Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The Pumpkin Cheesecake Diaries - 1-20-2020

Javelina Hunting with Friends. 

 When a stray dog shows up in your yard, you don't go to feeding them or they will never leave. I warned Lynn and Scott of this fact but they kept on putting food in front of me.

I had a few simple goals for the day: Scope out an RV Dump, do laundry and get back to Aquila before dark. Goals are for sissy's. I'm not a sissy, I am a Snowbird and Snowbirds don't have goals....they have wings!

Shortly after chores we took Lynn's Tacoma into Wickenburg to find an RV dump. You would think the Team Roping capital of the world would have two on every corner and one at McDonald's. Not so. We found the only one at the 76 Station on Wickenburg Way. We made sure we could get our rigs in and went in search of breakfast.

Lynn wanted to try the Gila Monster Eatery. Not only did we not spot any Gila monsters, but they weren't serving breakfast for another two weeks. You got the impression from the man and two pit-bull's that met us in the yard that in two weeks you may be served breakfast by the Mexican Cartel. Lynn and I quickly thanked the nice man in his wife-beater T and bandanna and wasted no time in our exit strategy.

The “Cowboy Cookin' seemed more befitting two country girls fresh off a weekend of shooting and riding. Good food and great service. We made plans to ride after breakfast behind Lynn's place and take our LQ's to the RV dump later. I hoped we could squeeze all this in before dark or I might end up in California trying to find the turn off to Crandalls in the dark.

Peter helped me catch and groom my horses. I felt like he might want to go. When Lynn handed him “Shotguns” halter, the grin on his face verified he indeed wanted to ride. I rode Jack and towed J'Lo. Lynn rode her Rocky Mountain trail horse, Friday and Pete was proudly mounted on his sorrel gelding, Shotgun. For somebody who hasn't ridden a lot – Peter rides very well.

Lynn's intent was to ride to “The Baby Mountain” as she dubbed it; a small hill covered with Saguaro. The cactus grow at a certain elevation and The Baby's elevation is perfect for them. It felt good to be out on the trail in this beautiful State. Unfortunately, we didn't get an early enough start to make it to the Baby Mountain on horseback. We needed to get the trailers to the RV dump before it closed.

We stopped at tractor supply for a septic hose for Lynn's LQ before turning into the 76 station. The drain valves are low to the ground on my LQ. The septic dump is on the backside of a curve....causing the hose to essentially lie uphill. I think I got a third of it dumped before calling it good. I might try pulling the tires up on chucks to make it higher than the curb. I don't know. It occurred to me the other morning as I was cleaning horse pens, scooping dog poop and now stressing over septic that 'POOP Management 101' could be it's own blog.

We did a little shopping at Bachas' grocery before turning back to Nine Irons Ranch. I needed a few groceries and a sewing kit. I've been carrying around a cholla sticker in my thumb for a week. I didn't want to make my thumb sore by digging it out prior to my shoot.

I wanted to take the dogs for a walk before bed and Lynn was determined to show me The Baby Mountain. Lynn said she would finish up chores while I took the dogs out – then her and Pete would pick me up in the Ranger and take us to the mountain. The dogs and I made it to the first gate before we heard the roar of the Ranger.

Pete and I piled in the side-by-side and hung on for dear life. Lynn drives like a crazy woman being chased by jumping teddy-bear cholla. First impression of Lynn might lead one to believe her to be demure...almost fragile like. That would be the wrong impression. Lynn is about as fragile as a handful of silly-putty and three times the fun.

We were flying over washouts and sliding around corners going 9-0. There wasn't much daylight left. Lynn was determined to make it to The Baby Mountain before dark. I was lost as soon as we passed the area we had ridden earlier.

We came to a collection of bee boxes. Peter showed me how to spell “BEES” in sign language. When I spelled out the letters with my hand – I felt like I'd just learned to how to read. I can't explain it and do it justice. I'd spell it out: “B” - “E” - “E” - “S” with my fingers and Pete would nod his approval. I craved that approval – I spelled it again and again. He'd smile and pat me on the shoulder. Several more times of this and I think I was getting the courtesy pat - “Ok woman...you can shut the hell up now.”

We reached the Baby Mountain at dusk. We snapped a few pictures, piled back into the Ranger and sped for home...or so we thought. Lynn didn't seem at all worried. I was a bit concerned when we'd climb into a wash we'd not been in before...ducking mesquite and creosote brush as it whipped past the side panel.

