Saturday, December 31, 2016

Felines, Friends, and Physicians


P1050855                                            Another great site at McDowell Mountain

Things have been busy these last couple weeks of 2016, taking care of annual and other medical appointments, hanging with friends, hiking and biking, and spending time at Fearless Kitty Rescue.

Some of the feathered and furry friends at our site.






First for the medical. Jim had his annual visits with the hematologist and dermatologist, and an emergency visit to the ophthalmologist. He started having flashing lights and floaters in the left eye, but luckily it was just another vitreous detachment, which he has had before. Nothing to be done, just another one of those aging issues.

When I saw the primary care PA last week she said I was overdue for a colonoscopy. I really didn’t want to get it done, but they scheduled me for February, after we plan to leave here. I called to cancel and see if they had an earlier appointment, and the only thing available before February was for December 23. Since my call took place on the 20th, I decided to just get it over with. Of course the prep was unpleasant, but I survived and had the procedure with no problems, other than the doctor found a very small (2 mm) polyp. Much to my surprise, the biopsy report showed it was precancerous, and I am to have a repeat colonoscopy in three years. I am certainly glad I didn’t put this off.


Friends Alex and Ellen have been over several times for bike riding. Maikel and Susan stayed for 2 weeks, their first time here. And we met Tim and Florence, Lazy Daze owners from California who were here last week. On Christmas Day, after we returned from our shift at Fearless Kitty, we all took a 7 mile hike on the Scenic trail, a great way to spend the day. Barely 50 degrees outside and snow from the previous day on the mountains.




DSC06914                                    Maikel, Susan, Ellen, Tim, Jim, Alex, and Florence

DSC06917                                                         Same except I’m in this one


We’ve been spending quite a bit of time at Fearless Kitty Rescue, helping them get moved into the new building, and filling in for some extra shifts caring for the cats. What an amazing feat to move a rescue over the week of the Christmas/New Year holiday, all with just the help of volunteers.

20161224_103232                                                                         Shasta, one of our favorites


We don’t normally go out on New Year’s Eve, but today we are stopping to do laundry on our way to meet friends at the movies this afternoon. Plan to stop for a drink on the way home, but will be back long before the serious New Years Eve party crowd gets on the road.

Wishing a great 2017 to our friends, family, and blog readers! See you next year…


Monday, December 12, 2016

Passing Time


Hard to believe another couple of weeks have passed here at McDowell Mountain Park. Been keeping busy with biking and Fearless Kitty. We helped set up for the annual Holiday Pet Festival in Scottsdale on the 3rd, spent a day taking down shelves in the old building and rearranging things in the new building in preparation for the tile being installed this week. That along with our usual days of caring for the cats. Here are just a few of the cuties awaiting a new home. And no, that new home won’t be ours!





It was time to move sites again last week. Our last site had a great view of sunset over the McDowell Mountains.


Our current site gives us a view of sunrise over Arizona’s Four Peaks and the Mazatzal Mountain Range.


And our very own coyote.


I put up two hummingbird feeders and they are getting lots of use. I’ve been trying to get some good photos of their color, but maybe one in fifty turns out halfway decent. This beautiful Anna’s hummingbird was sitting in the tree where one of the feeders is hanging. He just sat there on a branch and let me take as many shots as I wanted. They are gorgeous when the sunlight catches them just right.



Couldn’t leave out the finches.


Friends Alex and Ellen left the park but moved nearby to Eagle View RV Park for a couple months to work on some RV projects with their friend Scott. They are close enough that we’ve been by their place for happy hour, and they’ve come and ridden bikes with us a couple times.

