A bit of joy

One of our favorite restaurants, Pollo Lucas, across the border at the beach.

Yesterday I went to the YMCA to swim laps. I had to force myself to go because it’s been rainy, cold and gray. Not the ideal weather to jump in. I wanted to talk to the lifeguard, Wendy. I had told her about our Mexican getaway around a month ago.

She wrote down all my information about the rental agent, condo unit, restaurants, etc. Wendy said she was so excited to learn about the beach four hours away. She, like me, is a recent transplant to the Phoenix area.

Wendy made reservations for this past weekend — the same weekend my husband and I were there. I couldn’t wait to hear what she thought of it.

They were traveling with a couple who had recently retired. “Typical story,” Wendy said.”They worked all their life, finally retired and the husband got ALS and is in a wheelchair.”

She explained that her friend’s lives are very hard with the wife as the 24/7 caregiver and both of them homebound. She thought a trip to the beach was exactly what they needed.

I braved the cold to talk to Wendy and swim laps. I was the only swimmer there and had the pool to myself!

Last time we went to Pollo Lucas, this cat was sitting on the windowsill outside the restaurant.

Wendy was ecstatic! She literally thanked and thanked me some more. They loved everything about the beach and her entire family is planning on returning for Christmas. She said her friend with ALS cried he was so overwhelmed with joy.

I feel happy too, like I shared a bit of joy in someone’s life. I also feel good because I managed to get a swim in yesterday.

We did take out. One chargrilled chicken with the trimmings — but they (or we) forgot the rice and beans. This chicken dinner with homemade tortillas, pickled onions and salsa was $9 USD.

What has brought you joy this week? Have you done something that made someone else’s life brighter? What was it?

Three Little Towns

Space Age Lodge in Gila Bend

The Space Age Lodge in Gila Bend.

There are three little towns we pass through on our way from Scottsdale to the Mexico border. This is the stretch that I usually drive. I wonder what it would be like to grow up in a small town like those? What are the people like? What do they do? There’s poverty, graffiti in some and EBT stickers on store and restaurant windows. But these town are very much alive. You can see pride in neat yards with most homes and businesses well taken care of.

Here are the three towns we drive through, starting at the border heading north.

WHY

The population in Why at the 2010 census was approximately 167.

Why is the smallest of the three towns. There is a sign pointing down a dirt for a Rock Shop that we npass by. I wonder if they get any business? There’s also a combination busy gas station, store, and cafe called the Why Not Travel Store. I learned Why has it’s own radio station! I almost hit a large dog running across the road.

I thought the town was called Why because WHY WOULD ANYONE LIVE HERE?

From Wiki:

The town derives its name from the fact that two major highways, State Routes 85 and 86, originally intersected in a Y-intersection.[ At the time of its naming, state law required all city names to have at least three letters, so the town’s founders named the town “Why” as opposed to simply calling it “Y.” 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Why,_Arizona

AJO

I saw this mural in Ajo when we stopped at a gas station. This is a sign for an adjacent “resort.”

Ajo (pronounced AH-hoh) is a much bigger town than Why. On the drive, the speed limit slows to 25 mph as you wind through the residential and business streets. At one turn you pass two beautiful white churches. One is Catholic and the other a Federated Church. This is a very scenic part of town with Spanish style plazas and buildings.

From Wiki:

 Ajo is the closest community to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. The population was 3,304 at the 2010 census. Ajo is located on State Route 85 just 43 miles (69 km) from the Mexican border.

Ajo is the Spanish word for garlic (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈaxo]). The Spanish may have named the place using the familiar word in place of the similar-sounding O’odham word for paint (oʼoho). The Tohono O’odham people obtained red paint pigments from the area.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajo,_Arizona

GILA BEND

We stopped yesterday so I could get the photo of the Space Age Lodge (above). I’ve been fascinated with it since we first drove through. It’s funky space age relic from the 1960s that thankfully somebody let survive.

It has small Mexican restaurants, deserted mom and pop motels as well as name brand fast food restaurants and grocery stores. Interstate 8 runs through it west to San Diego and east to Tuscan.

From Wiki:

Gila Bend founded in 1872, is a town in Maricopa CountyArizona, United States. The town is named for an approximately 90-degree bend in the Gila River, which is near the community’s current location.[4] As of the 2020 census, the population of the town was 1,892.[3]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gila_Bend,_Arizona

About the Space Age Lodge:

Stovall’s Space Age Lodge opened in 1965, according to a brief history on the back of the Lodge’s restaurant menu. A local wheeler-dealer named Al Stovall was its visionary. He had friends in the military and government, and his connections got him autographed photos of astronauts, which he hung on the walls of the Lodge’s restaurant. He also owned a plastics factory, which produced the custom space-age decorations that made his motel the closet thing to the Jetsons this side of the 23rd century.

https://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/15079

What places have you been fascinated about that you’ve driven through? Where have you stopped to explore?

Sunrise Sunset

We took a Thursday evening beach walk at sunset.

This morning we woke up to this.

