Saturday, March 28, 2009

Micro burst

A micro burst is a weather related phenomenon that affects you and I as a sudden burst of energy in the form of a wind

Erica suddenly burst upon me.

She was able to obtain a flight on Thursday evening. A one stop from SeaTac to Portland to Phoenix with a change of planes in Portland. She had to run to make that connection.

It was very windy in Phoenix on Thursday. Wind gusts in excess of fifty miles per hour. I worried that her flight would be delayed or cancelled. I watched the arrival board in the cell phone lot at the airport for information about her flight. Suddenly her flight was no longer listed on the reader board. It turned out her flight landed almost a half hour early, thanks in part to the wind.

She climbed on the back of the Harley and we were off. Did I mention the wind? Most of the ride home was at a port list of about 10 degrees (we had to lean in to the wind to go straight down the hiway). We encountered some of those micro bursts along the way that tried to lift our helmets off of our heads. Clouds of dust slammed in to us. Maybe I should have borrowed a car... By the time we got to the RV park, I was exhausted - Erica was tired, too. A beer and a pizza and it was time for bed.

On Friday, after breakfast, we rode to Tortilla Flat. Erica met her first Saguaro cactus. She was amazed at their size. I pointed out the Cholla, Prickly Pear, Barrel and Ocotillo cactus as well. I warned her that everything in the desert either bites you or pokes you.

She sat in the sun for a bit and got a light burn, then we went for barbecue at Waldo's. I took her picture on the pig out front and we had some good sandwiches. From there we headed west in to the setting sun for Chester's Harley Davidson and the Charlie Daniels Band at "The Backstage Biker Bash" - a pre-Arizona bike week party. A local group named Mogollon (mugyon) opened for CBB. There was an awful lot of black leather in that parking lot. It was a big party crowd.

After breakfast on Saturday, we headed for a Mariners spring training game against the Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium. The game was sold out so we paid more than we should have for a ticket in the grass (no seat) then watched from a picnic table near the concession stands. The Angels had most of their stars on the field, I knew almost none of the Ms - no Ichiro or Griffey. I think they were using batting practice pitchers as the Angels won 16 - 9.

We returned to the park for happy hour and burgers off the grill with Dave and Paige as guests. That gin and tonic sure was refreshing after a day in the sun. Erica will return to Seattle with a little color added to her complexion.

Sunday we went to see the new 3-D film "Monsters vs. Aliens", followed by dinner with Dave and Paige. It was agreed that probably the best part of the movie was the reactions of the audience - mostly under 10. Erica got to ride in a 4 wheeled vehicle and her butt got a break from the passenger seat of my bike. I didn't build my bike with passengers in mind and she has suffered the consequences.

She forgot to turn off her cell phone alarm, so she was up at 7 on Monday morning. Way too early for a girl on vacation. We lazed around a bit, went to breakfast at "The GoodEgg", then found our way to the airport. As usual I was way too early, but she arrived on time and I don't have to worry about her missing her flight. I borrowed Dave's AirHawk cushion for the ride and Erica was appreciative.

Just as suddenly, she was gone.

Paige said she could tell it was a good visit by the fact that I hadn't stopped smiling all weekend.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Reflections on the first day