Lynn's driving of that 4x4 was impressive if not somewhat demon possessed-like. Both hands on the wheel – bent forward with eyes squinting to see in the ever darkening desert night. She'd whip around one corner – down into a wash I swear was going to swallow the Ranger...back up the other side of the wash and onto a barely used trail. Then she'd stop. “This doesn't look right. Oh-well, it has to go somewhere, right?” Off she sped...then suddenly bust up in a belly laugh that made everything right again. Even if we didn't know where we were going, we were having a heck of a good time getting there.

Jackrabbits the size of Hank darted here and there. If we get stuck out here, it's raw bunny for dinner. I wonder what kind of slow, painful death consuming raw rodent brings about in a person? Maybe we would get lucky and spot ourselves a Javelina to hunt! I secretly hoped not. I know they say they aren't a pig or even related to a pig – but they look like a wild boar to me and those creepy bastards will eat you!

Lynn said we were all good as long as we could see Vulture Peak in the distance. It was her landmark to home. I couldn't see my hand in front of my face let alone a peak 15 miles away. A flashing red tower light in the same direction as Vulture Peak shone like a beacon. Lynn pointed the Ranger at the light and sped across the desert. The fence line we needed soon appeared and we were back on track.

I was tired. Pete was tired. Lynn wanted to head back out and try her hand at Javelina hunting. If she did, she was doing all by her little lonesome. Pete signed that he was going to bed, gave me a hug and hooked his index fingers together and smiled. I looked to Lynn for an explanation. “Friends,” she said. “That means friends.” I made the same gesture and rushed off to my trailer before they could see me get misty-eyed. Some fearless Javelina hunter I turned out to be!

Sunday, January 19, 2020

The Pumpkin Cheesecake Diaries: 1-19-2020

Excuses Excuses

Sometimes it's easier to start at the end and work your way bottom-side up. As I type this after an amazing home cooked meal of stuffed pork chops, yams, cranberry sauce and some sort of cheesy veggies...I am awed at how I got here from there. “There” would be the Grand Canyon State Shoot in Queen Creek AZ. “ Here” being Lynn and Scott Walters' beautiful winter home outside of Wickenburg called “The Nine Iron's Ranch.” Then it dawned on me...”Oh yeah...I invited myself!”

We had two stages left to shoot Sunday morning beginning at 9:00 AM. They were using both arena's, so it would go pretty fast. Rylee was unable to fix my gun due to not having the right parts. Her brother Dylan needed his gun back before he ran his stages. I'd shoot my two and swap guns after my last run.

Stage 4 would be my only clean stage of the shoot. I checked and double checked the borrowed gun to make sure I chambered it properly this time. J'Bird put me exactly where I needed to be. It felt good to get a clean run. I was beginning to think it would never happen again. As we exited the arena, a lady stood in the alley. She'd been there all weekend. I never paid attention to what she was doing other than pointing up at the ceiling. I kept looking up where she was pointing. Every stage it was the same thing...I'd run, exit the arena and there we stood facing each other; her pointing up and me looking up trying to see what she was pointing at. Finally she spoke up: “No – look over here...at my fingers and smile big. I'm trying to get your picture!” I need to get out more.

I thought I was back on track. I fully intended to shoot my last stage clean as well. I was hoping Dylan's world champion'ness would flow through his gun and help me out a little. It didn't. J'Lo ran another flawless run. I tried to focus on pulling the hammer on that bisley thing to no avail. The trigger is a lot closer to the trigger frame than on my gun. I pulled back the hammer on the number 10 balloon and pulled the trigger at the same time...essentially going off half cocked. The only think consistent with my runs this weekend was balloons left standing and that lady pointing up at the ceiling.

I ran the Lawson's gun back to Rylee and picked up my Taylor Runn'in Iron. Rylee apologized for not having the part to fix it and I thanked her profusely for loaning me theirs. She said if I couldn't get it fixed before the next shoot at Queen's to send her a text and she would make sure to have the part.

I sat through the awards and watched several of my new friends pick up there's. I kept thinking I should be disappointed, but I wasn't. That is the way it goes. Sometimes your gun breaks – sometimes your horse has an off day. Some day's the winds blowing the wrong direction and sometimes...it's just Tuesday and you suck.

