Sunday, February 28, 2010

Heading East toward Texas

We were planning to leave Tucson on Sunday morning but we looked at the weather map and it was supposed to be raining pretty hard Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.

We were pretty much ready to go after spending the whole month in Tucson, so we decided to leave in nice weather and make our way slowly to Galveston where we are scheduled to volunteer next week.

We were up before the sun came up and finished getting ready to head out.
After dumping the tanks, we left Tucson and got onto I-10.

Our first stop though is Deming NM. It is right along our route on I-10. We planned on making the 4 hour trip one day, then taking a 'tourist day' to see Silver City, NM. Back in the mid 1960's, my dad took a US Forest Service assignment there. We lived in 'Silver' for three plus years.

For my twin brother and me, it was during grades 4, 5 and 1/2 of the 6th grade. I don't think I have been back there since we left in Dec 1965. We plan to visit tomorrow.

We arrived in Deming about noon, just like we planned. The drive was fine and uneventful. After no driving the Roadrunner for a whole month, it felt good to hit the open road again. Man, I love driving that machine! It really goes smoothly. I usually keep it around 62 mph on the speedometer. In California, the signs state something like "55 mph for towed vehicles" so in California, I drive a little slower.

The route on I-10 from Tucson is a pretty good stretch of road. And pretty scenery. A different kind of pretty. Some would say 'desolate' but it is interesting. Not interesting enough to want to live out in the middle of nowhere, but interesting.

We took a few minutes and saw that new friends Jerry & Jenny were still in the Escapees campground where we are staying. We just met them in Tucson at the Agave Gulch campground at Davis-Monthan AFB. We went over and said 'hi' and 'goodbye' for a few minutes.

Then we took off for Columbus, NM and Palomas, Mexico. They are border towns and about 32 miles from Deming. When we lived in Silver City a long time ago, we made a couple of trips to the Palomas stores. Cigarettes and liquor were cheaper across the border back then too.

This is the third border Mexican town we have seen since we started full-timing in May 2009. We have been to Nuevo Progresso and Algodones Mexico. All had striking similarities but Palomos is definitely the smallest and most impoverished. And it does not have as many stores and shops as the other two.

We though it was really pretty empty for a Saturday afternoon.
We did a little shopping at the Pink Store and went back through Customs before we walked to the car.

On the way back to Deming we stopped by Pancho Villa State Park. It has a number of nice looking RV campsites. It also has a lot of history associated with it.

Francisco 'Pancho' Villa led a raid into US territory at Columbus in 1916. 18 Americans died and Gen John J. Pershing was dispatched by President Woodrow Wilson along with 10,000 troops to bring Pancho Villa to justice. He escaped into Mexico and was never caught.

We went back to the Escapees Rainbow Park in Deming and spent the rest of the evening reading and watching the Olympics.

Thanks for viewing the Roadrunner Chronicles today.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday at the Tucson Rodeo

First - a BIG hello! and Welcome to new Followers:
Ken and Nanette!
Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles.

Yesterday was a fun day - In the afternoon we went to the biggest rodeos I have ever seen: The Tucson Rodeo aka La Fiesta de los Vaqueros. It started in 1925 in the middle of Prohibition and in its 85th year, now is one of the top professional rodeo events in North America with over $200,000 in prize money.

The rodeo was advertised as 2:00 PM to 4:30 PM and we arrived about 1:30 PM. Once we got to the rodeo grounds, we bought our tickets and made our way past numerous booths to our bleacher seats.
In the arena, a tractor was still ploughing up and smoothing the ground for the competition that was about to begin.
The first event was the bareback bronco riding.
Next was the steer wrestling
Then the calf roping
And the saddle bronc riding
The announcer dubbed this calf "Toyota" because he ran away like a Toyota that had its accelerator stuck....
And the men in black hats waiting for their chance at it
And the barrel racing
The last event of the day was the bull riding. We did not have the best vantage point but we could tell that the bulls were having a good day.
But so did we! We had a great time watching one of the largest rodeos in the country.

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles! Hope you weekend is going well.

Tucson Rodeo Parade

Pam and I heard the rodeo was in town and that there was even a La Fiesta de los Vaqueros Rodeo Parade. We wanted to see the parade and the rodeo. The parade is one of the longest non-motorized parades in the world. Never seen one of those before.

