We Do Tucson's 4th Avenue Winter Street Fair
Saturday, 8 December 2007 - Today I'm recovering from yesterday's visit to Tucson's 4th Avenue Winter Street Fair, something my most wonderful wife thought would be interesting to attend. And indeed it was, but today my feet are letting me know they are not happy about the abuse I heaped upon them by walking the entire length of the fair, six blocks down and back, if I recall correctly, plus the closest parking spot we could find was several blocks away, so all in all, it felt like we walked at least 20 miles.
But we did find the fair interesting, although it was primarily just two long lines of arts and crafts stalls set up back to back down the middle of the street, as seen here, which also shows the fair was packed with people. I can't imagine how crowded the fair will be over the weekend if this was the attendance at midday of a weekday on the fair's first day. However, we might have been there at the best time since the weather forecast is calling for rain off and on all weekend. In fact, as I write this just before daybreak, it's already raining.
The most interesting things we did at the fair were to have lunch at Pancho Villa's Grill (as seen in the photo above of Sandra and as seen here in an outside shot of the building) and to buy two really cleverly designed Renetto folding canopy chairs for sitting outside in, once the rain stops, although it's bringing colder air with it, so it might be a while before we'll be sitting out.
After seeing the fair, we started heading back to the RV, but got sidetracked by touring Sentinel Peak (a.k.a. 'A Mountain'), which we'd never seen before and I thought would afford an excellent panoramic view of the city, valley, and the surrounding mountains, which it did, and then Sandra thought that since it was getting late in the day by then that we might drive through Tucson Mountain Park and the Saguaro National Park West to see if any wild animals might be out presenting some photo ops. Unfortunately, none were in eveidence but it's always nice to see the scenery through there regardless.
For Sandra's account of the day, click here.
An Interesting Day In General
Monday, 3 December 2007 - Today dawned with clear skies, which are better than cloudy skies, but still makes for a boring sunrise (takes partly cloudy conditions for a good one).
So I didn't go out for sunrise but went out a while later, just wanting to get one good shot to post to my Photo-a-Day Gallery on PBase.com and eventually found this most cooperative pair of Northern Flickers, a type of woodpecker, who let me get close enough for a decent shot. Usually, small birds in the wild such as these stay beyond the practical limit of even my longest telephoto lens setting or hidden away in a tree, but these guys weren't so skittish and gave me a clear view. This was also the first time (I'm aware of) that I've gotten what was obviously a mated pair of small birds in one photo, so I was quite pleased.
Normally, I take quite a few photos in a day's time, but today I was looking for just one good shot because we had a lot planned for the day which didn't include serious photography, the highlight to be meeting in person a couple of other full-time RVers, Fred and Jo, that Sandra has gotten to know via the internet and who are also currently in Tucson.
New Larger Hard Drive
But before that, we needed to buy a larger hard drive. It's amazing how those things fill up over time. Last winter, Sandra found a deal in Aransas Pass, Texas on a 200 GB (gigabyte) external hard drive while we were in Rockport, and while that's large enough, it's formatted in Windows NTFS format, which was fine as long as she was running a PC, but now she has a Mac, which is one of the new ones that can run both Mac and Windows operating systems equally well, but only one or the other at a time the way it's currently configured. We can configure it to run Windows applications while it's booted for the Mac, but we want to back it up before doing that and unfortunately, while the Mac can read an NTFS formatted drive, it can't write to it, a limitation that puzzles me, but that's the way it is. There are ways around this, but again, I'm not willing to make such a modification without having a good back up first and we simply didn't have enough free space available on any of the other hard drives to do that, hence the need for yet another hard drive.
So, Sandra being the good little executive administrative assistant (retired) that she is, did some research on the internet and found a deal on a Seagate FreeAgent Desktop External 500 GB Hard Drive at CompUSA for $120! Prices on these things continue to drop at an amazing rate. It wasn't so long ago that just the enclosure to house an external hard drive cost more than $120, let alone include half a terabyte of storage space, which wasn't even available then for any reasonable amount of money. The downside of the new cheaper hard drives is they don't seem to last as long before failing, which can be devastating when considering the huge amounts of data they store.
Anyway, when Sandra got her new Intel Mac, I figured she'd continue to primarily use it with Windows, but to my surprise she's switched back to running it mostly as a Mac (Sandra started out her computer career with a Mac, but was later corrupted by her job at Nortel and switched to Windows and claimed to prefer that until getting this latest computer), so her 200 GB drive being NTFS formatted is now too limiting and now comes the joy of transferring and backing up all her data.
Saguaro National Park East
After buying the hard drive, we had some time to kill before meeting Fred and Jo, so while we were in the east side of Tucson, we drove to Saguaro National Park East, figuring we could drive though it like you can the section of the park near our location in the west side, Saguaro National Park West, but that didn't prove to be the case since the only thing you can see in the east district of the park without paying an entry fee is the visitor center. Disappointing. So, we settled for looking around that then went outside and were walking around what we thought was a desert garden only to have a park ranger come up and tell us we weren't allowed to be there, even though it looked like a trail we were on. They've never heard of posting signs, I guess. The visit proved to be a less than a satisfying experience (not to mention, the West district of the park is more scenic) and since it was time to head over to Fred and Jo's anyway, we left.
