Saturday, March 25, 2023

Mexico City?

 There's been quite a bit of rain in Mexico City, and since nothing is flat, there have been some landslides and flooding.  I bet you wonder how I know that?  But first .........

I wish I had seen this sooner.  This is the Railroad Museum being towed around the country by one engine and a flat car.  It apparently spent some time in Tucson before heading West.  I've heard of it before, but this is the first I've SEEN it.  Sadly, I can find no information on it at all.  Maybe someone knows what it's called?

I breathed a big sigh of relief once I was through Tucson, although traffic never is very bad this time of the morning.  There seems to be an epic flower bloom, which doesn't show up at all in this image.  It's hard to take phone pictures when you're trying to keep your rig on the road.

My first stop was in Casa Grande, taking my usual exit to Jan and Bills house.  But WAIT ... there's a sign that says it's CLOSED.  I took the first one I came to.  I knew I was in trouble when I saw the roundabout with way too many streets spreading out like a wagon wheel.  

It was too late to plug an address in to my GPS, so I asked my phone to help out.  That's always dicey since it doesn't know how BIG I am.  Just as I drove up to the house, they drove in the garage.  Perfect timing!!!  I only get to see them about once a year, so there were lots of hugs around.  

In an hour, I had to hit the road again.  Winds were coming up in the afternoon that I didn't want to run into.

But of course run into them I did.  I cruised along nicely down the Phoenix bypass road until I hit Hwy 10.  I hit a headwind which soon turned into a side wind.  Have you ever had one of those days that just doesn't end ... and every crazy driver in the world seems to be on YOUR highway?

Ninety miles to Quartzsite ... and every 15 miles, traffic came to a screeching halt.  It wasn't a problem for me since I usually drive below 60 mph.  Let's just say my hazard lights got a really good workout and there was lots of truck rubber left on the asphalt.  No pictures, I kept both hands on the wheel.

Besides a ridiculous amount of traffic, THIS was the problem.  There were four highway patrol and four pilot cars taking this huge building (I think) down the freeway.  It was wider than two lanes ... and this particular highway only HAS two lanes.  Thank goodness they pulled over to let traffic by, but that didn't stop the stop and go!!

Totally exhausted and with yet another check engine light, I pulled in to Park Place RV Park.  Look who I found!!!  There's nothing better than a wiggly butt greeting by this sweet face!!  I mean Gibbs of course, not Patsy or Bill ... although I always get great hugs from them.

The Park Hosts here are just the best!!  They let me pull through to a 50 amp space where Bill helped me unhook.  

We chatted for a bit before I headed to the recliner.  But of course I had to feed and play with Cooper for a bit first.  Hey ... let's turn the TV on.  No channels would come up at all.  No problem, I just need to authorize this receiver.

That's when it began.  The four hour marathon to turn on the idiot box.  It seems Dish Network's App isn't working at all.  No problem, I'll call.  That's funny ... the menu is completely different, even with a different voice who said my account address was mo, or maybe it was duh.  Nothing worked.  I finally got on the internet and tried that.  Nothing.

At long last, frustrated like no other, I called back and got in line for the 45 MINUTE WAIT!!  No kidding ... I plugged my phone in and listened to their terrible music as I played games for over an hour.  At long last ... a voice in the dark.  

Buenos Tardes!!  I laughed ... mostly because in the background was the loudest barking dog I've ever heard.  We talked for a bit before I asked where he was.  Mexico City he said, working from home since Covid had closed their office building completely.  

So what's going on?  Apparently ALL of their servers have crashed.  I told him it was probably Russia.  This happened exactly one month ago ... and they still have not been able to get them back up and working.  That's why the app won't work and they are getting a million phone calls.

You know me .... well, how's the weather in Mexico City?  He said it was bad because his daughter had to go to the second session of school and come home in the rain and flooding.  I secretly thought to myself ... someone is waiting an extra 5 minutes because of this conversation.  But we kept talking ... mostly because I thought he was being railed about the TV problems and it might be good to just be nice to him.

At any rate, he sent out not one, but TWO activation signals to my receiver, and FINALLY ... just in time to go to bed .... I had TV.  I said buenos tardes and wished him luck.

