|Lending a helping CHRPA hand!|
Saturday, March 22
Silver City, NM to Tucson, AZ
|Trek from Silver City to Tucson|
The last chapter of our spring trip is opening today! We left Silver City after a relatively lazy morning...departure at 11am. It is another beautiful day, brisk, but sunny. Rick takes us over the Big Burro Mountains, across the Continental Divide a final time at about 6400', and down into the flats of Lordsburg, NM. This is about the LAST place I would want to live in New Mexico. Remote and dusty, but it is circled with peaks (no trees, however!) It is on I-10, however, and after a fill-up at Love's, I take the wheel to cruise west toward Tucson.
|Rocks of Texas Canyon|
About 10 miles east of our exit for Tucson, Rick spies our first sajuaro cactus of the trip. Such cool plants. You have to respect them, as it takes YEARS for them to grow!
Up Kolb Street, past the graveyard for military airplanes, and into the Shalom Mennonite Church parking lot and the offices for CHRPA. We are dismayed to find another rig in OUR end spot next to the mesquite tree. It belongs to Ted and Eleanor from New Hampshire. Walter and Lorene are in their usual spot next to the house. Rick swings around and pulls in next to the sidewalk in the next available space. No big deal, as the tree really provides no shade anyway! We get all set up, hooked up, and while I start a load of laundry so we can make the bed, Rick takes the propane tank to get it filled. We weren't sure how much we had left and didn't want to run out at an inconvenient time!
It is WARM in Tucson - low 80's, but the sun feels HOT! In the shade it is relatively pleasant. We even fire up the air conditioner briefly to cool off the trailer. Didn't put the sleeping bag on the bed, so I hope I don't wake up cold tonight! Maybe I should check the weather forecast first! We also got the reminder in the SOOP lounge to set our clocks back an hour - Arizona doesn't go on daylight savings time, so we are 'with' Pacific time right now.
Walter gave me a key to the SOOP lounge and helped me find the internet password information. We haven't seen Lorene yet, which puzzles me a little. Talked with Walter again for abit while waiting for the laundry to finish .... he was working on a new jigsaw puzzle in the lounge.
|El Sur Mexican Restaurant|
By the time we are back it is DARK! So it goes with no daylight time! It will be light in the morning though!
SUNDAY, March 23 (Happy Birthday, Katy Nicole!)
A Day of Rest!!!
|This nondescript bird has the most|
beautiful and distinct song.
|Shalom Fellowship from our trailer -|
back side view!
|Our set up, Ted & Elinor in motorhome -|
house in background the Volunteer house
Our accomplishments for today? Another load of laundry, conversations with Moms, salad made, veggies cut, dip made, ham cut, pineapple cut up. Basically ready for lunches and meals all week! Rick took a walk and watched a little basketball.
|Prickly pear and fence that|
inspired my prayer drawing
|The bougainvillea we planted last year in|
front of CHRPA HQ are blooming!
It was really hot in the sun again today, but fairly comfortable in the shade of the trailer. We put the awning up to help keep things cooler.
Ready for bed to be prepared and awake for the 7:30 CHRPA call in the morning!! Oh boy!!
|The first of hopefully many beautiful Tucson sunsets!!|
MONDAY, March 24
|New mosaic on shop exterior|
Today begins our CHRPA work!! We are up and at 'em - Scott comes over to chat briefly when he drives in - he sees us out eating breakfast. CHRPA is starting at 7:30 right now, so an early start. We are greeted with some familiar faces as we come into the office - SOOPs as well as full-time workers (Dustin, Mike, Albert, both Dans, etc.) We meet two faces (to us!): Kat and Cerie (I have no idea how to spell her name!) MVS, YAVS, Jesuit? Don't know!
|Sign above CHRPA door|
|Doug and Rick get started on repairs.|
|By afternoon Rick had his|
|Picture out back window of dirt road in the|
desert! Where are you taking us, Doug?
