The Phoenix Adventure…………..#194 (80’s)

Cruising at 34,000 feet

It was the first day of the Willson’s 16 day journey, enjoying breakfast at 34,000 feet, the early morning flight of American Airlines having soared into the celestial sphere above Kansas,  having departed from Wichita’s Mid Continent airport,  it’s designated appointment,  Sky Harbor International in Phoenix Arizona.   The in-flight family being provided a Skyway Catering service meal of scrambled eggs, sausage and pancakes to sustain their morning appetites during their 843 mile southwesterly flight.   An Arrival in Phoenix finding Pam,  her children Jay C and Summer K awaiting at Sky Harbor,  Pam being Jan’s best friend having invited the family to visit with the Ott’s. Her husband Doug and his twin brother Brad both members of Jan’s 1969 Kiowa high school graduation class.  Pam being very efficient having prepared an itinerary,  the first stop before acquainting their home would be the Desert Botanical Gardens,  a scenic walk presentation of the anthologized flowering cacti species from around the globe.

Desert Botanical Garden

The Sonoran Trail

The Sonoran Trail

The fifty acres of nature’s exhibition included several trail tours,  the Discovery,  Sonoran Desert and Wildflower trail,  providing over 21,000 plants.  The Willson clan enjoying the trifecta tour, but Gary discovering it was better adhered for those persons with an astute desert botanical background.  With the walk-thru tour completed,  the Phoenix calefaction approaching 100 degrees in the late morning hour,  a welcome relief from the elements was found at the Ott’s residence on West Milagro Avenue in the suburb of Mesa.   Gary taking notice and discovering  most of the  homes in the housing addition engendering sand in place of the green lawns for their yards,  the exception being the Ott’s back yards which was seeded in grass and lost golf balls,  the rear of their residence addressed a fairway on the Dobson Ranch Golf Course.

An afternoon journey  to downtown Phoenix,  Pam introducing all to the Engle Homes Towers,  a new 20 story high-rise building,  to meet with Doug, having recently received his law degree securing employment as a new attorney with a prestige’s law firm.  Doug proudly providing a tour of the twelfth  floor law offices,  Gary mostly impressed with the presence of the firm’s law-book library  but also with the view from the high-rise structure.   Returning, spending a quiet evening with the family,  the morning awakening  finding Pam, Jan and the children leaving for a shopping foray,  Gary and Doug remaining.

A discussion of living in the summertime environment of Arizona enfolded,  Doug pointing out the normal thermostat setting in the residence was at 80 degrees,  but Gary noticed upon Pam’s debarkation, Doug walked over setting  the thermostat to 74 and then later upon hearing Pam’s  car in the driveway, reset the thermostat back to 80 before his wife entered.   Gary surmising Doug’s serendipity clandestine action was  a result of his employment being used to a much cooler air-conditioned office.   The afternoon found the kids adorning swimming attire, the two families traversing to a first for Gary, a wave manufacturing indoor swimming facility.  The parents watching the kids experience  the wave producing natatorium,  the swells of water rushing towards them, an enjoyment for everyone.

The late afternoon,  the two families journeying South towards Chandler to experience the Rawhide Wild West Town Theme Park, a replica of an earlier era located  on 160 acres of the Gila River Indian Community, featuring  covered wagons,  buckboards,  a museum, and showmanship characters giving a presentation of gunfights and humorous interaction with members of the audience.   A gun fight between factions ensuing,  Jan being singled out as a hostage, called upon to participate in their production,  the crowd and her family enjoying her concert.

Jan – Captured for The Show

Conestoga Kids

The evening concluding with dinner at the Rawhide Steakhouse, the two families in an outdoor patio setting, enjoying the crowning point of the evening,  a mesquite flame broiled steak.   The entertainment continuing at the steakhouse with an unusual circumstance,  if a patron ordered a well done steak,  upon the servers arrival,  beneath a cover they would discover a well done smoking cowboy boot on a platter,  a novice Rawhide Ranch idea for remembrance.


Sunday morning unfolding, the two families participating in church services at the Phoenix Apostolic Christian Church,  although being nonmembers, Doug and Pam were well acquainted with the Apostolic,  Doug’s father and mother  church members,  having raised their son’s in the Kiowa Apostolic Church.   Gary and Jan having the opportunity to meet many of the Phoenix  Church Brothers and Sisters with relations in Kiowa,  finding a solace in bringing greetings from the Kiowa congregation.

The  afternoon, Pam providing the transportation,  the Willson family accepting an invitation from Jan’s cousin LaVonne and Husband Roy Yergler to visit their home  in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa.   LaVonne being the eldest daughter of Jan’s Aunt Lavern and Uncle Raymond Roth,  a minister in the Kiowa Apostolic Church.

Roy, Vonne and the Yergler family

Jan - a farewell to Pam and Phoenix

Jan – a farewell to Pam and Phoenix

A quiet evening remaining, Gary grateful for a very enjoyable time and the  hospitality provided by Doug  and Pam and their family, the visit would be an everlasting memory.  A morning wake-up call, Sky Harbor beckoning, the Phoenix adventure fulfilled, a flight to California with the journey to continue.


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