Just another day of problem solving I could do without.  I'm looking forward to some puzzling today and lots of rest in my recliner.  Oh ..... and some wiggly butt loves from Gibbs!!

Friday, March 24, 2023

Visiting With Friends

When Tom and Deb in the Stinger Bee said they were in Northwest Tucson, I said I would drive out for a visit.  I've been trying to catch up with several RV friends this year, but our paths never did cross at the right time.  I didn't want to miss this chance.

I figured a quick 30 minute drive.  Little did I realize they were clear on the OTHER side of the mountains, a minimum 45 minute drive!  No problem ... I'll find them sooner or later.  Turns out it was later since I took the shortcut that wasn't so very short.

YAY I found them!!  BOO ... my time there was way too short.  We talked up a storm ... which is what happens when you haven't seen friends in a year.  

Sadly, neither of us took a picture of our little trio.  While we talked, Deb cooked up a delicious cheeseburger salad and we tried out some fresh made egg rolls from another rig at the park.  YUM YUM!!

Just when I was going to go out and bring in this quilt for them, she said WAIT ... I HAVE DESSERT!

 As you know, you don't have to tell me TWICE!!  Oh my goodness ... this cheesecake with strawberries and whipped cream was DELICIOUS!!

Then Deb brought out some fabric her mother had been working on.  An entire quilt top ready to be quilted, along with lots of extra pieces.  I'm taking it all home where I may even be able to make a SECOND quilt that I will bring back for her on my next trip.  Mother-made quilts are pretty special and should be finished and enjoyed.

It was finally time to go since I also had a date with the Chance household for dinner out.  We went basically around the corner to Serial Grillers and had one of their amazing salads.  That gave me the strength to immediately head out and get fuel for my truck.  Easter is coming so fuel has gone up 50 cents a gallon here.  I always use up my Safeway discount before I leave.

This is the last sunset I will see here as I was finally back home to collapse on the couch.  There's still more packing to do, but hopefully I leave on time because I have one more stop to make in Casa Grande. 

Head em up ..... move em out!!!

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Packing Up .....

 If you were here, you would hear me taking deep breaths constantly.  That's my way of trying to JUST RELAX.  My brain works overtime trying to remember everything.  I try to fake it for Cooper's sake.  The more I stress out, the more nervous HE gets.

I've been distracted from packing every morning by the fabulous sunrises ... but on THIS day, the clouds came down like a curtain and there were no bows on stage for Mother Nature.  It was a dark gloomy morning.

An hour or so later I look outside to see a nice blue sky.  It's weird how the clouds hung on the mountain tops all day long.  In no time the clouds were back making for a gloomy day.

That's when the list making began in earnest.  I'll be visiting most of the day today, so things had to get done.  I "think" I've got the RV ready to go.  Unlike most people, I have THREE of everything.  One for the California house, one for this house and one for the rig.  That way I'm not hauling near as much stuff in and out the door ... or rather up and down the steps.

I probably haul more for the dogs than I do me!  On one of my trips outside I spotted several of these guys.  It appears they are a black throated sparrow.  I haven't seen them much in the past, but they are here in numbers this spring.  Tiny little guys ... maybe only 2-3 inches tall.

I'm very happy to report that Cooper is doing MUCH better.  This pictures doesn't even show the holes in his foot, but it's healing up and he's not chewing on it.  A good sign.  It's terrible when your kids hurt and they can't talk to you!!

That includes Jonathan .... he got a new home yesterday.  This is the big cage I was carrying in the rig, but it was too big to heat sufficiently for an Amazon parrot.  It's slightly smaller than his other house, but he appears to love it.  He spent most of the day chewing up wood pieces on the floor, standing on his new lower perch and generally making lots of racket with talking and screams.  

This one is also a REAL parrot cage and much easier for the "maid" to keep clean.  If only I had one for the other house, but they are extremely hard to find nowadays.

Pretty boy ... disco disco and here kitty kitty kitty were the words of the night.  They tend to talk a lot just before the sun goes down ... then they become quiet as a mouse so predators don't know they are there.  No one wants to be a midnight snack.

