Arizona and beyond

Jerry and I went to Arizona.  We were going to look at some property belonging to Jerry’s brother and to see our Arizona lawyer. I was a little nervous about our destination. I know that there are many guns in Arizona and was not sure what the situation might be at the property. Our friend Paul who had taken care of Jerrry’s brother during several of his illnesses went with us. He too was concerned about who or what we might find at Jerry’s brother’s place in Arizona. Our Washington lawyer went with us also.

We flew to Phoenix from Bellingham on Allegiant Air. The best thing about it was that it was a direct flight. Nothing else was good. The ticket seemed cheap at first, but I discovered that there was a lot more to pay. I had to pay to have seats assigned. I was unable to book without doing this. Some seats cost more than others. I could pay for “expedited” boarding. That is, I could pay to not stand in a long line. Like most people I stood in the long line. Checked bags and bags sized for the overhead bins cost money. Only what fit under the seat was free. Once we got on the plane we discovered that even a drink of water would cost $2. And the seats didn’t recline.

Once in Phoenix we rented a car and immediately got lost. We had directions to our lawyer’s office from the main airport, but it soon dawned on us that we had not flown into the main airport, but to one quite far from the city center. When we picked up the car it was a little past 11 and we just made it to our appointment by 1. The office was in a building of marble and glass and fancy chandeliers.

That night we stayed in a hotel across the street — Embassy Suits. It was expensive, but unlike the airline it had a lot of free stuff. Free parking, free wine and cocktails — no limit, and free breakfast with individually made omelets, cooked by middle aged Mexican ladies. To me this seemed like a better business plan than Allegiant’s– pay more at first, then get unexpected stuff free. Here’s the indoor view from our room’s entrance overlooking the elaborate artificial landscape of the hotel interior.

Our hotel in Phoenix

In the morning we drove through the desert to the property we were to inspect. I like the stark landscape; the bare rock mountains and the scattered huge saguaro cacti.

The desert

The weather was unusually cold for Arizona. We had no idea how long dealing with the property would take — we thought possibly several days, but the business was done quickly and without unpleasant incident, all in one day. Then we looked for a place to stay the night. A clean, comfortable motel was recommended and we found it, but the proprietor said he had only one room available.

Our motel in the desert

Paul and our lawyer each needed a room too. We went to the other motel which was terrible. Paul and our lawyer kindly offered to let Jerry and me have the room in the nice place and in return I offered to cook dinner for all of us in the communal kitchen in the nice motel. Here’s where we had lunch.

Desert cuisine is not much different from any other fast food

It was fine, but another meal there would have been redundant. For dinner we had pork chops and onions cooked on the outdoor grill, baked potato and Brussels-sprouts.

Jerry and I had 3 more days until our flight home. The next morning we set out early for San Diego where my sister lives. I wanted to visit her and to visit the church in La Jolla where my mother’s ashes are buried. We had breakfast in El Centro, where we got lost, and lunch in El Cajon on the other side of the mountains where we got lost again. Jerry did all the driving and I was supposed to navigate, but my cataracts are getting worse and I can’t see the signs until we are almost upon them; Jerry’s reaction time is not as fast as it once was. I suddenly shout “turn left” but he is well past the turn when he responds. I think we are a comical old couple in the car, but we get frazzled and nervous. The drive lasted about 6 hours and took us through some alien scenery.

Sand dunes

People drive all over these starkly beautiful dunes on 4 wheelers, leaving ugly tracks and disturbing the fragile ecosystem. Why?

After the desert were cotton fields.

Near El Centro

We dawdled a bit over lunch and arrived in the early afternoon, visited with my sister for a little while and then got a hotel in La Jolla. It was colder than usual in the entire west that week, and the room was difficult to keep warm, but it was in the center of La Jolla, the richest place in the country, and near the marvelous waterfront. We walked along the length of the marine reserve waterfront in brilliant sunshine. Here are some of the things we saw.

The sea and rocks and succulents

There were hundreds of pelicans.

Pelican in flight

Nap time

There were hundreds of seals, and they were in a fighting mood, but needing naps too.

Seals and cormorants

Better not mess with him

The wildlife on the shore coexisted in peace with the human and canine spectators. And we all watched each other.

Out for a walk on the waterfront

Some went into the water for a minute or two (it was about 55 F), and some went for a real look at the underwater world.

