Click to Return to RVeCafe Homepage

Fall/Winter 2 0 2 3 - 2 0 2 4

Return to "Spring/Summer 2023"

Tuesday, March 19, 2024: Once each year the Rincon Country East Resort shows customer appreciation by serving lunch to everyone who purchases a $5 ticket. All money is donated to the local food bank. Today's meal was a hamburger (or vegetarian option),  potato salad, chips, cookie, and drink (including beer).  Click on the photo to the right to see the mean.

Sunday, March 17, 2024: Weeks ago I purchased a season pass to the University of Arizona Track and Field events. Today was our first experience at the events. The start time was confusing so we arrived around 11 am. The field events were happening. We saw pole vault, javelin, long jump, high jump and shot put was beginning as we left. We also saw two hurdles races and the 3000 meter women's steeple chase.  We did not stay for the rest of the events because we had other things which had to be done today. We know to arrive for the running races next time because they are the most exciting. This was also our first time to use our stadium chairs on the aluminum benches. They were much more comfortable than sitting on the bench. Click both photos for another view. There is a 3 second video behind the right photo.

Thursday, March 14, 2024: A few nights ago we had a night time visitor to our birdbath which we were using as a bird feeder.  The Javelina stole all the bird seed. Today I built a Javelina proof bird feeder. It is nearly 6 feet off the ground. The Quail were the first to return. Click the Quail photo to see a female Cardinal and a Gila Woodpecker which visited once the Quail had finished.

Wednesday, March 13, 2024:  The decisions have been made. A single photo has been chosen in each category for the "First Place" in that category. The photo at the left was chosen as the best in the show. The blue ribbon shows the general public chose it as the best in the category.  The lavender ribbon shows the general public chose it as the best of the show. The two stickers at the bottom show the photo club members chose this photo AND the professional photographers also chose this photo.  I can understand those photographic decisions. The rocks at the bottom draw your attention into the photo toward the silhouette of the large rock and the reflection in the water.  The horizon line however almost cuts the photo in half. I did not choose this photo for anything. My best of show photo can be seen by clicking on this photo. My choice was from an emotional response. I was sucked into this photo of the two dogs. I was immediately struck by the eye contact with the dogs and I was emotionally involved with the photo. The winner of the show gave me no feeling what so ever.  My choice for best of show was given the first place for the category. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2024: For more than 30 years, Rincon Country East has displayed a photo contest in March. Resort residents vote for their best choice in each of 15 categories.  The photo club members really take this seriously. The votes will be tabulated and awards made tomorrow afternoon. 

Sunday, March 10, 2024: We were treated to a concert this afternoon by the Mariachi Aztlan de Pueblo Magnet High School Band. I believe we were all blown away by their talent and excellence and their ability to connect with the audience. I particularly enjoyed the trumpets and their ability to triple tongue the notes. Here is a video so you can hear a part of what we heard today.

Friday, March 8, 2024:This turned out to be another wet morning but the clouds were leaving by the end of the day. The sun is setting to the left in the photo but the clouds still caught a crimson reflection, click the photo to see it.

Tuesday, March 5, 2024: This last week has been noisy due to the airshow practice. Apparently the local Air Force base allows all sorts of vintage and current aircraft to prepare for the air show season with practice at the base. They would often fly over our park at relatively low altitudes. I tried to get a glimpse every time I heard them coming. I don't know where the air show will happen. I assume they practice here then take the show world wide.  These are just a few of the planes we saw.

Monday, March 4, 2024: Dawn is a member of our photo club. She is also the photographer of all the events happening at the resort. This last weekend the theater group gave their program.  Dawn did a great job at making photographs of each act as well as a photo of the entire group. The theater director wanted Dawn to make a group photo for each theater member, over 30 copies.  Dawn also needed photos for herself to enter into a contest. Since I am in charge of the printer, I had to be involved. The club has a nice printer kept in one of the resort buildings but it is relatively slow to print an 8 x 10" photo. We spent 2 hours just printing all the photos Dawn needed.

Another night in the RCE observatory
Saturday, March 2, 2024: I got a message on this evening that the observatory at our park was to be open for an impromptu viewing of several locations in the sky. I rushed over a bit late because I saw the notice late. From my previous description of our observatory, our telescope finds the particular item the operator programs it to find. It then takes successive ten second exposures and sends the view to our phones. Each ten second exposure is laid over the top of the previous exposures. The longer the telescope views an object the better the quality. The photo at left is after three minutes and 20 seconds, so this is the quality after 20 exposures. This Nebula happens to be 1600 light years distant so relatively close compared to others we have seen. This photo came directly off my phone. 

Friday, March 1, 2024: Gwen, Jeanne and I drove to downtown Tucson to explore the Artisan Market at the Tucson Art Center. These were high quality arts and crafts for sale by the crafts people. In the left photo Gwen is trying a hat she liked but passed on the purchase. The center photo is a turned wooden vase then hand carved and decorated using wood burning techniques. Behind that photo is a sculpture of a lady with a lot of tunes on her mind. The photo on the right is one of the items I purchased. I liked it enough I just couldn't pass it up. It is hanging in our living room now. We also bought some note cards, this is my favorite.  Click all three photos for more views. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2024: Gary and I have been watching this wheel barrow which a neighbor has for sale at $50. It is tandem wheels, steel frame with thick plastic bucket. I couldn't decide to buy it because I couldn't see the need. However, I wanted to haul rocks from our desert wash to aid when planting our new cactus. Gary and I decided to form a wheel barrow partnership. We each paid $25 so now we each own half a wheel barrow.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024: Gwen and I went shopping at a nearby cactus nursery. We both had ideas of what we wanted and the nursery staff turned us onto other ideas too. I was looking for Totem Pole (click the left photo), Rainbow Hedgehog (on the right) and Boojum. The nursery had ONE Boojum and it was $1,000 so that won't be happening soon. Gwen had other ideas of what she wanted.  We are unsure of how the cactus will be during the summer months when we are not here so we purchased only two. Click the right photo to learn what we bought.

