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Week 12: Ending 2/2/2003
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2003 9:07 pm    Post subject: Week 12: Ending 2/2/2003 Reply with quote

Week 12: Ending February 2, 2003

Joan, Keith and Ron attempt to visit the Arizona Humane Society’s adoption center a few blocks from Keith’s home, but they’re close on Monday. Go figure.

We have arranged to meet Sue at Fry’s Electronics so the four of us can decide on lunch and we can experience Fry’s. What a store! Huge! Immense! (Can you tell that it’s Ron who is writing this paragraph?) Stupendous! Wonderful!

We enjoy lunch with Sue and Keith at Z’ Tejas, a fine Southwestern restaurant. We discuss this over lunch that in Phoenix, it is about the same price to eat out at a restaurant as it is to buy the food and cook it at home. Sue claims to never have had a bad meal, that all the joints are superb. From what we’ve seen (and tasted) she may not be exaggerating.

Sue has to return to work, so we visit the Desert Botanical Gardens with Keith. We were a little disappointed with the variety of plant life – but then, what would you expect to see at the DESERT Botanical Gardens? Very nice cacti. Some nice Aloe plants. We did learn that a Saguaro (pronounced sa-WA-roh) cactus (you know, the ones with the arms?) can hold as much as 1500 gallons of water. Wow! Also, we saw a dead Saguaro’s skeleton, and, surprisingly, the inside is very woody, a lot like any tree.

A fine Dinner with Keith at TBONES… Yet another outstanding restaurant.

Joan, Ron and Keith re-visit the Arizona Humane Society. They’re only about 60% full, and that’s GREAT! No Sheepies, but we did see a cute little puppy that Joan and Ron thought would be the perfect canine companion for Keith. Keith seemed to be softening, but snapped himself back into reality that unless he fenced in his yard completely, that a little puppy wouldn’t have much of a chance against the desert coyotes that roam his neighborhood.
Sue has a new car! She drives it to the Claim Jumper restaurant for our inspection.
A Nissan Murano, and what a beauty it is! A great looking car/sport-ute/station- wagon/who-knows-what vehicle complete with GPS navigation system. A real beauty! Drive it in good health, Susie!

After a brief sitdown review of the Murano, it’s time for lunch at the Claim Jumper. It is a California-based chain which serves humongous portions of great American food with a twist. Another great meal. We bid farewell to Sue with a promise to stop in Phoenix on our way East. Keith drives us back to Fry’s, where we had parked Happie. We thank Keith again for his generous hospitality. Ron and Keith have to check out Fry’s again. Ron comes out with an external hard drive to hold the files on his tower. Once that is accomplished, we can get rid of the tower. (Another weight-loss for Happie!)

We drive a leisurely 150 miles to Tucson and we arrive at Beaudry RV Resort

R&R. The Resort’s desk staff recommends the Cattletown Restaurant for a good inexpensive steak dinner and it is just down the street. We enjoy our meal, similar to Hilltop Restaurant in Saugus and pay about $40.00 including tip.. We drive to Wal-Mart SuperCenter for groceries. Our credit card is declined. When we call the credit company, they tell us that Cattletown Restaurant just submitted a charge for $6081 for our meal! Thankfully, the credit card company declined the charge. After talking with them on the phone, they approved our measly $89 worth of groceries. The restaurant was closed by the time we drove past them on the way home. (When we called their accountant the following morning, she had the correct charge. Very strange!)

Jake is really starting to struggle walking. He seemed to do okay in Quartzsite and Phoenix, so we thought the dry heat was helping his arthritis. Not so in Tucson.

Oil changes are needed by all our engines – Generator, Tahoe and the HappieCamper. Jiffy Lube does the Tahoe. Beaudry wants $175 for JUST an oil change on the motorhome. So Ron decides to do the change himself.

The manual (and Tri-State Freightliner at home) tell us that the HappieCamper takes 19 quarts of oil, so we buy a 15qt pan and a 10qt pan to drain the oil. Well, either there was way too much oil in the crankcase, or the pans were underrated for their capacity. Long story short, we got another 15qt pan, finished the draining, refilled the crankcase with 19 quarts, and the dipstick reads between full and add.

Jake is continuing to struggle with his walking.

There were a few daytrips we were initially going to take while in Tucson. We ruled out Tombstone and Old Tucson Studios after learning of their heavy commercialism. We decide to visit San Xavier Mission, built in 1867 and still an active Catholic church. It is exquisite! It is called the White Dove – we would call it the Sistine Chapel of the New World. The walls and ceilings are covered with religious murals in time-muted colors and gold. Statues of saints, cherubs and the founding Franciscan monk abound. Ongoing restoration promises to return the mission to its former glory, but it appears beautiful to us as is (albeit a little dusty).We light a candle for Joan’s mom and a dear friend of ours.

Jake is having a very difficult time with his walking. He can’t walk for more than a few steps without falling. Ron writes a note on his OES forum about Jake’s condition, and receives public and personal responses.

A nice leisurely 250 mile drive to Flagstaff, up I-17N. The landscape changes gradually from desert to woodlands. The stately saguaro are replaced by even taller pine trees.

Halfway up Ron checks the oil level. Still halfway between full and add, so he decides to add a little oil. Then, believing that he is going to have to add half a quart 10 times to bring it up to full, he decides (foolishly) to add a whole quart.

About a half hour later, while going up what seems to be the steepest part of I-17 right at the 5,000 foot elevation level, blue smoke starts pouring out of the back of the motorhome. Convinced that the HappieCamper is on fire, Ron pulls over and orders everyone out on the double. After a quick check all around, with no indication of trouble, no heat (tires are actually cool) no smells, no smoke, it dawns on Ron that he may have overfilled the crankcase. Back into the Motorhome, with an eye on the tailpipe, and –sure enough- blue smoke under high-torque acceleration. Case solved, Ron feels terrible about his mistake, and resolves that 19 quarts will be the right number in the future.

Jake seems to be doing better today! He had a good walk and was able to do his business. Things are looking up. We pull into the Grand Canyon/KOA, a rustic campground which is a welcome change from the pavement of Mesa and Beaudry. The temperature is drastically colder and windier. The winds are gusting at least 25-30 mph. What happened to the Phoenix heat? (We are at an elevation of 7000 feet!)

A day trip to Sedona, AZ. The drive down through the spectacular Oak Creek Canyon on route 89A was impressive. In addition to dropping 3,000 feet in elevation, the switchbacks were fun to drive (ok, they were tolerable on the way down, fun on the way up), and the views were breathtaking.
We can easily understand why so many people are mesmerized by the beauty of Sedona’s Red Rock. We conduct a driving tour of some of the most scenic (and expensive) residential neighborhoods. This must be a prelude to the Grand Canyon. Exquisite!

All three of us visited Sedona, with stops up and down Oak Creek Canyon for Jake.
Jake is struggling again, having a very tough time.
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