Week eight @ BTA

Sunday January 9th, 2022

Sunday, afternoon at 2pm, and I have got the outside chairs set up again, cause there is nothing except sunshine in the ten day weather forecast. I’ve taped up the air conditioner cover and have it back in place, and I just ordered a whack of items to resealable a number of items on the coach roof from Amazon, now I’m kicked back with one of those whiskey sour cocktails waiting for Tom & Kathleen to join us. And after the first sip, I have made the corporate decision that there will be no more ladders in my future today. As I’m thinking this one is going to need a second, or possibly a third, and now I’m starting to understand what could be the source of some of my time management issues … jus’saying.

Ok the jury is in, the second whiskey sour was just as good as the first, but I must admit I wasn’t brave enough for a third. Our gathering grew as John & Karen, as well as Lincoln joined us for a beverage, and as hard as it may be to believe Miss Laurie rolled out some liquor shots after our two whiskey sours, we also fired up the fire pit and enjoyed a little warmth as the sun has moved around the coach to shade us, or at least we had some heat, till we ran out of propane.

After an afternoon of beverages and laughter we settled in for a evening of leftovers and some television, including a few YouTube videos. I didn’t get out for my regular Sunday walk in the arboretum, but I will get out for this week’s photos, so fear not.

Monday, and the sun is just starting to peak over the mountain 7:58, as we are back over the ten hours between sunrise and sunset, but because we are tucked in between the mountains we see the sun later and lose it earlier, but it paints the mountains with such beautiful colours and shadows that it is all worth it. We we near freezing again last night, but are warming up all week as we climb to 21°C (70°F) by Friday, which will have us actually move over the average temperature for January.

In the mean time I wanted to get some more propane for the fire-pit and the barbecue so I headed into Superior where I fueled our toad and went looking for a place to refill our propane tank. Well I couldn’t find a refill station in Superior, oh almost every where had exchange tanks, but I didn’t want or need to pay for that service, but along with precooked bacon that seems to be the American way. I was also looking for information on local hiking trails in the area and had been told that the visitor centre in superior was a good spot for such information but the sign in the window said closed, no hours or anything, just closed, so a quick tour of the Main Street found a total of four tank exchange places but no one that would refill my tank.

Now I had seen a propane tanks and trucks on the way to Gold Canyon, on the north side of US-60, so I headed west, and found the spot, and it looked like they could refill tanks but the gate was closed and padlocked, again no sign with hours or any information. So I ventured further through Gold Canyon to the town of Apache Junction where I found a refill station. And there was a long line of people and propane tanks to be filled, a few cold nights and closed for New Years the main cause for the line.

Small propane tanks have always been a bone of contention with me, back home in Ontario most refill stations just charge a set price, so the cost to fill a tank or top off a tank is the same. And that always bothered me enough that we purchased of a second tank to allowed the luxury of draining the tank completely before refilling, getting the best value. Every where we have traveled since charges for the actual amount of product being sold, todays price was $2.79 per gallon ($0.72 per liter), and here in the States they call the regular small propane tanks, 5 gallon tanks as opposed to 20 pound tanks and 30 pound tanks are 8 gallon tanks. Tanks are not filled while sitting on a scale, they are filled properly by cracking the vent and being filled until the liquid shows at the vent. The same process used back in Ontario to fill a propane powered vehicle, or to fill an on-board mounted propane tank on our motor-home. So todays fill of my empty tank was 4.6 gallons of propane, so 4.6 times $2.79 plus the state sales tax, meant a cost of $14.06 as opposed to $24.95 plus sales tax for the exchange. I will also tell you that $2.79 a gallon is not a good price as it was usually just over the two dollar a gallon mark in Quartzsite. And just to annoy my Ontario friends even more, we paid under $0.80 per litre to fill the propane tank on our coach, when we left Goderich in November.

But enough of this rambling rant on propane prices, as Ray & Karen are coming to visit this afternoon, so a couple of hours wandering through the arboretum, finishing with a hike of the high trail, and I would say we have seen less that half of the arboretum. Water was still flowing in Queen Creek, in fact so much flow, that the lower crossing was still closed to foot traffic, but the sound of the flowing creek just seems sweeter here in the desert, and has been a wonderful treat. After our hike we enjoyed a cold beverage and one of Miss Laurie’s dips as a reward, with Ray and Karen escaping, just before the gates locked for the evening. Because I had got propane, I was able to barbecue pork chops for dinner before catching the season ending Yellowstone.