If nothing else, I learned a lot. Now I see the importance of trying out different guns in case yours takes a dump and some nice shooter is willing to lend you there's. I learned I can shoot as fast as J'Lo is running right now and confident I can keep up as we pick up more speed. I've learned not to be intimidated by “big shoots.” There's probably more than one person out there who's as nervous as you or more so. I learned to sign up for shotgun. You only need one good pistol for that!

Lynn and I set about tearing down our camps. We both needed to find an RV dump. I told here of one in Wickenburg but I didn't know how easy or difficult it is to get to it. I also needed to do laundry and Lynn wanted to go on a trail ride behind her place. Before I realized it, I was invited myself over. I suggested if she had room for my LQ and a spot for a couple horses – I could stay over in Wickenburg – we could find an RV dump and go for a ride. Maybe make plans to go to Tombstone if it works out. Etc. Etc. It would save me from having to drive all the way back to Wickenburg from Aguila. Lynn agreed.

I don't know what I expected. A manufactured home maybe...or one of those cute little tiny homes. I was not expecting a hacienda style home with 20 foot ceilings and room for a pony in the walk in closet. It is likely the coolest house I've seen.

We were greeted in the driveway by Peter, Lynn's brother. Peter is deaf. Peter is also a hugger...and a dang good one. Coming from me, that says a lot. Normally not a big hugger myself – one can't help but be wrapped up in the pure jubilation of a Peter hug. I wouldn't trust anyone who didn't appreciate the unadulterated joy that man puts into his embrace. I wish I knew sign language – I would like to have been able to communicate with him better.

Lynn and her husband, Scott, helped get my horses settle in. We hooked together all the hoses we could find for water. After being cooped up in stalls for 4 days, they were happy ponies to get out in a large enclosure.

Another day of my adventure comes to an end. When I look back on the weekend – I find I do not think much on the broken gun and missed balloons. Instead I remember the handful of people I was blessed to meet. The kindness and courage of Lynn that is indicative of a cancer survivor. Kathleen; her innate ability to put others first shone through as she became our tour guide and local resource. I will remember Jean's welcoming and vivacious personality. Scott's hospitality. Rogers plethora of Snowbird knowledge. And mostly I will remember Peter as proof that pure joy comes not from what you can see or hear – but from what you feel from within your heart.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

The Pumpkin Cheesecake Diaries - 1-18-2020

Candy Canes and Bisley Hammers

I got up early enough for the horses to finish breakfast and take them out for some exercise before stalling Jack for most of the day. I hate leaving him cooped up like that. He didn't want to go back in but I didn't want to worry about him tied while J'Lo runs her stages. I'd take him out for a run when we were through.

This is by far the biggest shoot I've entered. There are over 133 shooters. They ran two arenas. Great – I was barely getting comfortable with managing one. They ran stage 1 in the main arena, stage 2 in the side arena and stage 3 back in the main arena. You had under 30 minutes between stages 1 and 2. I found I like it better...you don't have time to sit around and work yourself into a frenzy between runs.

It doesn't matter that I didn't know anybody before coming here. I recognized the names: 2019 World Champion Dylan Lawson jumped straight off the cover of my RUNDOWN magazine. I watch every You Tube video Kenda Lenseigne puts out. Seeing her run Sparky in person kind of gives you goosebumps. Dan Byrd, Rob Boucher and Cecil Berry under the same roof. The coolest part about it is each of them seem to be as down to earth as people get. You don't get the feeling they are doing you a grand favor by greeting you with a genuine smile and a hello.

It took me a while to figure out the logistics of a shoot this size. Where are the boundaries of the gun loading area? I found that out in short order when the lady running the entry gate kindly pointed out I was in the wrong area after loading. I've been to shoots where the person running it was down right mean if you made a lesser mistake. I'll never figure people like that. I would think it would take less effort to be kind...but whatever. We got other things to do.

There are 13 ladies in my class. I've never had a class close to this size and lucky to get a full class at all. I wasn't as nervous as usual. I think because I didn't expect to be competitive anyway. I'd just run, not safety up and go with it. I didn't know who to follow because I didn't know any of them. The gal running the gate took the time to show me who to follow and when to get loaded and ready. Again...very professional people running the shoot. I would follow Jean and would later get to know her better as a real kick in the pants.