We arrived about 45 minutes before it was supposed to start and parked about a mile away from the parade route. We found a place and joined the spectators on the sidelines.
It was a beautiful day when the banner rolled by for the start of the parade.
There were a number of school bands. In fact Tucson and area schools have Thursday and Friday off to celebrate the rodeo.
The floats and wagons rolled on by and it was like a parade out west years ago. It was neat.
With all the horses, I got used to the clip clop of their shoes on the pavement. I noticed it when a group of horses passed and did not have the familiar sound because they were shoeless.
I commented that I thought all horses had shoes.
I had never really thought about it but this is the first time I'd seen a lot that didn't have shoes.

There were more bands.
And all kinds of wagons and carts.
It was a typical parade only there were no trucks and cars and motorized machines.

We talked with the lady next to us (Barb) and found out she had a daughter in the parade and her husband was walking along with the high school band where he teaches.
And Barb is a teacher. Quite an accomplished teacher. She teaches 3rd grade and is one of five teachers in Arizona that were honored last year as 'Teachers of the Year'. Here is a link to a web site that tells about her:

You meet the nicest and most interesting people out here...

We watched the end of the parade and I expected to see the scooper, broom and bucket brigade. There were a lot of horses to clean up after.
Instead, the street sweepers were out in all their glory, all cleaned and polished up for the finale! It was a great day at the parade.

Thanks for joining me on the Roadrunner Chronicles today!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

My Claim to Fame

First of all -- let me say thanks! to all of you that posted comments on the iPhone! I appreciate your feedback on it...

There are a couple of things I am fond of saying when it comes to Pam, like, "I am the luckiest guy in the world", and "My claim to fame is that I married her".

Amazingly that was 31 years ago today in Fort Walton Beach Florida. We were both in the Air Force and stationed at Hurlburt Field AFB - home of the 1st Special Operations Wing. We met one Sunday afternoon at a woman's softball game. I quickly learned she was an ace pitcher and a real female athlete. She also pitched for the Squadron Softball team.

Our first date was playing racketball. That was back in the spring of 1978. We got engaged in August and married in February. My wedding present to her was a set of golf clubs. She learned the game and enjoys it as much as I do.

Yesterday we celebrated by joining the weekly Famcamp RV group at the course. We gathered at the first tee and figured out who we could play with--- and then we were off.
We ended up playing with Larry and Bruno who were two singles and real nice guys. It was a nice day with plenty of sunshine. I think it was about 70 degrees.
Bruno insisted on taking a separate picture of the 'Anniversary Couple'...
After we played golf we went back to our new campsite. Our 21 days at the full hookup sites were up, so we had to move to the overflow parking. We will only be here in Tucson for four more days, so we went to the long term overflow area. It has more area and space at each of the campsites. Folks in this area never rotate into the full hookup sites.
We really like it here. We even have a few trees for some late afternoon shade.

Later in the evening, we decided to go out to Olive Garden for dinner. We don't go there often but we always like it when we do.
We had a terrific waitress and it made our time their even more enjoyable. Pam had Beef & Tortellini and I had Seafood Portofino. Both were excellent.

Once we were back on base we decide to take a short tour of the aircraft display near the front gate of Davis-Monthan AFB. Pam worked on F-4s (like the first one shown below) while we were stationed at Kunsan AB, South Korea. Can you guess what kind of airplane is at the far, right hand corner?
The "Warrior Park" is very well done and a nice addition to reinforce Air Force tradition and history. We ran out of time before the sun went down and will have to visit it another time to see all the aircraft on display.

After that it was another typical evening of reading and watching the Olympics. I am going to miss it after it is over in a few days.

Thanks for viewing the Roadrunner Chronicles. And we especially enjoy all those comments-- keep it up!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Apple iPhone for a Fulltime RVer?

Yesterday Adam surprised us was when he called on his iPhone. I never know when he'll call and it is always good to hear from him. He called me, then paused. Next thing I knew Pam, who was at the commissary, was on the phone. He said, "Wait!" and then Kelly was on the call also.
Our first family conference call! That was pretty cool.

There was no special occasion, just Adam showing another neat feature of the iPhone.He has had his iPhone for a couple of years and really loves it.

