Saturday 23 February 2008

Just Another Day in the Desert

Today was partly cloudy when I got up but 51F (11C). I did have some sunny breaks for my desert walk though. As the morning progressed the sun came out but still had some pretty clouds in the sky.

Desert photo

Here's the pond at the campground that's part of the 'golf course'.

Gordon got an email this morning from his daughter with grandkid photos. Here's one of all of her kids together with one of their great grandmothers.

I didn't do much all day but read. I picked a Sandra Brown book up in the library here in the campground called 'Richochet' and it's turned out to be pretty good. The first few chapters were kind of slow but it's really picked up and gotten interesting.

We went for a walk in the desert this afternoon for about an hour and other than that it's been a quiet day!

Friday 22 February 2008

A Day in our RV Park

Today we didn't do much of anything. Just relaxed from our busy day yesterday, got the tanks dumped, that sort of thing.

I woke up to cloudy skies. We had a mostly cloudy day with a bit of sun here and there and a drop or so of rain.

Gordon got the bike out for me today. The garbage dumpster is up at the front of the park and we're at the back so we usually dump on our way out going somewhere but today since we weren't going out I used the bike to haul the garbage up.

I did have a nice long walk in the desert this morning but didn't see anything other than the usual desert plants and mountains. There are a lot more people walking in the desert now than there were when we were here in December! I took the photo on the right as a fleeting few rays of sun showed up on the mountains.

I've been noticing this dead saguaro for a few days now but just took a photo this morning.

Lots of RVs have come in today. I'm not sure where he's put them. When we drove through the front area yesterday there were none available . There are a couple in the golf course view area and I think two sites for mountain view and about the same for desert view so if you're planning on coming here, I would advise you to make a reservation at this point as people don't seem to be leaving!

I took this photo of a saguaro with lots of arms on our way back yesterday. It was right off I-19.

I was lying down reading this afternoon and into a really deep sleep. It wasn't a restful sleep. I'm more tired now than when I lay down.

Not a very exciting day!

Wednesday 20 February 2008

A Southern Road Trip

This morning Gordon said he wanted to go and do something today. He had found another Mission (photo below) south of Green Valley, AZ at the Tumacacori National Historic Park. On the way south we stopped at the Tourist Bureau in Green Valley to pick up some information.

I'm not a history buff so these Mission trips do little for me however I went in and took some photos. There is an orchard there so I looked there for birds and did see a cardinal again. My sister thinks that our Mother has been reincarnated as a cardinal as she loved cardinals when she was alive and had cardinal everything inside and outside the house. So I'm wondering, what was our Mother doing at a Catholic Mission?

Prior to going to the Mission we got off I-19 at a town called Tubac. I had never heard of Tubac before but its an arts and crafts town. We drove around it and this is on our list to go back to while we're here. From there we drove south to Nogales, AZ which borders the Mexican town of Nogales, MX. From there we took Hwy 82 north to Patagonia and paid our $7.00 to go into the Patagonia Lake State Park. We had our picnic lunch there that I had prepared. We decided that most of the sites there would not accommodate our RV. The lake itself was quite pretty and had a very steep walking bridge that crosses part of Patagonia Lake. We stopped at the Visitor Center and was told there was a birding trail at the far end of the park so off we went to the trail (photo on the left and photo below). It was quite pretty walking along the lake and we did see some ducks and coots and a couple other small birds that we couldn't identify but other than that we saw cows! I've never been in a State Park before that had cows but they were nice cows. I thought though that where there are cows, there's a bull and sure enough we walked a little further and saw a young bull but he ran away so I guess we didn't have to be afraid of him. We turned around and came back to the truck at that point anyway.

Gordon on the walking bridge in Patagonia Lake State Park.

Here's the pitch of the bridge.

View of Patagonia Lake from our picnic table.

A store in Tubac - if we still had the house I'm afraid I'd spend a lot of money here!

We did a quick trip through the Arizona side of Nogales. It was your typical border town. Here's one of the streets.

The drive up Hwy. 82 to Patagonia is a very scenic highway (photos below). When we left the State Park we continued north on Hwy 82 and the scenery was still beautiful. We then took Hwy 83 toward Tucson and turned of on a side road that took us just north of Green Valley so we could pick up I-19 again. On our way back we stopped at the San Xavier Mission at Tucson. This Mission is a working mission and has been under construction since 1989 and today the scaffolding was worse than usual. Maybe that means it will soon be done????