We should know better than to hang around people like them who have big class As, since that got us looking at RVs again. Took a drive to Surprise to check out a 32’ Tiffin, which we both really liked. The owners were very nice and let us drive it. I only went round and round the huge (4,000 unit!) storage lot, but Jim drove down Bell Road and on the 101 for several miles. There is way too much traffic in that part of town so he was not very comfortable, although it is only two feet longer (and taller) and one inch wider than our Lazy Daze. Sitting up so high with that giant windshield was a bit intimidating for the first time. As usual, we will probably do nothing, but it’s something we would enjoy having as we sit for awhile in one place, and I imagine we could get used to driving it eventually.

We would really miss our big windows, though, especially since we got them de-fogged.


One day we were eating lunch and noticed a car with bicycles on the back slowly going by our site. They stopped and Jim walked out to see if it was someone we knew. Turned out to be Mike and Deb, from Trekking With The Bs. They are staying at an RV park in Mesa, as she is still working part time, but they’ll be here at McDowell for a few days in January before we leave. Look forward to visiting more with them then.

Last Thursday we took a drive to Mesa to do laundry, and then met Debbie for lunch at San Tan Brewery in Chandler, which is halfway between McDowell and Casa Grande, where she is staying. Always fun to catch up, and we even took a couple photos for her mom!

McDowell Mountain 20162

Jim went back to the Mayo Clinic for blood tests, which were all normal. He and Alex are the same age, and they were complaining about lack of stamina and being tired. Their standing joke now is “Remember, you’re not 66 any more”. Ellen and I, who are both soon to be 62, joked that we should have married younger men. Smile

If I don’t get around to posting again before Christmas. hope everyone enjoys the holiday season, no matter how you celebrate it!

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Week of Thanksgiving


DSC06861                                                             Lovely Saguaro Lake

When I last posted a week ago, Jim was taking the Subaru in to get the dash air vent problem fixed after our airbag recall. The GPS died on his way, so he just assumed it was the GPS. After getting the other problem fixed, the old GPS we keep in the car just in case also quit working. Too much of a coincidence, which is when he realized the 12 volt charger wasn’t working, due to the fact that the cigarette lighter outlet was dead. Unfortunately he was already home by then, so he had to drive the 20 miles back to the dealer after lunch to get that little problem resolved. If anyone out there got the Takata airbag recall, remember to check everything on the dash to be sure they have things reconnected correctly before you leave the dealer. Lesson learned.

On Tuesday Jim was back in Scottsdale for his annual check with the family practitioner. Blood tests still to come. Our two weeks were up so we had to move sites and dump tanks. Most of the sites here at McDowell Mountain are very nice, but this one is exceptionally so.


The next day we met up with Ron and Barbara for a hike on the Butcher Jones trail at Saguaro Lake. We’ve been there once before but forgot how pretty it is.






The happy hikers, Barbara, Ron, and Jim.





Thanksgiving was spent doing a long bike ride with Alex and Ellen, then having dinner with the volunteers and some other couples who spend much of the winter here at McDowell Mountain.

More biking on Friday and Saturday, and also back to Fearless Kitty to take care of cats. It’s nice having Jim’s help this year, as we can spend more time playing an socializing with cats rather than cleaning. This is Jim’s favorite so far, Shadi, a very petite and affectionate older lady.


Yesterday it turned cold and windy, so instead of biking, we did a 7 mile hike on the Scenic trail with Alex and Ellen. Just got back before it started sprinkling.


Ellen thinks all that green is an orange grove.


Alex and Jim.




And the highlight of our week was receiving this email on Friday from Simply Cats in Boise:

“Wyoming (aka Elvis) was adopted by a really nice family who fell in love with his sweet personality, and loved how calm and affectionate he was with their young son. Hurray for shy Wyoming!”

So maybe we did raise them right after all! I am just ecstatic that he finally has a new home, and I truly hope they live happily ever after.

While coming back from the restroom a few minutes ago I saw a man walking a black and white cat on a leash. I spoke to him, and his reply was, looks just like Sophie, doesn’t he? It was blog reader Lee, from Colorado, and we had a pleasant chat about cats and RVing. Always nice to be recognized!