Ok this photo sucks but, but we have a couple of new additions to our dash, these guys were a Christmas gift from the Savino’s as a reminder us of our winters together, either here in the Arizona desert or back in the Florida swamps. Hence the flamingo and the saguaro, they are solar and move all day long, I took the photo through the windshield and got way too much reflection.

In a lifestyle that has little to no space for useless things, and even with our normal rule to only purchase consumables, items that will remind us of experience’s, like preserves, or treats, or the occasional piece of clothing, these little guys have already secured a place on Thunders dash, and have already brought many smiles each time we walk by, and what could be more fun than a saguaro with a moustache and waving his arms?

I will try to get a better picture, if time permits, but we will have to see, if I remember.

Tuesday, and for some reason I’m up at 5am, the evening was not as cold, so the electric heater has kept the coach reasonably warm over night, but we are still three hours before the sun starts to warm the coach, Mr. Sam has had his morning treats, and is napping on my lap, which is normal if I rise early, but a treat I miss out on if I get up at 7am as then he just has his treats and heads straight to the big bed. And I plan to turn on the television at 7am To catch the morning news. But this morning I finished off yesterdays portion of the blog and at 6:25 the eastern horizon is showing the first signs of light, and the beauty of the sunrises here is only exceeded by the sunsets. And it was just last evening as we watched the mountains being painted again by the setting sun, that Miss Laurie said we already have dozens of sunset photos, we just need to remember to enjoy the beauty every night we can. And as much as we dislike the short daylight hours of winter, we get to see more sunrises than we do during the summer months.

6:32 and Mr. Sam has woken and left my lap, he has made it to his food bowl, to have an early morning snack, I suspect he will be heading to the big bed for his extended morning nap, but I can now hear him trying to open a cabinet door as he makes his way to the bedroom, he is always looking for an unlatched cabinet, that he can open and explore. No wonder the phrase “curiosity killed the cat” because this is one damn curious kitty.

I’m not sure but I think today is our restocking day, because I think tomorrow we are heading to Scottsdale with Ray & Karen for a day of exploring and dinner, but for now I’m just going to enjoy the birth of another day, and think about how lucky we are to be able to enjoy these little simple pleasures that this life affords us …

7am and the red hews are starting to show through, we have gained enough light that my iPhone just took a regular photo as opposed to a long exposure photo but we are still close to an hour from the sun peaking over the mountain top. The sun peaked over the ridge a couple of minutes before eight o’clock and almost instantly I can feel the warmth, the forecast temperature today is 66°F (19°C) and for the next week the temperatures will continue to rise. I don’t want to sound like a smart alec but winter is pretty much over here in Arizona, there will be cool nights but any sunny day over 60°F (15°C) I’m ok with.

So today was restocking day a trip to Mesa, and our first “Trader Joe’s”, experience and after all the hype we had heard to call it disappointing would be an understatement. The crap some people buy “organic” mustard or “organic” ketchup, in fact the only thing I couldn’t find “organic” was the butt floss, but there was some recycled butt floss. Oh there were some neat looking, but overpriced items, things that I would maybe like to try, but common sense says no don’t do it, the same little voice that stops us buying things at Costco that sound so good but buying a family supply size bag of something that we have never tried doesn’t make any sense either. So Trader Joe’s, Costco and Bashas’ and we are loaded up for more than a week, other then perishable items.

I could talk about people not wearing masks in stores, but how would the States ever be able to set new Covid case records day after day? If people actually tried to protect themselves, like seriously let’s just let nature take its course, and if we loose a few thousand people on the way, oh well, at least they had the right to die their way. As I look at the news from Ontario and see the move to another lockdown, being brought back in to try to control the spread, here they are doing the opposite with close to a half a million cases a day, the drive seems to be infect enough people to get to herd immunity, will it work, the jury is still out, but we should know shortly.

Wednesday, just another sunny Arizona day, and today and we are off the explore “Old Town Scottsdale”, it sounds like a lot of shops, bars, and restaurants. And while it looks interesting, I’m thinking it may just be a good people watching day, especially on such a beautiful January day. We are going with Ray & Karen, and are planning dinner at a Spanish restaurant in Old Town Scottsdale, that has excellent reviews.

Well today was a day filled with a lot great conversation as Ray & I wondered around the old town area, but far as stores go, unless looking for ladies clothing, Indian jewelry, or some expensive souvenirs Im thinking that some of the bars would be the only reason for returning. Tapas Papa Frita was the restaurant that was chosen for dinner, and the group shared some tapas before ordering individual paella’s for our entrees. The tapas were flavourful and the paellas were obviously made to order, but I think Miss Laurie and I were expecting some what spicier dishes, we could be wrong in our expectations, but I had always imagined Spanish cuisine to be spicy, in the same way I would expect French cuisine to be rich and creamy, and maybe that’s because of our Mexican experiences with the Mexican use of chilies, and we both wondered if the dishes have just been toned down to satisfy the local tastes, I guess that will remain an unanswered question for now.

