Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Arizona - Phoenix


November 1, 2016 found us heading south on Hwy 17 away from Route 66 to Phoenix and Nancy's nephew Chuck and his wife Gina's house. The excitement of seeing family was quite high. First stop was at Bell Road RV Repair to drop off the RV for some repairs to the water heater, the starter wasn't working right. Then to Arizona Mini Storage to drop off the tow-dolly. We finally made it to Chuck and Gina's. We always look like we are moving in when we stay at someones house, but we got everything in and unpacked before heading to dinner. They know the best places to eat.
Nancy working on her
speech for the LLS walk

Chuck and Gina have a beautiful house and one of Nancy's favorite morning coffee spots was poolside. The entrance to their neighborhood is next to the Pointe Tapatio Park, a great place to walk the dog. There are a number of trails to explore, where you will find lots of cactus, flowers and even an old rusty car. The view of downtown Phoenix is pretty nice too.

Nancy's niece Sherrie, Chuck's sister, and her husband Eric, and daughter Lilly arrived from Kentucky the next day.
The reason we all gathered here was that we participated in the LLS (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society) Light The Night Walk. It is a fundraiser for the Phoenix chapter of LLS. Chuck has been very involved with this group since his brother Don was diagnosed with ALL Leukemia in the fall of 2013. He lost his battle in March of 2015 and was chosen as the Memorial Hero for this years walk. Chuck, Sherrie and Nancy were all taking part in the service. Sherrie and Nancy both talked about Don and the effect his illness had on our family.

The organization put together a great video that included Don singing the last song he wrote along with pictures of him and family and memories from his daughter Frankie and friends Dee and Mike.

Chuck led off the lighting of the Gold Lanterns, which signified the loss of someone. Red was for support of someone fighting this terrible disease and white was in honor of survivors. The young boy in the right hand picture is a survivor.
There was even a Dalek from Dr. Who here to help exterminate cancer.

After Nancy and Sherrie finished their speeches, with a few tears, Chuck then invited people in the crowd to come up and light candles for people they have lost. While it was a very emotional night we were so glad that we could be a part of it.

We did enjoy some family fun while we were here. Jerome was one days outing. The drive there was through some unusual rain, in fact a down pour.
It didn't dampen our spirits any but it did make the drive through the mountains even more scary for Nancy and Sherrie who share a fear of heights.

Jerome is a cool old mining town. There are many stores filled with local art and other fun tourist items. We especially loved the Christmas store. One of the reason we came here was to pick up wine from the Jerome Winery, that Chuck and Gina won at a charity auction. What an awesome place.
Large windows fill the back wall offering beautiful views of the valley while enjoying their very tasty wines. We were treated to a rainbow after the storm.

There are a number of quirky things in town. We found more love locks attached to a fence alongside the sidewalk.

There is also a Roadside Oddity. The Little Daisy Mine Shaft is an old shaft that has been covered in glass so you can stand on it and look down the 1,900-foot shaft. This shaft was completed in 1918, to haul ore up from the mine. There are cross tunnels every 100-feet.

Les is keeping an eye on Nancy while she tries to be brave

Some of us were a little more comfortable stepping on it than others. As mentioned above Nancy and Sherrie are not fond of heights and Lilly is just as bad. If you have been following our travels you have seen pictures of Nancy trying to overcome this fear, she has come along way but hasn't conquered it yet. She did step out onto the glass, while holding on for dear life and snapped a quick picture.

They have a spray bottle of cleaner and rags in case you want a better view, which apparently Chuck did!

The grounds have a number of pieces of old equipment, Eric was glad he wasn't smooched into the "elevator" with a bunch of other miners heading below ground.

We stopped at an overlook for the view and a guy leaving work was nice enough to take our picture.

The drive home gave us a beautiful sunset and Mexican food for dinner.

While Chuck slaved away at his office one day Gina showed us some sites. We stopped at her daughters new business venture. The PHX Holistic Hub. A great place where you can get a massage, energy healing, or take part in one of the many events they offer. Then after lunch with Chuck, even busy lawyers need to eat, we headed to Fountain Hills.
They have a beautiful park with a fountain in the center of the pond.

The park is filled with great playscapes, and a musical playground that Sherrie, Eric and Lilly had a blast in. The metal sculptures just add to the charm.

There are also some very interesting ducks that call the pond home. We were like little kids and had so much fun, but we did wear Gina out.
Some of the best times were just hanging out. The time we spend together is so short that each moment is enjoyed. Mielikki loved every minute too.

We also got to see our very dear friend Michele while in town. Many years ago, close to 40, Michele, Les and Nancy worked together at Washington Inventory Services in Michigan.
We are not sure how something could have happened close to 40 years ago, but we are glad Michele was a part of it.

Next up is Williams, AZ and the Grand Canyon.

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails To You!

Tips and thing we have learned along the way.
~ Keeping things secure. 
While we always try to get a pull through site at each campground so we do not have to unhook the tow-dolly that isn't always possible. When we have to back into a space the tow-dolly comes off and we store it on site when there is room, or else where on the property when the site is to small. To ensure that it is safe and no one can easily attach it to their vehicle and take off with it we use a ball lock. This makes it impossible to attach the dolly to a hitch. It is simple to use. 
1. Remove the metal hoop - unlocking it with the key provided
2. Insert the ball into the tongue of the tow-dolly, attach hoop and lock with key.
3. For extra security - hook the safety chains from the tow-dolly to the hoop and fasten with a pad lock.

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