Getting Closer

Getting Closer
Getting Closer

Friday, April 1, 2011

Family and Friends in the Desert

Sharon and Joan friends for 40 plus years Our first preference for a destination wouldn’t necessarily be the big cities of Tucson and Phoenix.  We both love the wide open vistas of the desert, preferably without telephone poles and skyscrapers, and miles and miles of traffic.  However, another advantage of traveling in an RV is the opportunity to spend time with friends and family that we might not manage otherwise.  Hence our decision to spend quite a bit of time both in Tucson and in Phoenix.

In addition to our friends in Sahuarita, we spent another day with a long time friend of Mo’s in Green Valley.  Joan lives in another large gated retirement community with winding streets, a dog park, a community center, swimming pool, and lots of amenities nearby in Green Valley.  Joan’s home is big and cool and with her recently glassed in patio, was a great place to leave Abby and her dog Rusty while we spent the day visiting the historic town of Tubac, just a few miles south.

I wanted pots! Tubac was at one time a Presidio, and there is a nice state park in addition to several charming guest houses and a ton of interesting shopping choices.  It was a bit like going to Mexico without having to go to Mexico, and some great art thrown in. We looked around town, enjoying the colorful pots and garden art, and exploring the Art Museum.  Lunch was relaxed until Joan checked her messages and found out that Abby had been barking incessantly since we left and the neighbors were in a bit of a snit.  Bummer.  Abby is so good in so many ways, but the separation anxiety makes it hard to leave her anywhere except with a dog sitter who is paid to sit with her.  We skipped the rest of our shopping excursion and rushed back home.

door to the art museum Once there, Abby was a perfect lady, lying quietly at Mo’s feet as if nothing was wrong at all.  She is a perfect house guest, even if Mo isn’t there, she will be quiet and calm with whomever is caring for her.  Only the slobbered up windows gave any indication that anything was ever wrong at all.  We took the dogs to the dog park for some fun and then came back to Joan’s house for another lovely supper and more conversation around the dinner table.  Once again, it was a long dark ride back to Tucson and home and the patiently waiting cat.

Early Wednesday morning we were back on the road heading for Phoenix. We did look into the Luke AFB Military Family Camp, but it certainly didn’t have the reputation of our previous digs at Davis-Monthan.  The instructions said “choose a site and be sure the electricity is operating before you check in”.   Another review referred to the constant barrage of fighter jet aircraft noise day and night.  With temperatures in the 90’s this week, we definitely couldn’t boondock, so dipped into our Streets and Trips program to see what might be available north in Phoenix. 

Phoenix (5) Just a few miles from one set of relatives, we found the Royal Palm Mobile Home and RV Resort.  When it says “mobile home’ and '”resort” in the same line we usually figure we are in for one of those places that wants to sell a lot.  Since it was a CampClub listed park, however, we called anyway.  Sure enough, they had a spot with full hookups, 16 bucks a day.  Electricity!  Of course, the WiFi was extra, and I never did get it to work, and the owner gave me some sort of complex story about why they didn’t have cable tv, but it didn’t matter much because we were there to visit relatives, not relax in a city center kind of RV park. When we finally checked out the pool on our morning walk this morning before leaving, we decided it was pretty small for a park as big as this.  It was also pretty darn warm!

Phoenix (8) We landed in early afternoon, immediately turned on the air conditioning and called the relatives to schedule a convenient time to visit.  Once arrangements were made for the following day, we used the iPhone to check out what to do in Phoenix. Found another website, “The Fifteen Things to do While In Phoenix” and when we got to number 7, drive the Apache Highway, both of us said, “Yup, that’s it”.  We could take the dog, be in the cool car, and still get out to see something interesting.  I’ll write about that part of the day in a separate blog, because it was an incredible treat, and I took lots of photos. We didn’t get back to the park until late, and with a sandwich for supper we fell asleep with the windows open and the Fantastic Fan on full blast.

The next morning we first visited Mo’s cousin Jim, who with his wife Linda has lived in the Phoenix area since 1994.  They love living here and love the convenience of their location in the city.  Their home was at the base of a mountainous park nearby, and within a lovely resort now owned by the Hilton.  Linda served us a great breakfast, and then Jim treated us (mostly me) to his technical savvy about all things computer related.  He also showed many of his great photos taken with a Nikon D-60 on his huge flat screen very high def TV.  Nice morning.  Jim is very much into the family genealogy and we got a great tour through some family history and stories.

Phoenix Mid-day, we had just enough time to get across Phoenix to Sun City Grand near Surprise to visit Mo’s Uncle Albert and his wife Caroline. They live in a sprawling, very elegant, Del Webb community with 4 18 hole golf courses, a huge recreation center, and a club for just about anything in the world you could want to do.  Their home was all soft white and pristine, with wide open views of the golf course.  Caroline served us lunch while Uncle Al continued the stories of the Ross family history.  Mo’s mother was from a family of ten kids, and Uncle Al was one of the younger uncles.  Mo has lots of great memories of the many uncles teaching her to play basketball, taking her fishing, and doing all sorts of fun things along the mighty Columbia River where she grew up.

Phoenix (2) We looked at many more historic family photos from the homestead in North Dakota, the cemeteries we visited last summer, and the family homes in St Helens, Oregon.  What a family, and what a history!  Of course, the wild ones, the skeletons in the closet were the most fun, with Billy Bob, hanged for horse stealing, being a star.  Many of the uncles and cousins have history as military airmen and some have been commercial pilots.  Mechanical skill seems to run in the family, so Mo comes by it naturally.  Gee, with all those uncles and brothers, it’s no wonder.

DSC_7283 Uncle Al kept us entertained until late in the afternoon, when Cousin Jim called and wanted to confirm an early evening date for drinks and supper at Aunt Chilada’s, near their home.  We didn’t even have time to stop in to the MoHo to say hi to Jeremy, and just drove through the crazy traffic  back across the city once more.  Supper was also great, with lots more stories and laughs.

It was long after dark when we finally returned to our park and the patient cat sitting in the window wondering when we might settle down again.  The last of the “visiting” is over now, and we are traveling north toward Laughlin before once again winding our way into some wild open desert landscape.  Visiting is nice, it’s great to get to see relatives and friends, but it’s time for some companionable silence and wide open vistas, for sure!DSC_7284