Thursday, September 19, 2013

My Excellent and Not So Excellent Arizona Adventures

I am an only girl blessed with 4 brothers.  If you ask them they will all tell you I was spoiled and at this point in my life I will have to agree.  I was spoiled by having 4 big brothers (well Ronnie is younger but he has been bigger than me since he was 12).  They are all distinctly different in their looks and their careers and their lifestyles.  And I love them all so much, but it is difficult to spend a lot of time with them since they are somewhat scattered.  Last year Clint came to visit my campsite just outside of Nashville on his birthday and after fixing a couple of things on Seeker (he's my go to guy for car stuff) we spent the rest of the evening talking, cooking dinner on the grill, and just catching up.  I hope he enjoyed his birthday as much I did.  Ronnie is hard to get face time with.  His busy career of over the road trucking keeps him running around the country.  I did get to meet up with him at a truckstop diner in KY last year along with cousin Madeline, but was unable to meet up again somewhere along I 40 this summer.  Now I'm afraid I'm too far west but who knows.  Of course Mike is always just outside of Atlanta, mostly on Lake Lanier fishing if things are going his way.  He is really enjoying his retirement.  I did spend the month of December with him last year and did my best to help him and Linda through a tough time.  Of course I spent most of my first year of rv life in Georgia and we got together a lot back then.  Now days we just talk on the phone.

And then there's Pat.  Pat is one of the reasons I have come so far west.  He and his wife have settled in Arizona for their retirement years so it's a little trickier to visit with him.  I did visit for a few days back in 09 or 10 (I can't remember which) but that was long ago, so I made it a point to get to Arizona this summer.  I had planned to visit for a week to 10 days, and they were kind enough to let me park Seeker at their place so that I could be close.  In fact, it was so hot out there in September that it was just better that I stay in the house in the spare room.  And what a house!  Have I mentioned yet that Pat and Teresa are both artists?  Everywhere in every room there is evidence of their talent: stained glass, etched glass, glass mosaic, paintings, carvings, beadwork.  It is humbling to be around such talented folks.  One reason Teresa likes being where they are is the warm winters.  One reason Pat likes to be there is no yard work.  His take on mowing the grass: spraying weed killer on grass or weeds that pop up in the gravel that covers his front and back yards.  He does have some trees planted around the place that have really grown since I was there before.  And the lake out back provides lots of birdwatching opportunities as well.  I had a great time visiting with them and learning rv tips from Pat (he and Tee full timed for a while before settling in their home). 

And then one day I decided to visit a park about 60 miles away for some excellent birding.  Spent 4 hours walking trails and practicing with my new birding scope.  Despite the heat I had a great time and treated myself to a new, compact birding guide to keep in my backpack.  My mainstay, the heavier Petersen's Guide will now stay in Seeker.  So feeling good about the day I left and went into a nearby town for some lunch and to browse.  Finally decided to start heading back toward Pat's house but took a different route thinking it might be quicker.  BIG MISTAKE.  I soon found myself on I 10 heading away from Phoenix area but folks were getting off work and traffic was building and it was about 104 outside.  My little car was not liking the heat and since I didn't need to hurry home I decided to get off at the next exit and wait out the traffic.  That's when it happened.  I got caught up in stop and go traffic on the ramp and got sandwiched between 2 cars.  The guy behind me kept running up really close and made me too nervous.  I paid too much attention to him and ended up hitting the rear end of the girl in front of me and the guy behind me hit my back end.  Not hard, but enough to do some damage.  So we eased up off the ramp and as soon as there was enough room on the shoulder the car in front of me pulled off and I did the same. The guy behind me just went around us and kept going.  Luckily all he hit was my bicycle and the damage was minimal but it did put a new scratch on the back gate of my car.  When I told the police officer about the guy leaving he just shrugged and said it happens a lot. 

The good news is that no one was hurt and damage was minimal.  The car in front of me was from California and actually heading back the next day.  She just needs a near rear bumper.  I was able to drive the rest of the way home (about 40 miles) and had to delay my departure I had planned for the next day for a week while my car was in the shop.  But now my little orange car has a new hood and front bumper.  And I got to experience flooding in the streets in Arizona during the monsoon season.  What an amazing adventure.  Hope I don't have too many more like it. 

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