by Neva Bodin
February, 2015 found us in sunny Arizona for a wonderful time of sun, swimming, friends and sightseeing. 80 above in the daytime. Might as well try it again.
However, since February, 2016 is when I am opening the nurse aide 95 hour training program, we chose to go in January. Big mistake. Gone 23 days.
This year we had the sun peeking at us the first couple days, but down to 39 degrees Fahrenheit or lower at night and 50’s in daytime. My brother-in-law arrived with his camper the third day and the rain started. Just a few showers the first couple days.
We were in a more rural area trailer park this year in Apache Junction, and about 10 acres of undeveloped desert lay about 50 feet maybe from our camper.
We had brought our ATV’s so went for a ride on a cloudy afternoon next to the park. There was a wash and near the beginning of it we saw a small pup tent and a blue piece of tarp strung on some bushes. A man was kneeling near the tent. “Homeless” we deduced and went another direction so as not to disturb them.
I have wondered since what happened to them when the rains began in earnest the next day and continued for five days and nights. I know what happened to us: Some visits with friends, two museum visits—the Music Instrument Museum and an aeronautical one—supper at one of my favorite spots—the Organ Stop Pizza—and lots of dominoes in the camper, and later Farkle.
The high points for us country folk were the coyotes howling at night (and seen trotting through the front yards of nearby business and by the fence near our camper), a donkey braying each morning, (lots of little ranchettes with chickens, horses etc nearby), and spending good quality time with friends and family. Also finding out the park employee who helped us situate our camper is from a small town in ND where I worked for 11 years, a dining couple at the same restaurant we ate at are related to two families we know from another small town in ND, and sharing our vacation with my brother-in-law.
And equally wonderful were the friends we love including us in their lives and my two cousins and their wives, whom we love, spending time with us.
Finally, our second weekend there, the sun began to play peek-a-boo again and we were able to spend just a little time in the afternoon on my cousin’s patio. But jackets were always worn during this vacation.
Another sunny afternoon, we drove to Tortilla Flats, an old stage stop on the tortuous winding dirt road, 1-1 ½ lanes wide and in a zig-zag pattern full of switchbacks, to Roosevelt Dam. We drove it and saw beautiful scenery and my first fleeting glimpse of the fleet Roadrunner.
Finally, our last Tuesday, (we left that Friday) we hauled our ATV’s to Bulldog Canyon and went on a two hour ride through the desert. We saw what looked to be a colorful mountain man out for a horseback ride, and beautiful scenery and experienced silence and peace. I could have spread a sleeping bag and stayed right there. Alas, the scorpions and poisonous toads.
So we came back to Casper, having navigated tons of heavy traffic while there and while traveling through Las Vegas and Salt Lake City to and from, and shivering and saying over and over, “Well, at least there’s no snow and ice.”
Now, home is warm and cozy, I expect it to be in the 40’s outside so no disappointment there, and what I thought was increasing traffic in our town is merely child’s play, even on icy streets.
It is important to take vacations, so we can know the value of home.