Train Watching

Monday April 20th 2020

Not much blog worthy happened today. The bright blue sky with only a little wind allowed the temperature to reach the mid 80s. Tomorrow is forecast to be the last comfortable for a while. Starting Wednesday the high temperature is forecast in the 90s and by the weekend the 100s. I’m not looking forward to it.

Wind contraption in my neighbors yard.

In addition to my two walks, I took up train car counting today. During breakfast for some reason I found myself counting the cars on a westbound train across the field to the north of the park. I lost count around one hundred cars on the four engine train. The fact that I lost count caused a minor obsession to find the next train to count. I watched most of the day, but never caught another one from the beginning. I notice the trains more at night. The sound of the train whistles and rumbling carry better in the still night air.

A Planning Sunday

Sunday April 19th 2020

With less wind today the temperature made it up to eighty. There were a few clouds in the sky off and on during the day including at sunset. The clouds added a little interest to an otherwise bland sunset.

Beautiful roses in the yard of one of the park model RVs here.

I was late getting to my first walk of the day. Chasing internet links on information about places to stay after I leave here next month kept me busy until well afternoon. It was close to the heat of the day before I took my first walk around the park. Another ten or so residents appear to be packing to head out. I won’t be alone, but it is going to be a lot different as next month rolls around.

After my first walk I got back to exploring ideas for the summer. I haven’t totally abandoned my plans to visit Wyoming and Colorado, but any plan needs to consider what the world looks like as the “stay at home” rules change. Right now it seems better to move around as little as possible. Staying here in an area that gets above 110 degrees at times during the summer isn’t going to happen. The next consideration is finding a place with a lot of outdoor roaming opportunities that I can stay in for a few months. Following that is staying a month here, a month there and work my way back toward Florida. The last alternative is to continue with one to two week stays moving in the general direction of Florida. The post lock down rules that each state establishes will dictate what I decide. For now, I need to figure out a few specific alternatives.

My second walk of the day was at sunset. The clouds to the west and a random jet contrail created an interesting sunset tonight. The sky got much redder after I got back to my RV home.

A Short Trip Down Interstate 10

Saturday April 18th 2020

It was another windy day in the desert. The day started cloudy, but ended with a clear sky. The high temperature was a bit of a reprieve as it peaked in the high seventies. Monday may be the first 90 degree day of the year.

Potpourri of wildflower blossoms.

I broke up today’s two walk routine with a drive down Interstate 10. I went about twenty five miles toward Tucson to satisfy my curiosity about the Airline industry. The Pinal Air Park is one of the desert locations the airlines use to store jets. If an airline is not planning to use an aircraft for a long period of time it sends it to the desert to keep it away from moisture that can create problems. The Pinal Air Park is a county owned facility about a mile off the interstate. Every time I’ve been by the area a few aircraft are visible. In normal times, most of the jets are waiting to be scraped, but today the large number of aircraft were clearly there for storage. The tall tails with the livery of many airlines were visible all around the air park.

It’s hard to know if the level of traffic on the highway was down because of the “stay at home” order. I found plenty of traffic. As expected there was a lot of truck traffic, but I saw a few RVs to go along with the automobiles on the road. At night I hear the truck traffic on the interstate outside the walls of the RV park. Overall, the short trip on the Interstate broke up my daily routine well.

The number of RVs in the RV park continues to shrink on every walk I take around the park. Today I noticed a couple of departures that I thought for sure would be here for the long haul. I’ve stayed in empty RV parks before and I don’t expect this one to get anywhere near empty. It is just a little disconcerting watching all the people leave.

Four Weeks of Waiting it Out

Friday April 17th 2020

My laid back daily routine continued today. A strong wind out of the west arrived to keep the temperature in the low eighties. The desert dust was really blowing and walking was difficult at times, but I still made my two walks around the park.

I didn’t find any new interesting things on my walks to take pictures for this blog entry, so I started checking my archives for pictures from this time last year. I was still in Florida until near the end of May 2019 working on plans for travel during the summer of 2019. On April 17th I included a nice hibiscus blossom in my blog entry, so I’m including it again in this blog.

Blossom of the day.

Reviewing the old blog entries reminded me that this was the first year I made extensive travel plans well ahead of time. Many of those plans have already been canceled and others will have to be soon. I’m not sure that any of my 2020 plans make sense anymore. For 2016 through 2019 my planning was more just in time. With a few exceptions for stays during the high season in popular areas I only planned a couple of months ahead. That seems like a much safer approach given current world conditions. Everyday I spend some time investigating alternatives for the coming months, but what tomorrow brings is largely a big unknown.

A Lazy Day Good for Reading

Thursday April 16th 2020

It is starting to get hot in the desert. Today’s high temperature was above eighty five. Tomorrow is forecast to be a little warmer. The current forecast has the first ninety degree day of the year next week. The average first ninety degree day is on March 31st, so I’m not going to complain. The first week of may is the average first one hundred degree day around here. The bottom line is it’s going to get hot around here.

