Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Back at Gilbert Ray


March 28, 2011

Our 2 weeks were up at Catalina State Park yesterday so we moved back to the west side of Tuscon to Gilbert Ray Campground. This is the park where we got snowed on about a month ago. No chance of the white stuff this time since by the end of the week it is supposed to be 94.

Our time at Catalina flew by, with doctor and vet appointments, shopping, hiking and biking, and trying to figure out our plans for the rest of the year.

Here are a few more pictures from Catalina.

Our first roadrunner of the year. We just love these birds.


And the jackrabbits are pretty cute, too.


And the beautiful Canyon Loop Trail.




Thursday, March 24, 2011

Suckers Born Every Minute



Hi, this is Jim long time no see. First off, Gayle told me to post this, who knows why.

What does this image have to do with the title. I just noticed that this new diet book debuted at number 4.


It is the 17 day diet proving there is no shortage of gullible folks out there. Gayle reminded me of a diet book idea I had several years ago. First, consider the idea copyrighted so I better not see this title come out.

I call it the Phases of The Moon diet. The idea is that you can fill your plate the equivalent of the size of the moon, and no that is not the actual size of the moon. Eat whatever the hell you want. I have no idea if it works and since this paragraph contains the entire concept I am not sure what to put in the other 150 pages but probably fictitious before/after photos.

Have a good one, now back to our regularly scheduled blogger.

He Can See Clearly Now


Jim’s cataract surgery went extremely well and he is able to see great with his left eye now at distance without glasses. He was very worried, since he had LASIK in ‘99, which makes it trickier to get the correct power for the implant. Looks like Dr. Ann McColgin did a great job and we would highly recommend her as a cataract surgeon in Tucson.

She told him there were no restrictions to his activity, so we took a hike this afternoon. He marveled at how great everything looked, and took a few pictures. It was another beautiful day.




He has one more appointment on April 11, so we’ll be hanging around Tucson until then.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Images from Catalina State Park


These are some shots we took from the Romero Canyon trail, a tough hike to the Romero Pools. If you get to the pools it’s 5.6 miles round trip. We should have driven to the trail head, since it’s about a mile hike just to the start from the campground. We got pretty hot and tired with maybe a half mile or more to go, so we decided to turn back, but it was still a good hike.

Great views and the ocotillo and some trees were actually green. It has been very dry this year so everything is brown compared to when we were here in 2010.




Much of the trail was steep and rocky. I was on my butt going down on this part.  Better than falling.


We spotted one lone wildflower on the entire hike.


Our hummingbird feeder has been very entertaining. Besides quite a few hummingbirds, the male and female Gila woodpeckers come every day, and this cute little verdin visits often.


A few days ago we spotted what we thought was a kestral on top of this saguaro. When I enlarged the photo it turned out to be two of them.


In other news, both cats went to the vet since we’ve been here. Turns out Quincy also is in the early stages of kidney failure, so at least they both get to eat the same food now. Oreo had his blood tests repeated and his numbers are actually a little better since we changed his diet. I went for a routine physical, which was fine pending blood work. And Jim is going for his cataract surgery tomorrow. Maybe things will settle down one of these days and we can stay away from medical facilities.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Mt. Lemmon, AZ



We picked one of the hottest days so far to take a drive up the Catalina Hwy to escape the Tucson heat. Although it is only 13 miles as the crow flies from Catalina State Park, unfortunately we had to drive over 50 miles to get there on paved roads. It was a lovely drive once we got out of town and started up the mountain road.


Good thing Jim was a careful driver and didn’t cause us to end up like this unfortunate vehicle we saw from one of the overlooks.


It was so nice to see the temperature dropping on the climb up to Mt. Lemmon at over 9,000 feet. We started the drive in the desert and ended up in a tree covered forest with snow. Quite a contrast in about an hour. We had to stop for an early picnic lunch at 5,000 feet since it was already getting cool and breezy. By the time we got to the top it was 63. We did take a short hike and it was nice to smell the pines.




Snow, but not enough for the skiers.



There were lots of warning signs for bears, but all we saw were bees and butterflies.


There is a small community, Summerhaven,  almost at the top. There was a big fire in 2003 so it has been rebuilt. Lots of nice looking vacation homes scattered around and a couple restaurants


It was 93 when we got back into Tucson, definitely worth the drive.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Catalina State Park, Tucson, AZ


site 48

This is our third stay at Catalina State Park in Oro Valley just north of Tucson. It’s a very nice park in an upscale area of Tucson, with a convenient new Wal-Mart just across the road from the park. We are spending 2 weeks while Jim has cataract surgery. He went for his pre-op appointment yesterday and the surgery is next Weds the 23rd.

