Week twenty @ BTA

Sunday April 3rd 2022

Sunday morning and if today’s Wordle is any indication of the week to come, I thinking it could be a tough week. This is our last day in the nineties as we return to normal temperatures for a few weeks before climbing back to the nineties about the same time we are preparing to pull out. Miss Laurie has had the window open at night, and we have had the air conditioners running during the day, to help Mr. Sam stay comfortable during his mid day naps.

This is the week we will say goodbye to the Savino’s as they start their summer adventures through the north western states, and we are preparing for our trek to British Columbia which now becomes my top priority. This is our Friday and after a bowl of cereal, a vitamin, and a cup of coffee with a little splash of Irish Cream and we are ready for our shift in the Arboretum. Before we started we walked into the arboretum to see the Puya, this is a plant that only blooms every ten years, and while not in full bloom yet it has opened a lot since Wednesdays walk through the arboretum.

The puya on Sunday

The flower is supposed to be turquoise with orange, and while starting to open it is still a few days away. But we did have a visitor near our admissions booth this morning as a rattle snake make its way up the arboretum entrance path. Because these creatures are just part of the southwest deserts, they are just picked up and moved to a new location, usually within a couple hundred feet from where they are found. All of the staff is trained on how to handle the snakes and there are numerous snake bins located in the arboretum. Because of our unique location, this is a great hunting area for predators such as snakes and coyotes, and much to Miss Laurie’s chagrin it is just the circle of life. Here are a couple our rattler photos.

The admissions booth was not busy today as we were under six hundred visitors, the heat could be part of the issue as we are very warm for the end of March. Seems strange having this kind of heat as our friends in Ontario are hunkering down for a spring snow storm, now I have to admit, that is one of those things that we do not miss at all. I was asked to remove a couple of the stainless steel shelves from the exterior of the admissions booth, in the direst sun they get hot enough to burn some one if they lean on them, and they also seem to be a collection area for too many things. As time goes on it seems that there was little to no thought used in the design of this admissions booth, windows on four walks cause horrific reflections on the screens making the hard to see, let alone the greenhouse effect from the sun, but those issues are way above our pay grade.

After our shift we had a happy hours at Tom & Kathleen’s coach, we were joined by Lincoln and Mary, and enjoyed a variety of beverages, before Tom & Kathleen served us a barbecued salmon dinner, yea this full-timing is a tough lifestyle, being retired and enjoying life to the fullest, here with our RV family and living our best life!

We made it back to the coach to watch the end of the Oscars, apparently just after the Chris Rock / Will Smith thing, one of the benefits to being on the west coast is that we get to see the end of the Oscars for once. As I’m working on the blog it is 8:30 as the Oscar’s is ending, and we prepare to watch something else before bed, not something we are used to doing from the east coast.

Monday and it was a five thirty start for me, and yes I got some kitty lap time following those precious morning treats. Wordle could have been a multitude answers but I got lucky. Today the temperatures will be much cooler than yesterday as we get back to seasonal temperature for this time in March, there is rain in tomorrow’s forecast, and it is so badly needed here in the desert. The lasto rain storm with a measurable amount of rain was back on New Year’s Eve, so to say things are dry is a real understatement, and the fire hazard is way too high to early in the season.

As we catch up on the news this morning, Mr. Sam is pacing as he wants some outdoor time, he loves watching the geckos from his tent. He can spend hours watching them as the scurry by just out of his reach. This game of kitty and gecko goes on for hours each day, hence Mr. Sam’s great desire to get outside to his tent. So after a fried cheese omelet I took Mr. Sam to his tent while I enjoyed my coffee on the patio.

So with rain scheduled for Tuesday, today is fix the skylight day, as I had indicated earlier, I was not happy with the with the thickness of the material used for the new dual pane skylight, it is held in place by 24 screw spread along the flange. When I put it in place and tried to tighten the screws this is what the seal looked like.

As you can see, the skylight mounting flange was not rigid enough to hold its shape, and when I spoke with Ray last week, I explained my concern, and that I suspected that I would have to add another twenty screws to get a better seal. Ray suggested installing metal strips to gain the rigidity that I was looking for, again that second option can be so valuable. So this morning I purchased four metal pieces, drilled holes to match the skylight holes and this was the result.

Now the skylight is sealed properly to the coach roof with butyl, and the butyl is being squeezed out evenly, I did need to use some longer and larger screw to pull it into position. But now I’m happy with the results, and I just needed to seal all the edges oand screws with Dicor, a self levelling sealant made for repairs such as this … finished product.

