Desert Messenger

June 18, 2014

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16 June 18, 2014 STAY UP TO DATE In between editions online: I'll stop and put in more coolant," I told myself. At that point, I noticed it was a tad bit over half way, but who would want to get out in this heat? Rolling down the window was no help -- just a blast of hot air. I chose two possible routes to Pine, AZ, my ultimate destination: I could bypass Phoenix by taking I-10 to nearby Hwy 60 through Wickenburg to Hwy 17 (a route I've never taken before) north to Camp Verde and then southeast to Straw- berry and Pine. Or, I could take I-10 to Hwy 87, head north to Payson, and spend a night or two there be- fore driving the 15 miles to Pine on Monday. The incentive to take the latter route was the Saturday-night concert in Payson's large, beautiful park by a lake with ducks. I knew I was nearing Phoenix when I came upon rows and rows of look-alike houses as far as the eye could see, only five feet from their neighbors. How can people stand to live this way? I could visualize peo- ple coming home to their houses: take the first left, count down five streets, turn right, count down 10 streets, turn left, and home is the fourth house on the right -- the one with the white trim. Perhaps living five feet apart was healthy for fam- ily relationships as one could never have loud disagreements without their neighbors as audience! With one eye on the gas gauge and the other on the temperature gauge, I was still able to enjoy the stunning patches of bright yellow, magenta, and red-orange plantings along I- 10 as I drove through Phoenix. Even with atlas in hand, I can never make the transition from I-10 to Hwy 87 without stopping for directions. I drove blindly along, not taking the exit to Tucson, fortunately. I got off at the exit that said Mesa because I remembered that on the atlas, it was south of Payson. Lo and be- hold there was a sign with an arrow pointing to Payson and Hwy 87. It was about this time that I noticed the mileage on my 1990 truck flip to 170,000. So I stopped at Carl's, Jr. to cool off, make sure I was on the right route, and fill my three ice cups. I ordered a seven-layer bur- rito -- the cheapest and healthiest thing on the menu -- even though my camper ice box, one-fourth the size of my home refrigerator, was bulging with food. I was SO hot I couldn't stand the thought of fixing lunch inside my sizzling camper. I sat there until I found out I was headed in the right direction and until I felt less than medium-rare. Checking my atlas, I was pleased to see that Hwy 87 from Mesa to Payson was indicated as a "scenic" route, and it was, a steady climb passing through a saguaro forest along the way. I had a quarter of a tank then, and I thought I should get at least a cou- ple of gallons of gas ($4.05/gallon) to get me to Payson, about 80 miles away. But I hesitated as the gas pric- es gradually went up to about $4.19/ gallon. Now I was in open country; no more gas stations. I sweated out those last 80 miles, coasting down- hill in neutral whenever I could. My heart lifted every time I saw one of those signs by the side of the road with a picture of a truck going down- hill and the words "use low gears." I had a couple of good, long runs. Things were getting tense. About 30 miles from Payson, I had 1/8 tank of gas. Would I make it or be forced out on the highway in 110+ degree heat and surely die of heatstroke by the side of the road? Each year I write myself a note to leave Quartzsite by May 1, BEFORE the hot weather hits, but I never do. Last year it was June 2 and this year June 14. What I always forget is that when I leave Quartzsite, I have to drive in HOT, HOT weather. One year I drove from Quartzsite clear to Asto- ria, Oregon before the temperature was less than 100. (Then I drove south down the Oregon coast and froze!) During today's drive, every other thought was about inquiring about getting air conditioning for my truck as soon as I got to Payson. I also thought I'd find a solar place and see if I could run a solar air con- ditioner in my camper; so I could sleep at night when the temperature hits above 70. Ma & Pa's "A Little Bit of Everything!" Downtown Bouse, Arizona Tons of New and Used Hardware, Plumbing and Electric; Odds and Ends Galore! TOOLS! Antiques, Incense, Indian Jewelry, Books, VHS Tapes, Rocks and Cacti. NEW Arizona T-Shirts and Tank Tops $3 each or 2/$5* (While supplies last) PROFESSIONAL PROPANE SERVICE AND QUALITY SUPPLIES! Custom Made Hoses, Regulators, Fittings, Hose-by-the-Foot, New Quick- Release Fittings, Extend-a-Says, and Tanks in Various Sizes for Sale 5 Gal Exchange Tanks - RV & Home Service, New Valves Installed, Certifications, Testing & Inspections on Heaters and Propane Systems We also BUY-SELL-TRADE Estate Sales, Yard Sales, Consignments FREE Appraisals! Open 10am – 4pm Wed. thru Sunday - Closed Monday & Tuesday 928-699-1338 I made it to Payson and was re- warded by $3.89 gas. I found a shady place to park at the concert. After trying to nap (it was too hot), I got out my chair, made tea, and listened to the band practice. I kept telling myself to change clothes and carry my lawn chair down to the green, grassy park, but I could not make myself move -- even with the large ants strolling up my legs. (They didn't bite.) Finally, when I heard the an- nouncer start the concert, I got my- self together and headed toward the bandstand. I sat for two hours and listened to big-band music, even though that's not my style, delight- ing in the fact that I even got cold. I learned several things this trip: 1. From Quartzsite, I can get to Pay- son on one tank of gas (barely). 2. My camper will go more than 230 miles on a full tank of gas. 3. A large cup of ice in Mesa will last all the way to Payson. 4. THAT I NEED TO LEAVE QUARTZSITE BEFORE JUNE! "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." ~Mark Twain Jane's book is WANDERINGS: Living the Ordinary Extraordinarily (Stories from the Road). This column consists of stories from the book. (email: janefinley@yahoo. com, website: Across from McDonald's • Quartzsite NEED CASH? Jim Buys STERLING SILVER! All Silver Coins, .999 Bars, Sterling Silverware, etc. 1240 W. Main Street GYPSY FROM PAGE 11

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