RV Log Page # 0055
Tuesday - March 1, 2011
312 miles today.
Copyright - leDragonfly - All Rights Reserved
Approx. 1482 miles thus far.
We departed around 8 AM and aimed the truck toward Tucson. Up the road a few miles we stopped for fuel and wound up paying $4.30 per gallon for diesel! Ouch! It's just pure gouging!
The farther East we drove, the cheaper the diesel was.
After a rather pleasant and uneventful drive we pulled into Voyager RV Resort in Tucson. It was 81 degrees here and not a cloud in the sky. The locals here said the they have a dusting of snow last week! Glad we missed that. The mornings have been cool since we arrived here in the Southwest last week.
WiFi is still an issue to be dealt with. This resort advertises itself as the 'Best RV Park In The World', yet they have NO WiFi. I had to rent a DSL modem and a local company has to make the wiring connections in an office somewhere to get me online. Nothing yet . . .
Wednesday - March 2, 2011
Beautiful morning here, 'tho we still had to have the heater on for a bit to warm things up.
After getting dressed I assembled the big cage for the boys. I contacted the company that provides the DSL service and was told the work wouldn't be done until after 5 PM. How nice! They said they would call as soon as it was all done.
In the early afternoon we headed over to our friends in Oro Valley, Dee & Joe Jessup for a get together. We saw them almost exactly one year ago when we passed through here on our way to Texas. We'll have more time to visit on this trip. They are truely wonderful folks!
We returned to the RV park around 9:30 PM and found that we still had no DSL service. I called - again - and left a message. Maybe tomorrow?
Thursday - March 3, 2011
Another gorgeous morning, but still needing the heater to break the chill.
Still waiting for a call from the DSL folks. It's now about 10 AM and I've call 3 more times to leave messages. I don't want to have to stick around here all day!
Aha! Finally a return call and it won't be until tomorrow before noon. I'm sure that all they have to do is run some jumper wires here at the resort offfice - they must have only one tech out in this area! Anyway, at least now we can go do some errands, like getting the truck washed and fueled. ($3.84 per gallon)
It is a beautiful day here - bright and sunny, and not too hot.
Friday - March 4, 2011
After 12 noon passed, and still no internet, I again called the numbers and demanded that the service be hooked up. 10 minutes later the DSL box lit up and I went on-line to sign up for their service at $29 for the time we are here (about 2 weeks). Now I am surfing and it is pretty fast. Now I just need to get this page, and others, uploaded to our RV Log.
Shirlee's brother Dan, and his wife Mary, are flying in tomorrow for a few days and we will spend some time with them at the Worldmark Resort in Oro Valley.
We drove up to the Worldmark around 4 PM to check in & check it out, and to spend the night. Nice place! Only thing tho' is that it is 35 miles away, and Gabby (our GPS) took us through town in rush hour traffic. It took almost an hour to get there. The people at the check-in desk suggested an alternate route that we will try in the morning.
We went out to eat at a locale 'hotspot' called 'The Keg'. We got there during happy hour and the place was packed. We finally got seated and ordered supper. Shirlee's fillet was a little undercooked while my rib steak was really salty. They paid for our drinks to compensate - about $20 worth. The saltiness just about made me ill!
Saturday - March 5, 2011
Up this morning at 7:00 to another gorgeous day here in Oro Valley. We need to get back to the RV park to feed the boys and such, but not before we stopped at one of the Waffle House restaurants they have here in Tucson. We also fueled up at a station near the RV park, with diesel @ $3.76.
Now back at the 5th wheel (and full from breakfast) we are hanging out waiting for the time to head to the airport at around 4 o'clock to pick up Dan & Mary. So far on their trip this morning they were 20 minutes early arriving in Denver, where they have a 4 hour layover! . . .
. . . We are now back in Oro Valley with Dan & Mary. Their plane was 20 minutes late, but all worked out. We stopped along the way at a Safeway to provision up for their stay here.
It is really great to see family like this while we are on the road, and it's a bit of a holiday for them, too.
After a bite to eat with them Shirlee & I headed back to the RV park and let the weary travelers get some needed rest. Tomorrow we have a hike planned!
