Sunday, May 4, 2014

Turning the Corner

Shady Lady
Thinking of our trip as a big rectangle, we are now getting close to turning the last corner and heading into the homestretch. Nine months into our odyssey finds us in the southwest, skipping quickly across the expanse of Arizona with three main stops of note. 

The OK Corral
Our first stop was Tombstone, site of the famous Shootout at the OK Corral. We wandered around the town in the early morning and enjoyed having the place pretty much to ourselves for a while. This interesting town offers many historic buildings, shops and re-enactments to attract and entertain visitors. We opted to attend a humorous “tongue in cheek” gunfighter show that also included a trolley ride around the town afterwards.

As you may know, things were pretty wild & crazy in the late 1800's southwest, and sometimes it is difficult to understand just who the bad guys and good guys were. They don't always wear the correctly colored hats! Before leaving town, we wandered around Boot Hill Cemetery and checked out the tombstones. The majority of the wooden grave markers indicated that the unfortunate occupant had been shot/murdered, and often by whom. 

Jill with her low-life, scum sucking gunslinger buddies she met in one of the saloons.

Our next stop was Saguaro National Park, just west of Tucson. We arrived later in the afternoon so we could watch the sunset in the park. The cactus are fantastically shaped and varied and we wandered around for quite a while taking pictures.  After the sun was well down we hopped back in the rig and hurried to my niece's home near Phoenix. Susan, husband Chris and their 14 month old Shay were there to welcome us to their lovely, air conditioned home. Long hot showers, a real bed, a swimming pool in the backyard, and fresh lemons and grapefruit from their trees was a really nice change for us.

Chris, Shay & Susan
We spent several days as their guests, with much of the time just watching baby Shay and playing. It is such a fun age. With Chris away working, we were able to give Susie a few breaks (and got ourselves a little extra baby time). Thayer demonstrated his mastery at putting a crying child to sleep within 10 minutes and then both napping for 2 hours. He always teaches by example! 

When life hands you lemons...
On one of our nights there we were able to hook up with my teaching buddy Jean Duncan and some of her friends for dinner and visiting. As far as we still are from home, it is really fun to see dear friends along the way!! Jean is in the home stretch of her career and will be retiring this summer. We hope to have inspired her to take a big trip! 

On Saturday Chris returned home and they scurried around getting ready to fly off to St. Louis to visit his sister. Thayer and I stayed two more days at their home, keeping watch over Zeus and Hera, their gentle giant dogs, and taking care of misc. business before continuing our trip. 

Palm Springs was our next destination – to visit one of my very best of friends, Mary Lou Halfon and her husband Larry. We were treated to great food, soft beds, and a swimming pool in their wonderful condo on the golf course. This was pretty high living for the road tramps we’ve become over the past nine months! Mary Lou and I rode bikes everyday, cruising Palm Springs’ riverside trails, shopping, and getting caught up with each other's lives. She also whipped up some wonderful BBQ's for dinner while I made the salads. Another afternoon we visited the Art Museum, experienced the weekly street fair with all its activity and then out for dinner. We always had something fun to entertain us!

Pam, Sue, Jill & Mary Lou
Getting together with Sue Showman and Pam Laird, more Kenmore retirees, was definitely a high point of the visit for me! It had been years and years since I had seen Pam and I was amazed at how little she has changed – the same wonderful sense of humor, hearty laugh and cheerful nature that I remember so well. Sue has not looked back since retiring and also has a lovely home in Palm Desert. We stopped by her place one day to raid the lemon tree in her yard. I was also glad to learn that she remembered how to make tasty Carmelita bars for dessert!  Mmmmmm!

One day Mary Lou and Larry escorted us to the visitor center for the Annenberg Family home called "Sunnyside." It has extensive desert gardens, ponds and lawns, a solar array to provide power, and all surrounding the large "desert modern" home.  It is difficult to obtain tickets for a home tour but visitor center had a good video and many displays showing the interiors and fabulous furnishings. When it was occupied by the Annenbergs they regularly entertained the political and Hollywood elite. Frank Sinatra even got married there. The Annenbergs were very active on the world stage, interested in politics and improving relations between nations by hosting visiting dignitaries and royalty. Sunnyside is now run by the Annenberg Foundation and their mission is to provide an elegant and historic place for world leaders to meet, problem-solve and discuss peace issues. It has been used by every president since the 60's and has hosted many leaders from around the world. 

It was so nice to spend some real quality time with my dear friend Mary Lou, we have so many great memories of working, playing and laughing together. In her retirement she stays very busy, has surpassed me in her technical wizardry, and keeps up with her busy family of whom almost all find a reason to visit her in Palm Springs during the spring months. And now we know why!

On a more somber note, on Sat. April 26th we turned the corner and began heading north, with less than 1000 miles from home and about 5 weeks to do it.     Oh-no!  Where has the time gone?


  1. Hard to believe you're on the home stretch of your epic year. I will miss all the posts, pictures, and stories next year - but there's enough meat in the ones you've posted/will post to re-read and enjoy. You definitely have inspired us - just may not look the same when we do it. Love the SW pics the best, but the Maritime Provinces are calling, too.

  2. If you head south and to the coast, try Malibu RV. Rent an ocean view. Cute fish restaurant below. Rates were reasonable in 2006- about $30 a night. Wi-fi, cable TV hookups. Some supermkts and restaurants in village. There is also an ocean front park about 20 miles north of Malibu and north of Pt Doom. We also took the RV to Ventura, beach was very wide and virtually empty. Ojai was a nice side trip. Coast is nice ride all the way to Monteray peninsula