Saturday, February 24, 2024: Gwen and I attended our February Concert.  I say it that way because we allow ourselves one concert per month at the park. They have an average of 1 band per week and we just don't have the time or energy to attend all. Monroe Crossing is a Bluegrass Band. It is very talented and professional. Tonight's concert was sponsored by the Dog Agility Club and well advertised by all members of the club. Click both photos for another view. Here is a short video of what we heard

Friday, February 23, 2024: I took Robin and Dorana on a hike into the Pantano Wash behind our place. On the way back we discovered a very sturdy next in the branch of a Cholla cactus. The nest was made of heavy sticks which made me wonder what sort of bird made the nest. Click the photo to see what I mean.

Thursday, February 22, 2024:This day we spent 2/3 of the day at the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum. Visitors must get their early because the Raptor Free Flight begins right at 10 am. The walk to the free flight area can take 15 minutes so it is best to arrive at 9:30 or earlier. The museum is a one hour drive from out location which means a very early start to get to the museum on time. This was a crowded day for some reason. Robin and Dorana especially enjoyed the free flight show.  The free flight demonstration is the most popular part of the museum. They purposely have it early to get visitors to the museum early. It is also located deep into the outdoor area of the museum which spreads the crowds deep into the display area. We stayed long enough to enjoy the live show in the theater where the parrot was one of the demonstrations. Click the photos for another view.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024:My sister, Dorana is visiting so we decided to take a drive to the top on Mt. Lemmon. This is not a ski day on the mountain so we were expecting much traffic but as it turned out there was plenty of traffic and lots of bicyclists. We took the dogs hoping to find some snow for them to play. After a mile hike on a closed road, there was plenty of snow for the dogs. This was a perfect day, the warmest of the new year so far. Click each photo for another view.

Sunday, February 18, 2024:  The clubs in the park often have some sort of fund raising event. This morning it was the library selling a breakfast for $8 which included pancakes, eggs, sausage, orange juice and coffee ot tea.  You could choose the size and quantity of the pancakes. The room was full when we arrived but only a few still eating when I took the photos. The serving volunteers on the right.

Thursday, February 15, 2024: This morning the park maintenance crew showed up and installed a privacy screen onto the dog park fence. I think it's great but my neighbors on both side hate it because they liked to sit on their decks and watch the dogs play. If it happened to be a big dog then Abby often had to bark at them. I'm hoping the screen will stop her barking. It may also stop the dogs on the inside from barking.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024: Gary, Jeanne, Gwen and I visited the Tucson Botanical Garden. We enjoyed the butterfly room most. I looked for my favorite cactus and found another I like as well. We are wanting to add cactus to our backyard.  We also found Ocean trash sculptures from Bandon, Oregon. The garden is also filled with sculptures of many kinds scattered around the garden. Since this was Valentines Day there were many young couples wandering the garden too. Click on all the photos for more views.

Sunday, February 11, 2024: Today is the biggest sports day of the year. San Francisco Forty-Niners and Kansas City Chiefs play in the Superbowl. It was one of the best games in a long time with teams tied at the end of regulation play. Click the photo to learn who won.

Saturday, February 10, 2024: We bought tickets a month ago then learned of the dress code for the venue. I'm wearing the $4.25 sport jacket and Gwen is wearing her "Evening Ware" both purchased at the nearby Thrift store we like. As it turned out, most of those Tucson people attending ignored the dress code. We didn't have to stress so much. However, I think dressing up made the evening special.

We both enjoyed the evening however I would have no reason to see the show a second time. The dancers used their arms effectively as well as their legs. All dancers could stand on one leg putting the other leg over their head. They could also flip forward and backward multiple times. The costumes were much of the show. No photography was allowed during the show so the right photo is the cover of the program. Click both photos for other views.

Friday, February 9, 2024: Well! This has not been a good day. I was to go skiing today with my friend, Wes. Due to the recent storms the road to the ski area was closed at 8:45, we tried again at 11:30 and it was still closed.  The ONE positive thing, between the two tries to ski I was able to secure season tickets for the Arizona Wildcats football season next fall. The yellow dot between section 23 and 24 is where our seats are located.  This last season we sat in section 205EC right on the 50 yard line. Those seats were truly in the clouds. I could have gotten seats in section 205E for the same price as what I chose. I chose section 24 right on the stairs between 23 and 24 because I wanted to be on that side of the field. The band always plays to
that side of the field.  Any activity on the field other than the football teams always play to that side of the field. We are in row 23 so much closer to the action. Also, all the really good football action happens in the 20 yards closest to the goal line. These season tickets will give us seats to seven home games.  The cost of the tickets is far less than what it will cost to fix our Subaru.

The story of the Subaru, I was working around the house since I couldn't ski while Gwen was shopping. I got a call from Gwen, "I'm sitting in the Target parking lot and the engine is smoking!" My friend Gary gave me a ride to the Target parking lot. The car would barely operate. Gwen babied it for about two miles to the Enterprise Car Rental where we rented a nice Nissan Sentra. Gwen many not want to give that up, it only has 600 miles on the odometer.  I tried to move the car but it would not go! I waited two hours for AAA to arrive with their tow truck. We dropped the car at an AAA recommended mechanic and that's where it is tonight. I'll learn on Monday what the diagnosis could be. It's already $169 just to diagnose the problem.

