Week twenty three @ BTA

Sunday April 24th 2022

Sunday morning at 4:30 and I’m wide awake! Just around six hours of sleep, and I guess my body thinks it is enough, and Mr. Sam is ok with early treats and I have to admit these early morning do result in more time with a kitty curled up on my lap. Unlike last week we are not off today, this is Easter Sunday and the expectation is that it will be very busy, well bring it on we are ready to rock this! My efforts at the Wordle for today seemed to be in vain, but I pulled it out on the fifth guess, a bowl of cereal, a vitamin, and of course the cup of blessed coffee that makes the whole world make sense, at least for the time being.

Well today was a bust, we were expecting this big rush of people, it never materialize, the number of visitors was not any more than a regular weekday total. There were lots of groups gathering in the picnic area, causing some parking issues, but almost every picnic table had a cooler on it, just marking territory. So we closed out the second till at two o’clock, and Miss Laurie headed back to the coach for a nap with Mr. Sam in the air conditioned coach. I held out till three o’clock and then closed out the main till and shut down the admissions booth and I headed back to the coach as well.

There have been a few questions about the gecko situation, so I now have done my due diligence and have discovered that all geckos are lizards, but that not all lizards are geckos. So I want to stand corrected Mr. Sam has been collecting tails from the Sonoran Whip-tailed lizard, not the fore mentioned geckos. I have also learned that there are near 140 species of lizards in Arizona, like who knew … not I fore sure.

A Lizard that has avoided Mr. Sam up till now

We have been invited to the Andersons coach for Easter Dinner, of course there were a couple on beverages before dinner. Dinner consisted of slow roasted pork tenderloin on the barbecue, with a Cesar salad, and potatoes cooked in the slow cooker with onions. We also enjoyed a bottle of red wine from Washington state, Miss Laurie followed up with a cheesecake brownie with whipped cream, and it is safe to say that no one left hungry. As we watched the setting sun paint the surrounding mountains, it is during these moments that we realize how lucky we are to have made two more great lifelong friendship’s

Upon returning to the coach we were both content and our bellies full, as we settled into watch two hours of American Idol before turning in to bed at around ten o’clock

Monday morning and it’s a five o’clock start for me, Mr. Sam greeted me in the galley for his morning treats. He then checked the windshield for any rabbits, there has been a reral boom in the rabbit population and now there are lots of little bunnies running around everywhere, there must not have been any yet because I have been granted some valuable kitty lap time until Miss Laurie wakes. It was a few minutes after seven when we left the coach for our walk through the arboretum, it’s got the makings of being a real warm day here in Arizona.

After an hour and a half walk through the Arboretum we return to the coach, where we enjoyed bacon and tomato sandwiches, this may become a luxury beyond what we can afford at the price of bacon right now, not a lot of pictures from this mornings walk as you can see from the gallery above. There are a few of the prickly pear that are starting to bloom, but the blossoms aren’t open in the morning, we will try to get back out this afternoon for those photos. Today is turning into one of the warmer days in Arizona with the temperature presently sitting at about 93°F (32°C), and as I look at the weather app and see the temperature back in Goderich Ontario at 39°F (4°C) with rain and snow in the forecast, I’m thinking this is a far better choice.

It wasn’t a real productive day with my main task, staying cool and keeping re-freshed, this is where we are supposed to throw in that it’s a dry heat, with a humidity of only 7%, and all that really means is that your beverage stays dryer, with no condensation running down the side of the glass. But it was still damn warm on the patio, I’m trying to use the dictation feature on my iPad, to get the information down for the blog, but obviously my iPad thinks I have some sort of speech impediment. The photos below are from this afternoon’s walk in the arboretum it is prickly pear season.

It was near seven o’clock when we made it back to the coach, Laurie made fajitas for dinner as we watched a couple hours of American Idol, we then caught up on a few YouTube videos before turning in, just before ten o’clock.

Tuesday and I rose at five thirty, and I was greeted by Mr. Sam looking for his morning treats, I settled into my chair, and Mr. Sam climbed onto my lap but as I looked out the window I had to roust Mr. Sam off of my lap so I could go to the patio in my housecoat to capture this photo.

Sunrise April 19th 2022 @ BTA

An overcast Arizona morning allowed this beauty, and I needed it for a windshield view photo as I’m working at updating my April’s Windshield View blog. It was only there for a few moments and I knew I had to act fast, and I would like to apologize to any of the other host volunteers that may have noticed me in my housecoat snapping pictures. A few moments later Mr. Sam was back in place on my lap and I was working on the day’s Wordle, and the sun was peaking through the cloud cover. It is going to be another very warm day, and the cloud cover will be a blessing. It took a little persuasion to talk Miss Laurie into a walk in the arboretum, but while not the best for pictures, it proved to be a great morning to discover a few new birds as we sat in the grotto and watched the visitors.