San Xavier Mission

I only took a couple of photos there, then came back to the truck and called my sister in Ottawa. It's still cold there but I was told the ice is melting on their driveway! Sure glad I'm here!

Getting Things Done and a Hike

It was sunny when I got up, turned to mostly cloudy and then sunny again later this afternoon and now it's supposed to cloud up and possibly rain overnight. It was still a pretty nice day at a high of 67F (19C).

This is Kitt Peak taken on my morning desert walk.

Here's the Blue Bird bus that people on rv-dreams chat wanted to see.

This morning we changed the bed and I got the laundry ready. Now that the park is mostly full, the laundry room is very busy however I went over just after lunch and lucked out. Someone was just leaving so I had the machines to myself. A couple of hours later I was back at the RV putting clothes away.

I lay down to read and realized I felt like getting out and doing something so we piled in the truck and went over to Tucson Mountain Park. We started out on a trail then Gordon decided that there might be clouds over at Golden Gate Pass so away we went. They weren't what he hoped for so we came back and walked part of the Brown Mountain Trail in Tucson Mountain Park. There is a trail off Brown Mountain trail that goes around Brown Mountain called the Cougar Trail. We met a lady on the trail who was saying how beautiful it is. Don't know if I'll be able to walk that far though. Then we drove over to Saguaro National Park and walked around the visitor center although by this time it was closed. We got home around 6:30 p.m.

This is a better example of a dead palo verde tree after 'nursing' the saguaro.

I saw this curvy saguaro at the Saguaro NP Visitor Center

While we were at the Brown Mountain trailhead we met another couple from Ottawa who are staying at Gilbert Ray Campground which is a campground with only electricity as far as I recall. For $20/night, I'll stay where I am!

Tonight there was a full moon and it was a beauty! The eclipse was supposed to occur here at about 6:45 p.m.

The eclipse is just starting!

Tuesday 19 February 2008

Staying at Home

Yesterday I had thought that we might go back to the Desert Museum today but my foot is still tired from yesterday's shopping so after my walk this morning, Gordon decided he would go on his own and go for the morning Raptor Free Flight.

I took this cardinal photo at the museum on Sunday.

I took this photo of a ravaged prickly pear cactus this morning. One would think we have javelinas here in the desert!

I have been having problems in Firefox lately. I only had one scroll arrow for scrolling up so it was annoying me! Both Camino and Safari had two scrolling arrows. I asked Gordon to put the updated version of Firefox on my computer so he did that last night but it didn't correct the scrolling problem. Hmmmm...... Gordon deleted the Firefox preference file thinking it was corrupted, that didn't solve the problem. I sent an email to Firefox telling them of the problem. I was messing around looking in all kinds of Help files and all of a sudden I looked and I have two scrolling arrows again! Firefox poltergeists??? Who knows? All I know is, it's working again and I'm a happy camper!

I knew I needed to do a 'housecleaning' so while Gordon was gone I decided this was a good time although I hate to clean when it's nice outside.

After that I walked down to the office to complain about the loud transformer which is on our site. It was supposed to be fixed on Saturday but it rained and it's gotten louder so I told both Doc and his wife, Christine, picked up some quarters from Christine so I'd be ready to do the laundry (later), took a book to the library and picked one up. Then back to the RV to sit in the desert behind our rig in my lawn chair and read a new book.

I had just gotten set up when Gordon got back at about noon. He said that the Desert Museum was even busier today than it was on Sunday. He had gone to the Raptor Free Flight but when he heard what the raptors were he didn't stay as he'd seen them all and it was getting crowded. He said there were all kinds of little kids running around yelling so the birds would fly away so he packed it in and came home. When he came home, he too, walked to the office and complained about the transformer so they've promised to fix it tomorrow morning for sure. If not, we'll move to another site as there are some that are vacant in the mountain view row now.

I spent the better part of the afternoon in my lawnchair reading and gazing at Golden Gate Mountain and the surrounding desert and watching the woodpeckers on the saguaro nearby. It was 77F (25C) today, sunny with a light breeze. Just a beautiful day!
Here's a tidbit of trivia for you for today:

Cochineal is a scale insect (plant-feeding insect), from which cochineal dye is derived. This type of insect, a parasite, lives on cacti feeding on moisture and nutrients in the cactus sap. The prickly pear cactus is one of these cacti. This insect produces carminic acid. The carminic acid can be extracted from the insect's body and eggs to make red dye. Cochineal is primarily used as a red food coloring and for cosmetics.

