Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Our ever-changing travel plan

Yesterday morning found us at the Elks lodge in Chandler, Arizona (map). While only a short drive from the Lone Butte Casino, our friends and fellow DOVEs Beth Ann and Shashi were staying there, and we wanted to get in a quick visit before they had to leave town. I also have some outdoor projects to get done, and the weather is now pleasant enough to set up the chairs and relax outside, none of which we felt comfortable doing at the casino.

While we did get to sit outside, socializing with our friends as well as new acquaintances Duane and Toni, I never did get to the outdoor projects. The four of us had a nice dinner in historic downtown Chandler, just a few miles from the lodge, at Serrano's. Duane and Toni had to get back to their rig, which turns out to be parked at Wild Horse Pass -- small world.

We also got some news on Monday that has radically changed our plans. You may remember that Louise had been invited to a meeting which had tentatively been scheduled for Albuquerque, then changed to Milwaukee. As I have written here many times, we never count on any travel plans from the Red Cross until we get actual travel orders. As it turns out, the meeting will be in Milwaukee, but travel budget constraints mean that Louise will not attend.

While we have plenty of things we can do here in the Phoenix area, and the weather has been pleasant, the principle reason we've been dallying here has been the potential of either driving to Albuquerque, or Louise flying to Wisconsin, which would best be done from Sky Harbor here. Thus released from either possibility, we are now free to continue west to our next obligation, in the SF bay area. We'd previously committed to attend a recital there for our friend the composer on April 10, and we've also planned to spend a couple of weeks "cleaning house" -- we have a small closet where we've been storing business records and some other sundry items, with which we can not part.

In the meantime, we received notice of a memorial celebration that will be held this weekend for our friend Joe who passed away in December. When we first got the notice, of course, we'd figured to still be here in Phoenix until after the weekend, for Louise to attend her meeting. The sudden and unexpected cancellation of her participation, though, opened up the possibility that we could make it to the memorial after all. That is what occupied our thoughts and discussion after we parted company with our friends Monday evening.

By yesterday morning we had decided we'd make an early appearance in the bay area. That meant, for one thing, that we will basically have to drive straight there, mostly on the freeway, rather than taking our customary leisurely route, through the desert and up the coast. The other consequence, though, is that we'd have to accelerate the rest of our plans here in Phoenix to get on the road -- it's 15 hours of driving, and we'd rather do that in three days than two.

After some morning chit-chat with Beth Ann and Shashi, we loaded up, made a donation, and rolled north to where we sit today, the Phoenix Elks lodge at the north end of town (map). We chose this spot because it is less than a mile from where we left Louise's Honda Metropolitan scooter on consignment last year. So far, the scooter has not sold, and we wanted to check on it, and determine whether or not it should even stay at this shop.

Unfortunately, when we rolled over there on the scooters yesterday afternoon, we found the shop had moved, about eight miles west. We did not have time to head over there before our next obligation, which was to check on our restaurant investment downtown. So we suspended, for the time being, the great scooter investigation, and rode the 16 miles into town. Our restaurant there has entered into a cooperative arrangement with the historic Hotel San Carlos next door, wherein we are providing the food and beverage for room service and a small dining room near the lobby. Hotel guests are also given vouchers for breakfast at our place. We hope the additional business will finally move the restaurant into the black.

We had dinner and a glass of wine at the hotel, which has a nice patio area on the sidewalk. It was absolutely perfect weather for dining al fresco. Afterwards we took a little tour of the historic hotel, checking out the Marilyn Monroe suite and the lovely pool area on the second floor. We arrived back here mid-evening.

Since the new location of the bike consignment shop is actually more or less on our route out of town, we will load up in just a few moments and roll over there in the bus. We should be well inside California this evening.

Photo by TheAmigo, used under a creative commons license.

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