After a breakfast of pancakes, we decided to head to the Fry’s in Globe for this weeks supplies, the distance to Globe or Gold Canyon are pretty much equal, although the drive to Globe is up through devil’s canyon and gets us well up over 4000 feet of elevation. The Fry’s store is clean and new, the variety was all one could hope for or need. They also have a fuel station with prices better than heading the Gold Canyon direction, I also picked up $30 worth of diesel fuel for Thunder at $5.05 a gallon, the best price I seen in months. We made it back to the coach just before noon, Miss Laurie made us some sandwiches on croissants that she picked up at Fry’s and I may have had a nap in my chair working on this blog.

A happy hour with Tom & Kathleen, rounded out the afternoon as we talked about things to get done before pulling out in a few days, it seems to be rolling up very fast. And we are now covering extra shifts for the next week or so. After happy hour I barbecued pork chops for dinner and some extras for a later meal, so tonight’s dinner was pork chops with salads, before watching the end of the news then the most recent episode of This is Us, before catching up on some YouTube videos then heading to bed near ten o’clock.

Wednesday and it’s just before six o’clock, Mr. Sam is looking for treats, and I’m the only one stirring so I guess I’m elected for the morning treat distribution, which is ok as I’m also the one that gets the lap time. While normally not a work day, we are covering off shifts for the vacationing host volunteers, but just before my start time, Mary stopped by to tell me that the internet was down and I would not be able to work in the admissions booth today, so I went up a little later to water plants at the greenhouse and told everyone if the internet came up to call and I would come back to help, the call never came and I worked on the blog and caught up on some route planning for next month.

I know our starting point and so far I only have one reservation is for a ferry on May 12th, I’m planning on staying at a Casino in Washington state the night before the ferry. Our ending point is at a campground on Vancouver Island for the 13th of May. We leave the arboretum on the 1st of May and I have booked a Harvest Host spot for that Sunday evening just north and west of Wickenburg on US-93, so now I just have to fill in the nine days in between there and the ferry dock, it is around 1700 miles so if we cover 200 miles a day on average, nine days should be plenty of time to get there and do a little exploring on the way. There is a lot goes into the planning, boondocking spots, fuel stations, elevation changes (from the weather point of view), highway conditions, construction delays, weather enroute as leave the desert, but more on this as I get those nine days figured out.

It was hot again today, there is a cool front rolling through soon but as the winds pick up we are watching a couple of wildfires burning out of control in Northern Arizona, twenty years of drought, so everything is dry, and we are still months from monsoon season. Thousands of acres have burnt already and many homes and buildings have been lost, truly devastating news for many people, as the winds come up the firefighting planes can’t fly so there will be days with no progress on its control. Dinner tonight was enchiladas as we catch up on the local news and the fires, before a few more YouTube videos, then some mindless TV till bedtime.

Thursday morning and I roll out of bed around six o’clock, Mr. Sam is not pleased and was in my face expressing his displeasure, it is light out so I open the blind so he can see outside, but this was not what he wanted! Treats were the only thing that was going to calm this beast, this morning, so as I drag my sorry butt to the galley Mr. Sam is making sure that I don’t get sidetracked. Miss Laurie is helping in the visitor center today, there is a staff meeting and the internet has been down for more than twenty four hours. A pepper and cheese omelet was breakfast this morning, a cup of fresh perked cup of coffee, before Miss Laurie headed to the visitor center.

I started Thunder this morning, I hadn’t started the big engine since November last year, it jumped to life immediately and I let it run for close to an hour. I checked all the tire pressures as I do that with the air compressor on Thunder, one inner dual tire was down around 10 psi and of course the left rear tire on the toad was down about 7psi which is a monthly event, slow leaks are the worst to find, so I haven’t taken it to a repair shop yet, my thinking is it will get worse and be easier to find. I’m also sanitizing the water system again, the storage tank and lines flushed with chlorinated water, before filling it with fresh potable water for our trek north next month.

I have also upgraded our GPS system, there were a couple of reasons for upgrading now, first our Garmin was five years old and in electronic years that is a long long time, with lots of improvements. But the main reason was that when asked to map out our route to Vancouver Island the old Garmin had one route and one route only, while Google Maps as well as Apple Maps came up with at least two routes and sometimes three. If we we just heading back to Ontario, a route we know well, we may not have upgraded yet but this is a new route with lots of mountains so it seemed the right time to upgrade. Now add a great sale, along with so many upgrades, it just made a very compelling case to upgrade now. The new Garmin also has Wi-Fi so it has already upgraded its software as well as the maps and now it is suggesting two different routes north. I will do a blog on the new Garmin after I have used it for a while, as it’s not till some time on the road that we start to realize just how good it is.

