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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Desert View - Day 100 - 100 - 100 - 100!

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5:35 am - Sunday - February 18th - Grand Canyon - 27º F, humidity 83%, wind 6 mph out of the southwest.....seems stronger than that.  It was very windy all night, and it looks like we'll have wind all day Sunday and Monday, with a chance of snow on Monday.  Forecast high for today is 51º F with clear skies.

As I sit here at my Lenovo laptop keyboard Sunday morning I cannot help but notice I am writing about Day 100 here at Desert View.  As I have oft commented, it does not seem like we have been here very long, but the calendar does not lie......we arrived here on November 6th 2017 and now here it is February 18th 2018.  Another number which presents itself this day is that in exactly four weeks from today we will be done with our contractual commitment to Delaware North, and moving on to our next adventure.

Not surprisingly, Saturday, the first day of the President's Day weekend, was quite busy.  I dropped around $227 in cash, but TLE dropped over $800!  My work day at the General Store began with me dry mopping and then wet mopping the entire store as it had been 5 dayS since that had been done.  I barely finished when the customers began to drift into the store, and business remained steady the rest of the morning.  As TLE was arriving just before noon it got very busy so I stayed at my register an extra 15 minutes while both of us processed our customers through the check stands.  That has not happened since the Christmas/New Years weekends.

The forecast high for Saturday was 53º F, and with an absence of any kind of wind, or breeze it felt much warmer.  I even opened a window in the Newell Saturday afternoon for about an hour.  

As is my custom in the afternoons when I work I ate my lunch shortly after I arrived home, and then took a nice nap.  I had one project I wanted to accomplish Saturday and that was to use one of my hole saws to cut a hole in the bottom of my medicine cabinet to run a power cord through for our new, small bathroom heater.  I had been running the cord of our old heater between the cabinet door and frame which caused it to be compressed over time and eventually resulted in a short.  I did not want that to happen again.....

 How I used to run the cord......BAD idea

 The freshly drilled hole for the cord to pass through.....a GOOD idea!

The new compact bathroom heater

.......it took less than 10 minutes start to finish, and now I don't have to worry about an electrical fire anymore.

Shortly after finishing my small project I changed into my riding clothes and rode my stationary bike for 30 minutes.  By the time I finished 'riding' it was after 4 pm so I sat down to finish another book before TLE arrived home from work.  I had noticed when I first arrived home that TLE had something cooking in the crock pot, and it turned out to be potatoes.  When she arrived home she put the potatoes into a blender and within 30 minutes had this wonderful beer potato soup for dinner....she apparently used one of my Oak Creek Brewery Amber Ales to make the soup......I'm always willing to sacrifice a good beer for good food....any time!

We watched some Winter Olympics coverage on TV, and by 9:30 pm I was heading off to dreamland once again......thanks for stopping by!

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Saturday, February 17, 2018

Desert View - Day 99 - Take a seat, please......

5:38 am - Saturday - February 17th - Grand Canyon - 18º F, 80% humidity, wind 2 mph out of the east by southeast......clear with a forecast high of 53º F today.

After our two day blowout in Flagstaff I had a difficult time getting up Friday.....usually I'm up between 5:20 and 5:30 am, but on Friday I didn't wake up until 5:41 am.....that 10-15 minute time difference makes a big difference!  Nevertheless, I was dressed and ready to walk by 7:13 am, and at work punching the clock by 7:25 once again.  

Over the two days we were off work they completely re-organized the retail section of the store (souvenirs, t-shirts, jackets, scarves, etc.).   By 'they' I mean people way up the corporate food chain came into the store and applied their expertise to our retail space.  This is the third time we (the royal we) have rearranged the retail section since we arrived November 6th.

Business was quite slow for a Saturday on the President's Day weekend, and really until the last 15 minutes of my shift my cash sales were under $30, but in the last 15 minutes we had about 25 people from a tour bus enter the store.  By the time I finished ringing up their sales my cash deposit was over $127.  The other 4 hours and 45 minutes of my shift I spent reading a book and handled 3, or 4 customers in total.

TLE was right on time as always, and I was on my way home driving the VW by 12:25.  Why is that you might ask? Don't you always walk?  Well, yes I do, but on our trip down to Flagstaff I experienced problems with adjusting the driver's seat.....when you pull the little latch you can move the seat forward and backward, and when you release the little latch it is supposed to lock into that position, only it wouldn't.   Trying to drive a car with you seat moving forward and backward is not fun!  Eventually it did lock into position, but then on the way home it began to act up again so it was time to apply the Hockwald magic to that misbehaving latch and get it working properly again.  Hence I drove home to work on it while it was still warm and there was plenty of light.  Of course 'warm' is a relative term nowadays.......the high was 43º F around 3 pm.

After eating lunch (the other half of my Subway sandwich from Thursday) and taking a nap I put on warmer clothes and went out to the VW around 2:30 pm to deal with the miscreant seat latch.  It took about an hour, but I finally figured out the latch part that engages the steel frame under the seat to lock it in place needed some lubrication, and after applying liberal amounts of silicon in the form of aerosol spray it began to function properly once again.

