Friday, December 28, 2012

Flat Tire & Christmas with Friends in Phoenix, AZ

It’s 6:51pm and I am in the cheapest hotel, The Malibu (mall-ee-boo en espanol), I could find in Guaymas, Mexico.  I’m polishing off a liter of Tecate (litros de cerveza son uno de mi favorito cosas en Mexico!) and listening to some random Mexican drama on TV.

Upon leaving Joshua Tree Park I headed East on I-10, straight to Phoenix, AZ.  Though most people in California know me as a Tennessean, I was actually born in Phoenix and moved to TN when I was about 5.  I have not been back in 20 freaking years so was excited to see my godmother, Linda, and my friend, Joe, and his family that was close with my parents.  I was making fantastic time (everyone is flying on this road) when I hear a “BOOM” and I feel one of tires go out.  I pull off on the side and see my back driver’s side tire is toast. 

Given that I still have about 20,000 miles left on my trip, I’m thinking, “No big deal.  I can handle a little flat.”  I get out and am all business.  Everything’s cool and I jack up the back, when I notice the tire is not going up.  It appears the axle has fallen down or something along those lines – crap.

I call AAA, which only takes 2 ½ hours to finally get to me.  I was amazed at the fact AAA would not take my GPS coordinates…the most exact location I could possibly give them.  After 2 agents having no idea where I am (even though I’m telling them the cross road I just passed under AND my GPS coordinates) I get a woman who was actually competent and confirms my location and that a tow truck is coming.  During this time a highway patrolman pulls over a speeder (the car was clocked at 99) right behind me.  When he was finished with the ticket he takes a look at my truck and says, “It looks like your back suspension has come un-welded” and also calls AAA once again.  The tow truck dude finally shows up, gets out, and looks under my truck where I have it jacked up. He says, “You have the jack in the wrong place.”   

At that point I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry and my masculinity was completely lost.  I don’t know if anyone has ever looked at a manual for directions as to where to place the jack – it’s a very generic black & white drawn picture...drawn from space.  I will never, ever forget where to put that jack.  Needless to say, the new tire was put on in minutes and I continued on to be late for Christmas Eve dinner with my friends, the Carras's. 

That night I stayed at my childhood friend, Joe's, house.

Joe & Amanda's family (from left to right): Norm, Joe, Amanda holding little Leighton (3 months) & Leo (6)

Amanda's Mom, Sandie, who didn't want to be in the picture - tough luck:

Amanda's twin sister, Ashley, her husband, Nick (Dang it, I'm so sorry if this is wrong) & their little guy, Darwin. (I told you I would put you in the blog!)   

All of them were incredibly welcoming and as nice as can be – such a treat to spend Christmas with some friendly folks.  Thank you, everyone!

I also had the pleasure of visiting my godmother, Linda, who was so generous, and a pleasure to catch up with and share stories after 20 years.  

I ate like a king (beef roast, croissants, green beans, corn, turkey & gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, beans…bacon, eggs & hashbrowns for breakfast – yowsers!) and watched an episode of 24 with her.  Thank you so much, Linda!  (I finished off the rest of the turkey on the drive through Mexico & am eating the beans right now – yum!)

I was also able to get a short visit, with Linda’s sons, Rick & James.  I only spent a little time at Rick’s and wish I would have gotten a picture of him & his family.  I did meet back up with James at Linda’s house and he invited me to shoot some guns in a ghost town outside of Tucson…see next post!

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