With most everything packed that I could at that point, I even got out to mow the lawn.  Mow the weeds would be more appropriate.  That weed and feed stuff I bought doesn't seem to be working one little bit.  This I always do just before I leave because if I don't, Mr. Chance comes over and does it to be sure there aren't any tigers hiding in the dandelions.  I could feed a grizzly bear there are so many tasty dandelion morsels here.

Today will begin the house prep ... there's a lot to do when you leave a house ... before I take off to visit with Deb and Tom who have arrived in Tucson despite the bad weather and potholes big enough to lose your tow car.  Although Arizona does fix their roads, kinda sorta, it's based on travel patterns.  If you drive the back roads, hold on to your teeth.

I'll be heading out in the morning to big Q town.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

I'm On Snake Watch

This was my last chance to see the coyote pack.  I've determined they only come around every three days. Since their territory is usually 10-15 miles wide, I can certainly see why I don't see them more often.  It's also due to the rain.  There are lots of water pockets around the area.  In the summer when those dry up, they will hang out by my house more often.  

Mother Nature put on another great show.  She never disappoints.  This time a completely different looking dress graced the mountains.

These three images were taken one minute apart.  I love the way the dark clouds slip over the top of the mountains underneath the orange sky.

Two minutes after this click, it all disappeared.  

It stayed overcast and rain-looking all day long, but not a drop fell down that I saw.  What I DID see was an unusual number of trains going by.  Literally one after another going both ways.  That can make for some gigantic traffic jams since I live between two railroad tracks with two nearby schools.  

As you can see, the trains are closer than they look in the pictures I take outside.  All this heavy traffic and rattling rails results in things shifting under the house.  

Although this is a permanent house, the floors can move enough to cause cracks in the walls.  That requires leveling every couple of years.  

They said between 11 and 2.  Nothing like messing up your entire day with waiting ... and waiting.  The good news is it gave me a chance to medicate Cooper's foot.  Oh yes ... I took the bandage off to discover they had wrapped it so tight, his claw cut another nice little hole in his pad.  Mama Nancy wasn't too happy about THAT!  I've been nursing his little foot ever since.

It's better now, but he wants to lick it constantly.  It's been a real problem.  Waiting gave me a chance to just sit on the couch and make sure he left it alone.

Finally ... with a break in the action, I headed out to put water in the rig.  Honestly, I don't know why they make this so difficult.  Why not just one pipe for water?  Why do you have to move FIVE valves around to fill the tank?  I have to spend way too much time thinking about what I'm doing so I don't mess something up.  

Once full, you have to open the hot water faucet and wait about four minutes for the water to fill the hot water tank.  That of course pushes all the air out the faucet and scares me to death.  Same goes for the kitchen faucet ... which MUST be open when filling the tank.  It's a lot to remember, especially at MY age.

Finally two nice pickup trucks showed with with not one or two, but FOUR good looking guys!!  Wow ... how did I get so lucky!!  After getting gussied up for claustrophobic work, they all went in the same access hole and began crawling around.

Cranking noises could be heard as they tightened up the jacks that keep the floors level.  They also take pictures of all the holes in the vapor barrier and offer a price to repair same.  Five years ago that estimate was $300.  On this day it was $850.  No thank you.

Then they said the jacks are at the top of the bolts and should be replaced with taller ones.  Hmmm that's one I've never heard before.  That would cost $125 each.  There are TEN jacks.  YIKES!!  Maybe we can do a couple at a time ... LATER.  I'll have to do a little more investigation into that suggestion.  Maybe a block underneath each jack?

Suddenly the head guy went running around the garage.  Uh oh ... he came back with none other than a SNAKE STICK.  You know, the kind with grippers on the end to catch snakes?  "Did you know you have snakes under there?"  

Uh no ... well I did catch one in a rat trap once ... but I have seen them in the yard before.  Did it rattle??  He passed the stick under the house.  No rattles, but there are apparently not one, but TWO snakes hanging out having parties under my house.  My guess is they are the rare Sonoran Lyre snakes I've found in my back yard before.  Although they will give you a nasty bite, SUPPOSEDLY they won't kill you.  

In no time, all four guys were out from under the house with no snake.  They couldn't move fast enough to catch it.  I know the feeling, since I chased two around my back yard with no success.  So that's good news, right?  Beware the snakes.  Maybe they will eat the rats and mice.  It's a little unsettling though.