After fixing the seat I changed into my riding clothes and spent 30 minutes on my stationary bicycle at which time it was well after 4 pm and approaching the time I would need to drive back to the store to pick up TLE after her shift.

All in all it was a satisfying afternoon.....nothing like being able to fix something successfully without having to redo it three times!  TLE was out the back door of the store before 5:20 pm and we were on our way home for the evening.  We first watched a 2 hour recorded episode of  'The Amazing Race' then a two hour recorded episode of  'Gold Rush' before turning on the Winter Olympics.  Nathan Chen managed to rebound from his dismal short program performance to complete 6 quad jumps in his long program.....when I went to bed at 9:30 pm he was in second place with 4 skaters to go....he ended up finishing in 5th place, but won the long program.

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Friday, February 16, 2018

Desert View - Day 98 - I forgot....

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6:07 am - Friday - February 16th - Grand Canyon - 19º F, 77% humidity, wind 3 mph out of the south by southeast.....forecast high for today is 47º F with partly cloudy skies.  It just occurred to me yesterday that I had made no mention of our nomadic anniversary back on February 1st.  On February 1, 2011 we began living full time in our Newell coach, and on February 1, 2012 we began our lives as nomads...... it does not seem possible we have been nomads for 6 years now, and have been living in our Newell for 7 years.

I was awake Thursday morning by 7 am.....just can't sleep past that time for some reason.  When I opened the curtains I could see that much of the snow at the park across the street had melted, and the streets were clear.  TLE was up a few minutes later.  

The Residence Inn puts on a very nice breakfast.....a full breakfast bar if you will....we headed down about 8:30 to eat and found almost all the tables taken, so we hurried to get our food, and managed to grab a couple of the last seats.  I was kind of surprised at how full the hotel was on a Wednesday/Thursday in Flagstaff of all places.  Just two weeks ago in Prescott there were like 3 other people eating breakfast on a Thursday morning.

I had a doctor appointment at 1:30 pm so we were out of the hotel by 11 am and on our way to visit a few thrift/antique shops before the appointment.  One particular antique shop had some really interesting things, and specifically, two vintage motorcycles.  One was a 1915 Miami Power Bicycle which looked to have been restored, and could be had for a cool $25,000.  The other was a WW2 Harley, I believe, complete with machine gun.....also for sale at $25,000.  It also appeared to have been restored to a certain degree......




.....the entire store was full of very interesting stuff, but nothing we without which we could not live!  In all we visited 4, or 5 stores finding a couple of things we could not live without before it was time to get lunch, and then head to my doctor appointment.  The Subway shop we ate at last week is very near the medical center so we went there to eat once again.

By the time we finished with the doctor appointment, which went very well by the way, and had fueled up the VW once again it was about 2:50 pm and time to head for the barn.  We were home shortly after 4 pm after a completely uneventful drive home on US-89, and SR-64.  The skies were clearing from the storm, and the view north on US-89 was spectacular.

We finished out the day watching more Winter Olympic coverage with me being in bed by 9:30, as is my custom on days when I must be at work by 7:30 am.....thanks for stopping by!

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Desert View - Day 97 - Out of the Grand Canyon

7:30 am - Thursday - February 15th - Flagstaff - 36º F, humidity   86%, wind 9 mph out of the west by southwest.......heavily overcast.....the snow is melting.

Originally....several weeks ago.....we had planned to go hiking on the Hermit's Rest Trail Wednesday, then drive down to Flagstaff late afternoon to spend the night, and then go to my doctor's appointment on Thursday, but we were concerned about ice and snow on the Hermit's Rest trail after the last storm so we opted to leave around 10:30 am and drive into Flagstaff to spend the day......have lunch and maybe even see another movie.

We were in the car around 10:10 am and on our way south on SR-64 connecting to US-89 which takes us the rest of the way into Flagstaff.  We arrived in Flagstaff around  11:30 am and made our way across town to have lunch at Beaver Street Brewery.  We've been to Lumberyard Brewery twice now, and we like it a lot, but we thought it was time to check out the other breweries in town of which there are several. 

I ordered a pint of their R&R Oatmeal Stout, and TLE a pint of their Chocolate Raspberry.  For lunch I had their Margarita Chicken and TLE their Arizona Quesadilla.....everything was yummy including the brews!


 Beaver Street Brewery

It was after 12:30 when we finished eating and our movie was back across town at the Harkins Theaters beginning at 1:10 pm so we began our drive back arriving at the Harkins Theaters parking lot around 12:50 pm.  By this time it had started to rain, and the forecast called for snow around 5 pm.  So, of course, I am sure you may be wondering what movie we chose.......Maze Runner: The Death Cure......sounds like a Seinfeld made up movie title, right?  We had seen the prior to installments of this franchise and liked them so it was a natural for us to see the third one.  Nothing like a good 'post apocalyptic' themed movie on a wet, stormy afternoon.  Other than TLE and I there where 3 other people in the theater.  We enjoyed the movie.  IMDB gives the movie a 6.9 stars out of a possible 10, but we would be at 8.0.....definitely worth the price of admission, and then some.