J Bird made her circle and we were heading to my least favorite course in the book – the “Candy Cane,” aka “The Fast Five.” I reminded myself not to safety up. I cleaned up the random five – turned the rundown barrel, pulled the trigger and....click. Damn. I've been doing that a lot in practice. I assumed it was my ammo. I legitimately missed the next balloon and finished off the rest. I had a raw time of 13 seconds. The fastest time on any course for me thus far. J'Lo ran flawless. I was happy regardless of the missed balloon and the clicker. I gained a little confidence thinking maybe I could be competitive with this group.

The next stage was an easy flowing stage. Surely I got this. J' Ran like a rock-star. I finished off the random five...pulled my gun for the rundown and hit a clicker on the 9th balloon. What the hell? I unloaded and inspected my gun. The cylinder on my second gun was spinning free. The dimple on the ammo hit in the rim and not the primer. Shit.

Lynn disappears and magically reappears with a young girl who's not only a gunsmith, but L5 Rylee Lawson...Dylan Lawson's sister. “Oh...that's not supposed to happen,” she says as she watches my free-spinning cylinder. She asked if I had another gun. I said I did not. I was up in 5 minutes. She ran off with my gun and returned with another for me to use. “Here, use this one until I can get yours fixed.”

I've never shot guns but mine with the exception of the first day I tried mounted shooting with a borrowed gun and horse. Besides the bisley hammer I'd never seen until now, it felt pretty good.

It was another smooth course. J'Lo did her job well. I cleaned up the random five, drew my borrowed gun at the rundown and started to pick them off. It felt different, but not terrible. I thought I had this...I was going to shoot a clean stage. I leveled in on the 10th balloon and “click.” What the hell. I don't know if I slip hammered or didn't stage the gun correctly. Still, I was OK with it – our raw time was competitive with the other ladies in my class.

I gave J'Lo an extra cookie before stalling her for the night. She ran harder and smoother than ever today. Even with 20 seconds in penalties, I felt like I shot better than I have in the past. I didn't safety up. I successfully tried a few things like longer shots, tracking my targets and running through gates faster. I felt better about my runs today than I have about some shoots I've won. I am more confident now that I can be competitive.

I haven't seen Rylee or my gun since we made the quick trade. She is shooting in some of the auxiliary events going on as I type this. I can hear the announcer and shooting over the loudspeaker - it sounds like she is doing well. I don't know if I'll have my gun back tomorrow for the final two stages. I hope so. I'd like the chance to shoot clean not only to redeem myself, but for J'Lo. She really did give it her all. If not, I guess I better figure out how to maneuver this bisley thing before 9:00 AM.

The Pumpkin Cheesecake Diaries - 1-17-2020

Million Dollar homes and The Man Magnet

The problem with skipping a day of blogging is I can't remember what I did by the time I get around to playing catch up. I do know that by the end of the day I was too tuckered to fire up the laptop. Hopefully it will come to me as I start mashing the keys.

They weren't starting the time only runs until 2:00 PM. Jack didn't get out of his stuffy stall much the previous day so I saddled both horses, took the dogs and we headed for the back forty for a run. There is a huge piece of land adjacent to the Horseshoe Park that is being excavated for an equestrian park. The entire outer edge and some of the inner sections have yet to be developed. Perfect for two horses and a couple dogs that really need to get out and stretch.

Strips of the outer edge along a dirt road are covered in thick green grass. The horses haven't seen green grass since November. They seemed impervious to the sticker bushes as they dove their faces into them to get to the green grass underneath.

It's going to make a nice park. It's up on a bit of a hill with a 360° panoramic view of Horseshoe Equestrian Facility and Queen Creek. Large, million dollar houses with swimming pools line one side of the future park – many under new construction – an indication of the growth over here. I asked Kathleen if it was as annoying for Arizonians to have Idahoans move in as it is for Idahoans when Californians move in. She didn't think so. She said most Idahoans have the same or similar mentality as Arizonians in a lot of areas and weren't trying to move in and change their way of life. I wish it were that way with the influx of population into Idaho. I feel like my blog is Cali-basher blog. I don't mean to be. I do know a few Californians that have moved to Idaho to escape the idiocy that is occurring over there. I would do the same and have. I don't move back to Oregon for many of the same reasons some are fleeing California.