This gal has 5 acres out in the middle of nowhere. There are other trailers in sight (too close as far as she is concerned...they are 'druggies'!) In getting to the place, we took the freeway north, got off on Arva Valley Rd and headed west toward Ironwood Forest NM. Past the regional airport, we turned left on a paved road, which soon turned to dirt. At this point Doug said, 'There is telephone pole #36 - we drive until #54! We were literally driving down the access power line 'road'. But the funny thing is...these roads have names on the map, which makes it look like they are MUCH better than they are. Of course, none of those names are marked in reality! Just follow the pole numbers! Doug did admit that it took an hour on his first visit to FIND the place! Once we were there, I called the gal on the cell, as she had to kennel the dogs and then walk out to unlock her padlocked gate.
We worked for about 2 1/2 hours straight in the sun - and I was starting to feel the heat by the time we took a break in the shade for lunch. After lunch, I mostly visited while Rick and Doug finished up with a door that also needed a little repair work.
|Doug and client doing|
Back to the CHRPA office by 2pm. A relatively easy day! We did remind Scott that he doesn't need to schedule us as a team - we can go out separately! Who knows what will be on the schedule for tomorrow.
Oh,....our truck for today was a new one donated by the gas company. We laughed when we saw it had been named Walter G - in honor of Walter Good. Walter and Lorene probably won't be coming back down another winter. They have been coming for 17 years, and they are both now 85 years old. Their daughter and her husband are coming down the first of April to help them drive the motorhome back north. It has been stored here at CHRPA during the summer for the past four years. Walter doesn't go out on jobs much anymore, but tinkers alot in the shop separating the metal scrap for the recyclers. He says the money earned buys the ice cream sandwiches for the workers!!
We both sat out and read a little, then Rick off for a walk while I catch up on computer. Showers and a relaxing evening at The Resort. :)
|Shot of Sajuaro NP West peaks as we head home.|
|Ocotillos in bloom!!|
TUESDAY, March 25
Gas Line Installation (Ging)
Roof Repair (Rick)
|CHRPA sign in office|
|The CHRPA man|
|Wood blocks on roof|
|Hammer drill to make holes in concrete wall|
|Flashing and Sealant on roof|
|My 4" connection in the gas line!|
Back to CHRPA to clean out the truck and take a shower! I felt like I had something prickly all over me! I hear I get to stay in-house tomorrow and paint trucks!! Oh boy!
Rick heard an ad on radio or TV about Taco Giro having Fish Taco Tuesdays, so we walked down to the restaurant on 22nd St. for dinner. You can't get much cheaper than this - 99 cent taco and they were stuffed! I had 3, Rick 4, and we walked away from the restaurant for $10 including tax and tip! Wow! Pretty sunset as we left, but in a small region of the sky so hard to get pictures amidst the street signs, etc. TV and working on a CHRPA design tonight!
|A peak at the sunset while walking home from Taco Giro|
WEDNESDAY, March 26
Tribute to Walter (Ginger)
Roofing with Siri (Rick)
What a great day!! A cool crisp night followed by a morning of reveille in chorus with the birds, the thump thump of bikes riding over the RV hookup bridge, and friendly hellos as we sit out in front of the trailer eating breakfast in the sunshine! Life is good!
|A quality repair on the peak of the roof|
|Grace shows Siri some of her knitting handiwork|
|Image of Walter on truck|
|Finished back of truck|
|Big Red after its bath.|
Another beautiful sunset this evening. We ate dinner 'in'.
|I found a big prickly pear among a mesquite tree behind the CHRPA office to offset the sunset!|
|You'll find symbols for plumbing, electric, roofing, the trucks and tools, and the local flora!|
THURSDAY, March 27
|A crew of cheerful CHRPA boys!|
More Painting Trucks
Today is Thursday and that means....CHRPA School! Every Thursday, the first 45 minutes or so is dedicated to a lesson in home repair. Since we seem to always arrive in March, we get the electricity lessons which precede the swamp cooler maintenance season.
|Eddie electron on demo!|
|Ginger helping test the voltage.|
Then Scott gave a little speech about Lorene and Walter and their dedication to coming every year for the past 17 (or more!). A few more Walter stories - during which Walter sat with his usual stoic grumpy face. A little trophy was awarded to him (typical handmade CHRPA style) and then we went outside for the unveiling of the new truck. Scott had rigged up a board that Lorene and Walter could cut the tape and the board would drop to show the new name on the back. Walter still had very little to say! My take on the matter? He was maintaining his stoicism to mask a deep emotion! He later gave me a hug and said he liked the picture!