By the time we exited the theater at 3:40 pm the snow had already begun in earnest.....giant snow flakes chased us all the way to the VW.  We had reservations at The Residence Inn, but had one stop at Walmart before we headed back downtown to claim our suite for the night.  By the time we came out of the store it was really snowing hard......

Exiting Walmart

.....we quickly stowed our purchases in the car, and headed back downtown to check into our room.    We checked in quickly, and managed to snag the last spot in the hotel parking lot in the back of the hotel....sweet!

We were in our room warming up by 4:45 pm.....I snapped this picture of the park across the street from our 4th floor room near the corner of Humphreys and Aspen.....

Residence Inn, Flagstaff, AZ.....4th floor view of the park across Humphreys

.....we quickly settled in watching more Winter Olympics on NBC and NBC-SN.....

Our studio apartment for the night

.....we finished off the evening watching Mikaela Shiffrin win the gold medal in the women's giant slalom race.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Desert View - Day 96 - "Anything different is good....."

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7:11 am - Wednesday - February 14th - Grand Canyon - 30º F, 27% humidity, wind 3 mph out of the north by northwest.....partly cloudy today with a forecast high of 47º F.

So, after days of the same ol' same ol' Tuesday began with something different.....snow on the ground!  Not a lot of snow, but snow, nonetheless......

From Ground Hog Day




As I began my walk to work once again around 7:15 am the skies where clearing, the road was icy, and the breeze quickly numbed my face.......


.....the road was so icy I decided at the last minute to take the trail through the woods where there was just snow, and no ice......


......I arrived at work about 5 minutes early, and was quickly into my 6th day of work in a row......finally our 'Friday' had arrived.  After turning on the lights, counting in my cash drawer, and taking temperatures from the coolers/freezers I began to wet mop the retail side of the store.  By 8:30 I was finished and ready for the day, which never seemed to get going......I finished my 5 hour shift depositing just $27 in cash, and turning in 3 credit card receipts......now that is REALLY slow!  

Ironically, the time seemed to pass pretty quickly in spite of the very low foot traffic.  No doubt the snow on the ground, and the icy conditions kept many people in their hotels until late in the morning.  Most of our daily visitors come from the South Rim Village where, on this day, they had a snow accumulation of several inches.  We are the last stop on the way out of the park so we generally begin to see an increase in visitors around noontime, which is, coincidentally when I am getting ready to walk home.  TLE reported she dropped a little over $200.

I spent the afternoon watching the Winter Olympics (curling, cross country skiing, women's hockey), and when TLE came home (with a pizza by the way to which she added some anchovies for moi) we moved on to the men's half pipe finals which was crazy!  There were three guys posting scores over 90 and as the third and final run began found Shaun White behind by a point (94.25 to 93.25).  He had the 12th and last run of the 3rd round, so he had to come from behind to win the gold.....his final run netted him a 97.25!  It was a dramatic ending for the 31 year old Shaun White who failed to garner even one medal in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.....


......and redeemed his legacy.

I was in bed by 10:30......late for me as I am usually in bed by 9:30 since I get up at 5:30 am each work day....thanks for stopping by!


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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Desert View - Day 95 - Half days and half pipes

5:52 am - Tuesday - February 13th - Grand Canyon - 33º F, humidity 30%, wind 4 mph out of the southwest.....cloudy....snow on the ground.....forecast high is 43º F......very cloudy.  It snowed a little overnight.....maybe a 1/2" to 1"....hard to tell at this hour.  It will be a crunchy walk to work this morning!

Monday was a very weird weather day.  We had a very fine snow most of the day which did not begin to 'stick' until late afternoon.  All the while the sun kept coming out while it was snowing.  Sometimes the snow looked quite heavy, but it was just not cold enough for it to stick.  I guess that would be called the "best of all worlds"......it snowed all day long but there was ZERO accumulation during the day.  After TLE got home it began to 'stick'.

Most of Monday, except for the weather, was a 'copy and paste' kind of day.  Even though I only dropped $76.89 I did a lot of large credit card sales.  Due to the snow and cold outside we sold a lot of gloves, watch caps, and sweatshirts......those pass as big ticket items in the General Store.  One family dropped close to $200 buying these items.....they had not come prepared for snow.

I had planned to wet mop the retail floor, but knowing it would be snowing most of the day I decided to wait until Tuesday morning to do that.  I did, however, dry mop the entire store.  No surprisingly, I did not pick up a lot of dirt.....we have not had a significant amount of foot traffic in the past few days.