Different objectives

I went to church alone where my sister sings in the choir. Jerry doesn’t do church. Before the service I stood outside in the sun on the approximate spot where my mother’s ashes and my step-father’s are buried.

St James by the Sea

I thought about my elegant, deeply intellectual mother and let a few tears dribble down my face. Later my brother-in-law cooked us a fine roast beef dinner with Yorkshire pudding — he’s a master of Yorkshire pudding. That was always our family’s celebratory dinner.

On Monday we drove back to Phoenix, and of course we got lost. A lot. But eventually we found our hotel and the next morning we flew home on the awful Allegiant. It was a clear day for the flight and we saw some spectacular geology from the air — the Grand Canyon and the chain of volcanoes of the Cascade Mountains. Jerry and I tried to guess which mountain was which, but we were never sure. The pilot never bothered to make any landmark announcements.

It’s good to be home. The poodles were ecstatic to see us. My next trip is a solo trip to Florida to greet a new great granddaughter not quite out yet, and a couple of days in the Dominican Republic to visit my granddaughter in the Peace Corps there.

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15 Responses to Arizona and beyond

  1. Sharyn says:

    I don’t drive anywhere new without a gps, try it, it’s wonderful. The new ones will even show you a photo of the exit and which lane you need to be in. On my last trip to family my sister and I were looking for my nephews new house, just plugged in the address and got there. Then you just hit home to go back.
    Saves a lot of stress!

    • Old Woman says:

      We have a GPS but we forgot to bring it. Anyway, old people like maps, but we didn’t have an adequate map, and as I said, I can’t see the signs. Oh well, there are always guided tours.

  2. wisewebwoman says:

    Good to see you writing again Anne, thanks for the latest trip, wherever you write about you make so interesting!

  3. loren webster says:

    I second that gps thing, especially in new cities because mine tells me what lane to be in long before you have to be in it.

    Love the shots of the pelicans and the seals.

  4. Randy says:

    I have the same take on Allegiant.

  5. It was VERY cold in “the west” for a few weeks. Thankfully, we’re back in the mid to high 70’s again! It was nice to read an update and learn about your latest adventures. Isn’t La Jolla pretty? : )

  6. Deborah says:

    I’m glad things went well on the legal side, Anne. Your remark about being nervous to go to Arizona made me remember how I felt crossing on the ferry from Victoria to your part of the world – I thought exactly the same and was never quite at ease for as long as we were in the States.
    The scenery photos are lovely, from another world, really. One day, guns or no guns, I will get there. Hope your upcoming trips go better in terms of hotels, airplanes and directions!

  7. pauline says:

    Always a pleasure to go along on your trips – we armchair travelers always do well with choice seats 😉

    Glad it all worked out and that you’re home again. I look forward to your next adventure!

  8. Annie says:

    Interesting trip, nice photos, hope positive results are forthcoming.

    GPS is a mixed blessing, sometimes it can steer you terribly wrong just when you are coming to depend on it to be marvelously accurate. I like maps too, probably will never outgrow that. But they are becoming increasingly difficult to read … 😉

  9. Mage B says:

    Goodness, you got some awfully good shots. I’m waving at you from down the coast a little way. So sorry about the airline.

  10. Hattie says:

    Ah, you are a wonder! I loved the photos of the pelicans and sea lions. And so nice that Jerry’s brother’s affairs got sorted out with little trouble.

  11. Cathy says:

    Welcome home, Anne! Loved the pictures of La Jolla especially – made me a little homesick for SoCal. Yes, Alligiant is terrible, but at least it flies out of B’ham. As long as you know what to expect (nothing) it’s not too disappointing 😉

  12. Freda says:

    Thank you for a wonderful travelogue and brilliant photos. I think you are very brave to do all the flying and driving……… I guess the sunshine helps – even if it is cold enough for the dogs to need coats!

  13. Ernestine says:

    I find all of your sharing amazing, love your
    images and you
    always inspire me and make me have thoughts
    of making trips I keep having thoughts of.
    Just seems I am not comfortable traveling alone at this time,
    but maybe it will happen 🙂

  14. While you set a very high bar, Anne, for the rest of us old ladies, your travels give me inspiration for our more modest efforts. Enjoy your sharp photos and descriptions of people, places, and food. Thanks for, as others note, your great writing skill.

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