Views from my visitor’s eyes

I had so much fun showing off my new home to my guest this week. I had the company of my sister-in-law to visit thrift shops, consignment stores and an outdoor mall called Scottsdale Quarter. We went out to lunch, had fun sitting around talking until late in the night — (anything past 8 p.m. is late to me!) We hiked, walked and swam in the pool.

We took her to the lake last night. She loved it and said she’s coming back with her husband. They have a boat and spend summer days on a lake.

We watched sunsets and of course the wildlife with our bobcat as the highlight. It was interesting to view my home of nine months through the eyes of someone who has never been here before. It was like seeing it for the first time.

These are the photos she took with her Android. I have an iphone SE and my camera isn’t nearly as good!

Saguaro at Lake Bartlett
Bartlett Lake near our home. My sister-in-law loved the juxtaposition of mountains, saguaros and water.
Lake views in Tonto National Forest
The lake is in the Tonto National Forest. Weekdays hardly anyone is there. The weekends are packed.
Bartlett Lake Arizona
We had a lot of rain in August and the water level looks better.
Sunset view from Raven's View
We went to a wine bar for a light dinner called Raven’s View. This was the sunset view.
Arizona sunset
It was a gorgeous sunset.

What are your favorite things about having guests? Do they stay with you or nearby? Do you like to cook for them? If you do, what do you like to prepare? If not, where do you like to go out?

Talk about penny wise…

This is a post where I throw my husband under the bus. He wasn’t “pound foolish,” but rather flat out plain foolish. I know I wrote that I wasn’t going to complain about my husband ever again in this post, but that was so last week.

sunrise in the Sonoran desert reflected in swimming pool
Our first sunrise back at home.

We drove eight hours from Santa Barbara to our Arizona home on Saturday. The car hadn’t been driving as smoothly as it normally does. Anytime we got close to 80 mph it shook. It’s never done that before. But we managed to keep it in the 70s and we had an amazing drive home without hitting traffic.

Now for the penny wise part. After we unloaded the car, I noticed the right rear tire had gone flat. I had taken the car into the dealership twice — once for servicing last month and for a recall days before our trip. I was told both times that we needed to replace the two back tires. The first time I was told this, I called my husband. I didn’t trust the dealership because one, I’m a woman, and two, some dealerships try to upsell you. The being a woman thing in my experience is that I don’t know enough about cars and mechanics and dealerships can take advantage of that.

So I relied on my husband. He said the tires were fine. He didn’t want to spend the money — the penny wise part.

We were too tired to deal with the tire after our eight-hour drive on Saturday. We called Triple A Sunday morning to change the tire. The spare tire turned out to be a little skinny thing I call “the donut tire.” Triple A came three and a half hours later. My husband said when he saw the back tire, he was shocked. It was down to metal without tread! That was on the inside of the tire where he didn’t check it — obviously — when he told me we didn’t need new tires.

We called Costco and other tire stores and NOBODY had our tires. They said it was a supply chain issue. Service at the dealership was closed.

Last night, I noticed the donut tire and left rear tire were both losing air. I called the dealership this morning at 7 a.m. and the service person said they didn’t have the tires either! I called back and asked to order tires and the guy in the parts said they DID have the tires.

I told my husband I’d follow him to the dealership. He pumped up the donut tire and put in “fix a flat” and pumped up the left rear tire with a bicycle pump!

I prayed as I followed him for 25 minutes to the dealership, watching the tires get lower as he drove.

I was shaking when we finally made it. I am so thankful we didn’t have a blow out during our eight-hour drive home from California. It could have happened anytime — on the freeway through Los Angeles — or in the desert in 110 plus heat without any cell service. We could have been stuck anywhere along the way with NO tires for days. As annoying and inconvenient as the past two days were, we are safe and it could have been a whole lot worse.

green desert views after monsoons
It must have rained while we were gone. The desert is so lush and green. Even the hillsides are green.

Have you or a family member ever been penny wise and pound foolish? In what ways? Would you do things differently if you had a chance? Have you had any experience with car dealerships or mechanics taking advantage of your lack of car knowledge?

Morning walk views

Ripe prickly pears.

This is my last desert walk for a few weeks. I’ll be walking along a beach instead. I took a few pictures of things that caught my eye, including prickly pears and bunnies. Then it was time to take Olive in to board

This bright green ocotillo was bare and dead looking when we moved in.
The wild lilac in our yard is blooming. It’s also known as purple sage according to my plant ID app.
A few of the dozens of bunnies I saw this morning. We’ve been hearing the bobcat at night climbing up a tree out or window and on our roof.

We’ve made the first leg of our journey to visit my dad. Then it will be another day before we head to Summerland. The weather today is 104 degrees with flash flood warnings. Can’t wait for the beach!

The Thumb: Is it a gas station, car wash, wine store, gift shop, bakery or BBQ joint?

IMG_0880

Inside The Thumb gas station.

While spending the weekend in Arizona, our purpose was to check out where our daughter will start her career. While driving to dinner one evening, our car told us to get gas and directed us to the closest gas station. (I love that feature on our car because I get busy and don’t realize I’m close to running out of fuel.)

The car sent us to The Thumb. While my husband pumped gas, I noticed the two-story building that was unlike any gas station I’d ever seen before. I witnessed a stream of people leaving the building with white plastic bags with red lettering. Waving in the breeze were banners that said “BBQ.”

What kind of barbecue is found inside a gas station, I wondered.

I left the car to check it out.IMG_0878

I was surprised to see a gift shop filled with all sorts of fun items, from Pug cha cha to lots of cactus cookie jars, shot glasses and miscellaneous stuff.

There was a pretty extensive wine section plus a bakery that looked so mouthwatering. I should have tried the snickerdoodles or homemade pop tarts! They looked scrumptious. One side of the building had a huge chandelier with tables for those eating in, plus a patio with more tables for dining al fresco. A huge aquarium had several people entranced.

Then there was the barbecue. People were lined up to order and people were stocking up on the six flavors of sauce.

We ordered a pound of brisket, some coleslaw and tried a few sauces. We both decided the original was best. After getting our gas we headed back to the condo we were staying in and surprised our daughter with an amazing dinner from the gas station!

IMG_0883

The fish tank inside the gas station.

The Thumb’s website says it’s  “Just your average gas station…”
It’s been featured on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” on Food Network, too.

If you happen to be driving through Scottsdale on the 101, I highly recommend a stop at the Thumb for a car wash, bakery, bottle of wine, barbecue, gifts — and oh yes, gas.IMG_0879

What unusual gas stations have you discovered during your travels?