Time passed relatively quickly, and there she was, TLE, right on time at 11:55 am to take over for the afternoon.  We're both enjoying having the same schedule every day we work now.  Now that the Winter Olympics have begun I can watch Olympic events in the afternoon.  The American men and women continue to dominate the snowboarding events.

I was home by 12:40 pm, even though I left the store at 12:20.....due to the wet snow I opted to not walk through the forest as all the earth there is red clay, and we all know what happens to red clay when it rains......it clumps and sticks to everything!  Being a somewhat wise person at times I walked the longer way around and, therefore, arrived home with no red clay mud on my boots!

Since it was Monday it was also 'dump the black tank' day.....the tank must be dumped rain, snow, or shine, so there I was shortly after arriving home, all bundled up against the snow and wind doing my duty so life in the Newell can continue without interruption.

I was still watching the Winter Olympics when TLE arrived home.....I heard the car door shut, and was at the door opening it as she came around the back of the Newell.  One more day completed her at the Grand Canyon, and one more day left in our 6 straight days of work.  Thank goodness we are only working essentially 1/2 days......kind of takes the sting out of a long work week.

We watched the American Women dominate the 'half pipe' competition taking home gold and bronze, with another American woman taking 4th place.  A young (17 I think) girl named Chloe Kim won the half pipe easily.....she was just way better than the rest of the competition.

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Monday, February 12, 2018

Desert View - Day 94 - So cliche......

5:49 am - Monday - February 12th - Grand Canyon - 37º F, 54% humidity, wind 13 mph out of the south by southwest.....partly cloudy with a forecast high of 42º F.

"Another day, another dollar", or so "they" say, or "second verse, same as the first", or "there is nothing new under the sun".....I wonder how many cliches I can write here to describe the sameness of each work day lately.  I get a little tiny bit frustrated when I sit down each day to compose my latest missive describing the events of the prior day knowing my description, for instance, of Sunday could be a description of any work day these past few weeks.  I feel as if I am just "copying and pasting" my daily blog, or "mailing it in" as others might say.  At any rate, here we go once again......what happened Sunday?

Let's see......I got up at 5:20 am.....I went to the bathroom, I weighed myself, I took my blood pressure, I poured a cup of coffee, I turned on the TV to watch 'Golic and Wingo' on ESPN (which, by the way, I like much more than the former 'Mike and Mike'.....no politics......on the weekends there is no Golic and Wingo so I watch English Premier Soccer), I sit down to begin composing my latest offering, I eat some dry cereal, I floss my teeth, I then brush my teeth with my battery powered Sonicare electric toothbrush, I get dressed, and am out the door walking 1/2 mile to work by 7:15 am arriving there 9-10 minutes later.  That is pretty much what happens every single work day.  I am a creature of habit.

When I arrive at work I type my secret employee code into the time clock, make sure it comes back with my name and the time I punched the clock, I take off my watch cap, my coat, my gloves then pull my off the shelf reading glasses out of my shoulder bag, and the bluetooth speaker I use to connect to my phone so I can play music during my shift.  I then turn on all the store lights, turn on all the lights in the numerous display cases, I read and record all the temperatures of the various coolers, I fill out the 'Opening Procedures' checklist so my supervisor knows I did all the stuff on the list, I count in my cash drawer, I vacuum, I dry mop if needed, or I wet mop as needed, I make the first pot of coffee for the Deli, I walk around fronting all the product in the grocery section, I straighten all the hanging t-shirts, I dust as needed, I clean the glass on the four entry doors, the ice cream bunkers, and all the glass doors on the beverage coolers (there are many), I check date codes and pull product which has expired, and by that time it might be 8:30 am......only 4 hours to go!

The rest of my day consists of standing by the register as customers come into the store to be ready to answer questions, give directions, discuss hiking trails, weather, or process their purchases.  Around 11:55 am TLE arrives like clockwork to take over the afternoon shift, I then pull my cash drawer, count down my cash drawer, secure my 'bank' in my lock box, fill out the deposit sheet, and then drop my deposit in the safe all being witnessed by another employee.

I then put back on my jacket, watch cap, and gloves, pick up my shoulder bag and put my reading glasses and bluetooth speaker back, enter my employee code in the time clock once again, and begin my 1/2 mile walk home.  I guess I could just copy an paste that part every morning and then spend 5 minutes writing about anything that was even slightly different from the day prior.  For instance, Sunday I turned on the TV upon my return home to watch the Winter Olympics.....that will be happening every day now until they end on February 25th.  There was Curling, Snowboarding, Figure Skating, Cross Country Skiing.....something for everyone.

TLE arrived home by 5:30 pm, and proceeded to make some scrambled eggs with cut up steak, spinach, etc......delicious. We continued watching the Winter Olympics mostly watching the women's snowboarding competition won, eventually by another American, who also won the gold medal four years ago.

I was in bed a little after 9:30 pm......that was my day in graphic detail.  That is pretty much how each work day goes.......I look forward to our days off work....those are always different, and there are always lots of pictures, right?

