We Visit Bill and Alice

The main reason for our recent trip to Arizona and California was to see my older brother Bill and his wife Alice. They live in Anchorage but overwinter in Arizona.  Unfortunately, at 85 Bill is beginning to have health problems. I’ve been meaning to see him for several years now, but things haven’t worked out as I would have wished. We are still trying to avoid Covid, but I’ve decided that with the vaccine shots we’ve gotten that it’s worth the chance of contracting it. I’m not willing to spend the rest of my l life locked up avoiding a disease that doesn’t seem much worse than the flu for the inoculated people I know who have recently contracted it.

Since we haven’t seen Bill in at least five years and Alice for even more than that, I decided to prioritize this trip this year, putting off trips to Colorado and Santa Rosa.  1,500 miles is a long drive at my age, but stopping at wildlife refuges and breaking the trip up into three days made it doable. Every time my eyes would glaze over, an aggressive California driver would remind me to stay focused on the road.

I’ve driven from Phoenix to Palm Springs on the I-10 Interstate once before when returning from New Mexico, but that was late at night. It was much more interesting in daylight. It reminded me a little of the 18 months I spent at Ft. Irwin in the Mojave Desert, but I don’t remember seeing any saguaro cacti in the Mohave. No, rather, the cactus reminded me of the Arizona Highways magazine mom had on her coffee table for many years. If we had had more time I would have liked to drive out and see some of the areas beside the Interstate.

We didn’t have any fixed plans on this trip.  I originally thought we would stay a couple of days but we ended up staying five. Even then, Bill said we should stay longer.  Bill wasn’t up to doing too much during our visit, but we did go out for dinner twice while we were there. We spent most of our time just visiting and talking (mostly about the past). It’s fascinating how people see the same events very differently long after the events took place.  Because he’s four years older than me, Bill could clearly remember events I only vaguely remembered.  More interesting to me, though, were the different interpretations we had of events that both of us thought we remembered clearly.  

Bill wasn’t up to hiking, but he insisted we go on a drive and see the surrounding countryside. We were amazed at how rapidly the area seemed to be expanding, with new houses going up everywhere, confirming the City of Phoenix’s claim that: “The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 estimates say that Phoenix now tops 1.7 million in population and added more new residents than any other city.”  Coincidentally, the construction looks indistinguishable from the construction we’ve seen in Broomfield, CO, over the last 20+ years.

If you’ve been following my site for any length of time, you’re probably not surprised that I wasn’t too interested in urban growth. However, I was excited to check out the desert and mountains outside of Goodyear.  I didn’t have my Canon with me, but I put my trusty iPhone Pro 14 on RAW and captured some shots of the local cacti.

I didn’t see any of the rattlesnakes that Bill warned me about when I got out to take these shots (mom used to do that a lot when we lived in Goldendale)  or any birds, for that matter.  However, Alice had been feeding the birds and putting our water for them back at their home, so I was able to get some shots of birds I had never seen before.  Stay tuned.