|Walter and Lorene unveil the new truck signage|
|Finished skirting on front of house|
Evidently Scott must have thought I passed the test on Walter's truck, so today I am still on special assignment - paint a seal on Finn and then do the name and picture on .... Decision time, Scott! I need a name! The crew had voted on "Vanna White" (It's a white van!) but that had been nixed! Out of the blue, Scott said Allie had suggested Rosie. What about Rosie with the WW2 classic picture with Rosie and a pipe wrench in her hand.?! OK!
|New picture on FINN.|
After a quick lunch I pulled Finn under the mesquite tree (I was too late for the eucalyptus!) and got started on the seal. It went much faster and smoother than I anticipated, considering the detail on the design. Then Scott had suggested I paint the rose on Rosie in red, so before I started that truck, I had to make another trip to Ace for more paint. I also picked up a detail quality brush so I could sign my pictures.
|Back of Rosie!|
I worked until about 3p finishing up Rosie. It came out pretty nice if I do say so myself! I had a nice square panel to work on with the van which was easier than the skinny truck panels.
Clean-up, shower, and a goodbye to Scott (he is leaving on a short vacation with his son) and at 4 I head off to Albertsons and a weigh-in at the Weight Watchers store.
Tonight we COOKED dinner! I had picked up some Indian eggplant (little lemon size ones) at Sprouts, so we put them with a serving size pack of Spam, an onion that Rick was given yesterday by a client, a zucchini, and a handful of spinach. It tasted pretty good!
Rick watched March Madness tonight, while I went over to the SOOP lounge for their weekly Bible study. Took a few of my Scribble books and sold 3 of them! Worked on the jigsaw puzzle afterwards for about an hour!
Three day weekend ahead!!! Play time!
|Lorene and Walter with his 'trophy'.|
|A loop around the West hills of Tucson|
FRIDAY, March 28
Tucson-Sonora Desert Museum
80 miles (more or less!)
Click HERE for all of today's pictures
Today is forecast to only be in the 70's, so we decide that this is a good time to explore a little outside! The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is rated the #1 attraction for visitors in the Tucson area, so we thought maybe we should may it a visit! We looked down on the museum from Gates Pass three years ago when we went on a short hike with Luke.
|About here I realized I had|
no memory card!
|Ocotillo, saguaro, and peaks.|
We get to the museum around 10, too late for the morning Raptor show. We are amazed at the crowds - school buses of kids. It is a madhouse! We wait in line for our tickets - the cost is $19.50 each. Right before paying, a gentleman asked the gal in front of us if she would like a free guest pass. She already had one, so turned to us - would we like it??? SURE! So we got in for half price!! Good start to the day! Right place at the right time.
|Desert fairy duster|
|Agave in bloom|
After the Free Flight, we wandered the rest of the Desert Loop, a more primitive trail that takes you out by the javelinas. We saw three of them napping under the concrete bridge over a wash, and then later looked back to see them up and wandering around.
|Javelinas taking a stroll|
A highlight was the aviaries! So much singing and noise from birds everywhere, but sometimes you had to look close. They are so unaffected by people that you can get some pretty close views. We saw a cardinal and stellar blue jay among others. In the hummingbird aviary we saw a few nests - so tiny. One had a single fledgling waiting as its mama brought back food. They dart and move so quickly it was hard to get pictures, but finally one ate on the honeysuckle bush right in front of us. Click!!
|"Bird on a Blooming|
I take the wheel for the drive home, deciding to head north and visit Saguaro National Park West to see what is up that way. I know we can get back to the freeway near Marana (didn't realize quite how far north we would have to go!). Found the visitor center, ran in to get my passport stamp, and back on our way!! We felt our way through the back roads, following a few helpful signs and Rick's navigating, and found I-10 again on the north side of Tucson. Traffic wasn't as bad as I feared it might be on a Friday night, but it wasn't until we got home that I remembered the truck clock is still on Mountain time, so we weren't exactly in the MIDDLE of rush hour!