I understand that too often restaurants cater to local tastes rather than staying authentic, we have ran into that at restaurants in Mexico that are near the border, and they have what i would call a gringo menu for the tourists, apparently Americans cross into Mexico to order a hamburger at a Mexican restaurant, but they also have menus for the locals that are readily available to us gringos upon request. And in all reality most Americans eat very plain foods so I suspect local restaurants may just adjust to the local tastes and I personally didn’t see many spicy people in Scottsdale if you get my drift.

Thursday, back to work in our ticket booth, this working three days a week is a treat, and the job doesn’t require a whole bunch of thought process, and is actually a one person job, so I spend time watering plants in the morning and explaining the map and some of the arboretum high lites to guests. The problem is that every trip I make into the arboretum adds to the number of high lites, so I take a black and white copy of the map and with a highlighter mark the main arboretum trial and explain that it is 1.25 miles (2 kilometres) long and takes anywhere from 45 minutes up to 6 hours to walk depending on how often you get sidetracked.

So this week we took it upon ourselves to sweep, much of the area around our ticket booth, the area has trees overhanging the area, and as their leaves have fallen, no one has cleaned up, so during last weeks rain, the water was dammed up to prevent it from running to the drains because of the leaves. As we watch the amount of staff here and what actually gets done, and there seems to be a discrepancy. So far we have not been able to get a good read on the the actual staff directory of who works for whom, and how the areas are divided up. At this point we work under the direction of Lynnea, who is in charge of retail and admissions.

Friday, and today’s forecast sunny and 70°F (21°C), and as I watch the weather report for the nation, the temperatures back in Ontario that has sub freezing temperatures for the daytime highs, and I’m thinking that we’re good here in Arizona with the sunshine. This is our seven hour day, but it is a beautiful Arizona day, and with more visitors the days pass faster.

Friday dinners are normally burgers, and tonight was a burger night, sometimes it’s the simplest things that taste the best, and we are huge fans of Kirkland’s sirloin burger patties from Costco, they barbecue well, a little shrinkage but picks up lots of barbecue flavour and makes a great burger that isn’t juicy enough to run down your arms while eating, but is flavourful enough to enjoy, And after a seafood paella on Wednesday, tonight’s burgers seemed even tastier served with some plain potato chips, just simply hit the spot.

Saturday, and I’m up early again this morning, 5 am and it’s 46°F (8°C) and the forecast for today is cooler as another storm hits north of us, Northern California, Nevada, Utah areas, which is great because the moisture is badly needed, as many of the reservoirs are very low, Lake Powell and Lake Mead are down nearly a one hundred feet each, and are part of the Colorado river that is the water source for many towns and farms in the desert.

At 5:30 I crawled back into bed and slept till after seven, which left us hustling to get to work for our eight o’clock start. Saturdays are usually busy which just makes the days slip by even quicker, being our longest day at a full eight hours, if your not busy the day can drag on but today was busy and it wasn’t long until we we getting ready to cash out for the day and our work week. Tonight’s dinner was our left over paellas and were very good reheated in the microwave, way too often restaurant leftovers come out way overdone when reheated but these came out very good and if anything the flavour was even better.

Just a quiet evening, In the coach, got to watch some golf, we caught up on some YouTube videos, and took in a movie before turning in for the night. We have a new addition to the crew as the sixth work camper couple pulled in today, we have not met them yet

Sunday, and I’m sure you all will be surprised to hear that this blog is no where close to being ready to publish, and as I sit here watching “Sunday Morning” on CBC, I’m actually feeling a bit lazy, and can see that todays deadline is going to get kicked down the road a few hours. As I take my Sunday morning stroll through the arboretum, and below are a few of todays photos, again all taken in the Wallace garden section of the arboretum.

Well it’s now a couple of hours after the scheduled publication time of ten o’clock local time and I’m at least an hour away, but I’m back into go mode and charging ahead, now all I can hope for is a boring football game, so that someone will read my blog … lol

Be well, stay safe, & only 71 days till spring!

Day 1559

Blog 399

One thought on “Week eight @ BTA

  1. Thanks for sharing your experiences of the week.
    Indeed looking forward to Spring as I look out my window and all I can see is the white stuff coming down – it’s going to be a nasty cold night. Stay warm and enjoy the scenery.

    Liked by 1 person

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