Of course, all the preceding happens while we are staying at the Grand Canyon......the job is not for the rest of my life, just a few more weeks.  I wake up in beautiful scenery every day....I walk to work through the forest, and I can step outside the store any day of the week to see the Grand Canyon.  That is the cool part.....all the rest is just "window dressing" (lol....I ended on another cliche!).

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Sunday, February 11, 2018

Desert View - Day 93 - Three ways to fail.....

5:45 am - Sunday - February 11th - Grand Canyon - 21º F, 44% humidity, wind 6 mph out of the east.....forecast is for sunny to day with a high of 47º F.  Rain and snow coming beginning Monday through Thursday....60% chance Monday, 40% Tuesday, 50% Wednesday an 40% again on Thursday.  It won't be in the 50's again until Saturday at the earliest.

Just as the weather guessers forecast we did have winds here at Desert View on Saturday, and they were in the 20-30 mph range.  Accordingly I bundled up for my 1/2 mile walk to work.  Saturday is always a mixed bag....you never know whether it will be busy, or not.  Based on my cash deposit at the end of my shift I would say it was busy.....$209.01.  With that kind of deposit I was sure TLE's afternoon shift would pull in $4-500 in cash, but she was just a little higher than I, so you could say the foot traffic was consistent all day long.

I began my day by wet mopping the entire retail store once again.  Usually I do not get my first customer until 9:30, or later, but on this day people began coming into the store before 8:30 am.....you just never know.  At any rate, due to the early customers it took me longer than normal to finish mopping.  I spent the rest of my shift serving customers, and in between the customers, straightening the store after each customer incursion.

TLE was right there again at 11:55 am....I can set my watch by her!  She counted in her cash drawer within a few minutes and I was on my way to the back work room to count out my drawer.  How long it takes me to count out my drawer depends on how many people pass through the back room, and how many distractions they create.  On this day there was just Ian, the floor supervisor, and I so it went quickly, and I was dropping my deposit by 12:15 pm.  This has been my on going bugaboo.....at Yellowstone we had a separate, private room  with table and chairs to count out our drawers, but here at Desert View we must do it standing up in the workroom on a little cart......not very conducive to accuracy.  Nonetheless, I have become pretty adept at counting out my drawer, but sometimes it takes me closer to 30 minutes as there are so many things to interrupt your train of thought.....namely counting accurately the multiple denominations (100's, 50's, 20's, 10's, 5's, 1's, quarters, dimes, nickles and pennies).

There is one more thing that is strikingly different from Yellowstone.  There we only had to count out $300 (our bank), and everything else was deposited.  We did not have to add up our deposit, as it was going to be counted by the folks in accounting anyway.  Our only responsibility was to count, accurately, to 300.  We did not have to record anything except that we began and ended our shift with $300.  We didn't have to account for how many 20's we had, or 10's, or 5's, etc.  Then at the beginning of our next shift we accessed our bank and decided what denominations we needed to buy for the new shift.  It was so simple.

Here at the Grand Canyon we must count all the money in our cash drawer at the beginning of the shift to be sure we have $400 and that the number of each denomination agrees with the end of the prior day, then at the end of the shift we have to record how much money we have, how much of each denomination there is.  Then we subtract our bank ($400 here) from the total and that is our deposit.  Then we must accurately deduct our deposit from each denomination and then once again record the exact amount of each denomination that makes up our $400 bank at the end of the shift.  Why they do it this way I don't know, but essentially the practice here gives each employee three ways to fail.....you can be wrong on your starting number, wrong on the total cash at the end of your shift, and wrong on the final bank count.  In Yellowstone I could count out consistently in 10 minutes....here it takes 15-30 minutes, sometimes longer.  In Yellowstone there are 14, or 15 stores and the simplied system they employ works well, but here at the Grand Canyon where there are 4, or 5 stores they employ a much more complicated system.  Like TLE says, "they're going to count it all again, so why do we to count it too?".

I was home by 12:35, and watching the Winter Olympics a few minutes later.....there was the biathlon, short track speed skating, snow boarding, figure skating, and ski jumping.  Eventually I migrated out to the trailer to ride my stationary bike for 35 minutes whilst still watching the Winter Olympics, and that was pretty much my afternoon.  TLE was home by 5:20, and by 6 pm she was serving minestrone soup accompanied by a nice salad.  We watched the Olympics until I headed off to bed at 9:30 pm.....TLE stayed up (she gets to sleep in) reading for a while.

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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Desert View - Day 92 - Carbon Copy

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5:56 am - Saturday - February 10th - Grand Canyon - 34º F, 40% humidity, wind 5 mph out of the southwest.....forecast high for today is 60º F with winds in the 20-30 mph range with gusts up to 40 mph, but it will be sunny.....BP 127/81.  I haven't been publishing my BP every day, but it is consistently in the range I published today.  That little 20 mg pill is doing its job superbly!

