Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tucson

Up and gone at dawn. Madera canyon, one of the most highly regarded birding spots in Southeastern Arizona, which is itself a highly regarded birding spot. We’re in search of the Arizona Woodpecker; a life bird for us. Got a flock of wild turkeys. Mexican jays and acorn woodpeckers everywhere, bridled titmouse, white breasted and red breasted nutchatches, various finches, siskins and juncos, and two really cool birds: the blue-throated hummingbird and the hepatic tanager. Neither are life birds, but each one only seen once before by us, so good reinforcement of the life-list. No Arizona Woodpecker though. Now we’re starting to attach adjectives to his name, like we did with that rotten little green bird, the green kingfisher, until we finally found him.

Busy days. Back before lunch; in time for Annie’s grooming and some client work. Yesterday, Judy got the coach washed (I didn’t say she washed it, she arranged to have it washed; and she did a very good job of that), and got the carpets cleaned too. Today, Judy got Annie groomed and replaced the electrical cord between the coach and the tow car (seven pin to four pin), and got some new awning straps.

Now, in the daylight, looking at the mesquite tree overhanging the hot tub, I see something wrong with tree. It has black olives hanging from its branches. Strange place, this RV Park in Tucson. How do you suppose they get black olives to grow on a mesquite tree? And why would they want to do that anyway?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Tucson

Still in New Mexico, we say good morning to the roadrunner wandering the RV Park, then head west. Interstate 10 is a trucker’s highway. The road is straight and flat, so I drove 70 for a while, but that required a lot of leapfrogging trucks. I slowed down to 65 and got to stay in the right lane. That was better. Easy driving.

From Las Cruces, past the turnoff to Silver City at Deming, by Lordsburg; moon in the windshield all morning. Through the border patrol checkpoint (with Judy clicking her seatbelt to make sure I didn’t get another ticket for an “unrestrained wife”) and New Mexico was gone.

Smallish ravens in the air; must be Chihuahan Ravens. Lordsburg. Willcox. Lunch at Texas Canyon. White throated swifts above the boulder cliffs. Ladderback woodpecker in the scrub trees. On past Benson, and down the hill into Tucson. We got to drive two days in a row. Nice trip.

We didn’t change time zones, but we drove into Arizona, so we changed the clocks.

Lows in the twenties and thirties in Santa Fe; a little cool. Lows in the forties at Las Cruces; better. Here in Tucson, it’s late at night and the outside temperature is still in the eighties. No more winter camping rules for a while. Beaudry RV Park. Gila woodpeckers. Curve billed thrashers. Private hot-tub site. Stars. Oleander hedge. Overhanging mesquite tree. A new client on Monday. We’ll stay here a week.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Las Cruces

One more walk under the floodlight moon last night and we’re gone this morning. Headed south, down the Rio Grande Valley from Santa Fe. Made a stop at the Indian Casino truck stop to top off the tank. Only took 32 gallons. Didn’t even break $100. Through Albuquerque and Socorro, past Bosque del Apache; wintering sandhill cranes in the air. Through the giant dips in the interstate next to Elephant Butte, past the white van driving on the shoulder; guy on the passenger side leaning so far out the window he could pick up trash with his grabber without actually stepping on the ground. Past the town of Truth or Consequences, and stopped for the night at the familiar Hacienda RV Resort in Las Cruces. We’re still on the Rio Grande.

We’re on a trip.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Moon over santa fe

Took my walk on a trail outside the park at 9 o’clock tonight; away from all the lights. It was like walking under a streetlight.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Santa Fe

The neighbors next door; the ones in the fancier painted coach… Theirs is bigger than ours; 5 feet longer. It’s an American Coach, Heritage. I looked it up on the internet. It’s five feet longer and twice the cost. That’s an expensive five feet. It has two bathrooms, the master bath in the rear is the size of our bedroom. Conversation got around to what we do for a living. We still don’t know what they do or what they did for a living; but they must have done okay. Their license plate reads “B RACIN”. They own an Indy car team.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Santa Fe

Well, it has happened already. Our motorhome is dated. No, they haven’t improved on the big one-piece windshields or the placement of the windshield wipers (okay, some have disappearing wipers down into the front end cowling, but that looks forced). They still have just four slides (Some fifth wheel trailers have five slides now). It’s about the appearance.