I was back to a two walk day today. The time used for the third walk of the last couple of days was taken up by reading. A few more snowbirds departed this morning. Big areas of empty sites are developing in the RV park. The folks on my front side will be leaving for Wisconsin some time next week. The people from Oregon on the other side are waiting for word that their destination in Oregon is opening. The New York people across the street haven’t figured out what there doing yet. There are a couple of RVs that consider this park home near me as well. I’m still planning on staying here another month. What happens then is still a mystery, but I’m researching a little bit everyday.

Not Planning

Wednesday April 15th 2020

It was another cloudless day in the desert. A gentle breeze and a cool start kept the day’s temperature from reaching super high levels. The temperature topped out around eighty late in the day. The weather trend is on an upward temperature climb.

Wildflower blossom of the day.

I was supposed to get up at 4:45AM this morning to make another Florida State Park reservation for next March. It didn’t happen. Sometime after breakfast I remembered that I what I should have done in the early hours of the morning. Nothing was available when I checked around noon local time.

Trying to figure out an alternative brought me back to thoughts about the uncertainty associated with future travel plans in the new COVID 19 filled world. I’m already reconciled to very different summer travel plans. I don’t know what they will be yet. As the country starts to open things up, I’ll start to figure out a plan. Who knows what will be possible.

For next winter I’ve been making reservations in state parks and other public campgrounds in two week increments starting at the end of October. If the virus necessitates isolation and closures next winter, these are very risky places to be staying. Particularly in Florida the State Parks seem to be the first things closed. I spent time today investigating private RV parks where I could spend a few months. I have a few possibilities, but the first two choices aren’t taking reservations until after they finish dealing with the current stay at home order. All of this planning is very much a waiting game.

My daily routine was again augmented with a third walk around the park. There were a few changes to the occupancy of the park today. A couple more RVs had departed and few more have been “abandoned” for the summer. The couple across the street from Alberta Canada brought in the slide rooms, disconnected the electric, water and sewer before driving away in their SUV. I don’t think leaving the RV here was part of their original plan, but some of the other unoccupied RVs are still here by plan.

Another Routine Day

Tuesday April 14th 2020

I don’t have much to blog about today. There was rarely a cloud in the sky today. The full sun was tempered by a good north breeze, so the temperature peaked in the mid to upper seventies.

The blossom of the day.

My daily routine was broken by a third walk today. My first walk was a little earlier in the day than usual at about 10AM. I added another walk around the RV park in the middle of the afternoon before my final walk of the day at sunset.

A Not Much Happening Kind of Day

Monday April 13th 2020

Today was a much better weather day than the forecasts seemed to be indicating. The bad weather to the north didn’t get this far south. Around here there was just sunshine and a lot of wind. North of Phoenix there were rain showers and in the mountains further north more rain and snow. I enjoyed the weather.

Today’s blossom picture.

I didn’t have a lot of energy for a variation in my routine today. It was a little too warm in the RV last night. Rather than do something about it, I just tossed and turned all night. I took my two walks, did some reading and not much else today.

Nice Day Between Storms

Sunday April 12th 2020

Happy Easter

Today was a beautiful weather day. It was sunny with a light breeze. The temperature peaked in the low seventies which is ten or more degrees below the normal temperature for this day.

Tonight’s sunset.

The weather in northern Arizona hasn’t been as great. Yesterday’s storm dropped a few inches of snow at altitude. Another storm tomorrow into Tuesday will also impact the northern part of the state more than here. If the COVID-19 pandemic hadn’t short circuited my travel plans I would have been at the Grand Canyon this weekend. Yesterday’s storm deposited three inches of snow at the Grand Canyon. Tomorrow’s will probably drop a similar amount. Touring around the paths and trails at the canyon would have been a slushy mess. I’d still rather be there than here.

Closed recreation areas in the RV park

Today was a standard two walk around the park day. People were back to walking their dogs on schedule. The usual “hi” or “good morning” were replaced with “Happy Easter” by some as we passed. Everybody is friendly, but appropriately keeping their distance. The park population is pretty constant. No one new is arriving and the departures are infrequent.

An Unusual Weather Day

Saturday April 11th 2020

The sun made its first appearance of the day just before sunset. The day started cloudy and got progressively worse before it got better. The temperature only managed to climb into the mid sixties.

Storm clouds approaching the RV park from the west

When I started my first walk of the day just before noon, the sky to the east and south was filled with white fluffy clouds. As I departed my site I chanced to look to the west. That area looked a lot more threatening. Once I was out of the RV park in the desert, the wind picked up and it became clear that the weather was going to go from lousy to downright bad. By the time I got back to my RV home the sky overhead was near black and the wind was blowing chairs around. It continued to blow for about an hour. A few drops of rain accompanied the wind, but not enough to get anything wet. Over the remainder of the day the weather gradually improved.

My second walk of the day at sunset was much nicer than the first. Most of the usual dog walkers and others getting their exercise were not out this evening. Everybody spent the afternoon inside with the windows and doors closed. I hope the dog walkers got out before their fur babies had accidents.

Blossom of the day.