Cottonwood Arizona December 2002 Trip

by Dave Schultheis

This was a combination fly-and-drive trip. My mother had driven her car to Cottonwood, Arizona to visit friends, and while there, experienced some discomfort related to prior knee surgery. She decided that she was would not be comfortable driving a long distance alone until she had consulted with her physician. So I took a couple sick days, flew to Phoenix ... well, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Tuesday, December 3, 2002 - San Jose

I woke moments before the alarm sounded at 7:00 a.m., dressed, finished packing and left my house at 7:45 a.m. I mailed some letters at the post office, purchased two poinsettias at Orchard Supply Hardware and drove across town to my mother's house.

The radio said it was 45 degrees F. in San Jose, not too bad for early December. I parked my car in a visitor parking place at my mother's complex, put the poinsettias inside her house, then walked a few blocks to her friends the Harveys' home, where I met their new puppy Emma.

They loaded me and my bag into their car and took me to the Cottle Light Rail Station, just around the corner from Santa Teresa Community Hospital in San Jose. I waited about 15 minutes for the train, then rode it through town to the Metro/Airport Light Rail Station just in time to see the airport shuttle bus leave, so I waited patiently for the next bus, in 15 minutes.

Sure enough, the next bus came, but it was time for the driver's break, so several passengers waited for the bus driver to debark, walk to the gas station, come back a few minutes later, re-board, open his newspaper, break out the donuts and milk, and generally enjoy a nice work-break. Of course, there was no explanation of any of this to the waiting passengers. At least he let us board the coach.

Finally, he put away the newspaper and started for the airport. We arrived at Terminal A in short order, then I walked upstairs and stood in the very long security line. By the time I got to Gate A2, the gate agents were already boarding group A.

I checked in with the agent, determined that I had enough time for a bathroom run, did so, stopped for a cookie on the way back, then got back to the boarding area and waited for the last group to be called.

Lucky me, I was "randomly chosen" for "extra security screening." Let's see: one way ticket, no luggage, one carry-on ... aha! ... "extra screening." Sit down, shoes off, lift your leg, lift your other leg, show us your belt buckle, show us your pager clip, get on the plane.

I took a middle seat partway back, crammed between two other passengers. The flight was announced as being one hour forty-five minutes. Then it was announced to be one hour twenty minutes. Geez, I wish they would get together and decide.

The flight was uneventful, we arrived slightly early and had to wait for a gate to become available, then moved to the gate and I got into the terminal at 2:07 p.m.

I got down to the "ground transportation" level and had to decide whether to wait at the north curb or the south curb. It didn't really matter, so I chose the south curb, then called my sister and her friend on the cellular phone to tell them where I was, and they said they'd be right around. They were there in moments.

As we left the airport, a sign said the temperature was 65 degrees F. We went to their apartment in Tempe and enjoyed turkey sandwiches. I put down my limited stuff in their guest room and relaxed for a while.

They were both done with work for the day, so we went sightseeing. In this case, it meant Harley-Davidson dealerships.

Chosa's Harley-Davidson in Mesa is a big place with a sign on the door asking that weapons not be brought inside. They have a covered outdoor waiting and assembly area, with a motorcycle coming out of a painting on the wall. I could not find a bargain table.

Our next stop was Chandler Harley-Davidson, a new building at a new location, a very big place at the corner of South East 56th and Chandler. The most remarkable items they had were numerous radio-controlled toy motorcycles for $239.95 each.

By the time we got back to their neighborhood, it was time for an early dinner, so we stopped at Fuddrucker's on Priest Road at West Grove Parkway in Tempe.

After a nice dinner, we went back to their apartment and watched a little television. I took a shower, watched a little more television and went to bed around nine o'clock Mountain Time, ten o'clock my time.

Wednesday, December 4, 2002 - Tempe, Arizona

I woke at 6:43 a.m., got up and washed, dressed and packed, and was in their garage with my carry-on bag at 7:00 a.m.

We left about 7:10 a.m., proceeded north on Interstate 10, then west on Interstate 10, then north on Interstate 17 for a couple hours, stopped at McDonald's in Camp Verde, then proceeded west on AZ Highway 260 to Cottonwood and then slightly beyond.