I lit the “man-magnet”after my ride. It actually worked this time! Roger C. from South or North Dakota (I can't keep those two straight) joined Lynn and I around the propane fire ring. Roger, also a Snowbird, spends winters traveling around Arizona and is currently based in Tombstone. Tombstone sounds really cool. I may try to get there before my adventure comes to an end. My neighbor is getting the feeling I'm never coming back and asked what kind of cat food to buy in the event he runs out before I do come home.

Tomorrow we shoot. I am probably out of my league here; in which case, I've decided to not stress about it – not safety up and focus on speed. I have to do it eventually or I'll never improve. People keep saying the faster you go, the smoother you run...we shall see.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

The Pumpkin Cheesecake Diaries - 1-16-2020

San Tan Flat and Snowbird Guilt - it's a thing

Am I the only one who feels guilty when having a really good time? I don't know if I feel I don't deserve it or whether I'm expecting the other foot to drop. Whichever – I'm going to enjoy the experience while it lasts.

No sooner had my breakfast of bacon and eggs finished on the camp stove when Cindy text if I was interested in going out for breakfast before they headed back. I had 30 minutes. I scarfed down two strips of bacon and an egg. I figured I could get a bowl of fruit and a cup of tea. Rob picked us all up and we were off to i Hop.

I bade farewell to the Crandalls. I would see them Sunday or Monday after my shoot – if I don't get lost on the way back. Cindy gave me final instructions on how to reach Aquila from Queen Creek via the new 202 loop. “Stay on 202...no matter what your GPS says...stay on 202 and head West to I10. Or was it I15? I guess will be doing a little Google Mapping before my trip back.

I spent the morning driving around Queen Creek. There isn't much in the way of gas stations to accommodate a big rig – so I filled up at the closest Sinclair while unhooked. There was a slight sketchy feel about it. The help was friendly and the bathrooms clean...for the most part. I can't put my finger on it. I got my diesel and wasted no time moving on to my next stop: Tractor Supply

I replenished my propane tanks and picked up a bag of horse pellets. I like to keep them on hand just in case somethings happens and I run out of hay. Call me paranoid. I didn't really need propane. I mostly wanted the tanks checked. I keep smelling rotten egg smell around the tanks on the outside. I don't smell anything on the inside – but the LP sensor has been going off. I filled a spray bottle with soapy water and sprayed down everything from the tank valves to the line going into the trailer. I don't see any leaks. The guy filling my tanks couldn't find a leak either. He said the smell can be normal and the tanks themselves seemed fine. I guess if I don't get blown back to Idaho its all good.

I got the opportunity to meet my neighbor here at Horseshoe Equestrian Center. Lynn is also traveling alone. Lynn came in from Colorado and is fairly new to the sport. I helped her stop a water issue she was having with her living quarters. The LQ is fairly new to her and had not been de-winterized. We got it taken care of in short order.

Earlier, Lynn met a local gal by the name of Kathleen. Kathleen lives across the Queen Creek wash from the Horseshoe park. They invited me to ride with them. We initially planned to ride in the numerous arena's here at the park. When Kathleen mentioned she could show us the Queen Creek and Sonoqui (pronounced So-no-key) wash trails....Lynn and I lit up.

I have noticed that most of the trail riding in the winter months around here either start or is contained to the washes. In the winter, the washes are dry. They run through this entire country – including right through all of the towns. You might think you are boarding in the middle of town without access to trails...but they are there. If you can hit a wash – you can usually ride for miles...often meeting up with public land extending into the hills.

I'm thinking Jack might have been the better horse for this particular trail. J'Lo gawked at everything from weird sounding birds to riding under the under-pass. On the up side- she's never walked as fast as she did coming and going.

On the way back, we met Rob Boucher leading his paints on the trail beneath us. In “Life according to J'Lo” - paints eat sorrel mares. Kathleen's young dun/roan, Jaden, fed nicely off J'Lo and the rodeo commenced. Lynn's big appaloosa gelding, DJ, was the only horse to maintained his composure. Jaden's actions really can't be held against him. He's just a coming 4 year old and naturally is going to look to an older mare for moral support. Unfortunately in this case, the mare happened to be a bit of a drama queen.