A few more pictures before closing....
|Can't remember the name but it was gorgeous!|
|The prickly pears were covered with new growth!|
|Organ Pipe Cactus|
(I give up trying to get these pictures to line up correctly when the blog publishes! Sorry for all the blank spaces and weird writing along the side!)
SATURDAY-SUNDAY, March 29-30
|Elinor and Walter work on the puzzle.|
Sunday we worshipped again with the Shalom Fellowship - good sermon by Bryce and then lunch out with Walter and Lorene, Ted and Elinor, and Hugh (one of the CHRPA volunteers who is also active at Southside Presby Church). Grocery shopping at Wal-mart Neighborhood Market, salad making, phone calls to Moms, and puzzle time with everyone (only 6 of us left!) We had a beautiful sunset again this evening which is the ONLY picture I have taken over the past two days!
Back to WORK tomorrow!!!
|Sunset as reflected in the windows of Sparkie|
Gas lines, Water Heaters, Leaky Pipes, and Mobile Home Skirting
Today was a full day!!! With Scott gone, the rest of the SOOPs done for the season, and a couple other regulars off, we only had 5 teams go out today. Ali and Dan Wilhelm are 'in charge' for the week - scheduling, etc. It seemed rather quiet in the office as everyone gathered to get started.
|Mike drill hole in eave roof.|
Mike and I were assigned another gas line job today, which should have been relatively easy, but Dustin said we also needed to check the water heater because it had an unsafe condition in passing the hot water line directly over the vent for the gas. It was burning through the pipe! So...two jobs!
|Posterized version of Ging on roof|
The gas line jobs mean hauling the heavy pipe cutting and threading tools everywhere! Part of the line had already been installed on the gas stove side of the house. Again we had to lay line across the roof of the house (same little blocks, etc. - although Mike cut them this time while I was applying the sealant to the two flashing spots.) The gas line went fairly smoothly and shortly after lunch we were completely done.
|Roof flashing and sealant job.|
|Mike uses grinder to cut the pipes.|
|This puddle filling with water was NOT|
what we wanted to see!
We are running out of time! And the client wants his gas stove pilot lit - between Mike and I and the son of the homeowner, we can't figure it out. At 5pm, Mike says we HAVE to leave!!! Someone will come back in the morning and fix the leak and light the stove! In the meantime, they have no hot water and no stove. We do the best we can!
Back to CHRPA at 5:30 - a 10 hour day in the sun. I was beat. Didn't drink enough and felt it. Mike said it was a 2 ice cream day and helped himself to a couple treats from the freezer!
Lorene and Walter took their motor home in for a check-up today after sitting idle for four years. They arrived home just as I did - all ready to hit the road on Wednesday!! I think Ted and Elinor hope to pull out tomorrow morning. We will have to say our goodbyes before leaving for work!
Talked to Luke briefly and then Rick had a good conversation later. He had a good time with Jack and was driving back to Baker City. I got reservations made today for Friday and Saturday nights as we head back up toward Baker City. We are bound for Sedona area, and then Alama, NV! New places to stop!!
Could be an early night to bed. I'm tired!! Rick goes out with Dustin tomorrow and I am paired with Dan Regier!
|A different type of prickly pear.|
|Aloe blossom closeup|
|Bright red stamens on a desert bird of paradise.|
|Another flower in the Quezada garden.|
Tuesday, April 1
|Bathroom assessment: the owner couldn't|
get up the step to use the toilet!
A busy morning as I helped Mike unload YaVonne (we were too tired last night and the shop was locked up!). The schedule got switched a little at the last minute as Patrick wasn't feeling well (hurt his shoulder on Monday), so Rick ended up going south of Green Valley with Doug. Their assignment was bathroom repairs and another assessment, but they ended up with two assessment and time to kill. So they drove north abit and met up with Ali and Siri who were working on a floor replacement in a mobile home. He said they got alot done with the four of them there!
|Ceiling repair at House 1|
|Checking the Circuit Box with Dan Regier and|
|Prickly pear blossom near Shalom church|
|Bike sculpture atop the Bike Shop|
next door to Shalom.