After a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch, I put all my tools away in preparation for tomorrow’s rain, the we headed off to Costco for a supply run. This was the task that got put off last Thursday, after our last kayaking endurance test. We also needed a few other items so we stopped at Bashas’ in Gold Canyon, it was here that my afternoon went for the perverbial dump. As I was trying to exit the parking lot that I was involved in a collision, the exit from the lot is a high traffic area and the long and short of it I didn’t see a little car going too fast and there was a collission. Damage to the SportTrac was just the tow bar and shouldn’t be too bad to repair, when it gets repaired will depend if I can get the parts before we are ready to pull out.

Further inspection of the tow-bar has me thinking that the ends of the vehicle frame may also be bent, so my thought is that we will tow the SportTrac back to British Columbia before attempting any repairs. The last thing I need is to get held up at a repair shop, before our departure, so I have left it as an open claim with the insurance.

The wind and dust in Mesa was crazy this afternoon, on the news tonight they were talking about 50 mph (80 kmph), the debris flying along with dust clouds blocking out the view of the surrounding mountains, it was crazy, but dust storms are a real thing here in the southwestern desert and just like snow can limit visibility. So tonight was a barbecue night, sausages and salad for dinner, before settling in to watch some YouTube videos and one episode on This is Us, we are actually only a few episodes from being caught up, off to bed shortly after nine thirty. We are getting an occasional sprinkle this evening, but the real rain is forecast for tomorrow with wind.

Tuesday, well I woke this morning to the sound of a torrential down pour at 4 am, the winds were gusty over night, but the rain seems to have lightened to nothing now, it is now six o’clock and the sky is starting to brighten. Mr. Sam is on my lap, he really doesn’t like the rain, I’m not sure just why, but as the rain continues I just thinking about how badly we needed this rain here in the desert. As I look at todays forecast it calls for possible drizzle for most of the day, so I can see a walk in the Arboretum on our agenda this morning. Then there is no rain in the long range fourteen days according to the forecast, and the radar is showing little to no rain for the rest of the day, just a few possible scattered showers.

Well at eight o’clock and the sky has opened to more heavy rain, this time accompanied with lightning, never a good thing in a dry desert, but I have put that walk in the arboretum on the back burner for right now. Our weather app is indicating that we have received more than an inch of rain so far, which should mean that Queen Creek should be flowing when I get to the arboretum.

At eleven o’clock we finally headed to the arboretum, it appeared that we had a couple of hours before the next storm would roll through. It looks like we have received over an inch and a half of rain already and both Queen Creek and the Silver King Wash were flowing, thank goodness that the Benson Bridge over the Silver King Wash has finally re-opened. There has been a lot of damage done in the arboretum by the wind storm that accompanied the rain storm, with a number of broken branches and even a mature Joshua tree broken off.

Fallen Joshua tree (notice my finger … lol)

Then we look past that damage and see so many of the cactus varieties budding, knowing the blooms are just a week or so behind, the Benson Bridge reopened just in time to allow access to the arboretum as the Silver King Wash was obstructing access from the main arboretum trail when we went for a walk today.

We of course stopped by the puya plant to check the bloom, and sadly there is not a big change from Sundays photo, but we will remain diligent to catch the first of the bloom.

The puya on Tuesday

At two o’clock and there is another thunder head is rolling through, not a lot of rain this time, but plenty of thunder, and really dark clouds. Queen Creek is running hard enough that we can hear it from the coach, for dinner tonight we are going out to Jalapeños in Superior, an authentic Mexican restaurant, we are meeting up with Rhonda and her granddaughter Olivia for dinner. We had meet Rhonda & Pat at a Beaver coach rally in Quartzsite in January 2020, and had also seen them two years ago in Tucson when the pandemic was just taking hold, sadly Pat passed away a year ago, so it was great to catch-up with Rhonda.

We made it back to the coach near eight o’clock, and watched a couple of YouTube videos, then an episode of This is Us, before heading to bed near ten o’clock, knowing that this day of rain will help the arboretum sustain itself for some time.

Wednesday and it was light when I woke, shortly after six, yesterday’s clouds have given way to Arizona blue skies, Mr. Sam meet me in the galley for his treats, and again I was rewarded with a little lap time. The lap time was short because Miss Laurie was up shortly afterwards and Mr. Sam was headed to the big bed, he will need a really big nap today because he a very stressful day yesterday, he has developed a fear of thunder storms and has even got to the stage off disliking any rain storm. Today’s Wordle was a tough one with multiple choices but I got lucky on the sixth attempt.

Today Rhonda and Olivia are coming to the arboretum this morning, for a guided tour by Miss Laurie, it is a beautiful day, with perfect weather, sunny, and the temperatures are in the low seventies (twenties), so Miss Laurie made us a cheese omelet before I retrieved the lawn chairs from the truck where I had put them to keep them dry from the rain. We normally don’t go to the arboretum at this time of day and I now know why we avoid this time of day, as there were people everywhere, but the park is looking better everyday as we prepare for a couple of major events at the arboretum this week.