We headed south of the border yesterday for a weekend of beach walks, seafood, and enjoying the Sea of Cortez. What a joy to arrive in time for a beach walk at sunset. I was stunned this morning to wake up and see this magnificent sunrise from our room.

Have a great weekend!

What highlights do you have planned for this weekend?

Do you like sunrises or sunsets more? Why?

A Perfect Getaway: Puerto Peñasco

Sunset on the Gulf of California at Puerto Peñasco, known in the US as Rocky Point.

We are home safe and sound from a quick trip to Puerto Peñasco, Sonora Mexico with another couple. I was having anxiety over the trip because it’s the first time spending more than an hour or two with these new friends. I wrote about that HERE.

My worries were for naught. Mostly because of the condo we stayed in. It had two master suites with patios, plus a shared kitchen and living room with an expansive patio between the bedrooms. We weren’t on top of each other. We were steps from pools, hot tubs and the beach. Sometimes we went to the pool or beach together — and sometimes not.

This was my third trip to Puerto Peñasco. I liked this condo complex better than the other ones we stayed at. It wasn’t overwhelming with younger people ready to party or giant towers of too many rooms. It had many pools many tucked away in private settings. It did have a main pool and bar with a stage with live music at night that was quite good.

The pool areas were separated with lush landscaping and green lawns where families played soccer, football and frisbee.

Here are a few more of our sunset views:

Sunset view from Bella Sirena condos on Sandy Beach.
This view is from Wrecked at the Reef, a restaurant with live music, a sports bar inside as well as tables on the sand. We ate dinner the first night here and watched the sunset from a table a few yards from the ocean.

I’ll post more pictures of our Mexico beach trip this week. The best thing about Puerto Peñasco is it’s four hours from home. I love it when we make it there and when we return home. A perfect getaway.

Do you have any favorite places where you can spend a few days relaxing or adventuring?

Why I deactivated facebook

Here I am at a wedding Friday with my new friend.

We drove five and a half hours to a wedding Friday. If it wasn’t for my dear friend’s daughter, I don’t think we would have made the trip after driving nine hours home from vacation the weekend before. But we did it. Yes! I’m tired!

I wore a bright print dress in blue, green and white. When we first walked into the wedding crowd, I spotted a woman wearing the same dress! I waved to her and she walked over and we laughed.

“You know it’s reversible,” she said.

I had never met this person before. She is related to the groom and I am friends with the bride’s family.

We were interrupted by our husbands who informed us it was time to take a seat for the ceremony.

The wedding was lovely. It was held outside near San Diego at Mt. Woodson’s Castle — a stone mansion built in the 1920s that’s now a wedding venue.

After the ceremony, I bolted to the bathroom and flipped my dress inside out. Now I was wearing black with white polkadots!

I saw my new friend and she said “You didn’t have to do that!” I asked my husband to take a picture of us. I wanted to share it with a high school friend who sold me the dress. I thought she’d get a kick out of how the reversible dress came to the rescue.

I posted the picture on Instagram and tagged her. It automatically posted on facebook.

One of my other high school friends commented on my pic in a very suggestive way. It was creepy. It made me want to take the photo down. Then I thought, I rarely use facebook, I’m reading all sorts of negative things about facebook in the news. Let’s be done with it!

That’s why I deactivated my account.

It’s not deleted. I can restart it any time. The only reason why I would do that is for the years and years of photos that are housed there. I may want to download them. Then delete it for good.

Do you use social media? Why or why not?

On the way to the wedding

Taco station interior in Riverside.
We were looking for breakfast burritos and ran across the “Taco Station.” Yes, that’s a real car.

We had a seven-hour drive to get our friend’s children’s wedding in Temecula, Calif. We left Friday afternoon and drove to Riverside to sleep for the night. Saturday morning we took a walk while the temps were in the 60s. It felt wonderful. We stayed downtown in a hotel we often stayed at for CIF (California Interscholastic Federation, the governing body for California high school sports) for our son and daughter’s championship high school swim meets. It felt nostalgic. Memories surfaced about the hours spent in the hotel between prelims and finals. Our daughter would take ice baths after her morning swims and put her legs up against the wall while laying on her back. This was her way to recover and prepare for finals.

We were craving a breakfast burrito — probably because that was the staple breakfast at swim meets throughout Southern California — prepared by the hosting swim team.

We found one spot during our walk that was packed! So it had to be good. It’s called the Taco Station.

Taco Station fun interior based on filling stations.
Inside Taco Station in Riverside
The theme of Taco Station is a filling station. There was a ton of memorabilia from old filling stations.
We split this breakfast burrito with eggs, cheese, sausage, potatoes. Delicious! We bought two burritos, but I’m grateful we didn’t eat them both! They were huge. We’ll have something to munch on during the seven-hour drive home. I don’t know when we’ll be back to stay in Riverside. It’s not on our bucket list, but if we do, we’ll be back to Taco Station.

The food looked amazing.
Outside view of Taco Station.

What are some of the fun, off-the-wall diners or restaurants have you discovered? Where were they and what type of food did they serve?