I was out the door on my way to work by 7:12 am.....about 3 minutes later I came upon this bull elk giving me the stink eye......as I drew closer I saw that three other bull elk had already crossed to the other side of the road and were waiting for this guy.  It's the first time I've seen this many bull elk together in one place here at Desert View.....


.....I continued to walk slowly forward and eventually he decided to join his brethren and continue feeding down the hill with them.  The rest of my walk was uneventful, and I arrived at the back of the General Store by 7:25 am.  Within minutes I was clocked in and going about my opening duties.

Friday was another slowish day, although I finished with $125 in cash to drop.....it didn't really feel that busy to me, and I believe a big chunk of that $125 resulted from a few t-shirt and coffee mug sales.....our coffee mugs are very expensive!

TLE was on site by 11:55 am.....that girl is very punctual!  I wasn't able to count down my drawer for about 10 minutes as security arrived just after TLE to pick up our deposits from the past few days.  By the time I counted down my drawer it was almost 12:45 pm.....usually I'm out the back of the store and on my way home before 12:30.

I spent the afternoon reading and relaxing.....by 3 pm I decided it was time to do my daily workout on the stationary bike.  TLE was home by 5:30 pm, and then it was time for me to fire up the Sea-B-Que to grill some carne asada for tacos!  We had planned to watch the Winter Olympics Friday night (they begin broadcasting at 6 pm mountain time), but most of Friday night's show was dedicated to the opening ceremonies, which is of no interest to us.  By the time they began to broadcast the various competitions it was time for me to go to bed.  We did watch a recorded episode of 'Gold Rush', however.

And that was our Friday......pretty much a 'carbon copy' of most of our work days here........closing in on 100 days at Desert View.....where has the time gone?

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Friday, February 9, 2018

Desert View - Day 91 - Burger time

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5:47 am - Friday - 9th - Grand Canyon - 25º F, 53% humidity, wind - CALM.....forecast high for today is 62º F with partly cloudy skies.....sunrise is 7:21 am...sunset is 6:04 pm.  I read this morning that Congress has agreed to a 2 year budget deal so there will be no government shutdown, although I guess the government was shutdown from about midnight Washington D.C. time to about 1:30 am....who really cares, right?

The sun rising on the Watchtower Thursday morning

Thursday was the beginning of a 6 day stretch of workdays ending this coming Tuesday.  We'll have two days off next week (Wednesday and Thursday).  In between now and then it is just very quiet here at the Desert View Watchtower.

The days continue to be idyllic.....mostly windless with balmy afternoons.....I've taken to opening windows when I get home after work, and wearing shorts, t-shirts and flip flops......just because I can.  As of this Sunday we will have just 5 short weeks until our departure.....I know, and you  are right......I am thinking about being back in SoCal for a month of bike riding on actual bike paths, with warms days and lots of family time.  When things get slow your mind finds things to fill the void, and for me it is thoughts of warmer weather, and being able to ride my bicycle for 10, 15, or 20 miles at at time if I want.  Right now I am relegated to riding a stationary bicycle for 30 minutes at at time.  I could ride longer, but the boredom factor of just staring at the workbench at front of the trailer overrides my desire to ride for an hour.  There is no joy riding a stationary bicycle.....the joy that I feel when I am riding even a familiar trail feeling the wind in my face, seeing the pavement receding in the rear view mirror.....I do miss that.

Thursday was very 'unbusy'.....I dropped about $109 for 4.5 hours of cashiering, while TLE dropped just $200.  Around noontime the Delaware North big wigs from the Village (Dan and Ted) dropped by to give us a lunchtime BBQ replete with hamburgers, macaroni salad and baked beans.  TLE took lunch first, and then about 12:15 I went out back and enjoyed a hamburger sitting in the sun talking with work friends.  That was the highlight of the day, and frankly it was a nice highlight.

I didn't count down my drawer until 12:45 pm, and wasn't on my way walking home by 1:10 pm.....the latest I have still been at work in a long time.  I had already had lunch so I changed clothes and sat down to take a short nap.  About 2 pm Katie, whose bike I had tuned up, stopped by to pick up the bike and take a ride.  She was very happy about how well the bike looked, and functioned.....another satisfied customer!  She later sent home two six packs of Oak Creek Brewing (Sedona, AZ) Amber Ale in appreciation for my work.  It doesn't really seem like work to me, but to those who don't know anything about fixing bicycles it seems like a lot of work.

I spent 30 minutes riding my stationary bicycle, and then spent a couple of hours watching Curling on the NBC Sports channel......I find Curling very interesting and strategic. TLE was home by 5:30 am, and with 1/2 an hour we were watching the Winter Olympics figure skating on NBC channel 4 coming to us from South Korea.

That was our Thursday.....not very glamorous, or captivating, but that is our life sometimes.....thanks for stopping by!

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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Desert View - Day 90 - Junking

5:46 am - Thursday - February 8th - Grand Canyon - 33º F, 34% humidity, wind 1 mph out of the south by southwest.....forecast is for sunny skies and a high of 59º F.

