Mountain, Cross and Shuffleboard Nats

pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
Cooper Union trail is officially done for this year. Art pulled tools out Monday. We are both feeling good about making our deadline and completing this phase of the project.

I had my 6 month ultrasound on Thursday and things were stable and unchanged, so I am cleared for another 6 months. The recent labs showed that my Iron levels look good as well. So I am not anticipating any travel delays other than the bath renovation. Yesterday the tile guy came and laid a sub floor for the heat mat, which brings us to waiting for the electrician. There has been no word on that timing yet. I am hoping the heat mat and the tile happens this week, but I am not holding my breath. If it does, we may get out of here around Nov. 8-10. I am trying to stay somewhat flexible. It seems like every year the temps are warmer in the fall. So can not say the cold is driving me out of NY yet. If anything, it is the lack of sunshine here in the east that draws me back to AZ.

Sunday Art and I rode at Sterling. The conditions were awesome! With all this rain today, riding could be less than ideal for a few days, so glad to get a good ride in. We may be putting some more time in on bathroom stuff over the next few days while trying to get this job done. It would be nice to get a soak in the new tub before we head out. In general I am feeling pretty good about life.
 

pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
We finally have tile installed in the bath on the floor and most the wall. Completion of the wall and grouting is supposed to happen tomorrow. Things look great. The red in the picture is the heat mat. Floor tile pictures to follow after grouting and clean up. So it is beginning to look like we could get out of here mid to late next week. The weather has been really nice, so I can not complain, but the western sunshine is calling.

I went for a ride on Friday and checked out the new stuff over at Sterling. That is looking fantastic and I am really excited about this expansion of the trail system! The cold was a bit of a shock for Art and me, as it was windy on Friday and being the first cold day, we froze our asses off. It gets harder and harder to tell myself to "toughen the f up" when we can just as easily wait a week and be in a warmer climate. However, it is important to have a few cold days to remind me that I am alive and I need to appreciate the great opportunity that we have set for ourselves in AZ during the winter.

Today I rode as well and it was just beautiful out there in Ringwood. The trails were busy and it was very satisfying to see how many people were out using the trails that Art and I have worked so hard to improve. Great to see!

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pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
We headed out of NY on the 12th. We decided to to take Rt 80 across PA instead of the turnpike. It was a nice change and went very smoothly. It was looking like we would arrive in Indianapolis ahead of schedule but there were 3 interstate closures in Indi. The closures made for some delays that night and the next morning but other than that we moved along and predicted rain was minimal in the late afternoon only. The drive on the last 2 days is always easier and less stressful, but it is still 4 days in the car. It is always nice to get the drive behind us.

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With a heavy monsoon in Tucson this past summer, things were very overgrown in our yard. Grasses and weeds were everywhere. Ant sand piles and black widows were doubled. It can seem overwhelming when we first arrive, but we pace ourselves and little by little the house and gardens get cleaned out. There are also a bunch of repairs to get to, so we are quite busy the first few weeks. Ususally we ride every other day, but this year with the extra overgrown yard, we have been doing 2 days work to 1 day riding. There was a bumper crop of amaranth and what I call "nasty grass". It is super scratchy and sticks to all your clothes and gloves. It gets in your socks, shoes, gloves, shirts and pants. When I am done with that weeding I will throw my gloves away and celebrate! I still have a few more weeks of weeding.

The trails by our house are overgrown too. Plus they got super eroded this year. A lot of what we ride up there is not real sustainable, and while last year there were some great conditions, this year not so much. It still is a beautiful place to visit on an adventure ride, I just have to walk and push my bike a bunch more. State Land and National Forest has not been on board with sustainable trail management in the past. Most the bike friendly organized work has been Pima county parks. However, we just found out that there is someone new in charge with Narional Forest and there is an assessment that may take place. This is great news and hopefully some long needed trail improvements will get on schedule.

Art and I helped build a new trail Sunday as part of Pima county parks. There was another trail completed while we were away, so I am looking forward to getting back down there to ride soon. The Starr Pass area has really increased in size with new trails connecting other parks together. Great stuff happening down there.

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pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
The courtyard and house is pretty much cleaned up and/or weeded out as of 15 minutes ago. It feels good to have that done. We may be heading down town to Sweetwater tomorrow to ride with friends from PA. With the diesel shortage, we will be doing errands as well afterwards. Not sure of what is causing the shortage, but I have heard rumors of trucks waiting on line for deliveries on the AZ/CA boarder. I think prices are pretty high in CA right now. I guess we may have to plan our trips more carefully.

I decided to cook turkey on Thanksgiving and have over our friends down the street over for dinner. I have not made a turkey in quite some time, but I had been craving it. It was really good! Art wanted home made pecan pie. Whole foods was sold out of pre made pie crusts and instead of making another stop, I decided to make my own. I have not done that in a while either. Art's mother was quite a good pie maker and she taught me various techniques for crust edge detailing. I could not find my pastry blender and I do not have a food processor. I prefer to work with my hands rather than press a button. I had to use the 2 knives technique that my mother would do when making pie crust when we were on vacation. It worked and the pie crust looked awesome! I swapped out corn syrup for honey and coconut sugar for cane sugar, but I used real butter. In addition, I threw in some chocolate chips. .....success!! Everyone liked it.

