all that, we went back to Freightliner and set up for the night.

We had called the Rancho Verde RV park in Camp Verde to make a reservation.  The best we could get was starting Friday.  We  still needed a park for Thursday (today) night.  Before we could call around the nice lady at Rancho Verde called back and said they had a cancellation, creating an opening today if we could make it.   

Super!!  We rushed around and hit the road early for the drive up here.  The weather forecast for the area was for a windy day on Friday and I didn't really want to fight a side wind for 200+ miles and drive through Phoenix (not that bad like the Capital Beltway) so I was happy to make the drive today.  It worked out well and we arrived here early enough to have a relaxing afternoon.

There are some steep and long hills on I-17 but we made it fine in spite of the 97 degree temps in the area.  I just took my time and let all the speeders go by on their merry way.  

Camp Verde, AZ

Thankfully we didn't need the runaway ramp
We will be here for a week and then move on to Las Vegas, NV for 10 days or so depending on whether Gerry is winning on the one armed bandits.  It's nice to have a campsite with trees and green grass once again.

That was our day, how was yours?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Ride In The Park

Saguaro East National Park that is.  Gerry and I take a ride through the park a number of times each time we are in Tucson.  There is a great asphalt road that meanders 8 miles through the park and the flowering cacti are beautiful this time of the year.  

Saguaro cactus flowers

Staghorn cactus

Beautiful saguaro cactus in 2007

What's left of the cactus now after a couple very cold winters.

 I stopped on the road to get this photo of the moon to the side of the cactus.  After taking the photo I pulled over to the side of the road to let a couple people pass by me.  We like to take our time and see all the beautiful flowers, but many people drive through the park in a hurry and don't see much of anything.

One of the vehicles behind me was a Ranger who thanked me for pulling over and then chastised me for stopping on the road to take the photo.  I had a very clear view of the road behind me and there wasn't any danger to the people behind me.  I thanked him for his advice and he drove on.  Lots of rules when you are on Federal Gov't property and some don't make that much sense.

The two ladies were painting a rocky area called Javelina Rocks and were very intent on putting the paint on the canvas.  The photo on the right below shows the painting in process and you can make out the rocks.  It looked like it will be a beautiful painting when she is finished.

Flowers on a Cholla cactus
 It was a very enjoyable drive through the park and we will miss it if we don't return next year.  We took many other photos but I didn't want to overwhelm you with them.  

That was our day, how was yours?

Monday, April 18, 2016

Still Here at Freightliner

We are finished with getting the oil change, lube and other minor things that had to be done to the motorhome.  They were all finished last Friday, however they ran into a problem with the air suspension system.

The air valve came in and was installed, however that didn't fix the problem.  It seemed that there is another master cylinder that directs the air to each of the air bags and this unit was failing.  The techs didn't think they could make this repair since they didn't have any schematics and information about the cylinder.  All this came about late Friday afternoon and as stated in the previous blog I called La Mesa RV to get on their schedule.

The bill was messed up Friday evening and we settled up today.  Since they couldn't repair the actual problem, they only charged to look at what was needed, plus the charges for the other work.  It turned out to be well below the first attempt at preparing the bill.  I will give Freightliner credit for not charging for something they could not fix.

In the meantime we spent the weekend at Camp Freightliner.  The photos below were taken from the entrance to their repair facility.  

The passenger side is now too high in front and low in rear.

Tucson Freightliner shop

Nice covered picnic site with two tables.
 All in all it hasn't been too bad staying here with the full hookup and nice camping area.  We'd rather be moving down the road but these things happen with motorhomes.

Hopefully La Mesa RV can diagnose the problem and order the part on Wednesday morning.  If so, we will spring for overnite shipping so we can head north.  If not, we will find a spot to hang around waiting for the part.

On to another subject.  I read a number of RVing blogs to help find places to visit, good campgrounds and other information from the bloggers.  In the past month or so a number of these bloggers have decided to "hang up the keys" and settle down in houses, trailers, etc. and come off the road.  Most of them have been blogging for 7-10 years or so and finally have run out of interesting things to blog about.  Many have migrated to Facebook and other sites to keep in touch with each other.  Others have health and family problems that come up requiring them to be near health care centers and relatives.  Some just get tired of seeing the same sights over and over.