It's crazy how different two horses pastured together can be. Like kids raised in the same house – totally different personalities. What bothers one doesn't phase the other. J is as calm as can be in the arena but can be what I call “watchey' on the outside. Jack is totally opposite. Nothing phases him on the trail – but can be a nervous mess in an arena. Like people I suppose, it's what they grow up around. Jack was practically born on the trail. J on the other hand, has spent most of her time in the arena. Part of my goal this trip is to take all of us (including myself) out of our comfort zones. I rode Jack in the arena yesterday and J-bird on the trail today. Other than whinnying back and forth when they are within earshot of each other, I could not be happier with them. If there is anybody reading this that knows how to stop buddy horses from calling back and forth to each other – speak up! Both horses will walk away from each other when out and about – it's just when one is waiting back in a stall/camp within ear shot. Drives me nuts.

Kathleen asked if we'd been to San Tan Flat. When neither of us said we had, she insisted on topping off our tour at one of the coolest restaurant/bar establishments in the area. It's sort of a hybrid between Old West meets The Politically Incorrect. It has a large outside section with several bars and an outside area for dancing all decorated in a tasteful old west theme. Signs with quotes leaving no doubt as to the establishments political lean splatter the inside and out.

I am amazed at how friendly the people are here. It's not just the Arizonans. It's most everybody you meet. Perhaps it's a Snowbird thing? I'm guessing that is a big factor. These people have worked their butts off for the majority of their lives. Scrimping, saving and doing the best they can to one day be independent of the need to be tethered to an office. The day has finally come and while we may harbor some guilt for living the good life – we can't help but feel elated for how blessed we truly are.

The Pumpkin Cheesecake Diaries - 1-15-2020

Blogging under the influence 

I make a pretty good Margarita. Who knew? It's too close to bedtime for caffeine – however, I doubt I'm going to have trouble falling asleep. I am exhausted. My adventuring has finally caught up with me or I put too much tequila in the margarita mix.

We left early this morning for Queen Creek. Dave and Cindy were up at the Snowbirds one day shoot. I didn't get entered in time and not sure I would have anyway. The classes are 1-4 and 5-6; senior and super senior. I am not ready to compete with 4's. I'd be donating.

I followed Dave and Cindy from Aquila to Queens Creek. My GPS was spot on most of the way. The new 202 loop was not yet updated to Google. Poor GiGi (my GPS) had her panties in an uproar for 20 miles. She finally gave up – displayed a blank screen and said to just keep going straight...your bound to end up somewhere. The last road she was aware of was “Pecos.” Lucky for me and Gigi – Cindy knew where she was going and got us safely to Queen Creek in time for her and Dave to shoot.

Jack was a bit of a mess today. I took them both out, rode J and ponied Jack. He was fine. Then I put J away and rode Jack. Ever time J would whinny – he would whinny back. Every 15 seconds for two hours. I tried everything I could think of. He'd whinny...I'd put him to work. He'd whinny...we'd go to the opposite end of the arena. He'd whinny – I'd give him a really dirty look and threaten to withhold his cookies indefinitely. Other than that, he did well around all the commotion. I guess I can't really call him a mess. If J hadn't been there calling him – he would have been fine. He's also not a fan of being confined to a stall. My horses are turned out on open pasture 99% of the time. J'Lo is used to being stalled with all the traveling we do. Jack, not so much. First thing he did was dump his full tub of water over in his stall...soaking 2 bags of shavings. He's just going to have to stand in soggy shavings for the next couple of days. I have no idea how long, or even if, those things dry out.

It was fun to watch the shoot and not have the stress of competing. Both Dave and Cindy did very well. Dave ended up in the top 10, winning a Wrangler Jeans gift certificate. Awards, dinner and dancing commenced after the shoot. I missed all three. I wasn't entered in the shoot and didn't want to crash the party. Plus, after getting the horses and dogs taken care of – I sat down to take a breather and fell asleep...and that was before the margarita! I'm entitled...I'm a Snowbird. We nap spontaneously.

I can hear a band playing outside. I should put my boots on and be sociable but I'm just not feeling it tonight. Besides, I can already see my Font slurring. Not only do I make a pretty good margarita – apparently I make a rather stout one!

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

The Pumpkin Cheesecake Diaries: 1-14-2020

Margarita-Ville at the Laundromat 

If you have to do laundry, you might as well head on down to the CVS and buy yourself Margarita mix. So I did.

Cindy was off checking on errands and Dave was..well, I'm not sure...but if I had to guess, I would say roping. I ventured off on my own to Wickenburg.