Sunday - March 6, 2011
Shirlee & I returned to where Dan & Mary are staying and had breakfast with them, before heading out to Sabino Canyon, about 10 miles to the East. Upon arriving we first headed to where they had some live entertainment to listen to, before getting on a bus/tram to ride up to the end of the road, where we planned to get off and hike back down on 'Telephone Line Trail', a distance stated to be 3.7 miles. It was a pretty nice hike, but you really had to watch your footing. There were plenty of places with abrupt drops really close to the edge of the trail. The scenery along the trail was beautiful. Do check out the photo link on this page.
As we continued to descend we came across a sign stating it was 3.7 miles back to the trailhead we had just come from, and another 3 miles back to where we had first picked up the bus/tram. What the Heck!!! Anyway we all made it down safe & sound, tho' beer was definately on our immediate list of 'what to do now'. We found a nice place on the way back to Oro Valley called 'The Abby', where we quenched our thirsts and had some good food. We then returned to the condo and hit the hot tub - man, that was NICE!
We then made plans for tomorrow, and since it was forecast to be windy, we decided the Dan & I would go to the Pima Air & Space Museum, while Shirl & Mary did their thing around the RV park. Shirl & I decided to spend the night at the condo with Dan & Mary - for one thing we were bushed, and for another it would save us a 70 mile round trip in the morning!
Monday - March 7, 2011
Ah . . . another beautiful and sunny morning here, but as the forecast foretold, it was pretty windy.
After breakfast we headed back to Voyager, and after the morning ritual of cleaning the litter box Dan & I headed for the Pima Museum, while Shirl & Mary took is easy.
After we arrived at the museum and paid our admission we started our unguided trip around the HUGE facility. I believe that they have a better than normal selection of aircraft there, including an SR-71 Blackbird, a B-29, and many other vintage aircraft. Then . . . we went outside, and into the wind. The wind was soon forgotten by what we saw - rows upon rows of aircraft. I won't even try to list them all - just the highlights. The first was a JFK era Airforce-One airplane. It wasn't the one designated as his, but a twin.
After more walking and drooling we came around the end of some plane and I was totally awed by the sight of a 'like new' B-36 Peacemaker! I had never seen one except in pictures and it is very difficult to describe how HUGE that airplane is - just follow the link for all of that! From there we saw a row of B-52's, which included a 'C', 'E', and 'G' model. Unless you are nuts about B-52's, most people can't tell the difference, or really care. Hey, that's OK! We continued on . . .
As we came around another airplane there sat - also in beautiful condition - a B-58 Hustler. This was our first operational supersonic bomber, and - again - the first one I had seen outside of photos!
Further on we came upon a row of vintage Soviet Union jets - a Mig-15, a couple of Mig-17's, a couple of Mig-21's and then a Mig-29 Fulcrum.
That lists the highlights, but there were MANY more planes there. Both Dan & I shared the same love of these sleek aircraft that are engineering marvels, and showed the historical developement of military (mostly) aircraft as they flew faster and faster. We were all smiles.
We left the museum to pick up the girls at a prearranged time so we could head back to the condo for supper and cards, with Shirlee's friends Dee & Joe joining us. Dan and the gals put together kabobs of shrimp and chicken and other sides - Dan was the 'grillmaster'. It was a wonderful supper, with wonderful friends.
After supper we played the card game 'Golf'. We had a blast, playing until after 10 that night. Shirlee was - how can I say this - just unconsious! She kept getting Jokers (= -2 points) and just matching everything else she had. At the end of the game (18 hands, or 'holes') when the average score was pushing 200, she had 40! Her nearest challenger, Dee, had 140! Shirlee purchased lottery tickets on the way back to the RV park that night! What a GREAT day!
Tomorrow we go on our ATV tour!
Tuesday - March 8, 2011
Alright! Here it is! The day of the ATV tour! We are all excited to get going! Once Shirl & I drove up to the condo, we had breakfast with Dan & Mary before the one hour drive to Florence, AZ, the home of Arizon ATV Adventures - Tucson Tours, and our starting point. This town is also home to a few prisons - both State & Federal.
