Parque Natural Mexiquillo



We are back with the WIN's in Tubac, AZ.  We are camped at the Flying W Ranch. (31.61528, -111.0377)  I am told Tubac is quite an art colony.  I am looking forward to visiting the numerous art shops tomorrow.

We are camped in a nice field where we can all spread out. The only problem are the goat heads. They are a very tenacious burs that impale the dog's paws. 


Got Solar?

Linda had Starlight Solar install solar on her new rig. I have been extremely happy with the excellent install they did on my rig last year.  I hope Linda is as happy with her solar panels.

Linda had two solar panels installed at the factory. They proved to be underwired and woefully inadequate. She has learned that you need really heavy wire from the panels to the controller which needs to be placed as close to the batteries as possible. 

Removing her two old panels and installing the rail system that will raise the new panels so they are not shaded by anything on the roof. Individual solar cells are wired in series in the panel and shading any part will drastically reduce the electrical output. 

The crew at work. 

Linda checking on the progress.

The work completed by days end.

All finished up. Six panels are generating 1,440 watts of power to charge her 8 AGM batteries.  She has been running her generator several hours a day to meet the needs of her all electric rig. She is hoping to cut that back to an hour or less a day.


Yuma Quartermaster Depot

Linda and I went exploring today and wound up at the Quartermaster Depot. It was the Army's supply depot for the southwest. A six-month supply of clothing, food, ammunition, and other goods was kept at the depot at all times.  Goods were brought by ship up the Sea of Cortez to the mouth of the Colorado River where they were transferred to steam boats which moved the goods to Yuma, until the Southern Pacific railroad arrived in 1877.

A diorama of how the Depot looked in the early 1800's. Goods were moved from the steam boat to the warehouse via small flat rail cars

One of the few structures to survive the devastating Colorado River flood of 1862. Higher ground protected it from the raging flood waters. It was built by steamboat entrepreneur Georg Alonzo Johnson for his bride Estefana Alvarado in 1859. It later became the Commanding Officer's Quarters.

The army uniforms were made of wool. I can't imagine how uncomfortable they must have been in the blistering summer heat. 

It looks like every effort was made to bring civilization to Arizona. But is must have been a rugged place to live.  The commanding  officers wife entertained many travelers that  came to Yuma who commented on the fine table she set.  

The parlor showed that all effort to bring the luxuries of the East to the frontier, from the victorian furniture to the oriental carpet. 

This was 10 year old Kate Bradley's room. What a small bed for a ten year old. Judging by the nice doll and carriage, the commanding officer was well compensated. Was Katey a spinner? That is quite a walking wheel. 

The cook's room, he earned additional wages cooking and had private quarters

 They had a steam powered pump to provide water for use in their homes and gardens. Water was pumped into a reservoir from which it was distributed by gravity to the post. 


Painted Rock Encore

Back at Painted Rock Petroglyphs (33.02229, -113.04945), but unlike last time, the desert is blooming.


UA Mirror Lab

We visited the University of Arizona's Mirror Lab where they are creating mirrors for the Giant Magellan Telescope. This is a next generation scope that will be completed in about 10 years. It will have a resolving power 10 times greater than the Hubble Space Telescope. I remember how amazing the Hubble photos were. What will this telescope reveal about our universe.

How to Make the Worlds Largest Mirrors.

If these large mirrors were made of solid glass they could not be cooled evenly enough to relieve stress and would be too heavy to move.
The Mirror Lab creates a mirror with a honey comb structure. This reduces the weight, but maintains the mirrors rigidity. The honey comb structure also allows the mirror to be cooled evenly over three months, eliminating stress in the glass.

Alumina-Silica cores are used to create the honey comb structure of the finished mirror.

After placing the cores in the mold, they are topped with foot ball size chunks of glass covering the entire surface.

The electric furnace that heats the very high quality optical glass from Japan to 1100 degrees fahrenheit. The glass reaches the consistency of honey and flows around the cores. What an electric bill that must be.

A mirror after cooling for three months in the furnace. The temperature was slowly lowered so all the glass cools at the same rate. This relieves stress that would cause the mirror to crack.

This mirror was ground to the correct parabolic shape and is now being polished. Laser beams are bounced of the surface checking the shape of the surface. A computer uses this information to guide that little red polishing machine to the spots that need polishing. The mirror is polished to a tolerance of less than 20 nanometers.


Beauty Revealed

We bought some raw opal at the show for us to play with.

We are using dermel tools to carve away the matrix surrounding the opal.

With some careful work you can reveal the colorful opal inside. Next the opal needs to be polished to bring out even more fire and color.

Some of my favorite RV things

Happy Bowls save water because you do not need to wash down the side of the bowl. They make them for porcelain toilets also

Good Grips ice cube tray. It will not spill, is stackable, and the ice cubes are easily ejected.

Two great apps. Overdrive allows me to download print or audio books from the library. I like to listen to books while driving. Dish Align makes dish alignment easy. 

I installed Horst Miracle Probes 6 years ago. I just drilled new holes next to the old fouled sensors and moved the wire over. Twenty minute operation. Never had a false reading since. 


More Eye Candy

Back to the Gem & Mineral Show. This time to see minerals and fossils. The Show is spread all over town in tents and hotel rooms.

7 inch Aquamarine. $14,900

Big crystal.....

Small crystal. 
Rhodochrosite/galena/Quartz/Fluorite, $7000

Minerals and fossils are also carved into any number of plants and animals, even the bathroom sink.


Back Home

I flew to LA to pick up Serenity. It's great to be home again. On the trip back to Tucson I scored another Triple D spot. I stopped Los Taquitos (33.34814, -111.98194) in Phoenix. Nice little spot in a strip mall with a colorful decor.  I had a very tasty carnitas burrito.

Tucked in again at "camp" Casino del Sol.