We have an insane calling to be where we aren't

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Madera Canyon and Great Horned Owl

 The desert is putting on quite a show now that cactus are beginning to bloom.
 The temps have been unseasonably warm in the upper 80s and seemed like a good idea to head to a higher elevation.  So we headed to Madera Canyon south of Tucson for a hike. 
 
 Southeastern Arizona's Madera Canyon is rated the third best birding destination in the United States. With fifteen species of hummingbirds, Elegant Trogon, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Black-capped Gnatcatcher, Flame-colored Tanager, 36 species of wood warblers, and over 256 species of birds documented, it is a "required" site for all serious birders.


There is a small reservoir holding the Bog Spring water. It could be part of the draw of the birds.
 

An area is set up along the creek of Madera Canyon so birders can sit and watch them come and go. I heard lots of different bird sounds but couldn't tell which was which. It turned out quite interesting just sitting and watching.

During our hike, I thought I heard turkeys.

 
 
Finch

Mexican Jay




More cactus blooms

I got the stitches out of the side of my face and have to say it doesn't look bad at all. The graft on my nose is still a bit scary looking. I have had a big white dressing on my face for 2 1/2 weeks now. Mike might not recognize me once it is all healed.
We are definitely getting the itch to be on our way. I am so glad that the doctor was able to get me all fixed up during the time we had planned to be in Tucson. 
In the evenings after dinner, we take a walk. I would hear an owl sometimes or so I thought. Last evening we ran into a 94 year old lady that looks like she is in her 70s and she pointed out the Great Horned Owl and it's baby. Tonight, we went looking at dusk and heard him in a different tree. Soon an entire group of people were watching them.

The birders around here have been giving us tips on where to see the birds. I did see an elegant trogon which is one that is a difficult find. No pictures it was flying.
 
 While riding along the Santa Cruz bike trail before it got too hot, we rode past 3 people on touring bikes with all of the  gear. I had to hear their story. After a brief interrogation, they asked where to have breakfast and we took them to the San Agustin Mercado. They are riding cross country from San Diego to Florida and loved the trail system here.
 

 
This handy bike shop is right on the Loop on the Santa Cruz trail.

Often in the mornings, we have coffee in San Agustin Mercado and people watch. This day was a young man practicing his juggling in the courtyard.
One more cactus in bloom before we go.

 
 
 



Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Tucson Mtn Park

Finally, a cool morning so we decided to go waking in Tucson Mountain Park. We only walked two miles since I am not supposed to sweat for a few more days because of my skin graft and the trail started getting steep. It was still early and decided to take a drive in Saguaro National Park. We noticed signs for an open house at the Desert Discovery Center, made a u-turn to check it out.
 


Gila Woodpecker

I have never seen such a dense population of ocotillos. So many are ready to bloom that we need to return later this week to see them.


I told Mike that that stick looks like a snake. He said it is a gopher snake. Ok, it was a snake that looks like a stick.

Once we got to the Desert Discovery Center, they were bringing out a Gila Monster.

We rubbed his cool belly even though they are venomous.



This King snake (nonvenomous) looks like a cobra snake (venomous) with a white on his head to differentiate them. I did not rub his belly.
We took a great geology hike.

Trilobite fossil

Fruit from the cholla cactus.

Must be the cousin to the gopher snake we saw on the trail.

That was a nice way to spend another day here in the Sonoran Desert.


Monday, March 14, 2016

Pima Air Museum

 
We had heard great things about this museum and ended up staying three hours. I didn't bring my driver's license and had to have it for the Boneyard tour. We spent the time touring some of the buildings with several docents in each one. They shared their experiences flying and the stories about different planes. A person would have to make several visits to get the total tour of everything.


300+ airplanes sounds like it might get redundant but didn't with all of the excellent docents there to share the stories.

WWII bomber

MASH



This 93 year old pilot of the B17 of the 390th bomber squadron spent some time with us sharing his experiences in WWII. His crew got shot down over Germany while he was in the hospital with food poisoning. They all survived.  The day he was sick 170 planes left for Berlin and 79 did not return. He is quite a character that lives in Green Valley and volunteers once a week.
 
Roasting up some green chili to put in the freezer so we don't have to look for places that make burgers with green chili. Looks like there will be some in the eggs in the morning. Hurray!
 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

BICAS, Adios mi amiga

We like to donate our bikes so someone else can get some use and enjoyment from them when  we move on to a new model. We heard about BICAS at the shop that I purchased my new mountain bike from. When we arrived at the shop, there were already several people waiting to volunteer so they could have credit towards a bike or parts.
 
 I didn't think that leaving my bike  would make me nostalgic. But after 15 years of adventures all over the US including and Canada, it made me pause and think back.
 

The shop motto: “We don’t fix your bike for you” (a temporary solution), “we teach you how to do it” (an empowering opportunity). This has enabled BICAS to become much more than just another bike shop and allowed them to remain true to our educational mission.
For community members who don’t have much money, they also offer a unique Work Trade Program where they can earn credit, which they may use to pay for shop time, or our Earn-a-Bike Program.

BICAS welcomes people of all ages and all walks of life to learn DIY bicycle maintenance skills at the shop. Community Tools is a resource for some of the most vulnerable members of the Tucson community, including the homeless, veterans, immigrants, refugees and  youth. Many of these people rely on their bikes as their sole method of transportation, and rely on BICAS to help them keep it rolling week after week!
The people in the shop were looking for a new shock or fork before we walked out the door.



Many bike parts are made in to metalwork art sold to support this effort.
 
Bikes Not Bombs movement was originally dedicated to providing sustainable, human-powered transportation to communities in developing countries by setting up, in those countries, local community bicycle maintenance spaces and training local bike mechanics, the key idea being the establishment of local self-reliance; but similar needs were soon identified within the U.S. itself, particularly in the inner cities.