We arrived about 1/2 hour early and stopped at a local McDonalds for a restroom stop and treats. We then proceeded to the ATV place and signed all of the required paperwork, then stood by, waiting for our indoctrination on the ATV's by the staff there. When all of the customers FINALLY arrived the head guide went through all of the safety stuff, ride proceedures, and introduced us to the machines - all Yamaha 350 Grizzleys, with automatic transmissions. After about 1/2 hour of that we were finally on our way. There were about 20 machines rented that afternoon, with about 40% of them riding double, while the 4 of us wanted to ride single. We rode single file the whole trip. The trip distance was to be around 37 miles.
Once we departed the ATV Tour place we crossed the highway to a gravel/dirt road. We would see no more pavement until we returned to our starting point. Driving down the dirt road gave everyone an chance to get a feel of the 'quads'. After a few miles we into more and more primative terrain and trails, with lots of football sized rocks in the trail surface. The guide then brought us all to a stop before a steep hill on the trail. He said that we were to take the hill one-at-a-time, being sure to 'pour on the coal' to avoid stalling, or sliding back down the hill. The whole trail was composed of loose gravel, rocks and dirt, and this particular hill had seen its share of accidents. Everyone made it just fine and then we had to negotiate a downhill ride on the other side. I think the 'downhill' segments were the more treacherous parts of the tour. All of the ATV's were equipped with highway tires, and not the lug tires normally associated with those vehicles, except those of the 3 guides accompanying us. When I asked about the tires the head guide said that the highway tires were easier on the trails. Well . . . OK.
We continued on, stopping every so often for water breaks and to look at the scenery, the trails were - at times - composed mostly of boulders and that took alot of planning and care to traverse.
At about the halfway point of the tour we entered the real highlight of the tour - Box Canyon. We were to be in the canyon for about six miles. The middle 3 miles is slot canyon with walls only about 10-20 feet apart that are about 900 feet high on both sides. The scenery was incredible!
I was 6th in line behind the guide, with Shirlee, then Mary and then Dan in front of me, with two older women behind the guide. We stopped at about the middle of Box Canyon and the guide replaced rocks that had washed away in recent rains, that had filled in some of the spaces between boulders, making traversing them possible for us beginners. One at a time, and with the guide giving individual instruction, our group started to ride through - first the two older women, then Dan. Mary was stopped where the guide had told her to wait her turn and Shirlee started to pull up behind her, as was the normal proceedure. Suddenly, Shirlee's ATV accelerated toward Mary's ATV, veering off to the left at the last second to avoid Mary, where Shirlee's ATV started to climb a wall of rock before gravity took over and rolled the ATV on it's side to the right and toward Mary and her ATV, with Shirlee still aboard. I witnessed all of this from about 15 feet away and it was all in ultra-slow motion to me! As I was shutting down my machine and jumping off I saw Shirlee hugging the ATV and disappear from view as her ATV came to rest up against Mary's ATV. When I got up to the scene in front of Mary's ATV, I could see Shirlee moving as the guide and I lifted her ATV to gain access to her. The gasoline tube had pulled away from the fuel tank and was dripping gas on Shirlee. I grabbed the tube to point it away, but it came all of the way off. The guide put his thumb over the hole to stop the flow. Her foot had been trapped under the edge of the machine, and as we lifted more, someone else aided Shirlee out from under the ATV. I was hoping that whoever was pulling her out from under wouldn't cause any more injury than she might already have, and, thankfully, I saw them stop and Shirlee sat there on the ground looking shaken, but unscathed. Once the ATV was stable I asked Shirlee how she was and if she had any injuries and she replied that only her ankle and her elbow bothered her, with her elbow causing the most discomfort. Upon inspection Shirlee had a pretty good-sized bruise developing on the inside of her elbow, along with a couple of minor scratches. Could this be right? As we cleared the area of Shirl's ATV the guide couldn't get it to start again. It was finally determined that the sparkplug wire had come off and once reinstalled, it started right up. During this time, and while the guides were leading the rest of the group through the area, I kept an eye on Shirl, but she was fine. She told me that she had had the presence of mind the shut off the ignition just as the ATV came to a stop on top of her! Once all of the others had negotiated the boulders, the guide determined that Shirl was OK enough to continue on. Believe me . . . there were lots of smiles when they found that she had suffered only a bruise to her elbow, and a slightly sore ankle! I can't begin to relate on this page what possible traumas might have resulted that were going through my head at the time I saw her going over.