See how our swirly paint job goes right up to the windows? Now you can get exterior sunshades over your windows that allow the fancy swirly paint job to go right over the windows.

We’re so “last year”.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Santa Fe

I don’t think the last weather report I sent from Santa Fe was clear. I wasn’t reporting that we were going to get snow here; the snow was all going to be in Colorado. And it was. We sat in breezy sunshine Sunday while our family in Denver watched fat snowflakes fall. It got cold here and threatened to precipitate, but nothing much happened. We woke to clear skies; some snow on the surrounding mountains. Now that the wind has let up, the cold doesn’t even feel that cold.

Brother David wonders about the swirly camouflage painting on the side of our rig. He wonders if it works. Well, let’s see. Can you spot the motorhome in this picture?

Or should we, as David suggests, pull it into a slot canyon and watch it disappear against the background?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Travel day


Las Vegas to Santa Fe. Sixty miles. Waited. Waited. Waited. Left about noon. Arrived about one. Way too short a drive. We’re working our way south. Cortez. Durango. Las Vegas. Santa Fe. Except that Santa Fe is west and actually a little north of Las Vegas.



We think of Interstate 25 as a straight north/south highway. It is, mostly, but in this part of New Mexico it does a bit of a loop. We drove on southbound Interstate 25 for sixty miles and ended up northwest of where we started.




We mean to head south ahead of winter weather. We’ve had a few nights below freezing, but overall the weather has been warm and nice. That’s about to change though. There is a big windy wet storm headed into the mountains that will spill over to this side. The wind is here already. We’re supposed to get a couple of hard freeze nights in the mid-twenties. The weather is supposed to be messier than that in Denver. The forecast is for snow all day Sunday.



Friday, October 19, 2007

Along the way

Lunch stop on a back highway from Colorado crossing into New Mexico.

Wild creatures

Dogs are descended from wolves, right? They’ll have some of the same tendencies and instincts no matter how civilized or sissified they get. Yes, this conversation is working its way around to Annie the Princess. Annie is descended from wolves?

If Annie does something, it might be something wolves do too? How do wolves act during thunderstorms? Do any of them tremble and cower like Annie? What if they do? Do the other wolves turn on them; kill and eat them for being weak? Or what if it’s the lead dog doing it? Does everyone look at him and follow suit? Is there a cave somewhere with twenty trembling wolves in it during a thunderstorm?

Meanwhile, Annie gets her MuttLuks on before she can go outside in case there are stickers.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Las vegas

Ow! My entire body hurts. Well, maybe not every single muscle hurts; only the ones used for racquetball. I think there is one in my left forearm I didn’t use.

No problem. We have Aleve. I wonder if it comes in liquid I could use as an I.V. drip? No matter. A little pain? It’s just a two day reminder of how much fun I had.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The wind

The wind

It was blowing hard and not very warm. Not inviting weather for a walk outside, so I drove to the local rec center. They have racquetball courts there. There were racquetball players there too. Several of them were nice enough to invite me to play. I was rusty and it was a slow start for me, but I warmed up and did respectably. Each game it seemed like I had a chance.

I don’t remember the last time I played. I think it’s been over a year. Most of my exercise is slow and steady now; nothing like the bursts of racquetball. An hour and a half left me winded. I suspect tomorrow and the day after I’m going to be feeling the pain I used to take such great pleasure inflicting.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Las vegas

We got the juncos and sparrows sorted out. Gray headed, pink sided, and oregon juncos. White crowned, savannah, and chipping sparrows.

Got some canyon towhees and scrub jays too.