Monday, November 21, 2016

First Couple Weeks at McDowell



Since arriving back at McDowell Mountain Park we’ve been doing a lot of biking, a little hiking, some socializing, and spending time with cats. Turns out Alex and Ellen, whom we met this spring while boondocking south of Joshua Tree, and Kurt and Tony, whom we met in Ketchum, ID in August, are both here in the park. A nice surprise and we’ve enjoyed visiting with them.

Then Jim and Allison emailed last week that they were driving up from Tucson to spend a night in a hotel in Fountain Hills to come and bike the trails at McDowell. We did a couple of good rides with them, and hope to see them again in Tucson later this winter. I failed to take any photos.

Jim decided to join me at Fearless Kitty this year. One day we took care of cats in the big room I worked in last year. Then Saturday we helped out at the new building they are moving into next month, cleaning and rearranging, and removing old blinds from some of the windows. We also got to spend some time with a few of the cats that have already been moved over. There is still a lot of work to be done, but it is such a nice building, and almost twice as large as the old one, so it will be a good move, giving them space for even more cats and with much more visibility. The new location is right on Avenue of the Fountains, which will bring in more walk-in traffic, and hopefully result in more adoptions.

I made some nectar and put up the hummingbird feeder shortly after we got here. It was maybe three minutes before the first hummingbird arrived.


And not much longer before the Gila woodpeckers and flickers decided to visit.



I set out a container of water to try and keep them from the feeder but they like the nectar better. We’ve seen quite a few other birds at the water dish, though.



Jim and I went on a moonlight ranger-led astronomy hike on the Friday before the full moon. It would have been better a couple nights later, and our moon shots were out of focus, but it was still a beautiful evening for a hike, and we learned a few things. And had a view of the fountain.


The bright lights are planes, not stars. Since we’re about 30 miles from Phoenix Sky Harbor, they really light up the night sky around here.


We didn’t know that you can find scorpions with a black light. This isn’t a great shot, but it was amazing to see how bright they look. There are several theories as to why they glow, and you can read about it here if interested.


One day Ellen and I went to a Birding by Ear talk at the visitor center. Again, we learned a few things, but remembering them is the problem.

Our attempts at photographing the super moon.

McDowell Mountain 20161

And a morning shot before it set.


Many months ago we got a recall notice on the Subaru for the Takata airbag. Jim has tried repeatedly to find a dealer to do the replacement but the parts were not available. The Scottsdale dealer finally got the parts in, so we took it in the other day. We also had some other routine service done, so it took all day. Luckily they gave us a loaner, and we picked it up late Thursday afternoon. Because it was almost dark, and cooling off, we didn’t need to use the AC. On Friday we didn’t go anywhere in the car. Then Saturday morning on our way to Fearless Kitty I couldn’t get the air to blow out the upper vents. Somehow when they put the dash back together now the air comes out mostly at our feet, no matter where we put the setting. So this morning Jim is on his way back to the dealer to get that taken care of.


Kurt recommended we try McFate Brewing Co, a brewery with two locations in Scottsdale. Since one of them was just a few miles from the Subaru dealer, and sort of on our way home, we stopped for a pizza and some excellent beer, the best we’ve had in a long time. Pictured is a Candy Bar Milk Stout and a Candy Bar Coconut Bliss. We also shared a King Size, which is a 10% stout aged in whiskey barrels. Really good!


And finally, on Friday we received an email from our internet provider saying our service would be terminated today, Monday, the 21st. Just about two years ago when Millenicom went out of business we switched to a rental plan from an Ebay vendor. For $120/month we’ve been getting unlimited Verizon 4G LTE, and it has worked well for us. With Verizon trying to do away with unlimited plans we knew this could end at any time, and here we are. Jim is getting a new SIM card today and we have signed up with a different vendor who says he is under contract until sometime in 2018. Same price but only 100 GB/mo, which shouldn’t be a problem. Now I hope I can get this published before we get cut off.