Thursday, February 8, 2024:Gwen, Gary, Jeanne and I visited the Tubac Art Fair today. It is one of the premium fairs with a lot of very unique art and very expensive art. We took Abby. She enjoyed seeing all the people and getting pets every once in a while. Gwen and Jeanne found something to buy while Gary and I just enjoyed seeing the creativity.  Click each photo for another view.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024: I have two suit stories to tell today. The suit on the left, a hazmat suit I purchased to crawl under the park model to complete my wiring project I described yesterday. I got about 1/3 of the distance I needed to go and realized there was too much stuff in my way. Wheel axles, HVAC piping and the worse, Cholla thorns scattered around in the dirt. I will go to plan B.

The sport coat and tie on the right are needed to meet the dress code of the Linda Ronstadt Theater in downtown Tucson. Gwen and I bought tickets to a Chinese dance group. Two days ago I got an email from the theater telling what to expect the evening of the performance. One of the items on the list was a Dress Code of "Business Attire or Evening Ware".  I haven't owned a sport coat or tie since retiring 15 years ago.  We decided to visit our favorite thrift store where I found this coat for $4.25 and the tie for $2.10. Now I just need to remember how to put a knot in the tie.

Tuesday, February 6, 2024:  Gwen and I chose today to take advantage of a gift given to us by my sister, Dorana. She gave us and annual pass to the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum.  We can visit any time with our annual pass so there will likely be many visits this year. The daily feature at the museum is the raptor flight where we get to see live flights of raptors and other desert birds. Today we saw the Raven, Great Horned Owl and Harris Hawk.  We also saw several other desert creatures found in a Sonoran Desert. I also found my favorite cactus which I hope we can grow, the Boojum.  Click these photos for more views. I also made a short video of the raptor flight. Here is a panorama of the desert scene looking to the south from the museum.

Sunday, February 4, 2024:  During our Wednesday park meeting I learned of the Astronomy Club. It meets every Sunday night after dark. They have their own observatory with a sliding roof and a Stellina Telescope.  I went for the first time tonight and was completely blown away by the technology. Using a special APP on my phone I was able to connect directly to the Telescope. What the scope saw was viewed on my phone and everyone's phone in the observatory.  The telescope takes a 10 second exposure every 10 seconds then continues to stack these photos which improves the imagine as long as the scope in pointing at that object. Our first object was the Orion Nebula, a mere 1,600 light years distant. I learned in high school physics (my junior year, 1963) that light travels at 286,282 miles per second.

So a light year is a distance measurement, the distance light would travel in a year.  When looking at an object 1,600 light years away we are seeing what it looked like 1,600 years ago.  Since I was viewing the Orion Nebula on my own phone I was able to take photos. To see my photo of the Orion Nebula click the photo of the telescope.  The second object we looked at was the Cigar Galaxy, the photo on the right.  Click that photo for a wider view. It is 11,000,000 light years from earth. That's 11 million light years. This is a huge galaxy, 37,000 light years across.  I have been watching the images produced by the Hubble and James Webb Telescopes with amazement. Having the Stellina Telescope only 100 years from our location is equally amazing. There is no supreme being in charge of all this. "God" has always been in charge of what we have not understood. The folks who wrote the Bible 2,000 years ago understood NOTHING hence put "God" in charge of everything.  Thinking there is a supreme being in charge does give some comfort. Jesus message, every deity message, is how to be human!

Saturday, February 3, 2024:  We are fortunate to have this view out our front window rather than looking at another park model or RV like the rest of the resort. Today's view was of the end of a storm as it passes on to New Mexico and Texas. Click the photo to see the amount of snow on this 9,100 foot mountain. The ski area on the other side is open and I plan to ski on Thursday with a friend. Skiing is free for those over 70 except for the equipment rental.
Friday, February 2, 2024: While reading one of the Rincon Country East Facebook pages we spotted a recommendation for a Mexican food restaurant about 7 miles from us. We invited Gary and Jeanne to go with us.  As it turned out we both ordered Molcajete for two. Molcajete is an ancient Aztec dish, not Mexican. It consists of marinated shrimp, beef and/or chicken with cheese, avacado, green onion and whatever else they decide to put into the broth.  Everyone at the table liked their selection.

Sunday, January 28, 2024: The Rincon Country East RV Resort brings professional entertainment to the park during the busy winter months. Last year when we were camped at Rincon Country West we were never able to get tickets to these events due to the size of the resort, 1,200 spaces. It has not been difficult to get ticket at the east resort with only 456 spaces. However, we have limited the number of groups we want to see because of the price of the tickets to see these groups. Virtually all of the major resorts in Arizona will book professional entertainment during the winter months so these groups stay very busy. 

The entertainment tonight is the MC6 A-Cappella group with six men performers. They introduced themselves saying they have been doing this for 20 years with three of the members from the original group. They sang music from the 50s and 60s most likely because of the age of the audience. I was 10 years old in 1957 but I really did not start to listen to music until 1967 when I was in college. The room enjoyed this group and kept them for an additional tune after they finished their planned performance. Click the photo for a photo of the group. I also made a short video of some of their tunes.