We spent most of the afternoon on the patio, Mr. Sam watching the geckos, and Laurie and I watching the the birds, Hummingbirds, Orioles, and Laurie had put out some orange slices for the Orioles, but we had Gila Woodpeckers and Cardinals visiting the orange slices as well.

We had a quiet night with some television, before turning in for what we know will be a busy day tomorrow

Thursday and I’m awake early, the problem is I start thinking of all the things I need to accomplish, and then my mind is off and running, processing all sorts of different things, so falling back to sleep can be almost impossible, but Mr. Sam was ok with early treats, he always seems to be. Again today’s Wordle was a tough one, but I pulled it out it together to keep the new streak alive, so today is the last day of March and is going to be a busy day for us. But for now I’m catching up on the blog and enjoying some lap time from Mr. Sam, we are assisting with a donner event today, it happens this afternoon with tours of the refurbished Smith building and ends with a reception in the Taylor garden. I will be tending bar with Tom Anderson, and Laurie is manning the charcuterie table, it starts at at 3:30 and runs till 6:00, todays event is an open bar, and have approximately 75 donners.

A short walk in the arboretum this morning, after a toasted western sandwich, Queen Creek is still flowing, they have started to clean up the downed Joshua tree, lots of work going on in the picnic area, preparing for the spring concert on Saturday, many gardeners in many of the gardens as we prepare for the event this afternoon, and the Puya still has not bloomed.

The puya on Thursday

This afternoon we are working, the donner event that is being held at the Taylor Legume garden, it was to be a tour of the recently refurbished Smith interpretive Center, a building that is over ninety years old and was the original greenhouses at the research center. The afternoon was catered, with an open bar, for the people that had made donations to the refurbishment. The tours started at 4:00 with the reception immediately after through till 6:00, after clean up we made it to the coach by 7:00. Dinner was some Costco barbecued chicken with a salad, before watching a couple episodes of This is Us and turning in just before 10:00.

Friday April the first and again I woke this morning to day light, right around six o’clock, Mr. Sam was glad to receive his treats, and I was feeling a little sore from the clean up last night, I guess I’m not used to slugging chairs, but most of the staff snuck out with out helping at all, leaving it up to very few of us to clean it up. Today is our first day in the admissions booth, so a bowl of cereal, a vitamin, of course a cup of coffee. And out the door around 7:45, today is always a challenge, as it is difficult to get the booth back to a workable condition, finding equipment, removing extra signs, getting terminals back up and running.

It was about an average Friday with a few more than six hundred visitors, and I would say the weather was about perfect, big blue skies, a light breeze and temperatures in the seventies (twenties), a great start to the month of April. We have not spent any time in Arizona in April, as we are usually headed east to Ontario, so we don’t know exactly what to expect from the weather, but if this any indication, I’m thinking it could be very good.

Dinner was barbecued burgers, followed by the most recent episode of This is Us, followed by a episode of a new Prime video series Outlaws, the journey is still out on that one, and we made it to bed before ten o’clock.

Saturday morning and it’s light out again, as I roll out of bed, Mr. Sam greets me in the washroom as I head to the galley, a few treats latter and I’m getting some lap time as I knock off todays Wordle. Today will be another hectic day for me, so some cereal, my coffee, with a vitamin and we had off to the admission booth at 7:45.

I didn’t get to check the Puya plant bloom today, but I was lucky enough to get a photo taken by Lincoln, so you get a glimpse of the partially opened flower. Until I can get back into the arboretum, either tomorrow morning or Monday at the latest.

Photo by Lincoln Proud

There is a Spring concert going on today in the picnic area at the arboretum,, and I’m bar-tending again today, so at 10:15, I head back to the coach to get my shirt and tie and report for duty by 10:30. Todays event was to start at 11:00 in the morning, there was to be a food truck from Phoenix, then a single performer to put on a concert, and if the food truck had have arrived on time the day would have worked out much better. So many people ended up standing in line for the food and missed the whole first set of the performance

The problem is that the food truck created the problem but it is the arboretum takes the heat for their failure, the concert ended shortly after 2:00, and I helped clean up and stack chairs, to be put away. Miss Laurie managed the admissions booth on her own until I made it back to close out the second till. We had a happy hour with Tom & Kathleen before returning to the coach for chicken and salad again, before watching Shark Tank and American Idol.

I’m working on the blog, but I could be crawling into bed just as easy, a busy day and a few adult beverages I’m feeling very mellow, but I will try to finish tonight to meet the schedule. There is talk that we may be going back to a Thursday shift again, we have told the management that we are OK with what ever they need.

Let’s all hope for peace in Ukraine!

Blog 411

Day 1643

One thought on “Week twenty @ BTA

  1. Brian _ hall to hear that you are ok after your accident.
    Both you and Laurie have certainly kept busy – can’t see you guys getting bored.
    Thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

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