Motorhomes look small. The Minnie Winnie looked extremely small. So why did it take me sooooo long to remove all of my junk? It took twice as long to put it in the Southwind, mainly because I didn't know which large cupboard I should put my little bit of food in or which drawer should be the holder of my plastic utensils.
Arizona has a quaint way of getting a person's money. All vehicles being bought or sold at a dealership must pass an emissions test. Does not matter that the vehicles are not titled in the state (or will ever be titled in the state for that matter). By the time all of the small details that my salesman has neglected to discuss with me had been completed, three hours had passed.
The return drive to the RV park was uneventful. The Southwind handles well and the Ford V10 in this unit is just as responsive as the one in the Minnie.
Upon my return, I found that my "friends" had taken the opportunity to create a proper welcoming for me - sort of.
I found some of my belongings had been moved out in to my parking space and a sign had been erected stating "Anything you don't want, put here". Luckily, no one had taken them up on their offer and the only garbage I had to throw away, was that found in the new RV.
The Southwind had been owned by a small corporation or some such. It has spent most of it's life in a storage lot. All of the outside storage bins had something in them. I found a full box of vegetable brushes. Not just any kind of brush either - Fuller Brushes. I gave one to everyone that came by to look at my new home. Dave is especially envious of the traffic cones for some reason. The shoes I found under the bed fit pretty good.
The move in to the Southwind is not yet complete. I have stuff in one neighbor's refrigerator and stuff in an other's freezer. There is stuff in the shed and stuff in the trailer.
It will be another busy day. Erica arrives tonight! I have to buy Mountain Dew and sheets to fit this bed. I'm sure I'll spend some time moving stuff from one cupboard or drawer to another cupboard or drawer.
Plans for the weekend include taking Erica to see Charlie Daniels and the Mariners. We'll find some way to fill the gaps in between.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Completing purchase of a 1999 Southwind Storm as we speak. Thirty feet of living space, a bed that I don't have to climb a ladder to enjoy, STORAGE! I should have it tomorrow, I'll post some pictures then.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Touch 'em all

Ken made the trip south to Bouse, AZ, to see his Mom (who regrettably is not doing well). He extended his stay by one day to see me and take in a Mariners spring training game. It was a beautiful day in Peoria to watch a game - sunny, high clouds and about 90 degrees. Ken was sucking down anything that was cold in an effort to lower his body temperature.

Most of the Mariner starters took the day off, but Ken Griffey Jr. was the designated hitter for the day. He hit in to a double play the first time up, a weak liner to short on his next trip to the plate, then he put his sweet swing on a pitch and hit a two run homer down the right field line, over the 340 marker. Despite his efforts, the Ms still lost 6 - 5.

Ken and I spent the evening smoking cigars, having a drink, eating, and sitting by the pool shooting the breeze. Ken even jumped in the pool for a quick cool down. It was very pleasant. I'm glad he took an extra day to visit me.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Devil Went Down to Yuma

Home again from my whirlwind visit with Mary and Tom that included a quick tour of Yuma. It really was nice to see them and they were wonderful hosts, even if Mary didn't get to entertain me nearly as much as she thought she should. I saw the Yuma Territorial Prison and Old Town (every town has an old town, even Apache Junction and it was founded in 1950), looked at tanks at the Yuma Proving Grounds and horse tanks (water holes) in the mountains north of town. I met their good friends Joe and Karen. We all enjoyed a wonderful steak dinner last night. Very nice New York strips cooked to perfection by Tom, wonderful potato salad, asparagus and mushrooms done by his better half. Angelo looked for left overs but found few.
I decided not to dawdle on the ride home, taking interstates all the way. The world is much less interesting at 80 mph. I'll take the long way from now on. My windshield is yellow from the remains of Monarch butterflies migrating from Mexico north. I'm sorry. There was no way to avoid them.
Mary and Tom are on their way to San Diego to celebrate Colin's third birthday. Hard to remember my little girl at that age. She turns the big three-oh this July.
Speaking of Erica, her visit is in the late planning stages. Not sure yet if she'll be here on the 26th or 27th. I am really looking forward to seeing her and I imagine I will worry that I haven't entertained her sufficiently.
Another visitor will be in town tomorrow. Ken flew down to see his Mom and will extend his stay one day so we can go see Ken Griffey and the Mariners tomorrow.
This retired life is tough.
Oh yeah, if you didn't look at the weather report on the sidebar - sunny and 90!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Yuma, Arizona

I'm in Yuma, AZ, visiting sister Mary and brother-in-law Tom (Big Tom, as opposed to "Just plain Thom"). They will be here until the first of April. It's good to see family. We are going downtown to a street fair tomorrow and Tom is taking me to see the tanks on Wednesday.