At the same time a number of new bloggers have started up and it's interesting seeing them discovering how great RVing is.  It's a little like if you don't pay attention to history you tend to repeat it.  Out with the old and in with the new.

That was our weekend, how was yours?

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Two Day Visit to Freightliner & Big Change in Plans

Wednesday I went to the dentist early in the morning for some  work that lasted two hours.  $$$$  After the appointment I headed back to the park and finished loading the motorhome and getting ready to leave the park.  

Our destination was Freightliner of Tucson for some routine maintenance work that needed to be done.  Nothing major  except for some work on the front air bags.  The passenger side one was working on and off and I didn't trust it.  We arrived at Freightliner and parked in one of their courtesy full hookup sites.  Very nice ones at that.  

The service writer came out and wrote up our request for the work needed and said to be at the gate before 7:00 AM Thursday so we would be the first in line.  I mentioned that the air bag wasn't working very well and asked for him to work on that first.  Good move on my part since it was not working at all in the morning and I had to drive the MH to the gate with the passenger side tire rubbing since it wouldn't air up.

It's worse than it looks.
 They spent a long time diagnosing the problem and finally decided it needed a new valve.  They had to spend a lot of time locating the part and finally had one shipped overnight to their location.  In the meantime, they finished up with the other work and said to park it back outside and then bring it back the next morning to finish the work after the part arrived.

Fast forward to today and back into the shop we went.  We got there about 10:00 AM and parked the MH at the gate.  Off we went shopping and doing a little geocaching along the way.  We returned around 3:00PM and they still weren't done with the work.  

Sitting in the RV lounge on easy chairs before the bad news.

Finally they came out and said there was another faulty part and they didn't have the skills to finish the job.  WHAT!!!!  A quick call to La Mesa RV and we are scheduled for service there on Wednesday of next week.  DOUBLE WHAT!!!!

We will be staying at Freightliner's rv sites until Wednesday morning and then driving over to La Mesa.  They took forever to get the MH ready for us to park for the night and we didn't get out of there until after 8:30PM.  They did present the bill to me and it was all messed up with prices and how much the extended warranty firm was to pay.  I said that I wanted a correct bill but I was told they can't do that until Monday.  No problem since I hadn't paid it yet.

At least they did give us a nice benefit while we waited.  Do you think it worth it?

 So, for the next five days we will be guests of Freightliner.  Never a dull moment out here on the road and as they say, plans are written in jello.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Change of Pace

I thought I'd write about something other than food, beer and travel for a change of pace.  Hope I don't lose too many readers because of it.   NO, it isn't anything political.

RVs are notorious for having things break down in them.  Imagine that you put your home on wheels and haul it down the road at 65mph over potholed roads and worse.  As you can imagine you will have some breakage doing this for your house.  RVs aren't that much different except they are built to withstand some punishment.  Given that, there is always something that breaks or is in the process of breaking.  Thankfully, the following wasn't anything that serious.

The hand sprayer for our toilet developed a leak about a month or two ago and I didn't have time to repair it.  We just put a small plastic tray under the sprayer and that worked for a while.  I finally got down to it on the job list a couple days ago.  Simple job, well not really.

We went to Lazydays first to find the part.  It is a simple part on the Dometic toilet but they didn't have it.  They could order it if they could find the part number.  They said it was "only" 59.95 for the hand sprayer.  WHAT!!!  It's only a 3ft long plastic tube with a sprayer on the end of it.  No thanks!

Next was Camping World and they didn't stock it either and could order it for a higher price than Lazydays.  No thanks!

I then called Tiffin (motorhome manufacturer) and got their message to call during regular working hours. Oh, oh, time difference.   I called again the next day and got a young lady on the line who didn't have any idea what I was talking about.  Yes, she worked in the parts department.  After going back and forth with her for way too long, I gave up, thanked her and hung up.

