Saturday, January 30, 2016

Saturday - last day in Catalina

Today is our last day in Catalina State Park.    We were scheduled to stay another day but have decided to make the short trip up to White Tank Regional Park, west of Phoenix, tomorrow instead of Monday.  We're due for a weather change Sunday late afternoon, one that will bring strong winds and heavy rain (if the weather guessors can be believed) through the night and well into Monday.  Since time and rigid schedules are no longer an issue for us, we opted to drive on a nice day instead of fighting weather.    We'll miss it here.  We never seem to have enough time to simply enjoy the park, much less see all there is to see.   We'll just have to come back!

This morning was spent, as usual, outside in the sun watching the birds.  We've had 4 different kinds of hummingbirds visit and yesterday a pair of Pyrrhuloxias
dropped by.

Mr. Pyrrhuloxia waiting patiently for his turn at the seeds

They are as shy as their cousins, the Northern Cardinals, but are fascinating to watch  flit from tree to tree, homing in on the feeders and water.

Later today we're taking Carm out for lunch and then finishing a few shopping stops before we leave.

Thursday afternoon we took chairs and drinks and an experimental jalapeno popper dip to Jodee and Bill's site for a visit of friends.   It was another lovely warm day and we all enjoyed sitting in the sun, eating an array of delicious goodies and getting to know each other better.   Not all of us knew everyone, so it was an afternoon of laughs and discovery.

enjoying hiking tips I expect

the famous Cindy P and little Luke

Cindy P, Geneva and Walter in front of Jodee and Bill's home

John acting out Alter Boy duties....or is he
telling stories about his new 310?

Mona Liza brought Dave and I a small container of her fabulous Pancit and we could hardly wait to get home to finish it off!   I had all intentions of taking a photograph of it before we dove in, but.....

By the time I remembered I wanted to take a picture I had eaten half of it so I turned the camera on Dave's plate.  (pardon the paper plate, we don't usually eat off them but we're in a site with no sewer hookup so water conservation is important)

He evidently eats faster than I do......    At any rate, thanks again MonaLiza.   We surely enjoyed it!

Beautiful, gentle sunsets last night, in all directions.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Thursday catch up

Tuesday morning we moved about 18 miles north to one of our favorite places, Catalina State Park.

We've been here before, most recently just before Christmas, but we never tire of the quiet, the birds, the huge sites and the way the light changes on the mountain views in front of us.

I've set up our "bird spa" just outside Beluga's door and I'm happy to say it is very well used.   The birds here are habituated to people feeding them and as soon as you step away from the feeder the stampede begins.    We have placed cut oranges in the trees, hung a hummingbird feeder and a mixed seed feeder, along with a pie plate filled with fresh water.   This set up makes our second cup a bit longer each day because we can't stop watching and laughing at their antics.

I haven't posted a blog since we got here because I discovered that our phone/internet coverage drops dramatically after the sun goes down - the time I usually sit down to do this blog.    I'm taking a minute this morning, before we head over to Jodee and Bill's site for an early happy hour/lunch-ish get together with Pam/John, MonaLiza/Steve, Jodee/Bill, and Cindy P and her family.    In this desert climate the early afternoon is warmest and most pleasant to be outside.     After the sun dips, the temps dip and it is no longer nice to be out.

A quick wrap up of our last few days at Lazy Days KOA Tucson and I'll close this post.

We spent Saturday afternoon with a dear old friend, originally our next door neighbor at the farm, Carm.     We've know her for 40 years and she is 91 years old so she definitely qualifies as an "old" friend!      After seeing our pictures of Sedona and hearing our tales of the west, she and her late husband, Joe, sold their house, bought a van (Dave turned it into a mini-motorhome for them) and moved to Sedona in 1979!    This was pre-Beluga days but even then we'd do anything to get to the west.    To prove that, we volunteered to drive their moving van and follow them across the country.    It was a fun trip.

They stayed in Sedona for 10 or 15 years and then moved down to Tucson, where Carm still lives.    It was great catching up with her, she's dealt with a few tragedies this past year but her smile is still strong.

Monday morning Dave, John and Steve replaced Steve's slide toppers and MonaLiza prepared a fantastic lunch of pancit guisado, a Philippine specialty.  Pam and I were lucky, we got to enjoy lunch without doing any work!    I took no pictures, I ate.