We only have one day off this week due to the vacation of our floor manager Ian, so we decided to drive into Flagstaff for the day to do some junking.  It takes us just over an hour to drive the 70+ miles into Flagstaff, and the drive is through some very beautiful countryside.  When you exit the east gate of the Grand Canyon on SR-64 you are over 7,300' in elevation.....by the time you have covered the first 30 miles to Cameron you have lost 3,000' of that elevation.  As you arrive in Flagstaff 70 minutes after leaving Desert view you are back over 7,000' elevation once again.  Needless to say it seems like your ears never stop 'popping' in an attempt to adjust for the rapid changes in elevation over the course of the drive.

We left Desert View around 8:30 am, and were walking into the local Flagstaff Goodwill by 9:45.  We probably spent over an hour at this Goodwill, and came away with a few things we could not live without.  Thinking forward to our job this summer in Maine I was looking for some more cargo shorts.  My favorite cargo shorts are made by Wrangler, and I managed to find three almost new pairs hanging right next to each other.  I ended up buying two of the pairs for a total of $6.99 (they had YELLOW tags which meant they were 50% off on this day, so I got two pairs for the price of one).  I stumbled across a pair of Northface convertible hiking pants for $10.99.....they sell for close to $100 new....this pair looked virtually new.

We visited another Goodwill on the other side of  town where we did not find anything we could not live without, and then it was over to a local Subway store for a Subway Club footlong (TLE and I split it).

After lunch we hit the local Walmart to pick up some fresh items.......tomatoes, grapes, lettuce, onions, etc., and then it was back to the north end of town and the local Savers Thrift Store.  Once again we found a few things we could not lives without, plus fill up our gas tank before heading back north on US-89 around 3:15 pm.  We the east gate by 4:20 pm....a perfect day!  

A side note.....trying to cover 140+ miles in SoCal would be an all day venture and would feel more like driving 500 miles.  It's one of the wonderful benefits about living in rural America.....you can cover the same distance in about 2.5 hours.  When you are flying along at 70 mph most the time the miles just melt away....you just set the cruise control and hang on to the steering wheel.

When we got home there was NO wind so you know what came next......a sunset fire!  A perfect end to a perfect day!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Desert View - Day 89 - Tuned up

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7:02 am - Wednesday - February 7th - Grand Canyon - 20º F, 58% humidity, wind 3 mph out of the east....forecast is for sunny skies with a high of 53º F.  Up later today as it is our day off work.....heading into Flagstaff for a doctor's appointment.

The rising sun hitting the Watchtower 


It seems more redundant each day to report on another slow day in the General Store here at Desert View Watchtower, but it is what it is.  I began my day at the store by wet mopping the entire retail side of the store once again, which took me up to 8:30 am.  Then I spent another hour walking the store floor fronting product, returning product to its proper place in the store (customers tend to change their minds and just put down what they were carrying wherever they happen to be at the time), straightening out the many t-shirts on hangers, cleaning glass, brewing coffee for Deli (they don't open for business until 9 am each day, so it's up to me to make the coffee), etc.   That took me up to 9:15, and then I was out of 'stuff' to do.

I finally had my first paying customer sometime after 10 am, but it never really got what I would call busy, and my cash drop at the end of my shift reflected how slow it was.....it was only $40.02 for 4.5 hours, or a little under $10/hour.  TLE was right on time as always, and I was counting down my drawer a few minutes later.

I did have something to look forward to at home.....a fellow co-worker, Katie, had brought a mountain bike over, which recently had been gifted to her, to turn back into a working bicycle.  The threads on the left pedal were stripped so the pedal would not stay on the crank, the brakes were inoperable, and it was covered with rust......just my kind of project!

After eating lunch I headed out to the trailer to immerse myself in tuning up the bike.  The bike has 'v-brakes' (rim brakes) and they were kind of frozen so I removed them, cleaned up and greased the posts, replaced the brake cables and brakes, and then adjusted the brakes.....that took almost 2 hours.  I then rummaged through my spare parts barrel and found a 'left' pedal, which was almost identical to the right one, and installed it.  If you don't work on bikes you might not know that the left pedal axle is reverse threaded, and screws on counterclockwise, unlike the right pedal which has normal threads and threads on clockwise, so you have to have a pedal with an 'L' stamped on the end of the axle.  I have 4 or 5 pairs of pedals which I keep for just such an occasion.  I also keep shifting cables, and brake cables in stock (different diameters) as it is very common for a bike which has been sitting outside for months at a time to have the cables rust up and, therefore, cause the brakes to become inoperable.

I finally finished cleaning off the cobwebs and rust, then re-inflating the tires about 4:30 pm, and the bike was now fully functional once again......


The finished bike....ready to ride once again!

....this was not an expensive bicycle....probably was bought at KMART, or Walmart, but every bike deserves a tuneup once in a while, and I really enjoy the challenge!

TLE was home by 5:25, and another day living at Desert View has come to an end.....thanks for stopping by!