Saturday, January 27, 2024: This is the first day of the African Art Market to open. We have been waiting for this since arriving because we enjoyed it so much last year. Before arriving at the market we enjoyed breakfast with Gary and Jeanne comped by the restaurant. As VIP First Watch members, Gary and Jeanne were invited to the grand opening of a new First Watch location. First Watch is one of our favorite restaurants for breakfast.

Once we arrived at the African Art Market we were again amazed at the variety of products mostly handmade.  We had some specific ideas of what we were looking for to decorate our kitchen cabinets. Our only purchases were the two items on the right. Click that photo to see the second item. Still, my favorite items where the tall "Colonial People" on the right above. Click that photo for a closeup.

I was anxious to find the doll I bought last year for my sister, Dorana, but they weren't found on this first day. I may have to return again, maybe next week when it is raining hoping for better prices.  I'll be looking for those tall "Colonial People" and the doll.

Click all the photos for more views. The Village is scheduled to be here only two weeks but I believe it stayed longer last year, maybe they will stay longer this year too.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024: Every Wednesday morning at 9 am there is a coffee and donuts meeting for the whole park. Here is today's selection of donuts. I took a photo but avoided looking at them. I'm doing my best to loose weight. I did have some coffee, however. I sat with some ladies in the auditorium. They suggested I have a banana rather than a doughnut. I think their is just as much if not more sugar in a banana. Which one would YOU chose?

Tuesday, January 23, 2024: These are the pickle ball courts across from our park model. This is day two of an unusual rain storm for Tucson which keeps the courts wet and stops the play. If not wet, the courts are busy all day with casual games and tournaments. These courts are new, only about two months old. The player prefer these courts to the old courts in the distance, I haven't asked why. This storm is not forecast to end until tomorrow morning.

Sunday, January 21, 2024: I have been waiting for an Arizona Wildcats Rugby game. Today they were playing the Washington Huskies. The game is remotely like American football but with entirely different rules. It's not popular so there is no fee to watch the game. I had tried to watch a couple of YouTube videos so I could understand the rules but gave up early as the rules became more complicated. Because I had done little study, I did not understand the play most of the time. I did finally learn a goal was worth 5 points but so was the field goal afterward. It is a fast game and play is continuous unless an official stops play for some reason. I stayed until the middle of the second half when I left. The score as I walked out of the stadium was 75-0, Arizona. Click both photos for more views. I also created a short video.

Saturday, January 20, 2024: Today was the wildcard NFL playoff between the Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers. We were anxious to watch the game but it was on FOX, a channel we don't get at home. We learned that a Wisconsin group from the park was going to get together in the Rec Room to watch the game together. We joined them and what fun we had. They had food, we enjoyed that too. Click the photo for a view of the room. The tiny TV up front showing a sailboat is what we all had to watch.

Friday, January 19, 2024: Tonight is the Chili Feed and horse races sponsored by the "Design Team".  The stick horses were auctioned earlier and sold for as much as $220 with the hope they would bring a profit. Audience members bet on the horse race. They did not announce what the payout was for the winning horse. Each of the six horses advance depending upon the Bingo number randomly drawn.  I bet on horse number 3 and 5.  Unfortunately, horse number 1 won. We stayed for race number 1 but left before race number 2 began. There were a total of six races. I'm sure this was a very successful fund raiser for the Design Team. The Team uses the money to buy decorations for the clubhouse. Click both photos for more views.

Thursday, January 18, 2024: Joe and I drove to the top of Mt. Lemmon today. We were hoping to see the views of Tucson but it was hazy toward the valley which obscured the view. We did enjoy all the mountain views, a cup of coffee in Summerhaven, and a walk in Ski Valley. The ski area does not have enough snow to open so they run the lift slowly for people wanting to go to the top of the mountain for the views. Knowing the valley was hazy we will postpone that lift trip for a clear day. There are views behind each of these photos so click the photo to see them. I also made a short video at Ski Valley.  Summerhaven is a tiny village with many summer homes, a lodge and cabins. It is popular in the summer because it is cooler than the hot valley below. We found today's temperature to be 25 degrees cooler than the valley. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2024:  Son, Joe, Gwen and I attend the University of Arizona Men's basketball game with USC. The Wildcats were 5 - 12 points ahead of USC the entire game.  I always enjoy the band more than I do basketball and tonight was no exception. Joe and I had purchased new hats to wear to this game.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024: Joe and I attended "The Curse of the Pirate Treasure" and the Gaslight Theater. This was a musical comedy production with live actors and performance. Both of us enjoyed the production and comedy. This is a dinner theater where the audience should arrive an hour before the performance is to begin to order food and drinks. The music was great and everything worth visiting a second time. Click the photos for more views.

Sunday, January 14, 2024: I drove to Costco today to get stuffed bell peppers for dinner. My son, Joe, was to arrive in late afternoon.  Some nice person has put a basket of tennis balls in the dog park which has attracted Abby. She takes care of business then when ready to go home she picks up a ball and carries it home. She doesn't want to give it up and has destroyed one. I had "tennis balls" on my Costco list. I found them, a box of 20 cans, 60 total balls for $45.  That's $2.25 per can. I just couldn't bring myself to buy this box. I said to myself, "I'll check Walmart for a couple cans." I need to donate balls to the dog park basket and give Abby a couple.

Saturday, January 13, 2024: The RCE photo club chose to visit the Mescal Movie Set east of Tucson where many western movies have been made. The club was a private tour of the buildings built to be a part of such movies as: Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Josey Wales, How the West Was Won, Tom Horn, Stagecoach, Tombstone, Maverick, The Quick and the Dead and many more. Everyone in the club enjoyed the tour then ate together in Benson, Arizona nearby. Click the photos for more views.