Yesterday afternoon we took Lewis on a hike here in Catalina State Park.  Its so great that the trails are (leashed) dog friendly and we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

This was only the second time we were able to take Lewis along on a trail and he was definitely "on his toes" but he watched quietly when we encountered a few other hikers and we were happy with his behavior.

I got a chance to use my Christmas present lightweight hiking poles on the short ascent to the ridge part of the Canyon Loop Trail and I love them...Thanks Jess and Erin.

these two quietly watched us

It was another beautiful day, sunny and warm.    We started out with vests on because the wind was a little chilly but quickly shed them and were sweating by the end of our hike.

The sky was the impossible blue you only see out here.   If it looks otherwise in any of these pictures, its the fault of my photography!

We walked through forests of saguaros, stands of mesquite, through beside and across running washes and through dense, green bottom lands.   A lovely hike.

water in the desert is always a delight

After the recent rains and mountain snows, the washes were running strongly.  Some places deep, some shallow.   We made 4 or 5 crossings, I made 3 or 4 crossings successfully.    One not so successfully, but my trusty boots and wool socks dried eventually......

Dave spotted a huge and very unusual crested Saguaro near the end of our trail.
Pam told us we'd see one, we're very glad we didn't disappoint her!

After we finished and arrived back home Jodee and Bill came over for a proper Happy Hour.   We sat outside until the the settling cold ended our visit.

Lewis was very tired we caught him dozing in an upright position many times throughout the evening.....poor baby.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Saturday at the Tucson Dressage Show

80 degrees.  Sunshine.  Friends.  Food.  Magnificent Equines.  Perfect day.
That pretty much sums up today.

Cindy P and Simon ignoring the horse poop

horse show hot dogs -  nothing better says Dave

food for everyone

beautiful backdrop for a horse show

tiny 5lb. "squirrel" greeted every passerby


post horse show dinner at Beluga

Friday, January 22, 2016


We've been busy the last few days.   Wednesday Dave did a little preventative maintenance under Beluga.

He used one of John's cast off slide toppers as a ground cloth and it worked perfectly to keep him off the stones under Beluga!

We washed and conditioned Lewis in preparation for his first mow job of the year.  

Thursday morning we set up the grooming table behind Beluga and spent a few hours clipping and scissoring sweet Lewis.   We always like how he looks just before its time to clip, but clip we must to keep him neat.   Those curls collect all manner of leaves and prickers from the desert and its nice to get them taken care of.      We won't have to do it again for at least 6 or 7 weeks.

Later in the day Cindy P, Walter and Geneva came over for happy hour.   It was a lovely warm day so we were able to sit outside and visit.   Pam and John stopped by to say hello and we sat out until it got too cold.  As soon as the sun goes down the temperatures drop quickly.

Today John and Pam, Steve and Mona Liza went on a beautiful hike, they invited Dave to join them but his back was feeling a little "ouchy" so he opted to stay back and not push.

We packed a lunch and drove the 15 or so miles to the Saguaro National Park.

We ate lunch at Gates Pass and enjoyed the views in front of and behind the jeep.

We continued on into the National Park, walking when we felt like it and auto touring on the Bajada Loop Trail through a veritable forest of Saguaro.

I've always been fascinated by Saguaro.   They grow exclusively in the Sonoran desert.      I love them when they're small and young, when they're tall and old.    Even Saguaro that have died are fascinating to me.

still standing skeleton

dead, downed and deflated

Some of them are  perfect,  just what you've seen on post cards of the west.

But there is much two are the same.

These tree-like cacti provide homes for Gila Woodpeckers, Gilded Flickers, various flycatchers and Elf Owls.

blue grey gnatcatcher

They have a very long lifespan and don't even start to grow "arms" until they are 75-100 years old.   A ten year old Saguaro may only be one and a half inches tall!.      They can reach heights of 70 feet in good growing conditions.

They are covered with rows of spines, white waxy flowers in the late spring and red "fruit" in the summer.   They are at once magnificent and ridiculous.   I can't get enough of them!

After our lovely afternoon communing with the Saguaro, we met up with John and Pam, Steve and Mona Liza at El Charro in downtown Tucson for a yummy Mexican dinner.  

Tomorrow we head over to the Pima County Fairgrounds to attend the winter Tucson Dressage horse show with the Ponds.