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  • Writer's pictureJ. F. Rowan

More On Phoenix

Lots of good times in Phoenix; there was never a dull moment. The truck got some fresh oil, Yvette had a special visitor. I connected with an aero-modeling friend from the "good-old- days" which led to me camping for two days at The 2020 South Western Free Flight Competition near Eloy, AZ.

Phoenix Mountain Preserve
Hiking in Phoenix

Bringing the truck in for service while we were in Phoenix was a bittersweet experience. Making the appointment online and getting the truck into service was not the most seamless experience we’ve had to date. I spent a few years in the automotive business and I know what “should” happen when you show up for service. Expedite the customer into service with a quick turn-around, exceed the customers expectations and everybody wins. And then, the idea would be to make sure when the customer leaves, that they had an excellent (or, as the survey would ask, "outstanding?") experience.

Well, the mechanic side of the experience was good, but the reception portion needed work. For a dealership of this magnitude, it should have been leagues better at the way we were greeted and logged in. But I get it. “Poop” does occur. I’ve lived it. So, I thought that after we were done, I would contact someone in management to both review and laud portions of the service department, and also to suggest some things that might streamline the check-in process. Well, as someone near and dear to me once said, no good deed goes unpunished. After contacting them, even though I was told 5 times that someone would soon be in touch with me (including the response to the Yelp review), the only contact I’ve had was someone from sales by way of email asking me to come back to buy a new car, which I never inquired about in the first place. Well, at least the sales team is on the ball trying to reach out for opportunities. Oh well, best let sleeping dogs lie I suppose.

About week two, Yvette's sister Debbie came to visit. The day she arrived Yvette took the Tiger to the Cave Creek Campground where the two of them would camp for 3 days, hiking and exploring the desert. This was a big deal as this was Yvette’s first “solo” in the truck and her first time setting up without me. She did great! I stayed home and watched the cat and the house, while doing some writing and hiking in the local area. Hiking access was pretty easy actually as we were about a half a block from a mountain preserve area. Not huge mind you, but the entire circuit would take about an hour and a half give you a pretty decent work-out if you didn’t short cut it. The gals arrived back home on the third day and we all had a nice visit on the 4th day and then on the 5th, waved goodbye as an Uber picked her for the airport.

Spur Ranch Conservation Area-Yvette's sister standing at the base of a giant Saguaro Cactus
Spur Ranch Conservation Area
Yes, there can be water in the desert.
Phoenix VA Hospital. Ahh, the paperwork!

Colleen and I were Connecticut school chums back in the late sixties and early seventies. I moved away in 1974 and Colleen ended up in Phoenix. Colleen, her friend Sonya, Yvette and I went out to dinner one night and did a repeat dinner another night at our house sit location. As it turns out, Colleen works for the VA and though up to this point I didn’t think I was eligible for the VA system, it turns out that I am! Being extremely well versed in policies of the VA, Colleen said that I, in fact, was eligible. In fact, she helped me through the application process at the Phoenix VA office and I am now officially part of the VA system. This is a huge deal as these days, anytime you can get help with medical insurance, large or small, you take it! She was a huge help!

The flightline at the 2020 Southwestern Free Flight Model Competition in Eloy, AZ.

As I have always been a “closet aero-molder”, primarily free-flight in nature, I am always watching and reading all things related. I’m sure there are plenty of you that feel at this point as if I might be speaking jibberish, so rest assured here are a few links to explain what it’s all about.

Best description of "Free Flight Modeling," click HERE.

This is a "P-30" class model. Rubber powered, balsa structure (sometimes carbo fiber) and covered with Japanese Esaki Tissue. These can catch a thermal and go out of sight!

Basically, there are several categories and clubs that explore different aspects of model aircraft that fly without the use of radios, wires or cables. And, there are different clubs that concentrate on every aspect imaginable from scale WWI aircraft to modern carbon fiber rubber powered stiletto looking aircraft. All with one thing in common, flying time duration. Anyway, I was able to visit this 3-day completion and catch up with a fellow modeler from back east. And, I was allowed to camp on the field in the Tiger! The land is flat and usually develops plenty for thermal activity which is exactly what free-flighters live for!

Thus far, we’ve kept pretty busy during this 4-week house sit. We are planning to head to Organ Pipe National Monument once we leave. Let us see if we can stay out of trouble until then.

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