Rick and I walked down to Taco Giro for the Tuesday Fish Taco night - another bargain $10 dinner!!
So....in the past two days what have I done, some for the first time? 1. Installed electric switch and outlet; 2. Ran the chop saw for the molding; 3. Installed plates over electric boxes; 3. Ran the pipe threader; 4. Cut pvc pipe with a cutter; 5. Glue pvc together; 6. Applied flashing and sealant to the roof; 7. Applied pipe sealant to unknown number of threads! A couple of typical CHRPA days I guess!
I worked on a new CHRPA design this evening:
WEDNESDAY, April 2
Floors and Steps!
Ah....the end of a long day! The crescent moon lights the sky along with stars, a glass of wine and a finished jigsaw puzzle over in the lounge. I'm ready to call it a night, but will get today's missive written first.
Rick and Mike were paired up today to go finish the flooring job they started yesterday with Ali and Siri. All went well and Rick even stopped at the Pecan Store in Green Valley and picked up some Honey Toasted pecans. They are good!
|My first view of the yard.|
|Old steps in place - one section was held|
together with wire. NOT good.
|Finishing up the platform section.|
We built the platform landing first. Then we had to remove the old metal steps (and all the stuff underneath, most of which was concrete pavers). The tough job of the day was digging in the dirt to level our paver stones. Hugh had forgotten a shovel, so I canvassed the yard and found a couple of shovel wanna-bes. With the help of a couple hammers and crowbars, we managed to dig down into the very dry and hard earth to get our pavers under the 4x4 supports and level. It was NOT a clean job.
|We got the old steps out|
and then had to dig to set the
|Drilling and screwing in the step boards.|
No where to go to the bathroom today, so I just didn't drink much and made it through until we got home. Not the best plan, but fortunately the temps today only reached the high 60's.
|Posing on the finished project!|
|The finished puzzle - three missing pieces.|
Final CHRPA Day: Plumbing!
|Lots of volunteers needed to attend the MVS Cooler|
Rick went out today with Dan Wilhelm, one of the ‘seconds in command’ along with Ali when Scott is out of the office. Their task was to finish up some toilet repair and then install a shower surround and get the shower operational. The location for the shower job was a small trailer in the very run-down trailer park we both visited last year. Our eyes continue to be opened by the conditions in which some people are living.
I spent another day with Mike! We had two plumbing jobs to tackle. The first was at the home of VR – the cat lady….she has 13 cats living in her mobile home. Plus a homeless couple and her sister who ends up sleeping there when she loses her income from gambling. VR had a leaky toilet – the problems was in the water line into the toilet. We took off what was there and installed a new flex hose with a shut-off valve, which wasn’t there previously. As we worked, VR came up with additional things for us to look at….another leak, etc. Mike made up a list and someone will go back out next week. I was somewhat glad we weren’t staying any longer as I have developed something of an allergy to cats and didn’t want to be miserable tonight!
|My P trap installment!|
|Dr. Mike ready to cut away|
under the sink!
Rather than head back to VR’s home, we went to Home Depot to get the supplies that fix would need and then headed back to HQs. Mike and I had a good moment or two of singing in the van to some oldie tunes! I had to download my pictures as both jobs today needed income verification, so I had the social security award letters on the camera. Good-byes to some of the staff and off for a much desired shower!!
Rick and I gased up the truck and hit El Sur for a chicken fajita dinner! I even bought a pint of the mild salsa to take home with me.
Ali, Kat, Mike, and Carrie stopped by to say goodbye as they prepared to take off for a night out! And Rick had to contact Bryce to ask him to move the truck parked next to us, preventing us from hooking up to the trailer in the morning!
Quiet evening, but no internet connection for some reason. L I’ll have to post all this tomorrow night.
Addendum.....or maybe not until we get home. What internet connection problems I had coming home!!! Maybe it is Blogger's problem, I don't know!
Addendum.....or maybe not until we get home. What internet connection problems I had coming home!!! Maybe it is Blogger's problem, I don't know!
VIEW ALL CHRPA and TUCSON PICTURES