On Saturday, my friends Jacob, Tyler and Andrew invited me to come spend the day with them in the Huachuca Mountains. They left my house (where they had stayed on Fri and Sat, but that's a whole other post) and drove over to Carr Canyon. I had to stay for a high school group out from Tucson that I was taking Owling that night.
Needless to say, the Owling went well. They all thought I was amazing after I pulled 3 species of owls out of 20mph winds and rain. It was pretty cool. I almost thought we weren't going to do it, but the owls cooperated in the end.
Anyway, I left Portal around 10:00 and arrived (after driving up the steep, narrow, winding mountain road) at the top of Carr Canyon. Since I had arrived so late, I slept in late while Jacob and Tyler walked off to see their year Greater Pewee and Buff-breasted Flycatcher.
When I finally woke up, we walked up the trail in a futile search for Eastern "Azure" Bluebird.
We did end up finding a Virginia's Warbler though. Interestingly enough, this bird is not at all common in the Chiricahuas and was a new state bird for me.
Not finding the Azure Bluebirds, Tyler, Jacob and I decided to head to Miller Canyon. Andrew stayed to record flycatcher vocalizations.
We dropped Tyler off at the Hummingbird feeders to wait for his lifer Berylline Hummingbird and walked up the canyon. 1 young male Black Bear and some Red-faced Warblers later, Tyler had seen his Hummingbird and we headed out. Over lunch, Tyler found out about a pair of Elegant Terns at a small city park in Tucson. Needing that bird for my state list and for the year, I followed them down to the park. The small lake is surrounded by concrete shores but does have fish in it. It's the weirdest place I've ever seen an Elegant Tern:
After seeing the Terns, I said goodbye to Jacob and Tyler and headed home. Just outside of Tucson, I stopped in the small town (well, not even a town) of Vail to top off my tank. After topping off the tank, I started the engine and it immediately started making a high pitched screeching sound. I quickly pulled forward into a parking place and popped the hood.
I killed the engine and opened the hood. As I did, there came a cracking noise and the serpentine belt snapped clean in two right in front of me. Well, you should have heard me curse my bad luck. 2 hours and several phone calls later, a tow truck came and took me and my car to a nearby mechanic. However, this was late on a Sunday afternoon so there wasn't anyone open. I booked a room at the nearby Holiday Inn and settled in for the night. The next morning, I called the guy and had him look at the car. Fortunately, he managed to get to work on it right away. He called me back at about 4:00pm yesterday and said that he wasn't going to be able to finish but he would pay for a hotel room for that night. I settled right back in at the nearby Holiday Inn. This morning, one of his mechanics accidentally broke the evaporator. Fortunately for me, they replaced it free of charge. I'm rather glad because I'm sure I would have had to have replaced it someday anyway. It did take longer though and now, I'm waiting for them to finish some minor repairs. My car should be ready very soon and I'll be on my way back to Portal after spending 2 more days in Tucson than I had planned.
Hopefully they did everything correctly. If they did, I should be able to drive the car all the way to Brownsville and back with no problems. I took some time and filtered down all the problems and it all seems to boil down to one cause. The A/C on the car has cause all of the problems I've had so far. Since the Serpentine belt runs everything, if one thing isn't working, nothing works.
Now, the car has a brand new A/C system so it should work forever.
Jacob and I leave for Brownsville in two weeks. We'll probably take my car now that I've replaced almost every moving part on it. It should work great right? At least, I hope so!
Til next time, Happy Birding!