Now that we’ve had a chance to get some much needed rest, answer a ton of emails, and get some laundry done, I’ll use the next few blogs to get you caught up on our trip to Arizona.
We knew we were going to eventually go to Tucson to get my cousin Beverly out of an unsafe living situation due to her health issues and handicaps. But we thought we would have a little more time. That all changed when we got a call saying things were getting out of hand and asking us to come sooner. So we left our home here in Edgewater, Florida on February 1 and drove 780 miles the first day, ending up in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. And yes, I know that’s a lot of miles, but sometimes you do what has to be done. This was not a pleasure trip.
We have stayed at the Microtel in Breaux Bridge a couple of times in the past and always liked it, but something changed this time around. I don’t know if it’s under new management or what, but the room needed a good cleaning and the staff all seemed new and not sure what they were doing. I don’t think we would stay there again.
In the past we have always eaten at Crazy Bout Crawfish, an excellent laid-back Cajun restaurant in Breaux Bridge. The food and service have always been outstanding, but it seemed like whatever malady had affected the Microtel had been at work at the restaurant, too. Terry’s meal came promptly, but the waiter said mine would be a few minutes more. And then every 10 or 15 minutes she would come by and tell me that it was almost ready. Meanwhile, Terry’s food was not all that warm and not up to the standards we have come to expect from the place. Finally, an hour after we got seated the manager came to our table and apologized for the delay, telling me there was a new waitress on duty. I got my meal and it was okay, but nothing to write home about. The manager did give us the “employee discount” of five dollars off our meal. If I would have been in her shoes it would have been free, but that’s okay. I think we will pass the restaurant the next time we’re in the area.
I don’t know what was going on in Breaux Bridge, but it seemed like our stop was cursed. The restaurant is only about a mile or so from the Microtel, on the other side of the freeway. But when we started to go back, we discovered the road had been closed at the underpass with no advance warning. We just suddenly found ourselves faced with barriers and a sign saying Road Closed, and no suggestions for a detour. With an 18-wheeler behind us, we had no choice but to get back on Interstate 10 and drive about four miles east to the next exit, where we could turn around and come back and get back off to go to the hotel. Maybe we’ll just skip Breaux Bridge completely from now on.
We wanted to stop and see our friends Greg and Jan White in the Houston area but there was no time. Instead, we drove 620 miles the next day, stopping in Ozona, Texas for the night. The Hampton Inn there looked to be brand-new, and everything about our stay there was top-notch.
When I asked about someplace close to get a bite to eat, the desk clerk suggested a little hole in the wall joint called The Café Next Door, which was just a couple blocks away. While the restaurant didn’t look all that impressive at first glance, the service was fast and friendly, the food was delicious, and the price was very reasonable. I ordered steak fingers and they were so big that I could not finish all of them. We will definitely be stopping there again when we are in that neck of the woods.
We were on the road bright and early the next morning, in “get there” mode. The speed limit in west Texas is 80 mph, and Terry’s Chrysler Pacifica rides so well that with a smooth road and no other traffic around us it was easy to let our speed edge up before we even noticed it. At one point I looked at the speedometer and we were doing 100 mph. I eased off the throttle and told Terry I needed to watch that, but not much later I looked again and we were doing 101! We may have been in “get there” mode, but we didn’t need to get that fast! I decided I had better set the cruise control at 85 and keep it there. Even at that speed, cars, trucks, and several police officers passed us like we were sitting still.
We usually take the bypass around El Paso to avoid all the traffic but we figured on Sunday morning it wouldn’t be too bad. And we were right. We breezed through town with no problems.
Our friends Tom and Diane Owens were at the Escapees Dream Catcher RV park in Deming, New Mexico, which was always one of our stops when we were headed to or from Arizona on Interstate 10. We have not seen them in quite a while, so we stopped for a quick visit before getting back on the road.
The further west we went the more ominous the sky began to look. Somewhere around Wilcox, Arizona it began to rain hard.
By the time we pulled into our friend Nancy Kissack’s place in Vail, about 20 miles from Tucson, with another 640 miles under our belts, we were both worn out. Nancy made us welcome, and we appreciated her hospitality.
The next morning we got to Tucson early and gave someone a lesson in shock and awe when we went to pick up Beverly. It’s amazing how quickly difficult people back down when you show up at their door with three police officers. We got her stuff loaded into the van, made a stop at her primary care physician for one last check-up and to be sure that she was up to the long trip back to Florida, and then we drove to Apache Junction and checked into a hotel. We spent the next few days letting Bev catch her breath, visiting with Terry’s parents and her sisters, touching base with some author friends and local bookstores, and gathering info for upcoming book projects. I’ll tell you about some of that tomorrow.
Thought For The Day – A winner is just a loser who tried one more time.