Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Brrrrr Catalina

We left Picacho State Park in the rain, never fun.   It rained the entire way to Catalina State Park.  

 It was still pelting when we arrived so we decided to wait it out in the picnic area.     As soon as the puddles looked still, we raced to our site and settled in.   We love this park, most of the sites are quite large and the campground is situated in a grassy forest of mostly mesquite and paloverde trees, perfect for birdwatching.   There are a number of interesting hikes within the park from easy to difficult.    The beautiful Santa Catalina Mountains form a majestic backdrop giving us the feeling we're in the middle of the wilderness (except for the other campers, of course....) but the close proximity of Tucson gives us access to the ever important Whole Foods, Trader Joes and assorted restaurants.   Best of both worlds.

snow on the Santa Catalinas as Dave begins hooking up

my new front yard

The weather turned from rain to clear and calm.   Clear and very cold.

our black jeep's frosty roof

  Monday night our furnace thermostat was acting wonky, locking up and not allowing us to change temperature or zones.   Dave fiddled with it a bit and everything seemed to be fine so we went to bed with the heat on to ward off the predicted hard freeze temperatures.   Around 4:30 a.m. we were propelled out of our bed by a loud, grinding, whirring, banging noise.    Dave quickly decided it was our furnace, looked for a breaker to throw and, failing to find one,  finally unplugged the thermostat and the noise stopped.     28 degrees outside and no furnace....

Long story short, Dave did some internet homework, called a few people and decided to make an appointment at Premier Motor Coach Services in Tucson.  John Wright had used them in the past and recommend their work.

I busied myself packing up some things I thought we may need for a day away from home and perhaps a night at a hotel.  

Premier called back and said they would be able to squeeze us in for a diagnosis so off we all went.      Eric and his staff were very accommodating, they pulled Beluga right in the shop and assured us they'd get to the bottom of the problem.

Since we had to scrap our days lunch plans with Cindy and Walter I called to see if we could drive over and visit while Beluga was being worked on.  I packed a quick lunch and loaded the dogs into the jeep.   It only took us about a half hour to reach the Health and Harmony Ranch where they are camped while visiting their daughter.  

desert dwellers Walter and Cindy P

 It was so great to see them again.     They were such a part of our everyday lives   when we were neighbors back in Geneseo and its hard having such long absences now.     They brought their lunches out into the desert and we sat in the sun and had a great chat.     They're coming over tomorrow for that previously canceled lunch.

After our visit we went back to see how Premier was making out in finding our furnace problem.   We had steeled ourselves to the need for a new furnace, the kind of noise we heard made us sure the news would not be good.

Good news!   The furnace was fine, they were just putting it back together again after a little adjustment and then cleaning out all the fur and left over body parts......It turns out that the terrible noise was the result of  a mouse crawling into the furnace fan blade, tangling with it and causing the fan to grind to a stop.

Who'd have thought that!    We were prepared for a big bill and a possible overnight away from Beluga but were happily surprised.   A real holiday gift.  They ordered a new thermostat since this one is known for being fussy and we were on our way.     I can't say enough about the guys at Premier Motor Coach Services and would use them again for any thing Beluga needs int he future.

After a very long day, and breaking a cardinal rule (driving Beluga on unfamilar roads in the dark AND pulling into a campsite after dark) we had a nice warm sleep.

This morning, once again, everything was frozen over and the poor birds were practically tapping on our window for their pan of water and hummingbird feeder.   I bring it inside now so they don't have to try and drink frozen nectar!

a bad picture of a pair waiting for their morning drink!

I opened the windshield curtains and through the frosty glass I saw this little man looking in the side mirror, just quietly waiting.....

I'm waiting.....

Today was a bit of a catch up day.   Dave did a little work around Beluga, changing out rear tail light lenses, fixing the shower door latch and deciding how he would go about installing an automatic fire extinguisher in our exterior refrigerator compartment.

We ran some errands in Tucson and ended the day at Pam and John's for a yummy birthday dinner.    Pam made her famous version of Paella and they bought me a beautiful little jewel of a birthday cake.....they even sang at me!    Such good friends we have, thanks guys.   See you after the holidays.


  1. So glad all worked out:) We loved having you two for a special birthday dinner since we knew we would miss the big day:)

    At the end of this blog is the crested saguaro I was telling you about in your park. It is only about a 1/2 mile from the start of the Canyon Loop Trail if you head to left from the parking lot. Maybe you could take Cindy and Walter out to look for it:) Here is the post and photos:

  2. Brrrrr...but pretty! Glad your heater problem turned out to be pretty simple...but can you imagine what that poor mouse must have looked like?!?!?

  3. Oh my! I was in a 747 when we hit a flock of birds that disabled the engine and sent us back to the airport - the sound was horrible and I imagine similar to your mouse-trap! Glad they were able to get you back in a heated home so quickly :-) We're hoping Yuma and Borrego will have warmer nights, it's been 29 the last two nights here in Ajo. Love your little waiting birdie, so cute.

  4. Mouse fur and body parts? OMG. That sounds awful! But I'm glad that's "all" it was and that your heater problem is fixed. On to more pleasant thoughts -- you take such good care of your feathered friends. :-) And it sounds like you had a delicious birthday celebration!

  5. glad all is resolved with the furnace and it didn't cost an arm and a leg! Nice to have good service!
    Happy belated awesome to have friends to share your special day.
    We love hiking in Catalina SP, but have never stayed there...