Hopefully more pictures next time.

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pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
Art decided to repair one of our fireplaces that has been damaged since we bought the place. It looked like someone tried to repair or modify the fireplace and gave up. There were several block cells inside that were crumbled and open and the opening looked like it was rectangular and someone tried to make it arched, but never finished. Art made a form and installed rebar to reinforce and then did mortar. Even though he put some wire lath in the ceiling open cells, the mortar kept falling out. And yes, it would fall on him. There is only so much room to work in a fireplace. He finally had to prop up a board to hold it in, and It worked. I think the final result looks great so far! Ideally we would like to get a custom set of screen doors for the opening.

We have not been doing a ton of riding, which is fine for this time of year. We have done some trail building down town a few times and plan to do more this weekend. They are trying to get this new trail complete for an event in January. They already purchased the beer permit so a new trail would really make the event special and offer more connectivity for rides. We also have had some rain, which is good. And in addition, I lost a ride day when I got my covid booster. I did not get real sick, but slept off most of the day after. This prompted me to buy my first whole chicken of the season and do a roast and make soup afterwards. I do enjoy homemade soup in winter, and winter in Arizona comes a bit later and may just be temps below 72, and cool nights. However, soup fits in from Dec to Feb.


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pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
Today I am catching up with indoor stuff as it is raining. I would not choose to spend Christmas eve day cleaning house, but it seems to be the best use of time. Good news is that you all get another blog post from me. ... and some pictures!

Up to today, the weather has been pretty fantastic. I finally got over to ride Starr pass and the new Mickingbird trail on Monday. The new trail was awesome and really adds some nice new options. When the portal and explorer new sections are complete, this place will have much to offer for a variety of levels of riders. Starr geographically has a bit of rock, which makes it possible for some more technical trail types. So I am glad that the new trails added have had both rocky and smooth areas added for everyone. They also have worked hard to create quality connectivity, replacing washed out washes and eroded crap with nice trails.

I have added some pictures of the hummingbirds. As you can see, when it gets a little cold in the morning, they get fluffed up. Sometimes the small males fluff up to look big too. Broadbills are the brilliant blue and green ones with a red bill. The little jewel toned guys are very vocal and cluck constantly. The male costas are one of the smallest in Az and have a purple head with a gorglet that looks like sideburns. In the winter, we also have many annas (not pictured) and this year we have a broad tailed couple. The broad tails are a bit shy so I do not have a good photo yet. They have a distinct sound of their wing beat buzz that is different than the the others. You can hear them before you see them. Many varieties migrate through in spring and fall, but only some stay in winter, so this new couple is special. Art and I both enjoy watching them all.

The clouds have not lifted yet, but with the warm temperatures, I do not think we will have a white ( on the mountain ) Christmas. Merry Christmas to all my MTBNJ friends !! ... and may you all have a happy and healthy 2022 filled with bikes rides.

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pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
We have had a mix of rain, clouds and cooler temps over the last week. All this makes for dramatic skies. Art has been doing time lapse on his phone at sunsets. ... amazing results! Big rain predicted for tomorrow with a freeze on the back end. I have had to get out my winter gloves, leg warmers and heavy jersey for riding. While I am ok to ride and tollerate AZ cooler temps, I certainly do not look forward to it like the locals do out here. On the plus side, the sun usually shines sooner than later and temps will slide back up into the high 50's and 60's in a week or so.

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pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
We had a big rain event that caused both washes to run and we were locked at the house New Years day. It has since gone down and we are able to get out with the car. We also had a heavy frost that bit some of the flowers in our garden, even with frost cloth covers. So winter is here with snow on Mt Lemmon as well. I have a friend visiting and we all have had some really nice relaxing rides, so we are off to a good new year on the bike.

While we had all that rain, Art got working on fixing our bike room work stand area. He had repurposed a few leftover kitchen cabinets, but they were not really fitted into the corner and things would fall behind. Also it was really dark in that room. Art installed some new lights and fixed up and fitted the cabinet to the wall. He got a new countertop and put on a coat of paint. It looks and works well and no sunny days were wasted indoors! Temps have been coming back up into the 60's, so super nice to be outside.

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pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
Sounds like some cold and snow made it's way to New Jersey, so I am posting a picture of some flowers to warm your day.

Art has been starting his next project: shroud for the top of one of our chimneys. He plans to form solid concrete. I never thought I would hear it, but he switched to 60 pound bags of concrete from 80. I guess if he needs to get 20 bags on the roof himself, he has downsized the bag size. I know I will not be able to help with any of that. I do not think I could do much more than a bag or two at 20 pounds, maybe not even that. Not sure how all this will go but I will try to post up some pictures as things move along.

We rode Starr again today and did both Sarasota loop and Explorer / Mockingbird loop. Probably the most tech bang for your buck at Starr. Plus our leader today was the trail designer and local ultra endurance guru setting the pace. I was pretty far off the back and currently feeling pretty wiped out! Only a 2.5 hour ride but much more intense than I am used to doing these days. Still good to know I can pull that stuff out of my a$$ now and then. .....Really looking forward to some shut eye, so maybe more words next time.

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