Once we began again the tour seemed longer, and dirtier. The dust that was being kicked up by the ATV's just hung in the air, whereas before there was a breeze that blew it all off to the side. By the time we arrived back at the starting point we were all covered with dirt and ready for a shower. BUT . . . not before the 4 of us stopped at a local pub for some liquid refreshment and pizza, where we all gave thanks to God for looking after Shirlee. We were still dumbfounded that she was only suffering the bruise on her elbow and that her ankle no longer bothered her at all.
We finally arrived back at the condo where we all jumped in the hot tub - no, . . . no mud formed! - and then after Shirl & I decided that we were too tired to drive back to the RV park, we went to bed. Enough for tonight!
I'm still amazed and thankful to still be walking. This ATV ride, we thought, was for beginning riders. That wasn't the case as it was very clearly a technically difficult steep up and down trail with boulders 5-6 ft high in the middle of the trails and no way around them. The section I "lost it" had the biggest boulders of the ride and a very narrow trail. As Bob commented later that if I had hit the wall as hard as I did and stayed upright I would have received a standing ovation for trick jumping.
Wednesday - March 9, 2011
Still another beautiful morning here. Shirlee's right elbow bruise looks even worse than yesterday, but that is expected. Her ankle and upper thigh soreness has lessened and she is in very good spirit.
We headed back to the RV park with Dan & Mary for breakfast and for them to prepare to depart Tucson by air.
After breakfast we hung around the 5th wheel for a bit then we heard of a bazaar at the resort office, so we walked on down to see what was what.
There were lots of jewelery offerings from different sellers, and many other items. Dan & I combined to purchase a belt each, paying $10 for the 2 leather belts. I found a great baseball-type cap for $5!
Soon, it was time to take Dan & Mary to the airport for their return home to Portland, OR. We hugged them, wished them a safe trip, said our goodbyes, and watched them disappear into the terminal.
We returned to the RV park where we spent the rest of the day relaxing and missing the presence of Dan & Mary.
Thursday - March 10, 2011
Following breakfast, and waiting for a propane delivery to fill our tanks, we headed out on the motorcycle in route to Mount Lemmon, where the highway to the summit (25 miles) was reported to be some of the best motorcycle touring in the state. That was the Catalina Highway. On the North side of the mountain there is a gravel road that is OK for 4-wheelers and dirt bikes, but not for road bikes.
We encountered MANY bicyclists on the road. I wasn't envious. I much prefered our powerful 1100 cc's to drive us up the highway - and back down. We were at 9,000 feet at the summit and I almost had stopped to put on a jacket, but when we weren't riding it was very pleasant. We had a piece of pie at a restaurant and then rode back down the mountain.
The scenery was beautiful, changing from desert at the bottom to pine/fir forests at the top. I noticed that the saguaro cactus 'forests' stopped at about 4,500 feet of elevation. Some of the rock formations were fantastic, while a few were even comical, especially one that - we both agreed - looked like a sea captain. I thought it looked just like 'Captain Horatio Huffenpuff', or 'Uncle Captain', to 'Beany Boy' of 'Beany & Cecil' cartoon fame.
After descending the mountain we continued on back to the condo in Oro Valley, where we planned to spend the night once more before final check-out on Friday morning. Once there we cleaned up a bit, then walked accross the street (literally) to Dee & Joe's house, where she had a pot of chili waiting for us, and a deck of cards to play Golf! We returned to the condo after 10 PM and went straight to bed.
Friday - March 11, 2011
It was still fairly dark when I got up at 6 o'clock this morning. I turned on the tv and found out about the huge earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and the subsequent waves heading for Hawaii and the American West Coasts. The videos of the horiffic damage in Japan were hard to believe, and the loss of life reports were chilling.