Then I called the Dometic number on the sheet that came with the toilet.  Well, that didn't work since the number was not in working order.  So I then googled Dometic, found another number for them and managed to actually get to talk to a live person after a wait.  When I explained what I needed, he knew right off what it was and asked if I wanted a plastic spray or a chrome spray.  Chrome is what we had in there and asked about it and he said I should call a dealer in my area to buy the spray.  He explained if he sold it to me, it would be much higher than a dealer and they could get it in a couple weeks.  No thanks!

I did call another dealer in Tucson and got nowhere with them.  They didn't have any idea what I was talking about and didn't really want to deal with it.

Did I give up now?  Nope.  I remembered a tv add I've heard many times and it went like this:   Ace is the place.  Right, Ace Hardware.  So I went to an older Ace Hardware nearby and found exactly what I wanted for $16.00.   All I had to do was cut off the end with the copper connector on it.  

Then it was a battle to install it on the toilet, but Gerry and I twisted and cursed long enough to actually hook it back up.  It was in a very tight space and neither of us could get our hands in there to unscrew the clamp holding the old one on.  From that point on it went well.

In the end I paid 1/4 of what it cost to purchase the part from a dealer by using Ace Hardware.  Yes, Ace is the place.

If you are still reading this blog after all the verbage above you must be a very patient person.  Thank you for listening to my rant.

That was our day, how was yours?

Bisbee Pt 2

March 20, 2016

 When I show people Bisbee for the first time I always take them up the Brewery Gulch and check out the colorful houses painted in purple, red, yellow and many other bright colors.  The road dead ends and there isn't a spot to turn around, so be careful.  The return is steep with about a 20% grade bordered by a 9ft drainage ditch.  I think Dale was a little uneasy sitting so close to the ditch. 

Gerry, Debbie & Dale went into the Copper Queen hotel to see what it looked like and thought the lobby was quite old.  The Copper Queen was constructed from 1898 to 1902 by the Phelps Dodge Corporation to serve as lodging for investors and dignitaries visiting its nearby copper mine.

The furnishings were in good shape and looked like they were from a different era.    

Bisbee is an artist's colony and there are numerous works of art throughout the town.  This is an example of art objects all over the town.

I'm not sure what the art below represents, but it was neat looking.

We ran across this old house for sale in Bisbee and Gerry was ready to buy it and fix it back up.  Anyone want to come in with us and help fix this one?

We had to leave Bisbee and start the long drive back to the RV park.  It was late when we got back and dinner at Hotrod's grill and bar sounded like a good idea.  Gerry saw how pretty the sunset was and managed to get a nice photo of the Houghton Rd bridge in the picture.

That was our day, how was yours?

Friday, April 1, 2016

Bisbee Bound

March 20, 2016  Bisbee, AZ

Our friends Debbie & Dale stopped by the park on their way to Las Vegas and stayed for a few days.  We hadn't seen them since the 4th of July in Rapid City, SD and we caught up on each others travels.  They went full-timing 2 years ago and are still in the move around a lot stage, but needed a break from that.  

They hadn't been to Bisbee so we decided to head that way via Sierra Vista and Naco on the back roads.  They weren't that impressed with the border fence or Naco.  Neither were we.

We stopped in Lowell, AZ which is next to Bisbee and the old main street is unchanged since 35-40 years ago.  When the copper mine closed down it seemed like time stood still for Lowell.  

Lavender pit at end of the road

The end of main street is the beginning of the Lavender Pit copper mine.  While it isn't the biggest copper pit we've seen, it is quite deep and leaves an ugly scar on the landscape of the area.

Bisbee is on the other side of the copper pit and it is a vibrant town to this day.  Once the mines closed and homes were hard to sell, the artists found the place and have spruced it up a lot.  There is a nice museum in the center of town with many pieces of equipment from the old Queen Mine on display.

Engine to pull mine cars.

Explosives and latrine cars with the engine

Elevator to go down in the mine.

Steam hoist

Bisbee is a place that has to been seen in person to appreciate it.  We drove over 210 miles on the little jaunt and were tired out when we returned.  We saw a lot and I'll add some more in the next blog about that.