Sports

Our cowboys got hammered by new England. Mercifully, no Broncos game this week.

Now we get to bounce between the rockies and seahawks (mostly Rockies).

Go Rockies!

Go Hawks!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Las vegas

We weren’t anxious to leave Durango, but time to move on. Las Vegas…. New Mexico, that is. Winding back highways through gorgeous southern Colorado and northern New Mexico un the fall. A slow scenic day. We’re settled in for a week at one of our favorite campgrounds; welcomed back by name, and fed dinner at the KOA cafĂ©. Instant friends to share a table with. It’s good to be back.

The Rockies won another game. Late last night (early this morning actually), the Diamondback pitcher walked in the winning run in the 11th. Painful for the snakes, but too bad it wasn’t a home game for the Rockies. They could have gotten a walk-off walk.

A very birdy place here. Swarms of juncos and sparrows in the short grass field next to us.
We’ll have a good time getting them all sorted out.

Along the way

Oh lord.

Won’t you buy me,

a Mer-ce-dez Benz.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Iron gator update

We like our RV spot on the beach on the Texas coast so much; we jumped at the chance when we got an opportunity to buy a spot on a golf course in the same area. We got in so early; they were still pushing around sand and brush and digging out lakes. They got a lot done, but not enough to keep the money man happy. They were delayed all summer by a lot more rain than they normally get down there. Apparently, the money guy behind the project had enough, called a halt, and took his equipment away. The project is dead in the water.

We don’t know if it’s going to start up again or not. Guess we just have to wait and see. We’ve already closed on the lot, but our money is still in escrow at the title company. We may have to apply to get it back for now. We’re hoping the project comes back to life and eventually we get our spot on the golf course, but we won’t be staying there this winter.

Guess Judy doesn’t get her golf cart this year either.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Durango

But us; we’re not in Russia; or even in Glenwood Springs. We’re in Durango. Here for a week. Cold blustery weather at the start, with nighttime lows in the twenties. We had to go to winter utility mode, disconnecting the water each night, draining the hose, and running off the tanks until the weather warmed up again the next day.

It has cleared up since, with daytime highs in the seventies. Perfect fall weather surrounded by fall’s evolving colors. Watching the steam trains go by each day; hearing the whistles. Wrapping up jobs. Enjoying the Rockies’ run. Eighteen of their last nineteen games.

Got a flock of evening grosbeaks.

Fish story

Our friend John went flyfishing in Russia.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Birds

While we were in Glenwood Springs a pack of pine siskins descended on our feeders. An entire bowlful of pine siskins. They flow to and from the feeder in waves, depending on the presence of jays. One jay in; every little bird out until the jays have vacated. Siskins make the sweetest, faintest little twittering sounds while they’re there. They probably make the same sounds when they’re not there, we just can’t tell. We can tell with the chickadees. You can hear them from everywhere.

The chickadees and siskins are wary of jays, but not of us. A person can stand within reach of the feeder without interfering with them. Little birds bouncing around, going about their little bird business all within three feet of the observer.

Fun.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Friday, October 5, 2007

Cortez

Exciting Rockies playoff games. The Rockies won the first one. Before the second game, one of the television announcers was pondering the Phillies predicament and declared if they didn’t win the second game, they would have a big mountain to climb out of.

The Rockies won that one too. The Phillies have a big mountain to climb out of.

Last week on the way here, we stopped at the top of Wolf Creek Pass and had lunch. While watching the white crowned sparrows on the ground, we got swooped by a gray jay. What a treat! We get lots of blue jays, scrub jays, and steller’s jays, but we haven’t seen a gray jay in years. Two of them hung out within binocular range for about ten minutes.

A busy week in Cortez is over already. Nice fall weather; a great variety of warm sunny days and rainstorms. Mostly, we just worked, but we got to sit in the front seats and have coffee each morning, watching the dawn as the sun rose from behind Mesa Verde. We’re happy to be here and would gladly stay longer, but…

Tomorrow, Durango.