We checked out of the condo and returned to the RV park, where the 'boys' were anxiously awaiting their morning meal! After cleaning the litter box I turned on our tv to check on the status of the West Coast, as it was, by then, past the time of the predicted onslaught of the waves to hit the Oregon/Washington coast.
Estimated wave heights were larger than the actual waves impacting - thus far. 2 to 3 foot waves (above normal sea levels) have been reported.
Meanwhile, back here . . . it's a normal layed-back day. . .
. . . As the day progresses, and we watch CNN, dawn has broken over Japan and the scope of the devastation is beginning to become more, and more, apparent. It is horrible!
Saturday - March 12, 2011
We went to the campus of the University of Arizona at around noon today to attend the Tucson Festival of Books that is going on there through the weekend. My biggest reason to go is to meet Geoffrey Notkin, who is co-host of the 'Meteorite Men' TV series, and owner of 'Aerolite Meteorites', an internet-based store for everything one might need if interested in hunting meteorites. I had first e-mailed Geoff to see if I could come by his store, but then he told me that there was no 'store front'. He then told me that he would be at a booth at the U of A campus signing his latest book and I could meet him there. So, off we went!
We finally found a place to park and walked into the campus, looking for the booth that Geoff had said he would be at 1 PM. We arrived a few minutes early, but right on schedule, he arrived carrying books and paraphernalia to display and sell. After giving him some time to get settled we stepped up and introduced ourselves, telling him that we had been corresponing over the last few days and he immediately said, "Bob?" I said yes and introduced Shirlee and she told him about our two sons named 'Geoffrey'. He was very cordial, very friendly, and busy, so we kept our conversations brief. I purchased his new book - "Meteorite Hunting - How To Find Treasure From Space" - which he signed for me, and I also bought an iron meteorite from his collection that he brought along so that I could #1, have one! and #2, practice with my magnet stick. We thanked him, said our goodbyes and he wished us good hunting, then we left. My regret is that I failed to ask for a photo with him. Oh well.
Now back at 'home', I am going to do some reading while Shirlee vacuums. Doesn't sound quite fair tho', does it?
Dee & Joe called and came over, and then we went to the RV park restaurant where 3 of us had prime rib (16 oz for $16), and it was very good! Shirlee had a New York strip that was 'funny looking', but pretty tasty. After supper we returned to the 5th wheel for a rousing game of Skip-Bo! We have had a great time with Dee & Joe and we surely will miss them when we leave.
It has been a great day! Time to read a little more, then go to bed.
Sunday - March 13, 2011
Today we had no real plans, however Shirlee found a place here in the park to play ping-pong, and their schedule is for one PM. So, I drove into town to pick up some things we needed.
When I returned we went to the building where we were told to go and found a beautiful ping-pong table, and no one else around. We started playing a little when an elderly woman came in stating that there was usually a group of people that played, but it was just the three of us. That elderly woman was really something! She was very quick and had obviously been playing for some time. We chatted with her for awhile after playing and then we returned 'home'.
We have decided to leave here one day early and head for our next stop in Kingman, AZ, staying there three nights instead of two. That way we won't be on the road on our anniversary, except to take a side trip to the Grand Canyon. Tomorrow will be busy, getting things put up and preparing to depart on Tuesday.
Monday - March 14, 2011
It's another beautiful day here, but it IS warming up! We had a 'Pickleball' lesson at 11 am and we were gulping water by the end of it, 1 1/2 hours later. It was the best instruction we have had thus far and if we practice just what we learned today, we will surely improve. First thing tho', we had alot of fun, playing with other beginners! They now have 7 Pickleball courts here at Voyager RV Park.
I just got through putting the big cat cage away, having stowed the motorcycle earlier, along with checking and airing up the tires, so we are ready to hit the road tomorrow morning. I still have to get one tire on the 5th wheel repaired that has a slow leak in it, but that can wait until we get to Las Vegas, as long as I keep an eye on it.
We've had a great time here in Tucson, but we both don't feel this is near the top of our list of places to stay awhile. Hey . . . Mesquite may not work out either, but we'll have to give it a close inspection.