Octagonal Bank of New Zealand banker's desk carved from Australian red cedar, Dunedin, circa 1883.

Octagonal Bank of New Zealand banker's desk carved from Australian red cedar, Dunedin, circa 1883.
Octagonal Bank of New Zealand banker's desk carved from Australian red cedar, Dunedin, circa 1883.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Science, and Reconnecting with Great Friends - Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The early bird gets the doughnuts and that's a good thing when it's Escapees CARE morning in the WiFi Cafe. All proceeds from the doughnut sales this morning go to Escapees CARE, Inc. A bell was rung by the volunteers anytime anyone put $20 or more in the donation jar.

For those of you who don't know what CARE is, it stands for Continuing Assistance for Retired (and Recuperating) Escapees. CARE is operated solely by donation. For the whole scoop on CARE, click here.

After a couple of doughnuts, I went to "The Future of RV Connectivity." Mostly, the class was over my head. We will continue to use our AT&T hot spot router.

Overnight, our fresh water in the rig sputtered and stopped working. We thought we were out of fresh water because we have never boondocked before. I posted our dilemma on the Escapees Escapade Facebook page and immediately had responses from helpful Escapee members. Colleen Martel offered two five-gallon jugs, a 20-gallon bladder and a pump for us to use if we didn't want to move our rig. (How wonderful is that offer?) Jane Wakefield Mathes let us know where the fresh water spigots were in the fairgrounds. 

Once our generator was working after having quiet time from 10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m., we found out the problem with our water was the pump. With the generator back on, the fresh water pump worked fine and we were back in hot water (and cold). We are learning things still!

The most interesting seminar besides the Border Patrol talk was "Soak Up the Science, Explore what UA [University of Arizona] has to Offer." I thought I had a pretty good bucket list of Tucson items; however, after this seminar and some other information we picked up, I added 15 more experiences to the list. (Information provided below about University of Arizona comes from the university brochures supplied by Shipherd Reed, our speaker.)

  1. Biosphere II $ - Guided tour experience with five tours to choose from.
  2. Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium $ (UA campus)
  3. Laboratory of Tree Ring Research (UA campus) - free docent-led tours.
  4. Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab Guided Tour $ - The University of Arizona builds the world's largest telescope mirrors under their football field. On this tour, marvel at the ingenious engineering and optical innovations that enable UA to build the world's largest, most advanced optical telescope mirrors. (UA campus)
  5. Tumamoc Hill - three-mile roundtrip to the top with 800' elevation gain. Download Tumamoc Tour mobile app and listen as you walk.
  6. Arizona State Museum $ (UA campus)      
  7. Gem & Mineral Museum $ (UA campus)
  8. History of Pharmacy Museum (UA campus)
  9. Center for Creative Photography (UA campus)
  10. UA Museum of Art $ (UA campus)
  11. UA History Tour (free guided walking tour)
  12. UA Public Art Tour (free guided walking tour)
  13. Museum of Optical Sciences (UA Campus)
  14. OSIRIS-REx Mission Tours $ - Learn all about the UA-led OSIRIS-REx sample-return mission to the asteroid Bennu. 
  15. Mt. Lemmon Science Tour - Download the free Mt. Lemmon Science Tour mobile app. Explore the science stories of our "Sky Islands" region when you listen to this free audio guide for the drive up Mt. Lemmon on the Catalina Highway. This Tour connects one of the most spectacular drives in the country with some of the most fascinating earth science in the world.
Whew! Our brains were full of science after that talk. It was very informative and the speaker was excellent!

Our seminar at 11:30 a.m. was all about working summer jobs at Yellowstone National Park for Yellowstone General Stores. In 2012, Bob and I applied to work there and were accepted. Then we decided we'd rather just visit Yellowstone for two weeks and not work. We declined the job offer at that time. 

We looked at the opportunity again by doing this seminar. There are pros and cons to working there and we may work there yet, just don't know when at this point because we have so much travel left in us. However, Yellowstone is one of our very favorite places, crowds or not.

After lunch, Bob attended the seminar "Healthcare Coverage for Pre-Medicare RVers." He has COBRA coverage from his work and he was looking to validate that that coverage was his best option. He found out it is.

At 3:00 p.m., we both attended a topic that may play a role in a near-future trip for us: "I'm Going to Alaska! Now What?" This was presented by Brock Brinkerhoff and Janine Vance who have been to Alaska a number of times in their RV. They were not selling anything, just sharing their experiences and what activities and excursions they like to do. The presentation was made all the better by their spectacular photos. 

After their seminar, we had a dinner date with dear friends of ours whom we hadn't seen for years. They were one of the reasons we headed west before we headed east. (We also had relatives we wanted to spend quality time with,  friends in Phoenix, and the Escapade Rally to attend. It was a no-brainer to go west on our way east.)

Rick and Jan used to live in Ukiah, California at the north end of the Napa Valley Wine Region. Our home was in the Portland, Oregon area. We met them at Asilomar (Monterey, California area) where our church had a big conference every year. We would see them on our way to or from Asilomar each year.

They moved to Palm Desert, California, and we moved to Milton, Washington, and then Honolulu, Hawaii. Seven years ago, we settled in San Antonio, Texas. They moved into their Vail, Arizona home in January 2019. We were thrilled at the chance to see them again.

They invited us to dinner at their place. We met their 12-year-old cat, Rudy. The time was an hour before sunset. Jan served crackers, cheese, and red pepper jelly out on their back patio. A light breeze blew and we chatted about the paths our lives have taken. We loved their house and property and saw the sunset from the front part of their house. 

Jan and Rick served a delicious meal of salmon, salad, special rice, and cake and ice cream for dessert. We enjoyed every bite.

We felt like we were in a high-class restaurant!
Bob, Rick, and Jan.
Rick, me, and Bob.
Rick, Jan, and Bob
It felt like we had just seen them two weeks ago, rather than 20 years ago. Thank you so much, Rick and Jan, for the delightful evening. I think we could have talked until dawn.

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