We found my mother's friends' house and pulled in about 9:20 a.m. I put my stuff in my mother's Saturn, then put her stuff in her car, we took some pictures, and the two of us left about 9:50 a.m. My sister and her friend stayed for a short visit, then returned to Tempe. That was sure nice of them to take us up there.

I drove my mother into Cottonwood and stopped at Safeway for a couple items, then continued east on AZ 260 back to Camp Verde. We proceeded south on Interstate 17, then west on AZ Highway 69 to Prescott, turned south on AZ Highway 89, drove through Wilhoit and Yarnell, then got into Congress, where we turned west on AZ Highway 71 for a few miles, and finally north on U.S. Highway 93 for about 50 miles.

We pulled into Wikieup about 1:35 p.m., got some gasoline and sat down for a sandwich at the combination Subway Sandwich and convenience store, then continued north on U.S. 93 another 34 miles to Interstate 40, where we turned west and drove about 20 miles to Kingman. Mother Road Harley-Davidson is just off the freeway. They also sell Honda, Polaris and Yamaha, so there was a lot of stuff to see.

The most interesting used bike on the sales floor was a red 2000 H-D FLHTCUI Ultra Classic Electra-glide with 4701 miles on it for $17,200 plus tax and license. I did not buy it.

We continued west on Interstate 40, although it turns compass south, then turns back west again near Yucca. We drove across the Colorado River and back into California, then passed Needles and a bunch o' miles later, Ludlow.

In Daggett we looked for a place to take a bathroom break, ended up on Daggett-Yermo Road, drove just a few miles and found a Jack In The Box, then realized we were right next to Interstate 15, so we continued west on that for a few miles into Barstow.

It was close to 5:00 p.m. and my mother was ready for dinner and a place to rest. So we pulled into a Day's Inn and got two rooms for about $40 each, put our stuff away and drove over to a nearby Sizzler for dinner.

I had "Steak and Shrimp Shrimp" with baked potato and lemonade while my mother watched an unruly child climb up to an empty table and lick the salt and pepper shakers. We found the parents and asked the restaurant staff to replace the shakers.

After dinner we stopped at a Chevron station to refuel the car, then got something to drink at the mini-market, went back to our motel, and I watched CNN for a while. I took a little walk around the neighborhood, called the Harveys to tell them our progress, asked at the motel office for an extra blanket ("no"), then returned to the room, took a shower, watched TV Land and then Larry King Live. I went to bed around 9:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

Thursday, December 5, 2002 - Barstow, California

I slept okay but could have used that extra blanket to keep my feet warm!

I woke about 5:00 a.m. to the inconsiderate banging and crashing of other motel guests. I finally got up at 5:30 a.m., dressed, brushed and combed. My mother is an early riser, so she was up, too, and we went down to the office shortly after 6:00 a.m., barely enjoyed a barely enjoyable Continental Breakfast, and left Barstow at 6:20 a.m.

We proceeded more or less west on southbound Interstate 15 under clear skies, then in a very short distance turned west on CA Highway 58, through Lenwood, past Kramer Junction (U.S. Highway 395), through Mojave, Tehachapi and into Bakersfield, where we turned north on CA Highway 99 for a couple miles, in fog and overcast, then west on Hy 58 for about 30 miles and finally north on Interstate 5 just after 8:30 a.m.

We took advantage of a rest stop just north of Hy 58, then proceeded north for a long while, stopped for a Hy 269 photograph near Avenal and continued, then turned west on CA Highway 152 about 10:40 a.m., stopped a few minutes later at a Mobil Station at CA Highway 33, then proceeded into the Pacheco Pass.

We got into Gilroy about 11:30 and turned north on U.S. Highway 101, then turned off at Capitol Expressway and stopped at one of my mother's favorite restaurants, the Evergreen Inn, for lunch.

Since she had been gone for a while, we stopped at the nearby grocery store for some milk and fresh fruit, then got back to her house shortly before 1:30 p.m. I left my mother in the comfort of her home to rest and relax.

The trip was pleasant, a bit over 800 miles in her car, then I drove my car back across town to the post office and then to work for another few hours.

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Created on April 15, 2003. Last updated on May 9, 2003.
David W. Schultheis, San Josť, Silicon Valley, Santa Clara County, California, USA