Sunday, February 23, 2014

Nap Time

If you hold a television to your ear you can hear the ebb tide of human intelligence. -- Anonymous comment found on the internet

Now that I have a permanent address, I can now get cable internet. Although Millenicom works at my permanent Tucson address, it is limiting when I am doing genealogical research. Downloading scanned images of census records takes time.

That was the logic behind getting cable internet service. Naturally, COX wants to sell additional services and more costly options. I just wanted internet. However, the rated speeds for basic internet were about the same as I was getting with Millenicom. That would not work.

To get better internet throughput, the COX package also included basic cable, HBO and STARZ. The internet and the TV package was less than the monthly rates I pay at Millenicom for internet access.

I considered the possibility of continuing life without TV. However when I bought this park model, it was furnished including a large flat screen TV.

Last Saturday I was connected to the cable internet -- and cable TV. The internet speeds are fantastic. I had been holding off on some huge downloads. They were done in a matter of minutes. It would have taken several hours with Millenicom.

Later in the afternoon after a hike, I thought it would be time to check out the TV. Since I had no interest in the commercial TV stations (basic cable), I went to the HBO stations. Of course I arrived in the middle of all movies that were being aired. One of those was a Harry Potter movie that had started about 15 minutes earlier.

So I settled back in the recliner (also included in the home purchase) to watch Harry Potter. My reaction was the same as always. It didn't take long. Soon I was taking a nap.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Zoo Photo Tour

After many years of visiting Tucson, I finally made a visit to the Reid Park Zoo. It was photo op day for the Photo Club at the RV park. With a donation to the zoo, a docent and a staff member provided the tour of the zoo and arranged photo stops.

Animal photography requires lots of patience and lots of photos. From the over 300 I took, here are four of the better photos.

Sun peeking through the trees provided a great lighting effect for the lion

Check out the tongue on the giraffe

A hedgehog held by Jed from the zoo staff

Close up of yellow legged tortoise 
Measured about 15-18 inches long

That was the photo tour.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Great Hiking Experience

The recent 80 degree plus days meant early hiking. Saturday's hike was a four to five mile loop from the Douglas Springs trail head at the east end of Speedway.

Returning on Wildhorse trail I spotted green scattered in the sand of this heavily used trail. The green wasn't lettuce -- or cactus -- or "road apples". It was US paper money. Forty-three dollars worth.

Just a few feet further down the trail was an electronic room key from nearby Tanque Verde Ranch. Oh the turmoil. Since I was on the trail quite early, the loss may have happened on a sunset horse back ride the previous day.

From past experience I knew that the desk clerks would not be able to identify the room from the card. Regardless, I drove over to the Tanque Verde Ranch and went into the office. I told the two receptionists -- Alix and another gal -- about the card that I had found. They confirmed that they could not tell which room it belonged to. I said that I would like to be able to return to the owner the rest of what was found -- the cash.

After a few more words, I left the cash and a phone number. If anyone came to collect a new room key and mentioned the loss of cash it could be claimed.

I felt good about the decision -- for about a half hour.

I made up stories how this cash would end up being just another lost and found item. The desk clerks would have divided the money after no one had claimed it.

How wrong I was. When I turned on my cell phone this morning there was a message from Alix at Tanque Verde Ranch saying no one had claimed the cash so I could come by to pick it up.

When I arrived, Alix was there behind the desk. She retrieved the money and as she gave it to me, I pulled out a monetary reward and graciously thanked her.

The experience made my day. I hope it did the same for Alix.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Wandrin Blog

I already had a web site before I started full time RVing in 2001. At that time with a new focus in my life, I wanted a domain name that reflected the planned nomadic wandering. With various spellings and misspellings of "wandering" already taken, I registered Over the past 12 years, stories of my life started as a monthly column. As blogging software became available, I had blogging software attached to the domain name. After further maturing of blogging software I went with the internet elephant -- Google -- and continued the "wandrin" theme in

Now that I have made a settled existence in Tucson, "wandrin" is no longer my life. Even though I am living a settled existence, I have not died. I will continue to share my life in words.

I had been mulling a blogspot name change, but what would that new name be. After more thoughts, there really is no reason to change things. The URL is nothing more than an address to my site on the net.

When I was traveling, I wrote frequently. With my settled existence of less than a month I have already proven that I don't have a lot to write about. Some of the lack of posts is a result of spending time getting settled in the new digs and sorting through stuff that had not seen light in years.

Now that I am mostly settled, it is time to do some Tucson exploring -- a local wandering. The hikes will continue, but those experiences will only be shared if I was accosted by a cactus or rattlesnake.

My blog posts always have been a diverse collection of stories, memories and experiences. No change there. The only blog change is that the point of view is a settled existence in Tucson.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Unusual Sightings

For the weekly hike of the No Hurries from the RV park, the hike was to Seven Falls in Sabino Canyon. The group opted for the three dollar shuttle to the trail head. With several river crossings on some rather unstable rocks, there were numerous opportunities to get wet shoes.

With my balance issues, I managed to get one wet shoe on the way up. On the return both shoes went into the water as I remained upright.

On my previous hikes to Seven Falls, one time those river crossings were dry. The other time, the water was about the same as this hike. I've never seen a lot of water flowing over the falls and down the river.