It’s been in the mid to upper 80’s this week, so we were lucky to get a power site when we got here Monday morning. This is a very popular park and just a month or so ago they opened an overflow area so they don’t have to turn people away as in the past.

This morning we walked the Nature Trail and Birding Trail, each a mile long loop, and two trails we hadn’t been on when we were here before. One of the nice things about the campground is there are lots of hiking trails all within walking distance, and they’re all very scenic if you like the Sonoran desert.

March 2011


Jim spotted this horned toad (we think) on the trail today. It blended so well with the dirt it was easy to miss.


Will the excitement never end!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Madera Canyon Campground, Green Valley, AZ



We’re so glad we spent the night at Madera Canyon. Managed to find a couple sites we could fit into that were fairly level. $10 a night with water only and vault toilets, but a lovely spot in the Santa Rita Mountains. We had a mini Lazy Daze get-together with Debbie and Chuck and Carla.


We were all a little tired from our hike the previous day, but we did walk up the canyon road to see the lodge, inn and B&B. Looks like some nice places to stay if you don’t want to camp. This is another popular birding area, so there are lots of feeders and benches to watch from.



A couple shots from the nature trail.



You can hike to Mt. Wrightson, at over 9,000 ft but we didn’t. It was nice just to look at. Today we’re back in Tucson.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tubac and Madera Canyon, AZ


We left Patagonia Lake Friday afternoon for a short 42 mile drive to Mountain View RV Ranch a few miles north of Tubac. This is not the greatest RV park, but since it was a Passport America park and only $14.50 a night, we decided to stay. This is the first time we’ve had someone try not to honor the Passport discount, but she finally conceded.

We did meet a nice couple from Florida here who just bought this 1969 Ultra Van with a 110 Corvair engine. It has over 300,000 miles on it and they said it runs great. They bought it in California and have already driven to Florida and back in the few months they’ve owned it. We were a bit jealous since they get 15 mpg.



We spent a couple hours walking around Tubac, a neat little community that was established in 1752 as a Spanish presidio. It is now an artist colony, with galleries, studios and shops lining the streets. We were really impressed with the diversity and quality of the items for sale. Not the typical stuff we normally see in the tourist towns. If we had a house and yard, we would have been tempted to buy all kinds of things.



Yesterday we took a drive to Madera Canyon, 24 miles northeast, and only 35 miles south of Tucson. Chuck and Carla drove through after lunch the other day and decided to come back and stay for the weekend. The forest service web site says the RV length limit is 22’, but Chuck assured us there were sites long enough for us when they got there on Friday. SInce we weren’t ready to go and would have had an hour and a half drive, we were afraid the sites may be taken so we opted to stay here. After visiting them there yesterday we’ve decided to spend tonight at Madera Canyon since we should be able to get a site after the weekend campers leave today.

We took a 5 mile loop hike to several springs. It was quite a steep climb for a couple long miles, and an even steeper and rockier descent, but we took it slow and talked and laughed a lot, so it didn’t seem so bad.


The views were great and since we climbed to 6,000 feet, it was cool and shady. It’s really a beautiful area, and it was nice to do a hike with trees for a change.



Friday, March 11, 2011

Velvet Elvis and the Trogon


After I typed the title I realized it would make a great name for a heavy metal band. Instead, Velvet Elvis Pizza Company is where we enjoyed gourmet pizza with Chuck and Carla yesterday. They are spending the week in Tucson, and made the almost 70 mile drive to join us for lunch. Now those are good friends!



Besides the velvet Elvis, the rest of the decor was interesting, too.


This restaurant is listed in USA Today’s 51 best pizza places in the country, one from each state, which is a big deal considering Patagonia, AZ is in the middle of nowhere. We would definitely eat there again.

Late yesterday afternoon we took a walk along the birding trail by the creek and lake, and stopped to chat with a guy who said he had just seen a Trogon. We had no idea if a Trogon was animal, vegetable or mineral, but he whipped out his bird book to show us a picture. What a beautiful, parrot sized tropical bird. As luck would have it, we saw some people taking pictures and quietly walked over to them. Sure enough, the Elegant Trogon was perched on a limb. He flew off just after Jim snapped this shot. We guess it was a big deal since the guy said people even come from Europe to get a look at this bird.


Not so rare but still entertaining to us were all the cattle and deer we saw on our walk.



It was a very good day indeed.