I spent the rest of the afternoon making sure Coop didn't chew on his foot as I watched two weather channels on my phone.  I'm on weather watch to be sure there isn't a lot of wind when I get ready to leave.  

I'm also watching for snow over Tehachapi.  If there is any in sight, I'll just hang out in Quartzsite until it's gone.  For right now ..... I'm on SNAKE WATCH!

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Sunrise ...... Sunset

 It certainly seems those sunrise and sunset days are screaming by faster than me chasing a scorpion across the kitchen floor.  One day I have a month left and the next I've got three days, which is not near enough time to get packed and set the house up.  

At least I took a little time to stop and smell the roses or at least the sunrise on this day.  I'm a fan of the purple/blue hour for photography, especially in the desert.  

The clouds and the mountains turn the most beautiful purple you ever seen in a fleeting display of Mother Nature in her finest dress.

Not to mention that it's different every single time.  Of course the sun waits for no man, and it was all gone in a flash.

It was quickly replaced by 35-45 mph winds.  That's even too much to fly a kite.  Not too much to head off to the store for traveling groceries though.  I was in a big hurry this day with so much still to be done.

Lucky for us, our little homeowners association uses our $50 a year dues to do a free cleanup of the entire subdivision, which is huge since most everyone has one acre or more.  Wouldn't you know, I didn't get the notice and it was to begin today.  

I still had a nice big stack up by my garage, which had to be shuttled to the end of my driveway.  The only thing more pokey than a live agave plant is a DEAD agave plant.  I have several new holes in my hands and arms.

With that done, it was time for breakfast ... on a REAL plate!  I finished up the last of the Krusteaz pancake mix.  I swear there's nothing better ... light and fluffy smothered in maple syrup!!

Then came the horrible news from RV friends Dave and Lynn Cross.  They have stayed at the Escapees RV Park in Benson for years.  Just recently (thank the Lord) they moved to another location, but left their rig to sell.  I don't usually show stuff like this, but it's important.  

Always ALWAYS check your propane lines.  I'm bad for not doing that, but I will from now on.  There was an explosion from the casita next door to Dave and Lynn's trailer.  It completely burned the neighbors trailer, their casita and their car, along with Dave's trailer which you see here.  By the time they got the fire out, there was absolutely nothing left but a big pile of ashes.  

My prayers to the gentleman who was burned and airlifted to a hospital in Phoenix I think.  They lost absolutely everything.  My heart goes out to this couple.  It's just so very sad.

I was back at it after breakfast, airing up the tires on the rig.  This is another one that scares me.  We had an accident at the Sand and Gravel Plant we owned where a kid overinflated a huge truck tire until it exploded in his face.  The kid ended up with two broken arms, but it has made me paranoid every time I have to air up tires.  So what do I do but get an RV where you have to do it constantly!!

Lots of packing and moving stuff around ensued, but it doesn't seem like I got much accomplished.  I did get a couple more pieces put together for this quilt.  OMG .... it's so busy it makes me cross-eyed.  It is rather fascinating however, that every single one of them is different, even though they were cut out of the same 23" piece of fabric.

If I ever make this again (which I won't) I'll find much softer colors.  I'll have to PAY someone to take this off my hands!!

Exciting stuff this morning .... not really .... the house levelers will be here in a couple of hours.  Every few years you have to re-level these houses, even though they are installed permanently.  How can you tell?  Because some doors refuse to open and cracks begin to appear in the ceiling, mostly due to the ground vibrating every time a train goes by.  Yes, I'm that close to the tracks.

At least this is fixable, unlike my OTHER house where cracks appear, but you can do nothing about it.  Just slap on a little caulking and you're good to go!!

Then it will be back to packing up again ... and checking my propane lines with the soapy water trick.

Monday, March 20, 2023

House of Canoe, Part Two

 The title is about my best attempt at poetry.  I will continue the tour of Hacienda de Canoa today with more history of the area after it became part of the United States.  The first mention of this site came about in 1775 when Captain Juan Baptista De Anza went along the route from Tucson to San Francisco with 239 people establishing churches in Native villages.  Friar Garces gave it the name of La Canoa from the canoe-like water troughs dug out of the cottonwood trees by the local Pima Indians.

