Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Catalina State Park

Catalina State Park

We are back at Catalina for the next two weeks.
We'll spend Christmas thru New Years here enjoying all that the area has to offer.

One of the things that the area has to offer is an endless array of beautiful
and varied sunsets.

Each day is different.   The sun bouncing off of the clouds onto the mountains,
or bouncing off of the clouds onto the mountains.

Its always a treat.

The clouds seem to be on fire.

Last night it was the mountains on fire and waxing moon.

Tonight my friend the Saguaro watches over the campground

The sun peeks thru the clouds and lights the lower elevations.

5 minutes the role is reversed and the mountains are illuminated.

10 minutes after that the scene has changed again.
Now the clouds reflect the color off of the mountains.

It's all part of the fun.   Waiting to see what the nights sunset will bring each day.

RV Faucet Replacement

Speaking of fun....

I had to replace the kitchen faucet in the RV

It was going to need some parts replacement, so rather than do a simple repair I decided
to replace it with the same model line, but with improved features.

I ordered the faucet online and had it delivered to the nearby Home Depot.
It was waiting for me when we got back here from Kartchner Caverns.

The Original had Soap, Faucet, Spout, Sprayer.

First on the list was empty out the cabinet and disconnect the old water lines
and remove the faucet and spout.

Then a trip to Home Depot for some misc plumbing parts.

I was happy that it only took one trip for parts.  
Sometimes more time is spend going for parts on plumbing jobs
than is actually spent doing the work.

I kept the soap dispenser and sprayer.  I need a plug for the sprayer hole.

The new spout has a pull down sprayer.
We now have two soap dispensers, one for dish soap  and one for hand soap.

The old sprayer is disconnected and merely hiding the hole for now till I find a suitable plug.

Works great and the pull down sprayer is more convenient.
We both think it looks better too.

The bus is getting more decked out in anticipation of Santas Visit,
which is now only 2 short days away.

Will he still come even though we don't have a chimney?

Saturday, December 19, 2015

It's not Frankfurt but....

In the border town of Sierra Vista, Arizona,  not more than 15 miles from
the US/Mexico border - in a nondescript little strip mall -
lies a small out of the way German Resturant.

In an area better known for its Tamales and Tacos who would expect not only to find
Wienerschnitzel und Kartoffelpuffer...  but to actually find the real thing?

Last year at this time we were celebrating Kates Birthday at one of the
oldest restuarants in Frankfurt - Zum Storch am Dom.
Zum Storch am Dom first served a meal in the 1300's

It's pretty hard to outdo that ....  but if we cant be going there,  then
the German Cafe was a good consolation prize considering where we are.

But let me not get ahead of myself.

We are here in Kartchner Caverns State Park near Benson, Arizona
thru this Monday.   We have come here for several years now so that we could
celebrate Kates Birthday at the German Cafe in Sierra Vista, Az.

There is also a doctor in Sierra Vista who does DOT physicals and my
physical - required to keep my CDL Class A  drivers license active - is due at this time so
it is very convenient on several fronts.

It was a short 45 mile drive From Tucson to Kartchner.

Sierra Vista is only 30 min south of the State Park.

Our site - #49 - has 30amp electric and water.

The campground  is almost empty.   
There is only has a few people here so it has been very quiet.

The past few days have been marked by clear mild days followed by cold nights.

The park is mostly Mesquite trees with Prickly Pear and Barrel Cactus.
Its main draw are the caverns which are pristine and well protected.  
We have toured them previously so we decided
to forgo a tour this time.

With my Wilson Antenna outside I have again been picking up an excellent
4g Verizon signal here so its been another great place to work from.

This morning our friends Marcel & Michaela (and the girls) skyped Kate for
a surprise birthday hello.   It was a nice way to start the day.

Then tonight we made our Pilgrimage to the German Cafe for Kates B-Day Dinner.

The 30 mile drive down AZ 90 is thru scenic and wide open country.
On the northbound side is a Border Control Checkpoint as this highway
is a potential smuggling route from the south.

The German Cafe is a small restaurant.  Perhaps 6 booths and another 6 tables.
A small but good selection of German Beer and the same for the food menu.

Here you will find the more basic American favorites such as Schnitzel and Sauerbrauten, but not
the heavier fare like Schweinshaxe (crisp pork knuckles).

What they do cook - they cook very well.  Made authentic and made fresh.

Tonight Kate & I both opted for the Jagerschnitzel mit Kartoffelpupper (potato pancakes).
I went dietetic  and had a garden salad...  Kate had Spaetzle 
It was delicious!

Rather than leaving room for desert - we took the path of least resistance....
We took our desert to go!

German Chocolate Cake for Kate
and a slice of Rum Cake for me.

On Monday we will make the 1hr drive back to Catalina State Park where we will
spend 2 weeks thru New Years.   While there I have some maintenance projects to
complete on the bus along with celebrating the holidays.
 It will be a busy 2 weeks!

As for today...

Alles zum geburtstag Kate!
(Happy Birthday Kate!)

It time to go eat my desert now

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Back in Arizona

Ok its time to play a little catch up.
I've received a bunch of emails asking what we are up to and where is the blog
so its nice to know that so many are enjoying it.

We left you in New Mexico at the sugar fine sands of White Sands National Monument.
Since then we've traveled west to the Tucson, Az area.

Along the way at an Arizona Rest Area on I-10.

Our first stop was Catalina State Park in Oro Valley about 15 mi north of Tucson.
One of the reasons that we love Catalina and keep coming back is the
beautiful sunsets with the Santa Catalina Mountains on fire.

Our home for 11 days was site B8.   50a electric and water.

Kate has the bus decorated for Christmas.
Note the tree and lights in the window.

Another reason I like Catalina is the convenience.  Inside the park we are in our own world,
but just outside the gate is civilization and all the amenities.
Plus a super strong 4G signal makes it easier for work.
Since this time of year is my busiest time at work, the extra strong connectivity
makes life all the easier.

On Sunday however I take a break from some Denver Broncos Football on the outside TV

After 11 days it was time to move on for a bit.
We will be back at Catalina shortly for 2 weeks over Christmas/New Years.

We stopped at the Tucson Lazy Days KOA for the full hookups so we
could get some Laundry done.   We do not have full hookups planned after this for
quite some time...  over a month.

Lazy Days is kind of neat in that it has Citrus Trees.
The fruit here however is no wheres near as good as it is at 
The Orange Grove  RV Park in Bakerfield, Ca.

A new thing here at Lazy Days is the installation of two complete rows of Solar Panels
that cover the pull thru sites.   Several acres of panels are providing over 1 mw of power
In the summer time I imagine being under the panels and shaded would be a benefit.
The panels are somewhat unsightly but I understand the purpose.

Looking down a row, you would park under the panels.

Another view.
Installations such as this are popping up all over the southwest.
Here in Tucson, the University of Arizona and Frys Grocery stores have put
panels like this over parking lots.   It provides welcome shade for parking
and the added benefit of clean energy.

We are now at Kartchner Caverns State Park about 45 miles SE of Tucson.
We will be here for 5 days before returning to Catalina State Park for the holidays.

The park here is virtually empty.   There are about 4 other rigs so it
is quite quiet.   I will have some photos in our next post.

While here we will celebrate Kate's birthday in our usual fashion...
Eating German Food!
It will not be quite like last years B-day dinner in Frankfurt with
Marcel & Michaela, but the restaurant that we go to in Sierra Vista - only 15 miles
from the Mexican Border - serves good authentic German Food so
we will have our Schnitzel & Cactus Winter Special.

Bon Apitit.