Friday, January 12, 2024: Our only car is a 2016 Subaru Forester. That makes is 8 years old with 90,000 miles. We have been hearing a rumbling sound as if we were driving with snow tires. I suspected wheel bearings and I was right. The right rear bearing needed to be replaced. I took the Forester to the closest mechanic recommended by others here in the park. When the work was done the invoice totaled $638. That was $400 for parts, $204 for labor plus tax. When I got home I looked up the genuine Subaru part, it is listed at $180. The clutch also needs some work so they quoted $2450 to replace the clutch. I contacted my mechanic in Oregon, he would do the same job for $800. I'm thinking the park people who recommended this mechanic have not done their research. I'll continue my search for an Arizona mechanic.

Thursday, January 11, 2024: Rincon Country East has a small woodshop with some pretty nice tools. Residents can use the woodshop between October 15 and April 15. To use the shop you must become a woodshop member by paying dues. I have been a member since October 15. The woodshop members have fundraising events to enable the members to buy and replace equipment and supplies. Today was one of those events, a ham, beans, cornbread and cupcake dinner for $10. I signed up to be a server. This is a popular event and our clubhouse was full. In addition many residents got their meal to-go.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024:This morning was our usual Wednesday morning meeting at Rincon Country East (RCE). After announcements was a race horse auction. This is a fund raising event where a race occurs during a park meal. The horses advance as Bingo numbers are called. The audience can bet on any horse and the horse owners benefit if they come in first. I will understand more next week when the race is to occur.  Click this photo for a panorama of the full clubhouse. I also made a short video of the auction event.

Tuesday, January 9, 2024: We had some over ripe bananas so I decided to try making some banana bread. It came out much better than I expected, tasted good too.

Monday, January 8, 2024: Watched most of the College championship game between Michigan and Washington. This will be the last game of any Pac12 team. I was routing heavily for Washington but their offense did not show up for this game. I finally walked out on the game with 4 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Next season is going to be tough on all those Pac12 teams who left the conference.  Washington State and Oregon State may be the only two Pac12 teams with a chance to win games since they will compete in the Mountain West Conference.

Monday, January 1, 2024: Watching three national football games today, The Fiesta Bowl was the first and the Oregon Ducks beat the Liberty Flames. Then come the two championship playoff games. The first is the Rose Bowl where Michigan defeated Alabama in overtime (the photo at left). I'm watching the Washington vs Texas Sugar Bowl game right now.

Saturday, December 30, 2023: Tucson hosts the Bar Stool Arizona Bowl. This year Wyoming played Toledo and I bought tickets early securing some good seats on the opposite side of the stadium we are use to and much lower right on the 50 yard line. The Wyoming fans outnumbered the Toledo fans at least two to one.  Both universities brought their full bands not just a "Pep-Band".  I always enjoy watching and listening to the bands. This was a low scoring game until the last quarter when both teams came very close to each other with a score of 15 - 13, Toledo leading. But Wyoming had the ball and steadily moved down the field winning the game in the last second with a field goal. Final score of 16-15.

Friday, December 29, 2023: I got a text message early this morning from my Oregon friend, Stan, inviting me to come visit him and Georgie at a sky diving center only one and a quarter hours away.  It didn't take me long to get into the car and start driving north. When I arrived, Stan was packing Georgie's chute and began to tell me all about this sport. Georgie had been invited to join a team which was practicing for a time competition to happen tomorrow. It has been a while since Stan and Georgie have done any skydiving but apparently it's like riding a bicycle (or snow skiing) you don't forget how. Stan has done more than 10,000 jumps. This was a very busy Skydiving Center, I would guess as many as 200-300 jumpers with multiple planes flying continually. The planes fly to 13,500 feet where the jumpers leave the plane. Stan confided in me that he wants to hear, "smooth opening" from Georgie when she returns since he packed the chute. On this jump I asked Georgie about the opening, "the opening was lovely", she replied.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023: This chair has a story to tell.  Three weeks ago I participated in the "walk around sale" at Rincon Country East by riding my tricycle around the park looking for treasures.  I found what I thought was a treasure, a desk chair for only $5.  It fit perfectly and was comfortable. However, after a few days I began to notice it would let me down every once in a while. As it turned out, It would let me down at least half the time.  I took it apart looking for an adjustment but found nothing.

My son, Joe, and I often have a discussion comparing Amazon to Wal-Mart online. He always compares Amazon to Wal-Mart before placing an order. I decided to do the same before ordering a new desk chair.  Indeed, Wal-Mart had the better choices and free shipping.  Before ordering I also checked the nearby Office Max. I learned they had very little stock and would have to order something in the style I needed. Additionally, their price was twice what I would pay at Amazon or Wal-Mart.  So, I ordered from Wal-Mart hoping their service would be as good as Amazon. I was able to track the shipment just like I do with Amazon. The package arrived today and I was able to assemble quickly.  This is a "cheap" chair so not as comfortable as the more expensive chairs but I don't expect to spend a lot of time in it.  It does fit into my tiny desk and that's important since our space is limited. So far it's perfect for my needs.  Joe was right.

Christmas Day, Monday, December 25, 2023 : The activity director at Rincon Country East RV Resort scheduled a Christmas lunch time where each table had a host and co-host.  Gwen and I were co-hosts with Gary and Jeanne acting as hosts for our table of ten.  Each individual brought a dish to share while the park provided the ham. Out job was to help decorate the table. Gwen and I provided a tiny country village down the center of the table.  We also provided a one foot tall tree for the table. Of course it did not take much to fill our stomachs.  Click this photo for a panorama of the room. I also made a short video of the activity.

