We've been in Phoenix a little over a week and we have been playing catch-up from the last four months.
We caught up on work. While our time in Austin was busy with Science Fair, there was other work that needed to be done. We each piece together several jobs during the year and while Science Fair takes up most of our winter months, we still have responsibilities with our other jobs during that time. We kinda go into maintenance mode with these other jobs during the winter - we pretty much do what needs to get done, but don't have time for much else. Once Science Fair is finished, we try to get everything back on track. This past week we were able to do some of that. We even got a jump start on some projects we will work on later in the year. It felt good to be back in a somewhat normal work pattern.
We fixed a few things. Before we left Austin, there were several repair/maintenance type items we had to take care of with the RV. Trey was able to take care of most of those, but we saved a few for Phoenix. It was a cold, wet winter in Texas and we knew/hoped it would be warmer and drier in Arizona. We also had a few breakage issues while we were here. One day a wimpy 10 mph breeze took out our main awning. Seriously, most of the day flags were hanging limp on their poles. A rouge gust must have hit the trailer at just the right angle. We didn't see another gust after that. We were inside and didn't see it happen, but best we could figure was the bottom bracket broke (it was 13+ years old)...
...and caused the awning to balloon and bend the top bracket.
There was an RV facility next door and we were able to fix it on our own (with a little advice from Chuck, the parts guy; and Dave, the head technician). They gracious gave us some tricks up their sleeves and let Trey borrow a special tool. Nothing else was damaged and we were able to replace all broken parts (plus a few extras that were looking worn) for about $60. When we think how the awning fabric could have been ripped or our RV could have been damaged by the braces knocking against it, we were thankful that this was such an inexpensive and easy repair.
We saw a little baseball. Phoenix is like the Spring Training capital of the Southwest. We were able to watch some Florida Spring training games two years ago, but it was nothing like this. Lines were long, stadiums were crowded, and fans were rowdy. It was almost like real baseball! Trey overheard one guy say it cost him $900 to rent a car for the week. Wow! The RV park we stayed in pretty much emptied from noon to 4 PM each day because most folks were here to watch baseball. And yet, Trey sat on the out field lawn next to a family where the 10 year old boy slept with a towel over his head. The mother said that the boy was bored with baseball and took up soccer and loved it because he could just run and run and run. Trey's unbiased and completely accurate answer is that it only seems boring because it takes a great amount of skill to play baseball.
With so many stadiums within a 30 minute drive, it was easy to see why the Cactus League is much more fan-friendly than the Grapefruit League. We went to one night game together and then Trey went to a day game alone. We had planned to go to more games, but other things got in the way. We sat in the cheap seats (outfield lawn), but had a beautiful view.
We rested. While we didn't spend hours and hours on end lounging around (though Susan might have liked a few days of that), we did find time to rest and relax during our time here. The weather was nice enough that we were able to spend some time outside in the lawn chairs and we were able to restart our walking routine. Although we are in the Pacific time here, we decided to stick with the Central Time Zone as much as possible. Our days seem so much more productive when we realize how much we can can get done by 9 AM when we wake up before 6 AM. It was also a good week to read. We probably read more this week than we have in the last four months combined.
We saw interesting things. We stayed right next to Sun City and the retirement gangs were out in full force. You would see groups of seasoned males roaming the streets in the afternoon hours in search of coffee and donuts. Golf carts were everywhere and have street privileges in some places. How strange to pass a gas station and see one or two golf cats at the pumps! Definitely a different culture here!
Phoenix had a creative way to camouflaged their antennae. There are two antennae camouflaged in the palm trees in the picture below.
While it wasn't the week we expected when we planned our stopover here, it was a good week and a nice transition from our hectic Austin work schedule.
"The desert is the theater of the human struggle of searching for God."
~ Jan Mejernik