The smoothed rock surfaces at the base of the falls is a sure indication there has been water erosion over the thousands and millions of years to form this scenic water plunge.

A Forest Ranger was at the falls as we rested and had our snack. I noted him looking intently at a rock. I walked closer to see what he had spotted. I don't know what this toad may actually be called, but with that camouflage, I named him the rock toad. That was Unusual Sighting #1.

We were over a mile from the trail head when we met a party of four led by two Hasidic men with the black hat, black jacket, curled payos and black shoes. Following the two men was a woman in the conservative dress of her sect. The man taking up the rear of the group was wearing casual clothing.

As friendly hikers we stepped aside to let them pass and wished them a good day. One of the Hasidic men was dragging a small wheeled suitcase. There were lots of questions about this group from my hiking companions. And certainly no answers.

I don't know if there is a Hasidic community in Tucson. More likely, the group we met on the trail was from New York and were in town for the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. Perhaps they are part of the Hasidic group that trades in diamonds and they were in Tucson to market diamonds.

Meeting the Hasidic on the trail was Unusual Sighting #2.

Friday, February 7, 2014


Over these past 12 years I had been told more than once that I was an inspiration to them to head out as a full time RVer.
"Be thankful for what you have. Your life, no matter how bad you think it is, is someone else's fairy tale." - Wale Ayeni
Me? An Inspiration. My life of living a retirement of traveling the road in an RV was a fairy tale for some. Now that I have made a settled existence, there have been more comments and emails with that same sentiment.

How did it happen. Where was the inspiration for me to be a wandering nomad. There was no real inspiration. It was serendipity.

The last year of my employment in the year 2000, I took several vacations. One of those was a three week guided camping trip to Alaska. I brought my sleeping bag and personal stuff. Everything else was provided.

Signature photo from the Alaskan vacation

One evening as I walked around a campground I saw all varieties of RVs from pop up tents, truck campers to Class A coaches. At the time I didn't know the terminology. I didn't know a Class A coach from a fifth wheel.

In front of one of those Class A coaches, a guy was cleaning bugs from the windshield of the coach which had Florida license plate. As he moved his ladder, I commented to him that he was a long way from home. He turned to point to the coach and said "That was home."

At the beginning of the year 2000, I knew I was going to retire before the end of the year. I knew I needed to "retire to" something. I just didn't know what that was going to be. That comment from the RVer wasn't really inspiration. It was a serendipitous event when I realized what I was going to do in my retirement. I will forever be thankful to that nameless person for sending me on a 12 year meandering.

Now that I have settled down, the comments continue such as this in a recent email from a one time co-worker: "You’ve led an adventurous and inspirational retirement lifestyle."

Really. I continue to be flattered that I could be an inspiration.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Dominant Right Foot

Two weeks ago I moved into my home of sticks (without bricks) from my twelve year home on wheels. I am still acclimating to the new environment. Naturally, things and life is very different in Old Yeller. One thing I noticed the first night is that it was much quieter. Prior to my new home, I had been living in Wandrin Wagon at Far Horizons RV for about a month before moving into Old Yeller and closer to the distant streets. Although closer by about 300 feet the traffic noises were almost unheard. By contrast in Wandrin Wagon, I could hear truck acceleration from the traffic signals. Old Yeller's almost two extra inches of wall thickness makes the difference.

The kitchen area in Wandrin Wagon was compact and efficient by comparison. There is little counter space in my new kitchen for preparing food. When preparing my usual monstrous lunch salads all the inputs were laid out on the counter in Wandrin Wagon. In Old Yeller, it is not possible to have all the ingredients on the counter. My solution is to open the refrigerator a couple times during the process of making the salad. The positive of the long galley kitchen is that I get lots of exercise going from one end to the other as I cook or make my salads.

Wandrin Wagon was efficient. In less than 200 square feet, I had stored lots of stuff. The stuff has been spread all around the 400 square feet of my new home -- and the shed. Boxes of stuff was donated or left at the dumpster where this man's junk became another man's -- or woman's -- treasure.

There is more stuff about which I need to make decisions. There are lots of DeLorme and Benchmark state gazetteers. There is a box of maps for national parks and hiking trail maps. There is a stack of hiking guides for numerous places through out the west. I opted to keep the wood carving and wood burning  tools in the event that I decided to take up that hobby again. Materials for other hobbies that I left at the dumpster were "treasured" and went home to another shed.

When living in Wandrin Wagon, liberal use was made of earthquake putty to keep things from moving as I towed Wandrin Wagon along the country's bumpy roads. Some of that sticky stuff was on items as I moved into the new home. I certainly hope there is no longer a need for earthquake putty in Old Yeller.

Wondering what the earthquake frequency was for Tucson, I headed to the internet for the source of all answers. According to the last Tucson earthquake was four years ago at a magnitude of 3.6. That earthquake epicenter was over a hundred miles away in the Sea of Cortez. There doesn't appear to be much need for the earthquake putty here.

Earthquakes seems to be a natural segue for the last of how things are different in Old Yeller. When done with business at the commode in Old Yeller, I balanced on my left foot and raised my right foot to flush. No foot pedal on Old Yeller. After 12 years of RV living, my brain had been well trained for the "right foot flush". No doubt most RVers can relate. Two weeks later, there is a moment of hesitation as I raise the dominant right foot before using the "left hand flush".