Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Drive to San Diego

by Pa Rock
Desert Rat

My boxes are finally all unpacked, the house is starting to sort itself out into a livable order, and I have caught up on most of my medical appointments.  So now it is time to get out and start enjoying life a little.  I have already taken in a couple of plays  and have two more on the horizon, and I have been to see all of my kids and grandkids.   Now I am ready to pay a visit to Aunt Mary in San Diego.

My sweet Aunt Mary is somewhere in her mid-eighties and still fairly independent.  Her husband of many years passed away this summer after a lengthy illness.  When I lived in Arizona before heading out to Okinawa, I made three trips to San Diego, all of which had visiting with Mary as one of the primary focuses.  When I was on Okinawa, we talked several times by phone, and exchanged cards and letters.  She is one of the final three survivors of my parents' generation.

The last time I was in San Diego was at Thanksgiving four years ago for Molly and Scott's wedding on the beach at Coronado.  During that trip Nick and Tim and Erin and I stayed at the Navy Lodge in San Diego.  I tried to reserve a room at the much nicer Navy Lodge on Coronado Island (which backs up to the Pacific) but was disappointed to learn that it is almost impossible for a lowly DOD civilian to get a room there.  Today, to my delight, I was able to book a room at the Coronado Navy Lodge for two nights in October.

One of the highlights of the 5-hour drive between Phoenix and San Diego is a wide spot in the road called Gila Bend, Arizona.  Gila Bend has a Pizza Hut, a pair of old hotels, a really cool pottery shop, and a couple of air strips where the Air Force does some pilot training.  Last year Britain's Prince Harry spent several months in Gila Bend learning to fly Apache Helicopters.  He undoubtedly had both of the local girls while he was there, and maybe their brothers, too.  But the Prince is also a scholar and was top of his helicopter pilot's class.

Gila Bend is every bit as glamorous as it sounds.

But San Diego is my destination, and I am really anxious to hug Aunt Mary and wade in the big Pacific Ocean!

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