Valley of the Sun

January 17, 2013 - Phoenix, Arizona, United States

 I am getting lazy at writing and I promised myself I wouldn't do that.   Is it a good excuse that I have been so darn busy with so many different things that I just didn't have time? ..... No? ...... I thought so and feel very guilty.    Oh well, here is my update.

Connie was on her way home and I was on my way to Sun City and my good friends Howard and Penny Senn.   They live in this lovely home in quiet Sun City and always are so, so very good to me when I visit.   I will certainly be pushing my luck this time because it may be a month long adventure here for me at minimum and maybe longer.   As usual when I arrived Howard had a menu planned for me that included all my favorites and his little stubby cooking fingers were just aching to get cookin.

I had my own little bedroom and bath and moved in quickly and happily.    The camper was set up in Howard's driveway.


It fit like a glove and we got the electric and water all hooked up and I thought I was all set there.   After visiting I discovered that I had kind of a full schedule already.  ( a good thing )    I arrived on Sunday and was to visit with my college roommate Mark Grovak on Thursday evening in Scottsdale for dinner, drinks and catch-up talk.   Another call got me an invite to my buddy Dan and Nancy Howard's house and a hook up with Dan's sister Janet who was celebrating her birthday on Monday.   Dan and Nancy own a home in Ahwatukee, AZ which is a suburb south of Phoenix and Janet is married to Mark Tkach who is owner of RideNow Powersports of Arizona.   It was to be the greatest of nights.   Got to Dan and Nancy's early and had great conversation.   Really missed them both because I had not seen either of them since mid November when they wished me bon voyage.   We traveled over to Mark and Janet's home.   They live just a few miles away.    It was so great to see them both ..... they have been so nice to me and I value their friendship.   Janet calls me her brother Dave ....... ahhhhh.   Mark has put up with me, but in his weak moments I know he cares.   I love them all.    We had dinner thanks to Danny's generousity .... at the Melting Pot.    It is a fondue place and the evening was really enjoyable although laughable and painful at the same time.   Seems as though everyone had trouble keeping their cheese from flopping on to their shirts or pants, the service was extremely slow (that is the laughable part) and the good part is we had plenty of time to tell jokes and just enjoy each others company.   It was a special birthday night and we continued the celebrating back at Mark and Janet's house later.   What a great night.   Happy Birthday sis.


The next day I was invited down to Dan's house by Nancy who treated me to a home made meal.   It was fabulous but the conversation and catching up was really, really the best.   Dan is like a brother to me and Nancy has treated me so well and cared about me when I really needed it.   They are special people and we have a special relationship.   I love them both.


I stayed overnight with them then the next day Dan and I had plans to meet up with our Irish friend Roy Patterson for a few beers at the "tilted kilt" in Tempe.    Roy is a member of the evil Irish sandbaggers who beat us Americans in the Cider Cup golf tourney this year.    He is one of the most evil, but Dan and I love him just the same.   Him, Ted and baldy Robin kicked our arses good up in Minnesota so when he offered condolences in the way of a couple of beers that he "would actually pay for" ..... we jumped at the chance.   So, we met him at our favorite place .... The Tilted Kilt and had a bite with a beer or two or three.    Mark Tkach joined Danny and I since we wanted to run up the tab the best we could.    Mark of course let him off the hook by picking up the food tab.   Dan and I were not happy he did that ..... we wanted Roy to squirm in his chair.    Roy had such fun that Dan and I had to "deliver" him back to his daughters home to recover.    Dan and I were of course just fine.   We love our Irish friends and the comraderie of the Cider Cup Golf tourney ..... we are lucky people to have such a relationship with the Spa boys.

Here is Roy, enjoying the scenery at the "Kilt" ....


A bad, bad Irish lad.

The boys at the "Tilted Kilt"


There was no rest for the wicked ...... Dan took me back to my car but I had to leave right away to meet up that evening with another good friend ..... my very old friend (he's old, not me) Mark Grovak.   Mark and I were roommates in college.    I can't imagine someone putting up with me at that time in my life.   I was a slob.   I cleaned up and picked up ..... never.    I didn't thank anyone for doing it.   I never made my bed.   I drank a lot, studied very little and just plain took advantage of this great roommate who (ready for this?) made my bed sometimes, made me chocolate chip cookies occasionally, kept me informed of my calendar and other duties, and let me date a girl he had the hots for.    What a guy, eh?   We laugh, but Mark is a stand up guy who is the best person.   I love him dearly and missed seeing him so it was special to spend the evening catching up and sharing stories.   Mark works in the defense contractor industries (makes bombs and kills people) and travels quite often around the world ..... it was so fabulous that he happened to be in Phoenix just when I had arrived.   I loved it.   Thanks Mark.


