Thursday, April 05, 2007


Thursday, the plan was to get up early, go back to the base fitness center for a swim and/or other workout, and then head to my aunt's house in Apache Junction, AZ, northeast of Tucson, and southeast of Phoenix. The day was promising to be warmer than the day before, so I decided to take a chance and put on shorts. When we got to the base, it was still really early, before 8 am, yet the place was fairly busy.

Once again, and I don't know how I managed it, I forgot my goggles, etc., but this time decided to borrow goggles from the pool office and take my chances without using the other things. I didn't get too far, however, since I also need a nose plug and just a few laps got my sinuses working overtime, so I went to kickboarding.

I amused myself with seeing how many people who were swimming in their own fashion I could beat kick boarding. At that particular time of day? All of them, except Don. I do have a strong kick, so at least I felt like I was getting in some sort of workout. I had actually gone out and ran again a couple of miles before, and once again felt out of breath easily and was really looking forward to a nice swim workout.

We finally headed out on our way to Apache Junction mid-morning, but not until making numerous stops--to get food, gas, and other gas station stuff. It seems that on trips like this, we rely heavily on gas station amenities. How sad is that??

After about an hour into the trip, I decided to look at the Mapquest directions and realized had we followed the map, it would have had us taking backroads, not highway 10. That would have been okay had we started out following the directions, but now that we were on the Interstate, it looked like it was taking us way out of the way. But without knowing what the backroads would be like, we stuck to the main highway, something I don't tend to do by myself. I'm more likely to take my chances on a possible "shortcut" and see what happens. (Usually it means getting lost and taking hours longer than the longer route.) But I wasn't driving, thankfully. :) So of course, we had the usual little bickering routine about what did the map show? What was the next junction? Why didn't you tell me to turn before this? We're going way out of our way! Why don't I just call and see what my aunt says?? Come to find out, the map was partially lacking directions anyway (what's new with Mapquest, right?), and a new bypass loop did not show, so we basically went north out of our way, then looped back east to get to our destination, instead of just looping directly east. I was totally confused at this point, only half remembering where we were from the year before. And it seemed farther than I remembered too.

We finally arrived at my Aunt Dorothy's house much later than we had predicted. She lives in a 55 and over community that really is quite nice without being too expensive or pretentious. They have a great pool too! Dorothy is my mom's sister, and has lived in Arizona for over 20 years due to severe arthritis. She does spend her summers in Michigan, however, so I do see her while she is here. Two of her daughters, my cousins, also live in the area with their families, and have lived there for close to 20 years as well, and they NEVER come to Michigan to visit, so obviously I don't see them too often. My mom's brother and his wife also winter in the park, so its like a family reunion whenever I have visited. My uncle and his wife were divorced a number of years ago and then remarried, so now his standard joke he likes to tell is that he lives with his wife and ex-wife and they get along great. They also have a son, my cousin, who is--are you ready for this--9 months YOUNGER than my oldest child. I have probably seen him a total of 4 times in his life. Did I mention my aunt and uncle are only 8 years older than I am?

My Aunt Dorothy had been suffering from severe sciatic nerve pain for quite a while, but the day we arrived she had finally been able to get out of bed for the first time in a long time. She will be 77 in May, but really gets around quite well despite all her ailments. She's a busy bee, that's for sure. Maybe that's where I get my energy? So it was good to visit and catch up on family stuff. We planned to stay the day and then leave sometime in the morning for the West Grand Canyon.

My aunt also has a friend, Lucy, who lives in the park. Lucy is a dear and loved by all who know her. She amused us with stories of her past. Lucy had recently lost her second husband to Alzheimers in January, and I couldn't help but feel sad about the fact that she would have been a perfect companion for my dad had we only been able to get him down to Arizona for the winter. :(

While the weather wasn't HOT the way I would have liked it for a few days, it was warm enough to enjoy the outdoor pool by late afternoon. At last I would be able to get in a real swim, since I had gone ahead and bought new goggles, earplugs, and a nose plug at the BX. But we were disappointed to find that the pool pump was broken, so they had shut the pool for repairs.
:( But, at the risk of sun damage, I decided I would lounge by the pool for one day at least.

Since we planned to visit the Grand Canyon Skywalk the next day, we checked the weather later that evening, only to find SNOW at Flagstaff. Lots of snow. "I'm not going there if its snowing," I declared. "I can see THAT stuff at home anytime." (Am I a prophet or what, since it appears that we will be having snow year round in this state.) I don't really know where going to Flagstaff entered into the plans, since I wasn't really involved in the discussion, but despite my maps and directions to the Skywalk that I brought from home, Don somehow got the impression, from my relatives no doubt, that we had to go to Flagstaff to accomplish this. That would prove to be a mistake, as we found out later.

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