Fred & Jo
We arrived at Fred and Jo's RV site in the Voyager RV Resort at the appointed time, 4 pm, and were greeted by their cute and friendly little Shih Tzu puppy, Boo Boo, who seemed very happy to meet us.
One of Sandra's online activities is visiting the blogs of other RVers and Fred and Jo's blog, The Wandering Wishnies, is one she's followed since Fred and Jo started their wandering in March, 2006, so while this was the first time we'd actually met them, Sandra felt like she's known them for quite a while, and I, of course, hear about all the interesting things she learns from all these blogging RVers.
We first sat and chatted for more than an hour, while Boo Boo pretended my hand was a chew toy, and then followed Fred and Jo into the city for dinner at Zivaz, a Mexican Bistro, and a restaurant that's classified as fast casual dining (photo above, which was taken by Sandra).
This was the first time I'd ever heard of a 'fast casual' restaurant, but have learned that it's one where patrons order at the counter like a fast food place but dine on the better food in the better atmosphere of an otherwise normal but casual restaurant. Just goes to prove that even at 61 years of age, there's still something new to learn every day.
The food was quite good. I had flautas, which happily, have agreed with my temperamental digestive system, but I forget what everyone else ordered, although they seemed happy with what they got. It was a most enjoyable evening and we got back to our own RV at a decent hour, although after dark.
For Sandra's account of the day, click here.
An Interesting Sky Day
Sunday, 2 December 2007 - Yesterday, as the night's storm was departing, we had what I think of as an 'interesting sky day'. That's when you have a combination of clouds and sunlight that turn ordinary scenes into something dramatic, such as the photo here of sunrays lighting up the falling rain in a distant lingering scattered shower.
This kind of cloud and light show, which often precedes or follows storms, was what gave many of Ansel Adams photos their visual impact. He was a master of taking advantage of these situations. Sometimes they're brief, while other times they can last for hours, like yesterday when they lasted all day.
I view it as God's reward for enduring a storm.
Sandra and I were both in and out all day taking photos around the desert behind us, then toward evening we went out in the truck, first to photograph the sunrays from a vantage point we've found that gives a good fairly unobstructed view of the mountains around us and then to drive west along Highway 86 to see what it looked like along there, since we'd never gone that way before.
Well, the scenery was quite nice, but unfortunately it was nearly impossible to find clear views of it. Almost everywhere you look around here are power lines and utility poles. Drives me nuts and this area seems worse than most, which is surprising since it's a desert and west of here is sparsely populated. So this makes me appreciate even more the area behind the RV which is park, and to the north which is also park - the quite large Tucson Mountain County Park, which is free, and the Saguaro National Park West, which isn't.
For Sandra's account of yesterday, click here.
Saturday, 1 December 2007 - Well, the news of the moment, as I sit here in the wee hours of the morning, is rain. Welcome, December.
Here we are, sitting in a southwestern US desert and last evening we lost access to both the internet and TV satellites due to rain and dense clouds, while the normally wet southeastern US has been in drought for months, or longer. Such an irony.
With both satellites down, I went to bed early to read myself to sleep and was awakened shortly after 11pm by the sounds of wind which was now driving the rain and I couldn't get back to sleep due to concern over the internet dish being blown over and getting damaged. So, I got up, donned rain gear (such as I have, which is woefully lacking), went out and braved the elements to find my concern justified.
This concern was based on the fact that the ground in the desert is typically quite hard, much too hard to get the corkscrew ground-stake into that I normally use to anchor the internet dish tripod, so I use tent stakes in that situation and the ground is so hard here even those are quite difficult to get driven into the ground. Of course, enough rain will soften this ground and the tent stakes are then anchored in basically what has become very thick gravelly muck, hence my concern and this is not only what I found when I got out there, but the ground under one leg of the tripod had softened to the point the leg was sinking into the muck and the whole assembly was listing, leaving no choice but to take the dish off the tripod before it got blown over or fell over from its own weight and got damaged.
So, as I write this, the dish is stored away, I've dried out, and we have no internet and won't until it's light out and the rain stops and I can find some solid ground to move the internet dish to, assuming I can find some solid ground. On the bright side, maybe I'll now be able to get one of the corkscrew ground stakes into the ground.
The day has now dawned, the storm departed, and I did get the internet dish repositioned, hopefully on firmer ground, although I couldn't find a spot with solid ground for all three of the tripod legs (hard to believe that ground is almost rock-hard when dry), but at least I was able to get the corkscrew ground stake in this time, which might be a very good thing because another storm is moving in and the prediction is for high winds (gusts to 50mph/80kph). So I also added three more tie-down straps to the internet tripod, attaching them to larger tent stakes which I also managed to get driven into the ground, although I'm sure the expected rain will no doubt soften them up again, but every little bit will help. Might prove to be an interesting day. Mid-morning and the sky has clouded over again and the wind is picking up. Swell.
For Sandra's account of yesterday, click here.
For Older News
To read details of our previous stops and camps, visit the News Archives.
Updated Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Copyright © 2007 by Gordon L Wolford .
All rights reserved.