Headin’ east

It’s time for us to turn eastward once again.  Tough to do, we’ll miss our Towerpoint and ham radio friends and all the great tennis and social events.  Duty calls and, hopefully, fair Florida weather will be welcoming too.

Friends from Calgary, JIm and Martha, were on an easterly course for Tallahassee FL from Las Vegas.  They arrived Wednesday afternoon at Towerpoint for a brief visit before they resumed their trip.  They’ll be joining an Airstream caravan about Florida a few days from now.  Our planned departure from Mesa was Thursday morning, a half day behind them.

Our travels have previously been altered by thunderstorms and snowstorms but this is the first time we’ve delayed a departure.  Thursday’s forecast for our trip’s first leg called for 3 to 11 degrees (Fahrenheit) overnight and snow and high temperatures in the high teens.  Our previous trip from Mesa to the east (Dec 2009) was so fast-paced we dedicated ourselves this time to planning an extra two days into the itinerary.  We looked at this weather outlook and dispensed with one of our zero days.  The weather would be better one day later.

We mentioned the weather outlook to Jim and Martha and they decided to wait their departure until Friday morning because the trip’s overnights would be too chilly.  They gained a relaxing Wednesday afternoon and all day Thursday in Mesa.  We joined Bob and Faith for a farewell celebration at Organ Stop Pizza .

Organ Stop is a must-see in Mesa, it has the world’s largest Wurlitzer organ complete with 23 ranks and an entire set of 32 feet long wood pipes. Wonderful organists do a wonderful job showcasing the organ by playing several sets of tunes including requests from customers.  We all enjoyed good pizza, salad, and wonderful music at Organ Stop Pizza.

The evening was still young and across the street is Pros Ranch Market, the largest Mexican grocery store we’ve visited.  Panederia, salsa bar, tortilleria, taqueria, cremeria, carniceria, and all sorts of produce we’d never seen are presented in colorful and appealing displays.  The sweet rolls and cookies are really tempting, the fresh tamales are excellent, the salsas are fresh and fantastic, and if we can catch the store with short check-out lines we enjoy sampling treats from Pros Ranch.

Towerpoint Resort’s gate guard welcomed us to a completely and very dark resort.  Colder than usual temperatures greatly increased electrical demand throughout the east valley and wreaked havoc with the local utility’s power distribution plan.  Rolling blackouts ensued and the resort’s power did not successfully reconnect.  People in some sections of the resort spent  several days without power.  Thursday evening everyone apparently was “in the dark” from before 2100 hours until sometime after 0400 hours.

It’s nice to wake up to full power.  And even nicer is our fully self-contained home.  Regardless of local utility power issues our batteries power lights, heat, fans, and  electronics.  Unfortunately for our park model (mobile home) neighbors their lights and heat are completely dependent upon local utility electrical power.  A few have gas furnaces, but their gas furnaces require 110vac to drive the fans and controls, whereas our furnace is battery-powered.

Good news is on the horizon for Towerpoint folks — their weather forecast is for 70 degrees by Super Bowl Sunday.  Wish we were there!  We have had a wonderful winter in Towerpoint with friends on and off the tennis court, and our Mesa weather overall was fabulous.  No matter how cool the temperatures the hot tubs were still steamy hot and it’s never too cold to play tennis.  Several of us gathered for a couple hours of tennis Thursday morning.  The captains had cancelled our inter-resort league match due to cold temperatures.  Our friendly game, an hour later, was very nice in sub-40 degree temperatures.

Our first travel day we left Mesa at 0530 hours caravanning with Jim and Martha.  We arrived almost fourteen hours later in chilly (27F) Fort Stockton TX.  Saturday morning we left at 0630 hours and drove just past Houston — at 545 miles a much shorter drive than Friday.  Houston is much warmer than Fort Stockton, we arrived to 60 degrees.  Sunday and Monday we’ll also have 400 mile drives, weather permitting.  We’re heading for Orlando FL for Hamcation, the best hamfest in the southeast.

We’ve been “out west” since June 2010, it’s time to head east again.  Even as much as we’ll miss everything western, the food, the weather, tennis, and especially friends, we have family and friends and doin’s back east.  And hopefully we can find our way westward later this year.

[Sorry no pictures this time — posting on the road with battery power only, glad to get the alphabet on this post.  Will post pictures of Organ Stop party later.]

See you down the road!

Jim and Debbie

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