My first stop was the Aquila Family Dollar Store. We were out of dog food, laundry soap and tea. I picked up some balloons to kill while I was there...you can't have too many balloons to kill... before heading to Wickenburg – 25 miles east.

The laundromat is right off the main drag behind Safeway. I had to park a ways out. Deja vu hit like a ton of bricks as I carried a large basket of laundry across the asphalt. It was 1982. I was 8 months pregnant with a belly that looked 10 mos. I had no car. I waddled across State Street in Boise Idaho from my 1 room dump to a laundromat 4 or 5 blocks down. A pocket full of quarters and little else. Certainly not much hope for the future. I wondered if I'd make it across busy State Street without getting hit and part of me wasn't sure I cared.

What a difference time makes on a persons life. 35 years later I practically skipped across the parking lot where my fancy new-to-me Dodge 1Ton sat waiting to escort me wherever I wished. A full basket of clothes dirty with recreational activities and a grin on my face to match. I was sad only for a second thinking back on that young girl. How scared and alone she was...yet a flutter of hope. The baby she carried would change her hole world. She would have a purpose. A reason to make something of herself – she would never be alone again. She would matter.

The cost of doing a load of laundry hasn't changed much. $2.75 to wash and a $1.00 to dry seems very reasonable. The West Plaza Green Laundry is clean and well kept with machines a plenty. I loaded two washers, added my $5.50 in quarters and waited. I'm not much of a waiter. I looked around at the other folks. Nobody in here looks like they would steal my new Kohl's underwear. Except that guy back in the corner. I decided to wait for the washer. I discovered the dryers lock until their time is up. I tossed the wet clothes in two dryers and put enough quarters in for 40 minutes and went exploring.

I could have stopped for Mexican food, signed up for cable TV, gotten my nails done or a butterfly tattoo. I'm thinking any one of those is going to take longer than 40 minutes. I opted to check out CVS. They didn't have the face cream I wanted but I discovered something even better. CVS sells Fireball. This is interesting: Fireball is the only alcohol in the place with a security locking mechanism over the cap. I shit you not. What the hell? Do people randomly pick up Fireball before buying it – twist off the cap and take a swig?

I opted for Margarita mix and Tequila. Cindy will have to show me how to make them. This laundry thing is serious business. It takes a lot out of a person and I'm thinking by the time I get home it will be margarita-thirty.

I placed the basket of fresh laundered clothes in the truck. The scent of Tide Fabreeze filled the mega-cab. I Googled nearest Verizon Store and headed East. I've been eating up data since I left on this adventure. I hadn't thought of the consequences of not being within Wi-Fi range at home. I went in prepared for the hard sell; expecting the girl behind the counter to try and sell me a FREE new this-or-that for the low low cost of $800.00. I gave her the “I know what your going to try and do” stare. She smiled. We agreed on an unlimited, hot-spot capable plan. “So, my monthly bill is going to be x amount – no hidden fees – no freebies I'll be paying for the next 2 year...etc, etc.” “That's correct, she assures me.” “So, I can connect via hot-spot, tether my laptop, access my “free” tablet I've been paying on for 2 years....do anything I want and it's going to be x amount per month.” “That's correct,” she says with a grin. “Go WILD!!” I could see this girl new how to deal with old folks and their phones.

I checked out a horse boarding facility that looked promising: Horspitality. It looked like a clean, well kept facility with several arena's and access to trails for 100's of miles. Unfortunately – you have to book with them a year in advance...and they aren't cheap. Just for giggles, I put my name in for the cancellation list.

My next stop was John and Renee Smith's (if that's even their real names) at the Cypress RV park. I'd met the Smith's in Alamo, NV. John and Renee had just arrived in Wickenburg and were setting up camp. They use to travel with horses and John was a cutter prior to trading in the horse for a side-by-side. He new of some places that board horses and wanted to introduce me to one of them: Jim Simpson of the Simpson Ranch. We found Jim in one of his arena's giving cutting lessons. Instead of cattle, they cut Buffalo. I shit you not. I'm told buffalo are better to work with than cows because they hold up better and don't get sour as easy. I was impressed - from across the fence. Not a very high or particularly sturdy fence I noticed. I guess these were “nice” buffalo?

So, laundry day turned out to be a pretty cool day. I got to know Wickenburg a little better, met my Alamo friends the “Smiths” (if that's even their real name) – got my new Kohl's underwear washed AND enough bandwidth to blog about it “unlimitedly.”