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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Desert View - Day 88 - Just a nice day!

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5:48 am - Tuesday - February 6th - Grand Canyon - 34º F, 46% humidity, wind 1 mph out of the west......forecast high for today is much cooler than yesterday at 51º F.....more sunny skies!

You just never know about Mondays.  They start out innocently enough......nice and slow.....and then, sometimes, they get busy.  Of course, busy is a relative term during the winter at the Grand Canyon, but for me Monday, when compared to other recent days, qualifies as a busy day.  I dropped just over $108, and actually had my first customer a little after 9 am.  I was consistently busy the rest of the morning.

Pretty soon it was 11:55 am and there was TLE walking through the door with her cash bag to relieve me at the register.  She always walks right up to me and gives me a kiss before she counts in her drawer for the afternoon.

I was on my way walking the trail home by 12:30 pm, and what a lovely afternoon it was.....it's been so cold that you could not even smell the smells you associate with a forest, but after several days in the 60's I could smell the forest once again.  It was a windless day and the sun felt so good on my face.  It only takes me 10 minutes to cover the 1/2 mile distance home, but when I walk through the forest it feels timeless.

I ate a quick lunch, and headed outside to spend as much time in the sun as I could before it got cold once again.  Usually there are 2-3 hours when it is quite pleasant, but on this day it was pleasant from the moment I arrived home until almost 5 pm.  I went about dumping our black tank as I do every Monday, standing in the sun as I waited for the tank to fill to the 1/2 way mark with fresh water three times.

Then I turned my attention to our large Kohler 7.5 kilowat generator.  We hadn't used or serviced it in many months, so it was time to top off the oil and coolant and then fire it up for a while.  If I haven't mentioned it in a while I will again today.....our Kohler is a propane generator, and it always starts easily, and Monday was no different.  I pushed the button to turn over the small 4 cylinder engine, and it came to life immediately......so dependable!

I spent some time fabricating a round aluminum disk to cover an old electrical outlet located in the floor near my cash register.  Right now there is no cover for it so we have to keep a small orange cone over it so no one will step in it accidentally.  It's 3" in diameter.  Once that was done it was time to ride my stationary bike for the fourth day in a row.  I finished my workout around 4 pm and headed inside to finish reading a book, and then head back out side to start another sunset fire.......


.....TLE arrived home about 5:20 pm and joined me shortly thereafter .  We enjoyed our fire until  a little after 6 pm, which is sundown.  Once the sun sets here it gets cold pretty quickly.  While she headed inside to take our dinner out of the oven I closed everything up for the night.....what a great day!

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Monday, February 5, 2018

Desert View - Day 87 - The big one......

5:39 am - Monday - February 5th - Grand Canyon - 32º F, 49% humidity, wind 4 mph out of the east by northeast.....forecast high today is 60º F with sunny skies.

Sunday was Super Bowl Sunday so you can imagine that most of the conversation around the store was about the big game scheduled to go off at 4:30 pm.  I haven't watched much NFL football this season due to the National Anthem protests, but I decided to watch Sunday if there were no protests, and as it turned out, there was no kneeling, or clenched fist exhibitions.....they just played football.  Except when I have a favorite team in the Super Bowl I just want a competitive game.....no blowouts.  Super Bowl LII was very competitive and came down to a last second Hail Mary attempt by Tom Brady (New England Patriots) before it was decided in favor of the Philadelphia Eagles......41-33.  It was a story book ending for Nick Foles, the backup Philadelphia quarterback, whom no one gave a chance.  In fact the Eagles were an underdog in every single playoff game, including the Super Bowl.  There was tons of offense.....over 1,000 yards of offense ......1,151 to be precise.  I think there was only one punt by New England the entire game, and finally there were very few penalties.

Now on to the rest of Sunday......I arrived at the store at my usual 7:25 am.  The morning was unusually slow, and by the time I counted out my drawer I deposited just $25.14.....now that's slow, right?  After I had done everything I could do regarding my store duties I read a book to help the time pass.  TLE was there right on time to relieve me, and I was finished counting down my drawer by 12:15 pm.

It was a little breezy on the walk home, which seems to be the new norm here at Desert View.  After a quick lunch, and a short nap I headed out to do my 30 minute ride on my stationary bike (Cannondale Bad Boy on a bike stand) while once again watching this week's PGA golf tournament to help pass the time.  That's 3 days in a row, and the first time I have managed to do that since my stroke 6 weeks ago.

TLE returned from work about 5:25 with the Super Bowl well into the first quarter.  Using our indoor, stove top grill she grilled some salmon for dinner accompanied by some green beans, and barley cooked like rice.......all very, very good!

By the time the Super Bowl, and the ensuing celebration following the end of the game was finished it was closing in on 9 pm, so we wrapped things up and were in bed before 9:30 pm.  I have to say.....I am really looking forward to being able to sleep in on a regular basis once again.  I'm not complaining, but I'm just sayin'.........

Thanks for stopping by!

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