Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Exploring near Casa Grande

We’re continuing to enjoy life in Casa Grande. We’ve added line dancing to our busy schedule this week, it will be at least a couple of weeks before we stop falling over our own feet!

We made a couple of trips out, one to Gilbert AZ to pick up a new car radio for the RV. The old one was a CD/Cassette player with a multi CD changer. When it worked it was OK but the display was too dim and it wouldn’t always work. Now we have a CD/USB/Bluetooth setup that will play our iPhone music and allow phone calls to come thru the speakers of the rig.

Biosphere 2 the Library Tower

There are 3 "habitats" rain forest

Ocean and Desert

Crawling around in the utility tunnels

Biosphere 2 near Tucson is an interesting place. Currently managed by the University of Arizona it is a totally enclosed environment designed to study the effects of changes in atmospheric conditions on various habitats.
The Biosphere was used to see if it was possible for humans to survive in a totally closed system back in 1991 when 8 people entered the chamber and it was sealed behind them. After 2 years they emerged. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biosphere_2


Along the way we saw signs for a Tom Mix monument. Tom Mix was almost single-handedly responsible for Western Movies. He starred in over 200 in the early years of Hollywood. Only 9 were “Talkies” however and the advent of sound finished his career. In 1940 he was driving near his hometown of Florence AZ at high speed when he came upon a bridge under construction. He swerved and the car overturned into a dry wash killing him. Today there’s a bullet riddled monument and the dry wash is called “Tom Mix Dry Wash”.

Bullet riddled horse

The Tom Mix monument

Tributes left at the site

Also near Tucson and visible from I8 is Pinal Air Park. If you are an airplane nut, or you wondered here all the commercial jets go to when they get old, this is the place. There are hundreds of them from little DC-9’s to big 747’s all parked along the runways. A company recycles parts for them and converts some for other purposes. There are about 8 Grumman amphibians parked in one area. You can’t get really close to any of the planes but it’s only miles from the I8 exit and there’s a picnic area if you’re looking to break your journey somewhere. 

Boeing 747 "Jumbo Jets" 

Hundreds of commercial airliners

Grumman Amphibians in the desert

There’s an even bigger place than this in Roswell NM where several hundred aircraft are stored, but I neglected to take pictures when I was there.

A trip to Mesa to see the Doctor Who Christmas Special let us wander around, see the statues and sample some beer.

Virgil Earp and Doc Holiday

Twisted Mural

Beautiful Statue


Good Brew Pub on Main Street

Friday, December 18, 2015

Settling Down

A ½ hour ride thru the beautiful park right next to the campground We discovered a new part with a fishing lake and stopped at the monument to the Mormon Battalion before heading back to the rig for a quiet evening and finally bed.

No not football, RV’ing silly.

We’re in our “Winter Quarters” in Casa Grande. Same place we spent last Christmas and New Years ( http://banbrv.blogspot.com/2014/12/where-heck-is-casa-grande.html). We’ve been looking forward to it for the last couple of months and hoping it would live up to our expectations.

Getting to look a lot like Christmas here

There's a prize for the best decorations.

We arrived Dec 1st and intend to stay until March 1st. Casa is quite a small community but has outstanding shopping and easy access to I10 and I8. It’s almost halfway between Phoenix and Tucson and we can be in either in an hour or so.

The best thing about this place (Sundown 1 RV Resort) is the facilities at the resort. There is so much to do it would be impossible to do all of what’s on offer in a day.

So far we’ve joined a darts group who play Tuesday and Thursday for 2hrs at a time every week. (That’s why we’ve been getting some practice in whenever we could). I’ve joined the Painting group on Thursday afternoon for 3 hrs. just before darts, so Thursday is full! We’re also looking at playing Pickle ball, doing Water Aerobics, Yoga, Power Walking, Aero Modelers. We may have to work nights to fit it all in….

While we’re here hopefully we can get the Ford Fiesta fixed properly. The story so far is that Ford built this vehicle with a fancy computer controlled transmission. It started rattling and grinding after about 10,000 miles from new. 
After 20,000 miles it sounded like there was a bucket full of rusty bolts in there, Ford rebuilt it under warranty and extended the warranty on the transmission to 150,000 miles. 

We soon found out thru friends who had them that they ALL have the problem and there’s a 3 month backlog on parts. 

After another 20,000 miles our transmission is at least as bad as it ever was, probably worse. I had it booked in at the local Ford dealer for inspection so we will have the 3 months we’re here for them to get parts and get it fixed.

The Fiesta went in to Gary Jones Ford here in Casa Grande. I must say the service rep Brandon was wonderfully welcoming and helpful.

The sad news is that they won’t inspect it until they completely reprogram the computer and we drive 1500 miles so it can “Learn” how we drive. That will only delay any repairs another couple of weeks. 

In the meantime they did the recall on all the door latches which “Might accidentally open at any time or fail to latch closed”. 

Then they also re-installed the piece of heater duct that keeps falling out from under the dash and can’t be replaced without taking an airbag out!

This one done after the warranty expired because it had already been done once during the warranty.

In other words DON’T BUY A FORD FIESTA! We only bought it because Ford say it can be towed behind the RV and it's one of very few vehicles with an automatic transmission (for Barbara) that can be towed without a dolly or trailer.

To rack up some miles we've been seeing some of the local sights we missed last time we were here. The Painted Rocks Petroglyph site is right off the Interstate and we always said we ought to stop and see it. We're glad we did. The hauntingly beautiful pictures on the rocks date back 13,000 years.

Stunning ancient pictures picked into the rocks.

Been a bit busy settling in, so this is a couple of weeks further in  on our winter holdover.

Barbara is getting in to yoga classes, we’re playing darts 2 nights a week, I’m in an art group once a week, I’m getting together with a group that likes to go shooting, We’re meeting people who want to start a beginners pickle ball knock about. 
This relaxing is getting serious! 

We attended a dinner on Wednesday, a show on Thursday, there’s a dance on Saturday, We keep getting invitations to play cards several nights a week or Bingo another night. 

The Sundance Christmas Show, singing dancing and lots of fun.

Monday we went on a free bus ride to one of the local casinos where we got $20 free play and $5 off lunch (and we don’t gamble!!).