I had the pleasure of hosting my husband’s family from Europe this week. It was chaotic here because we’re still moving, plus my body decided to kick my ass (more about that later), but still worth it. Hubby’s sister is older than he is by nearly a decade, but she’s shy and retiring, in contrast to his moments of sheer lunacy. His sister brought along one of her daughters, who (as it worked out) ended up being our driver for most of the week.
It was an interesting visit this time, the second time my sister-in-law has come to see us. Hubby was up to his eyeballs selling the various goodies he’d bought at yard sales, and I pointed out he was known to sell things from the house. Turns out it’s a family trait. Their dad was known to sell their living room furniture whenever their mother was out. (They owned the furniture store, so it wasn’t quite as catastrophic as would be the case for us if G were to go down that particular rabbit hole.) Apparently their dad was as addicted to the sales process as G is. It’s genetic.
We traipsed through rural Arizona, visiting the kinds of places that never make it to the tourist maps. My SIL and niece loved it – and I learned from it. For example, until now, I had no idea there was a German POW camp in the nearby city of Florence during WWII. Cool stuff.
I know my way around the area, and was the de facto tour guide for the week. We talked about the places to visit and I think the choices we made were the right ones. I had a blast with my phone camera, taking a ton of photos and videos. I also got to gloat over the fact that my little Android holds double the data of my niece’s much more expensive iPhone. Her phone was full after about fifty photos. Mine kept going with photos and video, long past that point. And my phone’s camera is higher-resolution, to boot.
Hubby is anal about not having his photo online, but since this doesn’t show his face (or his niece’s or his sister’s) he gave it a thumb’s up. I couldn’t help snapping this, because all three of them had their cameras out. Well, okay, all FOUR of us.
This is Roosevelt Dam, in Central Arizona. With very few exceptions, Arizona’s lakes are artificial. This dam (and the lake it encloses) is the primary source of water for the Phoenix metro area. The dam was raised 20 feet a few years back. Before that, you drove over the top of the dam as part of the road to Payson. When the dam project happened, that road was replaced by a newer one, including this bridge:
It’s a pretty drive, and this time of year the weather is superb. Unfortunately since it’s fall here, too, there’s very little by way of greenery. Not that there’s much, ever, but there’s normally a bit more than this shows. Matter of fact, the mountains across the lake in this picture are home to the tiny hamlet of Young, Arizona. The peaks are part of the Mogollon Rim, and they’re covered with massive Ponderosa pine forests.
We didn’t drive that far, because we simply ran out of time, but I love the pine forests of the higher elevations. I love forests, period. I spent many a past life there, and someday hope to live in the forest again – albeit in a house this time around!
When we moved to Arizona, I was surprised at how much plant life you see in the Sonora desert. I’d been conditioned to expect sand dunes and very little more. In this part of the desert, however, you get low mesquite scrub, prickly pear, saguaro, barrel cactus, cholla, Joshua trees, agave, desert fox grass, and God knows how much more. In terms of wildlife, we’ve got coyote, snakes, lizards, and lots of birds (from roadrunners – the real kind that don’t go “meep-meep” – to quail, eagles, hawks, sparrows, hummingbirds, ravens, and vultures, among others.) Up in the mountains we’ve got bobcats, mountain lions, bears, and probably a few other critters that haven’t been identified. I don’t think Bigfoot lives here, but who knows? We’ve got lots of other retirees, and he’s been around long enough to qualify.
For the majority of the week, the weather cooperated. Thursday during our trip, we got inundated. Hubby and I loved it, but our visitors were bummed because in northern Europe, rain isn’t exactly a novelty. Not only that, but the rain this time kept going for several hours, which is atypical for the desert but all too familiar to them. Oh well, at least it was only one day out of the week they were here. I thanked them for bringing rain in their suitcases!
My frustration was that while my knees were cooperating, my feet definitely WEREN’T. I had a foot infection that turned out to be the nastiest case of athlete’s foot I’ve seen, certainly the worst I’ve ever had. Between the move and the company, it’s been a challenge.
This has decided not to post, so we’ll see if it cooperates this time around. I’ve done everything short of starting over again to get it to work. If this doesn’t do it, I’m closing the blog for good.