I am thoroughly enjoying a king size bed, a full size bathroom and a huge flat screen tv with an endless number of channels.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The travelling wall

The travelling wall visited Apache Junction this weekend. I cried when I saw the wall in D.C. and I cried when I saw this version.
No comments allowed.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

25 Albums that influenced My Life

So, my nephew-in-law Frank put together a list of albums that had an affect on his life. Based on his upbringing and his locale (New Orleans), his may be a bit more eclectic than mine. I'm still not sure of the order of these albums, and there were others that were on the list and bumped off, then put back on. Mine are mostly late 60s and early 70s, but that was the decision making period of my life. It's a pity that the decisions made in your late teens have such a large impact on your later life.

The Rolling Stone put together a list of the top 500 albums of all time here:

Vanilla Fudge – Vanilla Fudge
Chicago Transit Authority - CTA
Big Brother and the Holding Company – Cheap Thrills
Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced?
Rolling Stones – High Tide and Green Grass (there could be many more)
Beatles – Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (ditto)
Simon and Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Waters
Neil Young -After the Gold Rush
Beach Boys – Pet Sounds
Cream – Disraeli Gears
Sly and the Family Stone – Stand
Derek and the Dominoes – Layla and Other Love Songs
Donovan – Sunshine Superman
Led Zeppelin – Houses of the Holy
Santana – Abraxas
John Mayall – Jazz Blues Fusion
Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath
Crosby, Stills and Nash – CSN
The Mothers of Invention – We’re Only in it for the Money
Jethro Tull – Aqualung
The Doors – The Doors
Jefferson Airplane – Surrealistic Pillow
Jackson Browne – The Pretender
Tom Scott - Tom Scott and the L. A. Express
Maynard Ferguson - Conquistador

Blood, Sweat and Tears, The Who, Stevie Ray Vaughn (in my later years), The Eagles, Steely Dan, Joe Cocker, Bread (yes, Bread, great love songs) and so many others.

Twenty-five just isn't enough.

Gold Canyon Petroglyphs

The Monday hike group took a short, rocky trip to see the petroglyphs in the Gold Canyon area of the Superstition Wilderness. Until 1994 you had to trespass across private property to gain access to this area. Now there are maintained trails and a paved parking area for visitors. Some refer to these as hieroglyphs, but I think that term is used for images used to represent numbers and letters, similar to those used by the Egyptians. The term normally applied to pictographs etched in the stone by chipping or carving is petroglyph. I know it's a small thing, but I think I'm right on this matter.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Lady Luck is with me

For the last month and a half, I have been playing a card game on Thursday nights. For the final hand, everyone throws in a dollar. I've won four of the last five weeks.

Today I went on an organized ride, the proceeds went to a local charity - Liberty Wildlife. They rehabilitate birds of prey. Similar to a poker run, we rode to all of the businesses that sponsored the day and got a puzzle piece. I did not win a door prize, but I did win a raffle prize - a ticket to see Charlie Daniels during Arizona Bike Week. To top of a nice day, I won second prize in the puzzle ride - a $100 gift certificate for riding apparel (read leather) donated by one of the sponsors.

Not a bad day at all.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Boone and Wendy's sad news

Just heard from Boone.
"I'm writing to let you all know that our dog Kelsey died this morning a little after 11 AM. She had been ill for about three months and died peacefully while sleeping.
We got her from PAWS in 1996 when she was about one year old. She will be missed."

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Happy Birthday Dave!!

Good friend Dave is another year older, none the wiser.

His son Ethan, Paige and I schemed for weeks to buy him a second fuel tank for his Harley that he can then have Forrest paint to imitate the 1933 tank logo of which he is so fond. We located a perfect tank on eBay (only to hear that it got damaged during packaging) and it is hopefully on it's way to Tonkin's Custom Paint as we speak.
We will soon be off to his birthday meal of choice - ribs at the Texas Roadhouse.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sue's new house

I rode all the way to the other side of the valley to see Dean and Sue. Good to see them again. They are buying a house in Sun City West Dean and Buck took me up to see it. The sale isn't final yet, so I didn't get inside, but it's a handsome house.