I am thinking about replacing my aging Blackberry and getting an iPhone.

Is it worth it?
Do any of you out there have one?
What is the best thing about it?

An Apple Store rep told me a couple of weeks ago the best way to get one is to wait until the new ones come out and then by one for $99 that is the current one and has been refurbished.

It makes sense to me because it has the same warranty as a brand new one and you know it has been tested and retested. The new ones out of the box have probably been 'spot checked' with a percentage of them actually checked out.

Let me know what you think. With some of the cool apps on the iPhone, I think I can forego getting a GPS. We'll see...

That's all I have to share today on the Roadrunner Chronicles. Thanks for viewing.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

B-52s and our RV

First of all -- a big welcome to a couple of our newest Followers:

They each have a blog, so be sure to click on their name and check them out!
Thanks again for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Now to the B-52s and such...
We are here in the Sonoran Desert at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona. The base has the largest inventory of 'mothballed' airplanes in the world. It has miles and miles of old planes that have been taken out of service and sent here to the 'boneyard'. It was established in San Antonio after WW II and moved to Davis-Monthan AFB in 1964.

You can look through the fence and see some older planes and some plane variants that are still flying. Over 4.400 airplanes in fact. There are even a few B-1 bombers. And quite a few B-52s.

I am amazed that the B-52 is still flying strong and part of our nation's active inventory. It was supposed to have been replaced by now. It was a key part of the Cold War back when my dad retired from the Air Force in 1961. It has been around a long time. It had its first flight in 1954 and is flying strong today.

Why is that? How is that?

Partly because, the B-52s keep getting retrofitted with the latest and greatest technology and it is more cost effective to keep it flying than to decommission them all and get something new.

Another big reason they are still flying is because of maintenance. No country in the world puts as much effort and resources and emphasis on their military assets with top notch maintenance as the U.S.

My uncle Don was a career Air Force man and he used to marvel at how well the Air Force maintains their airplanes.

Which brings me to my theme for today: Maintenance on our RV, the Roadrunner.
We have a beautiful coach that is already three years old. So we need to be sure to take care of it and maintain it.

Yesterday was my day to do some interior maintenance. Our coach is filled with cherry wood throughout. It has cabinets, trim paneling, cupboards, doors, cupholders and magazine racks that are all made of cherry wood. And it needs to be cleaned and polished periodically in order to keep it looking good and to extend its life.
I used Murphy's Oil & Soap which seems to do a nice job. It is a lot of work, so it has taken me a while to get my resolve and motivation to get it done.
It took a couple of hours but the wood looks great and I have one less thing to do on my maintenance list.

Early in the day I got up and went over to the gym and swam some laps in the indoor pool. That felt great. Later, Pam and I returned and we had a longer workout.
We did some biking, training on the ellipse machines and some running. Felt good to get the heart going again.

It was an exciting time watching the Olympics last night. Good stuff on the Ice Dancing -- almost everyone had personal bests. Congratulations to the Canadian Team Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. Their performance was spectacular! It was neat to watch.

That's about it from the Roadrunner Chronicles. Thanks for viewing.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunday with Judy

Judy invited us over to her RV park for a potluck in the afternoon. In the morning we walked to church with her and attended St. Paul's United Methodist Church.
It was within walking distance from the Far Horizons RV Park in Tucson, where Judy stays.
We arrived at Judy's about 10:30 A.M. and had plenty of time to walk four blocks to the church.

After church, we went over to the park again and attended a pot luck for residents and guests who were from Ohio & the Eastern States. Since Judy is from Ohio and we lived in Virginia, we fit right in.
The couple that organized it had everyone introduce themselves, stating where they were from and offering a little bit about themselves. The second couple to speak were Jim and Kathy Warner. They were from New York and we are not related. At least I don't think we are...

Next, everyone had something to eat, then we had drawings for door prizes. We talked some more, met some friendly people and the event was over by 2:00. We went back to Judy's place, said our goodbyes and made our way back to Agave Gulch RV Park at Davis-Monthan AFB.

We watched the last round of the World Golf Championships and then spent the rest of the evening watching the Olympics. I stayed up late and finish a murder mystery I was reading and went to bed about midnight.

We are settling in for 50 degree weather for a couple of days showers.

Hope you have a great week and thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles.