We’re settling, sort of, in Arizona. San Tan Valley to be precise. In March of 2016 my oldest daughter and son-in-law moved from California to Tucson. After much family discussion we decided it was best to move closer to them so Fiona could be nearer her best friend – her big sister! Especially during her teen years. So in June 2016 we left Wisconsin to move to Arizona.
It wasn’t easy. Fiona even had to think twice about leaving the beautiful snowy winters in Wisconsin to live in hot, dry Arizona. We all loved the snow, winter, the seasons in Wisconsin! Arizona though did have her big sister, Joel’s good friend Terry, my aunt, uncle, and cousin. The drier weather would probably be good for my rheumatoid arthritis. So we made plans and moved.
After staying with our good friends, Terry & Virgie, for a couple of months, we found the place we’re now living in. We do like the house and where it’s located – far away from the bustle of the big city of Phoenix. Close enough to take Fiona to visit her big sister monthly instead of only once a year. We’ve made some really, really good friends.
We did go back to Wisconsin last August to get some relief from the heat – and visited all our friends there that we missed as well as Joel’s mom and my son James. We plan to do that again this year.
Arizona does have its own beauty – like these beautiful days when the sky is so blue and the clouds puffy white. For now, we’re settling here. So far, so good.
It’s been nine months since we’ve traveled out West. Last May we went out to Phoenix, San Diego, and the Sacramento area. We were able to visit lots of friends and family. We’ve been feeling the itch to travel some again and see our very good friends in Phoenix and my married daughter in Sacramento.
So we’re heading out West in March. And we’re making it a business trip to meet with other authors, a couple of clients, and possibly do a couple of presentations for writers.
We’ll be visiting Alex Zabala and his wife in Phoenix. Alex is author of Treasure of the Mayan King and The Golden Scepter. Last May when we were there he was celebrating 5 hundred copies sold of Treasure of the Mayan King. Last month, January 2014, he celebrated 5 thousand copies sold!
Then we’ll visit with our very good friends, Terry & Virgie. Terry is a musician and Joel always loves playing with him and his band.
While in Phoenix, at some point, we’ll also have an opportunity to meet Larry Brooks, author of Story Engineering, a book Joel recommends to authors. Yet another contact in Albuquerque may be able to set up something for Joel to present to a book club.
On our way to see Rachelle in the Sacramento area, we’ll have a night in Santa Barbara, California to meet up with another author, Lynelle Paulick.
And if we can convince Tom Bentley – editor extraordinaire – not to do an overseas house sitting gig, maybe we’ll stop by and see him while we’re in California.
It should be a lot of fun! Join us on another adventure!
Yesterday we had a two-for-one experience. Since our good friend Rod lives about an hour from the friends we are staying with in Phoenix and Joel’s Uncle Bill and his wife live about an hour in the opposite direction, they all met us partway at an Applebee’s to visit. So we were able to visit with Rod who we hadn’t seen in 10 years and Sue was able to meet Joel’s Uncle Bill who he hadn’t seen in over 40 years!
It was great to visit with everyone at once and even find out that Rod and Bill had mutual friends. We really hope we can come back sooner than later and visit with them all again.
Today is our last day in Phoenix and we’ll be seeing Sue’s Uncle Phil and family and then staying the last night with author Alex Zabala and his wife again before heading Monday morning for San Diego.
So we’re here visiting our friends Terry & Virgie in Phoenix, Arizona and it’s been 100 degrees out! And the air conditioning in our van goes out yesterday. We don’t do heat so there’s no way we’re finishing this trip without air conditioning.
Fortunately, Terry & Virgie know a good local mechanic who can fix the whole thing for $600. And before we need to leave for San Diego on Sunday.
We plan to do lots of swimming in pools during our month-long trip coming up. Pools in Phoenix when we stay with friends. A pool at a hotel in San Diego. Pam & Phil’s pool in Roseville in Northern California. We’re leaving snow to go to these places that are at or nearly at 100 degrees! We’ll need lots of pool time.
A couple of Sundays ago friends here in Rice Lake, Wisconsin had a pool party. Though there was snow on the ground and it was raining that day, Fiona enjoyed three hours at an indoor, heated pool. She had a blast! Guess she was ‘training’ for the pools in Phoenix and California. :) We’re all looking forward to more swimming.
Last Saturday we took Fiona to visit the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix Arizona. We found a coupon online for $2 off each adult admission. Once we got there we found out that for an additional $3.50 each we could also go into the seasonal butterfly exhibit.
Today our hosts, Terry and Virgie Wilson, took us to see the Hole in the Rock at Papago Park in Phoenix Arizona. Since Fiona is home schooled, it was a field trip for her as well. We had a lot of fun climbing up to the hole in the rock and back down.
After we ate our picnic lunch, we fed the birds in the pond. Then Virgie and Fiona did some exploring while Joel and I had a chance to relax and enjoy the perfect weather today. It was sunshine and 76 degrees with a nice breeze!
We had a great stay with the Wilson’s in Phoenix over the weekend. Joel was able to play music Sunday evening with Terry and his friends. Fiona helped Terry’s wife make cookies for the road on Monday. When we left early Monday morning we saw a beautiful sunrise. At a rest area, we found a ‘home on wheels’. Cool but not quite what we’re looking for.
Tonight is our first couch surfing experience. Hoping it works out to drop in on a total stranger with all our stuff and not totally freak out on both sides.
One of the many funny things: driving south through California’s central valley, it was brown and dead. On one side of the freeway, dead brown grass. On the other side, just for variety, brown dead grass. For 7 solid hours.
Driving through the desert from Phoenix to Albuquerque, Fiona kept saying “Look! It’s all green! Why is the whole desert green?” And it was. Green cactus. Green trees. Green shrubs. Put that in the red sand under the blue sky filled with crisp white clouds, and I kept saying “This is why I love the desert.”
We keep leaving later than intended and arriving in the dark. I’d like to get to new places in late afternoon so we can see where we’re going. I’d also love to see more of the spectacular scenery.
Reviewing yesterday: actually left at 8am after 4 hours of packing and visiting with the folks we were house sitting for. Sue drove the grapevine, I drove Pasadena and all the way to Phoenix. Arrived at 11:00pm just as Terry got home from work.
We forgot to account for all the driving we’d done around Roseville before we left, so our first milage calcs said we’d gotten 13mpg. I scoffed, even though I wasn’t sure why it was wrong. Memory finally dredged up the answer. Back in the real world, calculating milage using what I like to call ‘the right way’ we got 22mpg which astonishes me, but I choose to believe that one. Van stuffed like an olive and we’re getting better gas milage than my ’61 VW used to get.
Taking the day off to swim and rest. We’ll be coming back to Phoenix to spend a month or so with Terry and Virgie sometime this winter. Terry’s written another excellent children’s book (he’s good) which he’d like me to publish. He’s also found an illustrator I might use for Ginger the Ship Captain’s Cat when I’m ready.
Early to bed tonight. Only facing a 7-hour drive to Albuquerque tomorrow, ending with our first ever couchsurfing experience.