That second route our old GPS failed to find

Next I headed into Superior to pick up some brass fittings for a new style water filter, I had picked up the filter case from a trailer that was leaving the park and the owner left it behind, and I traded a Camco in-line filter for a new cartridge filter that fits in the housing. This system also makes it easier to chlorinate the fresh water tank so today was the day to make this all come together and work. It was just around noon and as I came out of the hardware store I was hit with the smell of fried chicken, from the lunch shop next door so I had to get some chicken tenders for lunch, and put some in the coach fridge for Miss Laurie after her shift at 2pm this is always a treat because we don’t eat much fried food.

I accomplished quite a lot today, I picked up another $30 worth of diesel fuel for the coach, and knocked a few things off of the “to-do” list, I even got another motor for the roof air conditioner, that looks like it will fit, there way be some issues with the wiring but nothing I won’t be able to work my way through. It’s just too damn hot to do anything this afternoon, and I may have been trying to quench my thirst with a couple of vodka and tonics, so this is a job for another day.

Miss Laurie got back to the coach around three o’clock, Miss Kathleen had picked up some jalapeño poppers on her shopping trip today, so we planned a happy hour for around four o’clock. Lincoln came over so we could celebrate his promotion to the Wallace Garden director, so as the afternoon went on Miss Laurie made some pizza in the ninja air fryer, and shortly after sunset we called it a night. With dinner out of the way we watched some shows on the food network, I always enjoy Restaurant Makeover when they come in and tell them how bad their food is and a long list of other issues , then presto two days later it’s all better and everyone lives happily ever after, or something like that.

Friday morning and at six o’clock Miss Laurie has got up to get Mr. Sam his treats, our work day starts at eight o’clock this morning, so a little local news, a bowl of cereal, a cup of fresh perked coffee, with a vitamin chaser and we leave the coach at 7:45 for the visitor center and our shift in the admissions booth. Today is “Earth Day” and it is a cooler day, with gusty winds out of the west, there is a small wedding today, a school trip, but all our “Earth Day” event are being held tomorrow and are children driven, with lots of different events.

It was not a busy day, and that always makes the day drag, we try to stay high energy to promote the arboretum as much as possible, and that’s is easier to do when you are busier. Miss Laurie helped in the store stocking shelves, then spent some time sweeping in the entrance, before re-leaving me so I could water the sale plants at the visitor centre. Miss Laurie cashed out the secondary till at 2pm and I worked till shortly after 3pm, before returning to the coach.

We had our exit interview with Miss Emily this afternoon at four o’clock, we had been Emily’s first volunteer orientation way back in November when we first arrove at the arboretum, the interview had all the regular questions, what did we like, not like, a routine list of questions, that would be expected at an exit interview. We made it back to the coach by 5:30 to watch the news, Miss Laurie prepared pork chops and salad for dinner and we settled in to watch a movie on Prime video, the movie was terrible based on American racism in an east coast university, maybe realistic but not well done, and we finished the evening with a couple Diners, Drive In & Dives before turning in near ten o’clock.

Saturday and I rolled out of bed at 5:45, Mr. Sam met me at the foot of our bed and led me to his dish where I rewarded him with his morning treats. And I then received a few minutes of lap time till Miss Laurie stirred and Mr. Sam headed off to the big bed, today’s Wordle was a fourth word guess, before moving on to this blog. As I look at the blog this week I have a lot of spots to fill in, so I’m thinking it could be a late night for me tonight. A cup of coffee and a bowl of cereal before heading out the door for our eight o’clock start in the admissions booth, hopefully it will be busier today that yesterday.

Well it was a much busier day with close to seven hundred visitors by the time I closed out the first cash drawer at shortly after 2pm and headed back to the coach, the days just zip by when you are interacting with visitors one after another, and I took the opportunity to return early because I have a lot of work on the blog to close off in time today. Mr. Sam was wanting to get out into his tent so I mixed a big cocktail (vodka & tonic with lots of ice and a touch of lime) and settled into the antigravity chair to try and make sense of the week.

It’s close to four o’clock now, Miss Laurie should be here soon, Mister Sam is getting impatient in his tent as he nears his dinner time so I’m getting up to let him in the coach again right now. It is the second time since I got home, he forgets to do all his kitty things before exiting so needs to go in for snacks or water or whatever else, so he ends up needing lots of trips, I tried to snap a photo of him sitting on my lap just now but there was not cooperation to try and accomplish that little feat, and he is now in the coach with Laurie for fear he will miss his dinner.

Mr. Sam on a more cooperative day!

So I’m way behind on this blog, so it would be a perfect afternoon for a happy hour with another large vodka and tonic at the Anderson’s coach, when we returned to the coach at a few minuets to seven, and I proceeded to barbeque burgers for dinner, and then on to a few YouTube videos, while I try to make sense of the blog, and as my publishing time rolls closer and Miss Laurie has headed to bed already I’m trying to put a bow on this blog.

May all your travels be downhill!

Blog 413

Day 1657

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