Sunday, December 24, 2023:
Sunday, December 24, 2023:  This morning, before the clouds covered the peak again, I was able to see snow on our mountain. I'm not surprised because it is very cold on top of the mountain this time of year. We got nearly two inches of rain which should mean more than a foot of snow on the mountain. I hope it stays cold enough for the mountain to retain the snow and the Mt. Lemmon Ski Area can open for their short season. We are looking at the south slope of the mountain and the ski area is on the north slope. I hope they got even more snow.

Saturday, December 23, 2023: After yesterday's wet storm the clouds are slowly clearing today but not before giving another 1/10th inch of rain. Notice the new fence on the dog park. Apparently someone did not like the six foot galvanized fence so it was taken down and replaced with this four foot green fence. This one is much better, no need for a six foot fence in this dog park.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023: Gwen and I joined the Rincon Country East (RCE) photo club over a month ago. During the last meeting we were given an assignment to take a night photo manually and report the manual settings used to take the photo. I got the idea to take a photo of our entry gate booth when occupied by our nighttime gate person. I also took a night photo of Culver's Restaurant.

Click the photo to see the Culver's photo.

The settings for the booth: 1/2 second, f8, ISO 400 on a tripod.

The settings for Culver's:  1/30 second, f5, ISO 400, no tripod.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023: This day began with a "Farmer's Market and Craft Fair" within our park.  We actually had one vendor with produce the others were craft items which included handmade items from the talented folks in the park.

I spent most of the middle of the day with errands, oil change, return an item to Home Depot, pick up a few items at Costco, fuel at Costco, $2.56/gallon, then fooling with the Canon Camera. We had clouds today which is unusual.

Sunday, December 17, 2023:  This was a warm day, in the 80s, so we decided to drive through the Saguaro National Park East. I have ridden the park on my bike but this was Gwen's first time through the park.  Last season we toured the Saguaro National Park West where there are many more Saguaros. The West has many more Saguaros since the East suffered from some severe freezes and cattle overgrazing thirty years ago. The Saguaro forest is recovering and you can see many babies scattered. There are many trails to follow but not sure that dogs are allowed on the trails and Abby is with us. Click the photos for a couple panoramas and other views.

Friday, December 15, 2023: Gwen and I attended the ladies Arizona Wildcat Basketball game against the Texas Longhorn ladies. This was expected to be a tough game since the Longhorn ladies record was 10-0.  The Arizona ladies put up a good fight but lost to the Longhorns.

I always enjoy the University band whether it is football or basketball. They make watching the games fun. Click the photo for a view of the Pep Band.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023: This is our park meeting day. The fire department showed up to collect all the toys the park is donating to "impoverished children" living in Tucson. Click the left photo to see a sample of the toys. Next, the RCE Choir performed a dozen tunes. After the fire department and choir there was very little time for announcements. I did learn of a woodshop meeting tomorrow morning which I should attend.

Saturday and Sunday, December 9-10, 2023: This is the Fourth Avenue Art and Craft Fair. It is the largest fair that I've ever attended. Easily over 1,000 booths. The products do vary but mostly handmade items and some creative ideas. There are well over 1000 booths and not sure you can see everything in two days. The fair is actually 3 days in length. Click the photos for more views.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023:  We have a park-wide meeting every Wednesday morning where new activities are introduced and a schedule of events is announced. The first Wednesday of the month, The Desert Boys give a 20 minute concert of seasonal tunes. They are actually pretty good so are appreciated by the crowd. This morning was a Christmas theme with tunes from well known artists dating back to the 1940s.  Wally, the leader of the band (in green) almost always gives a little history of the tunes they are about to play which is always interesting. Our clubhouse is filling up and I was told that next month the room is truly packed because the park is full.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023: Tonight the Old Pueblo Brass Band visited our clubhouse. It is a "British style band" and the conductor took his time to tell us what that meant. It has to do with the type of instruments in the band. The band was very enjoyable. Click the photo for a view from the audience.

Saturday, December 2. 2023: My friend, Gary and I attended a University of Arizona basketball game this afternoon. They were playing Colgate University from New York.  Colgate did well the first half but the net continued to spit out their shots the second half so Arizona won 82 - 55.  Several surprises for me. Since I'm not a basketball fan I was surprised at how popular the sport is at U of A. So that was the next surprise, parking nearly as tough as during football. We had seats in the top of the building but we could still see the action well, another surprise. The Arizona band was impressive and made the action fun. The final surprise, how much I enjoyed the action. The blimp on the right was flown around the court during halftime, pretty cleaver advertising. Click the photos for additional views.

Friday, December 1, 2023: This is a park dinner, Sloppy Joe's with beans, potato salad and a pickle, plus cupcake for $10. This is a fund raising event by the "Design Team" of the park. The Design Team is responsible for decorating the clubhouse and the funds raised go toward decorator supplies. We purchased tickets weeks ago and the clubhouse was full. We enjoyed our meal and met some new people. There were 24 raffle prizes but they all went to others, no one at our table won a prize. Click both photos for another view.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023: Gwen and I had an early departure this morning for the Green Valley Farmer's Market. That means we missed the weekly park meeting in the clubhouse so we missed all the announcements. It was almost an hour drive to Green Valley. The Farmer's Market is located at a mall surrounding the businesses of the mall. This time of year it is more of an art and craft fair with only a very few booths having fresh vegetables. The first place I headed was the coffee booth because I missed my coffee this morning. We were told the number of booths grows as winter approaches but today there were only 30 booths. We have Oregon friends who have a winter home in Green Valley and it wasn't long before Jack and Carole met us. It did not take long to walk the whole market so we spent most of our time touring Green Valley with Jack and Carole as our tour guides. Click both photos for more views.