It's always been interesting to me that the Catholic Church tried to convert all of the Indians to their religion.  This area was no exception.

There were a few different owners who raised cattle here until it was sold to Mr. Manningin 1912.  This original homestead was built by Mr. Manning in the 1930's as he enlarged his holdings.  He and his son ran the ranch until in 1951, when a tragic accident happened.  His son was killed in a head on collision on the highway.  Mr. Mannings zest for the ranch disappeared as he began selling off parcels.

THIS is the blacksmith shop.  It looked more like a house to me.  The small section on the left actually IS a house.  The sign said Congressman Raul Grivalja grew up here.  His family lived in this house when his father came from Mexico as part of the original Bracero Program.  

This was NOT part of the quilt show, so we didn't spend a lot of time reading about the building.  They had a bathroom, this kitchen (this was the ENTIRE kitchen), a large living room and a bedroom.  

Attached to the bedroom was the blacksmith shop ... an INSIDE version to boot.  This is the forge where they shaped horseshoes for the ranch horses.  This is definitely worth the visit for me since they had lots of horsehair reins and ropes, early bridles and a few very nice saddles.

Out behind the shop was one of several corrals made with local trees and cactus.  I'll have to go back sometime to get a better look at the cattle operation they had here.

It was a rather tight fit walking around all the frames holding the quilts and getting pictures with 30 other people at the same time.  It's amazing what you can do with a little fabric and a sewing machine.

This was one of my favorites, although I was terribly distracted by the buildings.  I'm now on the hunt for this one called Simply Civil, a reference to civil war fabric I think.

 The sell off of this property by Mr. Manning ended in 1994 when Fairfield Homes bought 6400 acres for a housing development.  What a shame.  However, they did not receive the zoning changes they wanted, so in 2001 the Arizona Open Land Trust bought 4800 acres of it as permanent wildlife habitat.  I'm good with that!

This was Mr. Mannings house across from his son's house (the one with the glass windows).  This had a big kitchen with a patio in the middle of it.  They are currently remodeling the kitchen to allow for parties and gatherings at the ranch which is now controlled by the Raul Grijalva Canoa Ranch Conservation Park Master Plan to promote heritage education.  

And more quilts ... LOTS of quilts ... too many to take pictures of.  It seemed like the theme this year was scrap quilts.  I'm not surprised since fabric has gone up so high in price that a queen size will now cost you around $175 just for the fabric.  Scrap quilting allows you to use up all that fabric you have stashed in your house.

The quilting on this one was crazy.  It must have taken months to quilt every little section differently and separately.

The ranch foreman had some nice digs ... this screened in porch was full of quilts too.  I imagine with all the thick adobe walls, it was quite comfortable in the summer.

This is what it looked like before the restoration.  There's those palm fronds hanging over the patio.

It's a great venue for a quilt show, but being more interested in the history and the cattle ranch, I was a little distracted.  I really didn't get enough quilt pictures and I didn't buy one single thing from the vendors.  That's a first!!  

There were many more very nice quilts, but I rather imagine you folks would be more interested in the history too.  

As for the lake, there was never enough water in the desert to keep it full, so Mr. Manning put in a big pump to fill it from the aquifer.  When purchased by the conservancy, they quit pumping, but wanted to keep the lake for the critters and the historical value.  They mixed a polymer into the soil to help keep the water above ground, then filled it back up as you see it today.

There are biking and hiking trails all around, but we had hiked the quilt show long enough.  I was ready for some tasty Tex-Mex food.  Pretty nice of them to have a food truck available.  Too bad I didn't take any pictures of the food.  

Patty had a Sonoran dog that was an epic example of good food.  I had two street tacos, one carne asada and one brisket that was AMAZING!!

There was one last quilt on the way out the door.  Buy a raffle ticket and you could win this beauty!!  I have enough quilts, but isn't it gorgeous?  

That was it for the quilt show and the Hacienda de la Canoa.  They plan on making more renovations in the future which will make it even better.  Check it out if you are in the area, but go early since by 11:00 the entire lake parking lot was full to the brim with bird watchers.

One last thing, if anyone knows what kind of trees these are, could you let me know please?  The picture with the patio kitchen shows them the best.  They cover this entire property.  I know someone out there can identify them.  

