Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Returning from a blog AWOL

We’re still camping (if you can call it "camping" when you live in a fully-equipped motor home) at Tucson's Davis Monthan Air Force Base.  I’ve gone slightly AWOL on our blog, however; so much so that a couple of people have sent me “Are you OK?” messages. It's time to write.

Yes, we are OK.  We’re still working out at the base gym, still liking Tucson, still enjoying warm weather (it's been in the 80's but a "cool spell" in the 70s is expected over the next few days.) We've gotten into a working-out-and-then-hanging-out-and-reading mode, however.  This is the first time in nearly 3 years on he road Ive been able to do that.  If I wasn't going to a museum or hiking some historic trail, I’d get antsy. Must be that ingrained Protestant work ethic or something.  But this has been a comfortable break.

Just a few things of note:

---We were driving our tow car on the Air Force Base one day when we heard an awful noise coming from under the hood.  It sounded like a piece of metal caught in the engine.  Jim stopped the car; we got out and looked and didn’t see anything. And the noise was gone. Later that day we heard it again, and again the noise stopped.  The next day we switched on the air conditioner: no cool air. Turns out our air conditioner was emitting a death rattle. Jim got an estimate from a local mechanic who specializes in Hondas:  $2000.  Ouch.  Then we got an estimate from a dealership and they quoted $4000.  Suddenly the first bid sounded like a deal. The shop that did the work was Prudence Car Care in Tucson; if you ever need help with a Honda in Tucson, we highly recommend them.  

---We also took our motor home with its E450 Ford chassis in for an oil change/safety check at Holmes Tuttle Ford in north Tucson and they did a professional job as well. 

---The campground at Davis Monthan really fills up in February when Tucson hosts a huge gem and mineral show, a book festival and a rodeo.  Plus it's warm here, people, (almost too warm) and the campground is full of vehicles with license plates that read Alaska, Montana, Vermont, Illinois and other snowy states. When the park is full, after 21 days campers have to move into an “overflow” area without electricity/water/sewer. We were able to “re up” after our first 3 weeks, but had to move into overflow after the second 21. It’s a little bit of a hassle to move, but the system is very fair.  After just one night in overflow we moved into a corner spot with our own little desert garden.    

---And, as I write I am sitting at Denver International Airport waiting for a connecting flight to Akron, Ohio, or as my son calls it “LaBron James International Airport.”  Not the best time to fly east, I know, but I’m visiting my Mom (who lives about an hour due west of Akron) and it’s always a good time to visit her.  I've been up since 4 a.m. and hope to get in a nap somewhere over Nebraska.
Taken about 40 minutes before landing in Denver. I haven't flown on Southwest with their unassigned seating for years. They now have a much more organized (and less painful) system than they did in the old days when everyone started standing in line two hours before the flight.  
You know you're on the edge of the Great Plains when the airport has tornado shelters. I landed at Gate C45 and am taking off from Gate C45.  Only happens when I have a 3 1/2 hour layover.