Sunday, November 26, 2023: Clouds are unusual for us in Tucson. It is usually clear. This morning our mountains were gone. But, by this afternoon, they were back.

We did some shopping today, mostly at Costco. Most important purchase for Gwen was an electric heated blanket. For me, I checked on the Verizon ads for a free iPhone 15 with a trade-in. It was true so I ordered a new phone. More on this after I get the phone.

Friday, November 24, 2023: We got advertising for small business shopping on 4th Avenue so decided to walk 4th Avenue today. We were familiar with this part of 4th Avenue from our time in Tucson last year. Mostly because the downtown trolley was easy access last year and passes down the middle of 4th Avenue. Unfortunately we found nothing to buy on 4th Avenue so we hopped onto the trolley and rode it to the container shops on the west side. These are stores in a complex made with cargo containers. One of them is the Decibel Coffee Shop I frequented last year. Another is the Transit Bike Shop. Gwen found a hat she liked, I bought nothing. Click the photos for more views. 

Thursday, November 23, 2023, Thanksgiving Day: Gwen and I participated in the Thanksgiving Day activities in the Rincon Country East Clubhouse. It was operated differently than we have seen. There are tables of 8 with a "captain" and each table. We were invited to join Katherine and Rodrick's table. The park provided the turkey and gravy to each table. The table members provided everything else for their table. Food was not shared between tables. Of course there was plenty of food for each table with lots of food left over to take home. Click this photo to see a panorama of the room. Also, I created a short video as I strolled through the room.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023: The previous owners left a long string of  blue lights. I spent the afternoon untangling them then hanging around our Palm tree plus porch.  We also had purchased a 3 foot artificial tree so I set that up on our deck. My spotting scope is still on the deck along with our ice maker on the left. 

Sunday, November 19, 2023: Our friends from Oregon have returned to the park. Gary, Jeannie, Gwen and I decided to celebrate at a new-to-us Mexican restaurant recommended by my friend, Armando. We went to the Guadalajara Fiesta Grill and we were not disappointed. All four of us came home with a box with plenty for another meal.

Saturday, November 18, 2023:This day is the last of the home games for Arizona Wildcat Football.  Gwen and I got tickets to watch the Wildcats play the Utah Utes. Both teams have a 7-3 record.  For some reason Utah forgot how to play football for the first half and only partially recovered for the second half. Arizona easily won.  About 2 minutes before the end of the first half it began to rain pretty hard. I had brought garbage bags for each of us. I put mine on while Gwen stepped into hers. We left at the half and watched the last half on TV.  Click these photos for another view.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023: A month ago Gwen and I signed up for the park shuttle bus to Sabino Canyon. We learned last year at Rincon West to sign early for a shuttle before all the seats are sold out. Gwen saw Sabino Canyon last year but I missed that trip. The canyon usually has water but is has been a dry several months with no monsoons so no water. This canyon is know for the hiking trails and apparently most of the people from the all the cars in the parking lot were on hikes. Gwen had made a reservation for the tram, the only vehicle allowed on the road into the canyon. The narration claimed 1.5 million visitors to the canyon each year.  The canyon is scenic and the tram narration tells of the canyon history. The road was built during the depression because a dam was planned at the end of the road. However, funding disappeared and the road turned into a recreation area managed by the National Forest Service. Click each photo for another view. 

Thursday, November 9, 2023: The desk height was awkward for typing so I added two drawer slides and a tray for the keyboard. This is far better than having the keyboard at desk height. There are keyboard trays made just for desks but they are too large for this tiny desk. These are full extension drawer slides so the try disappears when not in use.

Sunday, November 5, 2023: A lady in our park advertised this desk yesterday. It was considerably smaller than the table I was using and would fit much better in my corner of the dining room. Additionally, my table had only one drawer so much more storage in this little desk. The table has been moved to the bedroom where Gwen is using it for jigsaw puzzles. This desk was handmade by someone. The person I purchased from bought it at a second hand store so she doesn't know who made it.  It is made very well and may have been a woodworking project for a high school student in wood shop.

Saturday, November 4, 2023: I have not been able to ride with the Cactus Cycling Club recently due to health issues. I felt well enough to join them today for road clean up. Ten volunteers showed up and we each gathered two huge bags of trash along some of the clubs favorite roads. Since it is Saturday there were lots of riders on the roads. We got many thank yous from the riders and several cars either stopped to say thank you or honked their approval of our efforts. I was exhausted after the four miles of walking and dragging the garbage bad behind.  Please don't discard trash while driving.

Thursday, November 2, 2023: I bought the trike to haul garbage to the bins in the back of the park. I also use it to take Abby for a run around the perimeter of the park. A third reason for the park is to haul project back and forth to the woodshop. These are the cabinet door frames I made today. It has worked very well for all three purposes. Oh, I also use it to get the mail and attend meetings. I figure no one will want to steal it.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023: Our Wednesday morning park meeting had something special this morning with entertainment.

I also got the chance to introduce myself and introduce the Cycling Club to happen for the first time on Monday morning. It will be a short 14 mile ride with a coffee shop at the 7 mile mark.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023: This afternoon Abby and I participated in a Halloween parade. There were decorated golf carts, bicycles, walkers, pets, and a unicycle.  Abby is wearing a skirt and some Halloween themed garland. I decorated the bike with the same garland, a witch figure on the handlebars and a skull garland around the basket. Abby did wonderful. She seemed to like following the golf carts and was patient when we had to stop or go very slowly. She got along well with the other pets in the parade too. Click on the photos to enlarge. In the photo on the left, Abby is watching me, her head is between the last two golf carts.  Here is a better photo of Abby!

Saturday, October 28, 2023: Knowing the Oregon State Beavers football team was coming to town today, we bought tickets to the game.  University of Arizona has a beautiful stadium with a sound system to burst your ear drums plus pyrotechnics. I'm always interested in the band performance so enjoyed both the pregame and halftime shows. Click the photos for more views. The game was well played by both teams with the Wildcats winning 27 - 24. Here is a short video of the Wildcats entering the stadium.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023: The season at this resort begins on October 15. Tonight was the "Welcome Back" potluck sponsored by the "Summer Buddies" who stay in the park year around. There was lots of good food plus entertainment after the dinner. The Hag Dance Group provided the entertainment. Unfortunately, they recruited members of the audience to participate and I ended up being recruited. It was painless as long as I don't have to watch myself attempt to follow their moves. Click the photos for enlarged views.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023: We have been in Tucson nearly one month. During that time the weather has been clear with the exception of two storms. Today was one of those storms. Both storms were Thunder Storms. This one had some good sized hail which made quit a noise on our aluminum car port. Here is a short video during one of the downpours.

Friday, October 20, 2023:Today we explored the idea of quartz countertops and whatever options we might have.  I was expecting we might be able to justify quartz since we have such a small area for the countertops. We visited a shop which was recommended by one of the park residents. We worked we Fernando who showed us all our options. We finally picked one to get get a price quote. Material alone was to be $2,500. We learned the material would be sent to a "fabricator" who will shape the top then install it. That would likely be another $1,000 but I'm guessing, it could be twice that. We decided to visit Home Depot where we learned it would be at least six to twelve weeks to get a countertop. After what we learned today I'm thinking we would finish building and installing all cabinets then install temporary countertops while we wait for the final product. My opinion of quartz now ... it would be like putting a $100 saddle onto a $10 horse but it will boil down to what Gwen wants.

Thursday, October 19, 2023: 100 degrees is cool weather for those who live in Tucson year around. But it is HOT to me. Take a look at that humidity. We have only a few more days of 90 - 100 degrees then we won't see the 90s again until next April, at least that's what I keep telling everyone.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023:This is the first Wednesday of the new "season".  For Rincon Country east and probably for most of Tucson, the new winter season begins on October 15. Rincon Country East has a park meeting every Wednesday morning to announce events, have a raffle prize and play a few silly games. Coffee and donuts are provided by a sponsor, in today's case it was Village Medical. VM would like to provide medical services to those of us who have a medical relationship elsewhere. It is something we both have been wondering since our doctors are in Oregon. If we need some sort of medical attention it would be nice to be welcomed by someone in Tucson. Click the photo for a panorama.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023: I'm looking at the sky from our backyard. It is 10 am and I'm thinking, since it was 102 yesterday and the day before, I sure hope that come our way. About 30 minutes later we did have a short thunderstorm and downpour. I wonder if this was called a Monsoon.  My weather station only measured 0.07" of rain. My neighbor down the street with exactly the same weather station measured 0.12" of rain. Whatever, I'll take it and I'll bet all the desert plants around us loved it too. I did make a short video of our experience.

Monday, October 16, 2023: I have lots of sore muscles and tired bones. I need to go sit in this.  Only if I had a bicycle to get me there.

Saturday, October 14, 2023:  The Pickle Ball contractor returned today to finish this months long project. The three new Pickle Ball courts are completed. As soon as the paint is dry the courts are ready for play.  That gives this resort five Pickle Ball courts.

Thursday, October 12. 2023:The crew has been working on the Pickle Ball courts all week and they are nearly finished. Just waiting for the boundary lines and net and the courts are ready for play.

Wednesday, October 11, 2023: There is a group of year-around residents call the "Summer Buddies". This was their last meeting before the new winter season begins on October 15. Announcements included a line dancing review tomorrow morning and an end of Summer Buddies dance on October 14.  The winter events begin on October 15. I suppose the park begins to fill up then.

Monday, October 9, 2023: This is "open mike" night in the clubhouse. This is the last open mike night for the "summer buddies" who are here all summer. They endure the 110+ summer temperatures. Our air conditioning has not worked since we arrived so we understand the warm weather although the high since we arrived has been 100.  It was fixed today so now our inside temperature is very comfortable. There were several performers and four tunes were a sing-a-long. Click this photo to enlarge. The person to Gwen's right is Kevin. He is one of the woodshop monitors. I was very interested in talking with him. I learned how to become a member of the woodshop crew.

Saturday, October 7, 2023: We are back online after traveling from Reno, Nevada to Tucson, Arizona. We have occupied our new-to-us park model at the Rincon Country East RV Resort. We have a clear view of Mt. Lemmon out our front window and access to the desert behind us. We are looking forward to taking Abby into the desert wash next to us. Abby is learning to enjoy her unobstructed view. The items stacked to her left were donated to St. Vincent de Paul. The park is installing new Pickle Ball courts and a dog park in front. Click on both photos for a view of the crews working on that project. When I opened the under deck storage door I found "Hector" who has been controlling the mice population all summer. I have purchase the equipment to relocate Hector but haven't seen him since the day I first saw him.


Return to RV Trips Copyright, 2023 by