Sunday, March 19, 2023

The House Of Canoe (?)

Good Morning GALE!!!  Gale is Mother Nature's wild child.  She visits us often, swirling around 20-25 mph like a banshee.  It seems she will be hanging out here for the next three days, ramping up to 40 mph when she gets a good run at it.  Booyah!!!  So much for enjoying the warm beautiful weather we had yesterday at an all new location.

Your history lesson for today ..... in 1812, the father of Thomas and Ignacio Ortiz settled this tract of land in the Santa Cruz Valley.  In 1820, they petitioned the Spanish Governor (before Mexico became independent) for four land grants along the Santa Cruz River.  They received 17,000 acres for $250.00 (this is not a typo).

It was not without its perils for them ... this was along the Apache Plunder Trail traveled by marauding Indians all the way to Chihuahua.  By 1848, the only two grants left occupied were Tucson and Tubac.  The Ortiz brothers still owned the ranch when Americans began to pour in to the area.  Sadly, Ignacio was killed by the Tohono O'odham in 1857.  

Ironclad Pete Kitchen settled on the ranch in that year and refused to be run out.  He fortified the ranch with all the adobe walls you see today.  The ranch changed hands several times, eventually being purchased by Levi Manning it the 1920's when he named it Hacienda de la Canoa.  That is supposed to be the Spanish name for canoe ... on the lake I suppose.

The corn field as high as an elephants eye in the production of Oklahoma?  It was planted, grown and filmed right here at the ranch.  Who knew????  This lake was used not only for livestock water, but for fishing as well.   This is where Shirley Jones swam in the buff for Oklahoma.  This is now a County park with trails all around the area.

Who would ever think there would be a QUILT SHOW here too!  Luckily Patty caught a glimpse of that email that said GO HERE.  I'm very happy to say that Mr. Cooper was almost back to normal the next morning when he woke up.  The first indication was when he grabbed his ball and headed for the living room.  BOOYAH!!!  Boy did that make me feel better.  His smiling face was back.

So off we went to the Canoa Ranch.  I had heard of it before, but didn't know how extensive the place was.    It was added to the list of historic places on the National Registry and now offers bird watching tours and educational programs.  Since bird watching isn't exactly on my list, I never investigated the place.

It's rather confusing, the setup of buildings, each surrounded by adobe walls, none facing the same direction and seemingly placed rather haphazardly around the area.  That was maybe so they had a view of the Apaches coming from all sides? 

This is the before and after of the guest house, used as an office by Mr. Manning.  The adobe is about two feet thick, with the inside walls covered in the most amazing walnut paneling you've ever seen.  

Inside what looked like a teeny tiny bedroom were these gorgeous chaps.  Boy would I love to have THOSE!

Of course instead of going to the buildings in order, we opted to go against the grain and walk to the farthest building first.  

I'm sure this was a patio originally, eventually enclosed with glass to beat the Arizona heat.  The ceiling is held up with tree trunks along the entire long wall.  

Wouldn't you just love to sit here with your coffee every morning?  Funny ... Patty and I were just talking about those darn palm trees and how hard they were to prune.  All of these patios were covered in palm fronds originally, to help keep out the sun.  

Talk about the perfect place to grow fabulous flowers ... 

What did we come here for?  Oh yeah .... the quilt show.  I kept getting completely distracted by the buildings.  I was more interested in the architecture than the quilts, but here's a spectacular one of Noah's Ark.  

I admit, I probably took more pictures of the buildings than the quilts.  All I had was my phone, so these are not the best pictures.  This one ... I seem to be attracted to the quilts with just 3 different fabrics.

Although not my color choice, this one just shows the different quilting done in every single block.

The next larger building on the route must have been Mr. Mannings house.  I didn't get much information on this because I was too busy looking at stuff for sale.  This was the vendor area for the quilt show.  I did however, catch this nice fireplace.  

A quick look outside to the little patio found tulips blooming in the garden.

This place is way too big to show it all in one fell swoop, so tomorrow we'll tour the blacksmith shop and the home of Congressman Raul Grijalva.  Yup ... he grew up right here.  Who is he?  I've no idea, but I'm about to find out.