Thursday, April 24, 2008


After a rapid walk today, during which I huffed and puffed as I talked to Dave, I went to Sunflower and brought back muffins for John and me. His hip's bothering him still, and he has an MRI scheduled for tomorrow. He chose the blueberry and I got the orange-cranberry. Sunflower Market has the best muffins in the world, I do believe.

I did some email and got pretty well caught up on that. Then it was off to Camping World to exchange that hitch lock. I measured it against the bolt that I had brought along, and the 1/2" lock looked perfect.

Well.. LOL... it wasn't! It was still too big! I ended up just using the bolt that came with the bike rack, and it's going to be fine. It's threaded into the receiver thing and then it's held with a cotter pin. To keep people from stealing the whole affair, I can chain the bike to the hardware that holds the spare tire onto the RV. Someone would have to want my bike very badly to get it off of there.

I got my estimate for finishing up my patio awning over my driveway (if I decide to put the RV in storage for the future), and .. $3000! I told them that I'll hold off on it for now. I think I'll go for a second estimate.

Tucson is getting more and more beautiful, with flowers and trees blooming everywhere. The palo verdes look like they are painted with an airy yellow brush on the tips of the green branches. The prickly pears are abloom with peach or yellow blossoms. Even my purple prickly pear behind my cottage is covered in yellow blooms! The chollas are blooming in red, orange, or yellow. Night-blooming cereus are cause for a gathering, as they bloom at night, for only one night per showy bloom. I just found this website which is an amazing collection of work, write-ups, and photos of Tucson flowers! Do have a look.

And as Tucson becomes more beautiful with her flowers, the streets are becoming quieter, particularly here in the Village. I would estimate that only one cottage in 7 has people still in it, and most of these people will remain here for the summer.

Be sure that you read my comment for my last entry. In that comment, I tell how I use Photoshop to enhance and save my everyday photos for this blog. :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Photos from Ventana Canyon Hiking

I'm thinking that I have been having some episodes of exercise-induced asthma, and that's why I'm having trouble with getting out of breath, having chest tightness, and profound weakness. It's not constant, but i reach a point where I just feel like I can't go on. I rest a bit, do some pursed-lip breathing, and it clears. Recently, the pollen counts here have been very high and the air has been much drier than before.

While this may be a case of "sophomoritis" -- a condition of 2nd-year med students who think that they have every disease that they study -- with my long history of asthma, I think it's reasonable to think that I have this, and that that is my problem. I'm going to try using my "rescue" inhaler as a prophylactic, before I go cycling or hiking again. I'm basing this treatment on my interpretations of this article. If you're a doctor, or you know one, and this is a dumb idea for me, I appreciate your letting me know. I miss one certain doctor very much.

So the hike yesterday was.. difficult for me. We hiked in Ventana Canyon, one of the hikes that we did when Dave was here in early March. That hike is about 1200 feet of up.

There were a couple of young women who were hiking and had gotten a bit off the trail, it seemed. They were ready to head back, but the guys (Duane and Jack) convinced them to come ahead with us. We all meandered around a bit, before finally finding the proper trail.

I hike more slowly than just about anyone, I'm convinced, so they were all scampering on ahead of me, while I plodded along at my own pace. But while I was lonesome for conversation, I did enjoy the scenery and the wildflowers.. and these cute little lizards that like to pose:

When I arrived at the Maiden Pools, Duane was already there, with his feet in the water. I enjoyed my sandwich and trail mix, along with Gatorade. I drank very nearly all the water and Gatorade I had brought -- 65 oz total.

There were little frogs which had come up out of one of the ponds, onto the grayish stone face. The frogs matched the rock very well, don't you think?

I shot some photos of the pools and the scene looking down toward Tucson.

Today has been a busy day for me! I called a locksmith to remove the hitch lock that we had put onto our RV's hitch last spring. I have no idea where the key is, but I suspect that Michael took it with him. The locksmith had no way of getting the thing apart without drilling out the lock, which he did. $70 for that lost key, plus the cost of a new hitch lock -- about $15.

I grabbed John and we headed off to Camping World and found a hitch lock. Then we went to Performance Bicycles and got a bike rack. The bike rack went together easily with John's help, but the hitch lock is too big! I'll return it tomorrow.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Riding my new Fuji

This color is the color of blue that fades into white on my beautiful new bike! I don't have a picture of the bike yet (duh..) but here it is!

Today I took her for her maiden voyage, riding up to Saguaro East with Jack. I had to learn how to do the gears and get onto the pedals (getting my feet into them after a stop), but it was easy. The bike has 27 gears, with 3 chain rings in front and a 9-gear cassette in back. And notice the white! The handlebars are wrapped in white, the seat's white, and all the components are either white or chrome -- no black in sight! Yes, it's clearly a chick bike, and it goes perfectly with my white helmet, too. ;)

The ride was really fun, though, of course, difficult for me. I am always finding myself searching for air, huffing and puffing, and all of this heavy breathing makes my mouth dry. I go for my CamelBack and take some swigs.. and then I'm even MORE out of breath, since I can't breathe and drink at the same time. I think that it would be pretty dumb to drown riding a bike, but I suppose it's been done.

Today I brought my large bike bottle full of Gatorade, and my CamelBack full of water, and drank almost all of both. Today I went 21 miles, making my total for the season (not including my park bike outings) 41 miles! Pam told Jack to go 1000 miles before fall, so that's what I'm going to attempt to do as well.

I want to do the Hilly 100 this year, as well, so I'm in training! :)

I was exhausted when I got back from the ride today, and sunburned! The burn came because, while we were planning to leave at 7 am, we actually didn't get away till after 10. That's because Jack experienced some flat tires, patched them not quite well enough, and then had to buy another tube and replace it. The sun was up higher by 10, of course, and I was ill-prepared.

John's sick today, and I went and got him some Pepto-Bismol -- one of Michael's favorite remedies. His other favorite for GI stuff -- Gaviscon chewables! I always keep some of those on hand, too. There seems to be some tummy flu running through what's left of the people here in the park. So far (knock wood), I've remained very healthy this season.

I don't like to talk future in here, but... here I go. I am planning now to leave Tucson on Sunday, the 27th. I'll go up to Sedona and spend 2 nights before heading up north to Zion National Park. An internet friend of mine (who also has a Navion) will be there with his daughter and we'll tour around together a bit and do some hiking before I point my Navion eastward. I should still be back by the 20th of May... or sooner.