Casa Grande & Mesa, AZ
3/24 - 4/14

The drive from Benson to Casa Grande was about 120 miles so we arrived about 2:00 p.m. We stayed at the Foothills West RV Park. I had called my sister Nan Curtis who lives south of Phoenix in Sun Lakes to let her know we were coming. She told me that my mother's youngest sister Marge was visiting her and she would be there until 4:00. So we rushed to get set up and headed for Sun Lakes only to discover the Chrysler would not shift out of 2nd gear, so we had to abort the trip. This was a real disappointment for me. I was looking forward to see Aunt Marge again. We had to leave the car at the Chrysler dealer in Casa Grande. We were told it would be ready on Tuesday. Oh for the days of mechanical automatic transmissions that are not controlled by a computer.


3/25 - Our space is next to the office and the pool area and we heard this music coming from that area so I went over to investigate. It was coming from this pick-up band from residents of the park. Surprisingly they were doing a decent job.

On 3/30 Nan and Larry invited us to their place for dinner and to meet their granddaughter Adrian. She is the daughter of Mary Kay, their oldest daughter. This was was the first time we had met her and it was a real treat. She is a cabin attendant for Frontier Airlines and she had a number of cute stories to tell us.

I also had a chance to talk to Mary Kay and Scott, her youngest son, on the phone. I haven't talked with her for probably 45 years and I haven't even seen Scott since he was maybe 5 years old. It was long overdue that we made these connections again.

4/1 We moved to the Phoenix area today so we didn't have to travel as far to visit the attractions we wanted to see. The park is another 55+ retirement park called Valle del Oro located in Mesa, AZ. They have a special rate of $11.00/day starting today and we just couldn't pass it up. We were paying $22.00 per day at the other park.

This is a huge park with about 1800 spaces and miles of paved road that looks like it will be great for bicycles and roller blading.

On Monday 4/3 we drove along the old Apache Trail between Apache Junction and Globe, AZ, a drive of about 70 miles. About 25 of that was all gravel that cut though the mountains with many curves and switchbacks. Fortunately we were on the inside of the road on the serious drops. There are three man-made lakes along the trail. The first of these was created in 1902 with the construction of the first dam on the Salt River. A couple of these lakes reminded us of a little Lake Powell.

This gives you a better idea of the road we were driving on. The part I'm showing was one of the steeper parts of the road.

Another amateur photographer offered to take our picture today, so we were pleased to get this shot of the two of us.

Some of the cactus are coming into bloom and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to get this shot.

Saturday 5/8 we visited the Hall of Flame Museum in Phoenix. It is the largest museum in the world dedicated to firefighters and fire fighting equipment. I thought it would be a bore, but it was fascinating. They had old pumpers dating from 1725, to the 1834 model at the left up to fire trucks from the 30's and 40's. The majority of them have been meticulously restored by their own magician name Don Hale. He brings the old machines back to their original condition including all the ornate scroll work and pin-striping that was so popular on these older machines.

Susan couldn't resist dressing up as a fireperson and getting a chance to drive a fire truck.

Hey, who needs kids?!

On 4/2 I called my brother Tom to see how he and Carol were doing only to find out that Mary Joe Shallbetter, my brother George's wife, was in a Phoenix hospital recovering from emergency heart surgery. She had her ascending aorta replaced due to it shredding internally. Her symptoms appeared when they were in Williams, AZ and she was flown from Flagstaff to Phoenix for the emergency surgery. According to the doctor who operated on her only about 10% of the people who have had this problem have survived to get to the hospital and only about 5% of those people lived for 24 hours after the operation. However, she is doing very well and should be getting out of the hospital on Thursday 4/6. As it turned out, George was parked in the same RV park we are in so it was easy to get to him and get the latest info on her condition.

4/14 This picture was taken outside George's motorhome. Starting with me and working clockwise are: Susan, Nan Curtis (my sister), Mary Joe (Josie), George, and Larry Curtis. Just two weeks out of open heart surgery and Josie is doing very well. They hope to be able to get the doctor's OK to drive home to Minneapolis in a couple more weeks.

We stayed an extra week in Mesa, AZ so we could help out if needed. It was a great opportunity to get re-aquainted with my brother again. We haven't seen much of each other over the last 35 years.

Here's a closer shot of George and Nan.