We had a fairly nice sunset tonight and also a pretty moon rise. Here is 'moon over rv'.

Monday 18 February 2008

Shopping and a Short Story

I had a good time today but it's a pretty boring day to write about. I did my walk and run around the loop and then walked in the desert.

Something we found out at the Desert Museum on Sunday. I thought that there were no snakes in the desert during the winter. That isn't true. Snakes will come out during the winter if the temperature is above 70F (21C). So I'd better watch out for them in the desert in the afternoons. I don't think I have anything to worry about in the morning but I'll be sure to take my walking stick just in case.

I left around 10 a.m. and went into Tucson. I had a few stops to make and I decided to see what was in the Fry's plaza other than Mervyns (department store). I did discover that there's a GNC (vitamin store) there so will have to go there at the beginning of March. GNC is different in the U.S. In Canada you can use your gold card membership all month, in the U.S. it's only the first seven days of each month.

After that I did my Walmart stop or the $100 store as it's called because you never get out of there for under $100 and that proved to be the case today. They also didn't have any 1% Lactaid milk or any nice apples so I stopped at the Safeway at Cardinal & Valencia on my way home, taking the back streets to reach the Ajo Highway rather than doubling back to Mission Rd.

Since today was boring, I'll tell you a short story complete with pictures.

Saguaro cactus often grow under the protection of the palo verde tree. The palo verde tree is called the "nurse plant". The saguaro grows much better and is well protected by the palo verde. They both flourish for years until the saguaro grows up to be bigger and taller than the palo verde then they both compete for the same water often killing the palo verde.

Very small saguaro under the protection of the palo verde tree

Medium saguaro still being protected by the palo verde tree

I couldn't find a photo of a totally dead palo verde with a saguaro beside it but I found this one where the palo verde is dying.

That's it for today!

Sunday 17 February 2008

Back to the Desert Museum

Today started with another glorious sunny morning although it was cold at 35F (2C). With the sun being warm when you're outside it doesn't feel that cold though. I did my walk/run around the loop where we're parked and then headed for the desert. I think one of the reasons I like it here is my morning walks aren't boring. When we're on the Gulf you can't just walk out the door of the RV and have a nice walk usually (unless you're at a State Park). There were lots of birds out singing this morning but I didn't see any wildlife although a prickly pear cactus was ravaged which usually means the presence of javelina but it could have been that way for a while.

Ellie of Just Travelin brought her plants over just after 10 a.m. I'm plant sitting for her while they are in Mexico. She also brought one of Doug and JoAnn's. I haven't had plants for years. Sure hope they're still alive in two weeks! They are all leaving for Mexico tomorrow with Fred and Jo Wishnie.

After Ellie left we headed out to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. It seems like ages since we've been there. We had a good time walking around and seeing the birds and animals as well as some art displays. We had lunch at the Ironwood Cafe, walked around some more and got home around 2:30 p.m.

This beautiful little Costa's hummingbird stuck around for quite a few photos. Look at the irridescent purple on his face (photo above, right).

I'm not sure what is growing on this cactus but I'm calling it Santa Cactus.

A docent was telling us all about this kingsnake (non venomous). They actually eat rattlesnakes.

This is a Mexican tree sunflower.

This Mexican wolf was just sitting there enjoying his day licking his chops.

Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal were hanging around in the underbrush.

These pretty little bobcats are sunning themselves.

This is a coati. It's the first time we've gotten to see him.

This desert grass amongst the yuccas was very pretty.

This ocotillo has both green and red leaves. I hadn't seen that before.

It was pretty dark for this photo as it was way back in the tree but it's a hummingbird sitting on her nest.

This is the lineup waiting to get into the Museum as we were leaving.

I put my chair outside behind our rig in the desert and sat and read for a while but there was a bit of a breeze making it sort of cool so I came back in but not until I took these photos of the 'view from my lawnchair'.

Our temperature today got to 65F (18C) so it was a really beautiful day. I'm glad the temperatures are warming up again.