Carefree, AZ: Don't bother
Trip Start Apr 18, 2008
8Trip End Apr 26, 2008
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Where I stayed
Spirit In the Desert retreat center
Being the somewhat compulsive person that I am, I had this trip planned out in November. So imagine my dismay when I woke up on Thursday, April 17th, the day before my flight, feeling congested. Oh no! I was going to be sick for my Big Vacation! On our last Big Vacation, to Churchhill, Julie was sick with a cold, so I figured it was karma for me to be sick this time.
I loaded up on Cold-Eeze lozenges and tried to get enough sleep. Friday, I felt somewhat better
Of course, Typhoid Mary ended up sitting in the row ahead of me on the plane. Plus, I was right by the restrooms, so I had to endure a poopy smell the whole way. On the good side, one of the flight attendants was my old neighbor, Suzy. She stopped by between duties and chatted.
Not that this has anything to do with Carefree, but the beginning of my trip certainly was not care free! Nor was the rest of my time in town.
Carefree is located a little NE of Phoenix, near Scottsdale. Its sole purpose, as far as I can tell, is as a tourist trap for well-off older people. The town itself is filled with cutesy, expensive shops, expensive hair salons, expensive restaurants, and expensive cars. There's basically nothing there but sand, rocks, cacti, tasteful landscaping, and BMWs. It's also a very pedestrian-unfriendly place. The only sidewalks are downtown. Perhaps they figured elderly people weren't going to be walking around?
I had a terrible time finding food I wanted to eat at prices that I considered reasonable
It wasn't all bad, though. I did manage to find a source of iced mochas (not always possible in Arizona). The retreat was very nice, as were the staff at the retreat center. And I got to do a lot of bird watching.
My room had a large balcony overlooking the pool and a large Saguaro cactus. It seemed like all kinds of birds were living in that cactus. I saw a Gila woodpecker, a pair of starlings, and a cactus wren all flying in and out of holes
Being spring, it was mating season for some of the birds. The male Gambel's quail were all on the lookout for mates. Their strategy is to climb up onto a high spot, such as a rock, post, or tree, and call out to attract females. I'm not sure what the females are supposed to be attracted to. The height he dared climb? How vigorously he could bob his head feather as he cried out? The quality of his song (they all sounded alike to me)? I saw one male manage to attract a female. She flew up onto the top of the pool house, and he flew up after her. She dropped down into a hole on one side of the roof, and he dropped down into a hole on the other (the roof had some lattice work on it). Then she popped out, and he popped out of his hole and waddled over to her. They bobbed their heads a few times and she dropped into a different hole, and he went into yet another one. Then he popped out, but she didn't. He went over to the hole she'd gone down and peered in looking for her. Then he started walking around, crying out for her. She never did show up. Eventually he flew away.
On Monday, when Julie arrived in her bright red, super-cheap, Chevy rental car, I was ready to fly away from Carefree.
Oh, I never did get sick, by the way.