Just like last year, we are finding the Phoenix metropolitan area more challenging to enjoy than Tucson. As a bigger city, it probably has more to offer, but the cheap golf course that was twenty minutes drive away in Tucson, takes an hour to reach here. Somehow it just doesn't seem worth the effort. Living in the Chicago area, we are used to heavy traffic and Ken handles it with aplomb even while driving the motor home, but that doesn't mean that we enjoy it.
We have often thought about going to the Air & Water show, a Chicago summer tradition, but the thought of dealing with all the traffic and paying big bucks to park, has caused us to stay home and watch the highlights on TV. So today we went to the air show at Luke Air Force Base. It was over an hour's drive away, but only $10 to park. The expressway part of the journey went as expected, but it took us another hour to crawl through town to the parking area, which was a half hour schlepp from the air show. It felt like everyone in Phoenix came to the air show with us. We enjoyed what we saw once we got there, but the journey took up half a day. Because we were on the base, we had to go through bag check. The soldier who pawed through my purse looked about twelve years old. He did not check the collapsible seat bag where I could have hidden a rifle. Sigh.... The pilots were amazing. Old and current planes flew in tight formations performing all sorts of aerial acrobatics. Trying to keep these fast moving aircraft in my view finder was a challenge. Soon I gave up on taking photos and videos and sat back to watch the show. Some planes tumbled head over tail, flew sideways and flew through their own exhaust smoke. Our jaws kept dropping. Some of the events were solely on the ground and could only be seen by the 2% of the crowd close enough to the enclosure to see. One involved a Viper plane racing a Viper race car. We could hear the engines roar. Every so often my mind would turn to the Malaysian Airrlines plane that vanished mid flight and still has not been found.
While we were in Tucson our campground sponsored a field trip to the Flea Market in Mesa. It would have been a two hour drive each way, so we opted out, but put in on the calendar for when we would be nearby. The Flea Market boasts 1400 vendors all under roof and it was so well attended, we had lengthy waits long before we got to the parking lot. The atmosphere reminded me of shopping the week before Christmas. It took us about ninety minutes to "see it all." We were glad we came, glad we didn't make the drive from Tucson and don't really need to return any time soon.
During the rest of our time here we've enjoyed catching up with friends old and new. Carole lives in a home right out of House Beautiful magazine nearby and doesn't miss the Illinois winters she endured with us for many years. We reminisced about the ten trips we took overseas with high school students and shared recent travel adventures. In the evening she and Royce came to the state park where we are camped for a moonlight hike. We've never taken a ranger lead hike with over one hundred people lit only by the light of the moon, but it was great fun. We were surprised by how much we could see in the dark and the ranger carried a portable speaker so we could hear here comments about flora, history and geology. As we walked I look back at the long line of people behind me disappearing behind the crest with their flash lights and thought of refugees fleeing the latest calamity.
We got to know Bill & Diane because they listen to our RV Navigator podcast. They're camped nearby, but have never been to Lost Dutchman State Park. Bill was interested in seeing how our quad copter works. We have lots in common because their motor home is virtually identical to ours. We traded repair stories while we made s'mores over a campfire.
Tomorrow we'll move to the northern end of Phoenix and see if we can find some things to do that are less than an hour's drive away.