Look how much more hair I have than Mark ..... did you notice that?

Sorry bud.

Since then I have done some things with Howard, caught up with others, did some errands and made a trip out to Laughlin, NV with Penny and Howard.    The trip to Laughlin was precipitated by my desire to do some "boondock" camping right on the Colorado River.   When I get a bug up my ass to do something I just "get to it".   I had dreamed of camping in a primitive fashion called "boondocking" for a long time.    Boondocking means camping without any hook ups at all.  No electric, no water, no sewer, no tv, no nothing.    It is usually totally free and on land that no one can find you on.   Our trip to Laughlin was the perfect way to "scout out" a great spot.   I could tell you the location I found, but then I would have to kill you because it is absolutely the most perfect dream spot of a lifetime.   It is 2 feet from the Colorado River and on the end of a small dirt road that is totally, totally private.   The view is absolutely spectacular.   So much will follow in future journal updates for you.

We looked at other camp sites (pay sites) but I kept asking myself ..... hey, you have electric with two generators, you can hold 50 gallons of water, you have a 60 gallon sewer holding tank (and can pee outside), you have a propane refrigerator and heat, you have your stained glass work tools, you have great cell phone service and thus good internet service, great books, and not a neighbor for at least a mile.   What is not to like.   Why pay $4-500 per month when you can stay there for free for as long as you want.   It was a no brainer ...... Howard and Penny had helped me discover my Utopia.    In a few weeks I will be strapping up the rig and moving to nowhere, CA.

I made mention of parking my rig in Howards driveway ...... we found out later that we could only leave it in the driveway for 72 hours. (old people rules in Sun City)   On a visit to a local RV supply shop I talked with a lady who asked me "why don't you park it in the Sun City RV Compound?"   Seems the problem has existed for years that people would visit the old folks in Sun City with their RV but then have no place to park it.   So..... the city of Sun City built this fabulous holding area with 24 hours guards, washing bays, sewer dumps and beautiful parking locations for just such a need.   And the cost ..... $60 for 1st month, then $30 each after.   Wow.   The rig got moved shortly and is now resting in its comfy little home away from me.   What a find.

Back to Laughlin.   Howard, Penny and I arrived with three free nights at the Tropicana.   Let's get this over with ..... Howard and Dave got nuts the first night, lost some money to the black jack devils and drank way too many Rusty Nails. (if that is possible)   We kind of lost our will to fight back so left to go back to Sun City after just two nights.   Mind you ..... we aren't saying that is the reason ..... we are using something like, hey, we already found the camping spot so we were done anyway.   You can read what you want out of this.   It was still fun I guarantee you.   Always is with those two.   While we were there Howard's sister Linda and husband Steve met us.   They live in Parker, AZ and they drove up in 30 degree weather on a motorcycle.   They are both nuts.   We had a great evening together.   If you ever get a chance to enjoy happy hour at the Riverside casino and sit in the Riverview Lounge .... do it.   You can watch the sunset over the Colorado River and enjoy $3.00 martinis while you do it.   Priceless !!!!

We got up this morning and went down to help Dan and Nancy move their furniture out of their home in Ahwatukee.   Sadly, they have sold their home so needed the help moving.   Sad in one way, but still exciting because they will surely return to Phoenix for winters, but maybe renting homes from here on ..... they aren't sure yet ..... got a whole summer to mull it over.   Anyway, they were happy to get it sold and Howard, Penny, myself, Mark and Mark's boys all pitched in to move stuff around for them.    It went well and so by the end of January ..... the chapter will be closed on their lake home in Arizona.    Ahhhhhhhh


I am not sure how long I will be here in Phoenix ...... I do have some things I want to do ..... but when the time is right I will be heading to Utopia on the Colorado with "the rig".   

Much more to come.   Love you all and miss you all.




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