This should probably be at least three separate blog posts, but in the spirit of catching up I’m lumping them all into one. After just about four months in one location in Mesa we finally got hooked up and drove ourselves into some new views.
Phoenix to Pasadena
We made the drive from Phoenix to Pasadena in two days, overnighting in a private park alongside the Colorado River outside of Blythe, CA. This was the first park where we experienced a park-provided honey-wagon service, and working their way down the row of RV’s they just hooked up to ours as a matter of fact. We had recently dumped our tanks so the service wasn’t quite as handy as it would have been otherwise. Overall the park was a dud, packed full of long-term residents, one of whom saw fit to comment on our parking job and how it was infringing on his buddy’s deck next door. We repositioned to keep the peace, but said buddy spent all of about 30 seconds on the deck walking from his truck to the RV. We noticed his site had a large number of Heineken bottles behind the RV, which happened to match the couple that were left on our site. We’re not one to make assumptions, but….
Our Pasadena Location
This was a business trip as we had scheduled one of our Train-ee classes there. One of the reasons we chose this venue was that it provided a classroom, dorms that students could rent (more cheaply than hotel rooms), but also RV spots where we could park the trailer. In the past we have moved into a hotel while doing the class and overall just didn’t enjoy that, so being able to be “home” while there was attractive.
I’m not sure what the history of these sites is, or if the campus has grown up around them, but I was really glad we aren’t in a much bigger rig. We had to thread in through a parking lot, through a gate, and then get situated in a gravel area in between a larger parking lot and a small hill.
There were sewer connections but no one had mentioned them, and so we weren’t sure if we could use them. We ended up renting one of the dorm rooms for a few nights so that we would have a place to shower without worrying about filling up our tanks, and also to let the kids have a dorm experience sleeping there while MsBoyink and I stayed in the trailer across campus.
The first morning as we were waking up I started hearing crows (which I hate and haven’t missed while being in AZ), but then some of those crows started sounding rabid and strange. Poking my head out the door I caught sight of a dark green bird fluttering up to the power lines and remembered that Pasadena was known for some wild Parrots. We only saw & heard them in the mornings, which was good as while they are prettier than crows they sound even more annoying.
So we’ve been planning this training event for months and it’s just a few days before heading out that our contact on the other end mentions something about “being in the middle of the Pow-Wow”. Yes, somehow it had taken until almost last minute for anyone to put it together that our arrival date and parking location coincided with an actual Indian Pow-wow, complete with a dance circle, drummers, singers, vendors and spectators.
I had the impression that our hosts were worried we would be annoyed at being in the middle of such an event, but not so. Not so at all.
In fact it wasn’t 5 minutes after walking over to catch the Grand Entrance at the Pow-Wow, where all the dancers line up and wind into the circle for a ceremonial beginning to the Pow-wow that I turned to MsBoyink and said “events like this are exactly the reason we went on the road.”
The head dancer was from Grand Rapids, MI (about 20 miles from our hometown of Holland) and we had the opportunity to meet and talk to him about his journey from West Michigan into a ministry where he reclaims Indian rituals for Christianity.
The boy and I were pulled into a dance by Robert Runningfox, who was the Arena Director (the “Indian version of Head of Security” in Robert’s words). While learning the simple two-step around the ring we talked about our traveling lifestyle. Robert commented on how similar it was to his ancestors lifestyle of being nomading and going where the weather and food was. We learned that once we had been invited into the ring in this fashion we were then eligible to dance in any of the dances going on (although we chose to only participate in the open-to-all dances).
We learned about how the Indian culture derives status by how much you give away, rather than how much you own. This concept rang so true with us after our experience of getting out of our house and giving away most of our belongings - we truly never felt so rich. In our case the Head Dancer and his family did a Give Away, gifting the MC, the Arena Director, the drummers, and singers with gift baskets. At the end of the Give Away they spread fruit, candy and pretzels in the arena and the crowd was invited to partake, with the message that you honor the family by doing so.
We like to buy small gifts for our students and decided that the available marketplace made for some fun choices - we could bless the vendors by buying, our students by the gifts, and ourselves with the fun of finding the gifts and passing them out.
We also got to try buffalo burgers and Indian tacos, each of which were very tasty.
If you want to learn more about Pow Wows we found this document to be a great resource:
The Train-ee Class
We had a great 3-day class here learning about ExpressionEngine with students from Idaho, Kansas, Wisconsin, Arizona, Georgia, and Canada and from companies of varying size from small to enterprise. Each time we do these classes we are reminded of how there is something magic about sharing a meal with a bunch of people that technology can never seem to replace.
Pasadena to Phoenix
We left on a Saturday morning to avoid the LA-area traffic and it would have just been a two-day drive back to the Phoenix area but such was not the case.
In between Indio, CA and Blythe, CA is a 100-mile stretch of I-10 with not much on it. 1/3 of the way into that stretch heading East is the Chiriaco Summit that has a gas station, RV parking, and a General Patton musuem. We were at a 1/3 of a tank of gas coming up on this location, so pulled off to fill up. Between the location and timing (Saturday afternoon) the place was crazy-busy so we had to wait for a pump. We noticed the man in front of us having issues and eventually went in to retrieve an employee to come out and help. I noticed others at the pumps not behaving normally and soon it became clear that no one was getting any gas. Soon we heard the announcement over the PA - no gas. The closest options were 30 miles West (back the direction we came) or 60 miles East. The last 1/3 of a tank on our gas gauge always goes pretty quick, so I chose to go back for an added hour of less stressful driving rather than pushing on for an hour of stressed-out driving.
Overall it was a small impact to our day, but it was definitely a reminder of how closely we depend on available gas for the traveling that we do. I saw a lot of people on the edge of panic, and overall I just wanted to get out there as quickly as possible. We have been kicking around the idea of carrying extra gas to add some capacity to our smallish 25-gallon tank in the truck and this was definitely a point in favor of doing so.
As I write this I am sitting in the waiting area of a Mesa, AZ ophthalmologist, waiting while MsBoyink gets the first of two cataracts removed. We wanted to be heading down the road to new adventures but with the large snowbird population here there are also the related services that population requires - including cataract removal. We had to book out a ways to get on the calendar, add recovery time to that and we’re probably in this area until early April after arriving here in early November. Almost six months in one area is definitely not what we had in mind, but life happens, you know? We’re still figuring out where to next from here, so stay tuned for that decision.