March 26, 2014
Norm and Vi welcomed us very warmly. We had a delicious dinner and a pleasant evening chatting about many subjects. Vi’s brother, Roger, and his wife, Lorraine, came over and joined the conversation after dinner. Roger lived next to my folks’ home back in Berlin, NH and, as a kid, I knew him. I can especially remember him working on his Indian motorcycle. Norm’s family also lived just down the street from my folks and later built a house in my present neighborhood. Bill and Nancy also stopped in to say hello. Bill taught school at Berlin High and I’ve known him for a long time, both as a fellow teacher and later as a customer when I was in business as a general contractor. They presently all live in adjacent homes in Apache Junction.
We had a good night’s sleep in the camper. In the morning, we were going to go hiking with Norm, Vi, Roger and Lorraine, but I remembered that I had a Berlin Works Board Meeting scheduled for 12pm (Berlin time, 9am Apache Junction time) and that was scratched off the agenda. There could also be a possibility of another dust storm in the afternoon. Norm said it would be wise not to be hiking in the outback. He explained about “Valley Fever”, a fungus that lays dormant the desert. It can be ingested by humans and cause fever and tiredness for months. Norm said he actually got this ailment one winter and wasn’t up to par for a long time.
We, instead, took a tour of the neighborhood and took pictures of the blooming cactus. Now listen to this! A cactus full bloom only occurs for one day a year. They are at full blossom at night. The blossoms don’t all happen on the same day, but more than one can blossom at the same time. It’s a confusing schedule, but again, we were fortunate that the cactus followed our schedule and not their schedule which is normally in mid April. I got some very good pictures!
After the conference board meeting, Norm and Vi took us on a site seeing tour of Tortilla Flats area. A spectacular mountainous region with lakes, cactus and panoramas. Tortilla Flats was the original stage coach stop on the Arizona Trail. This watering hole refreshed the horses as well as the coach passengers. Today, it does the same thing with restaurants, bars and live entertainment. We had lunch and enjoyed the décor of the old establishments. The walls are completely covered in dollar bills with little notes left from their donors. We drove a few miles further to the crest of the mountain pass to get more photos! The dust storm never did kick up and it turned out to be a super day with our friends.
That is what we saw and did!
Mouse over the pictures for captions