Checking in from Surprise, AZ …
Boy, it’s easy to get lazy. That’s one of the reasons that a regular exercise program is so critical to heart health. Brenda and I had a couple of down days at the fabulous Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale since my last blog, and I have had to be retrained both on walking and on keeping up this chronicle of our trip.
Before walking into metro Phoenix, we were parked at an RV park on the Fort McDowell Indian Reservation. As is typical in the desert, there was absolutely no grass. This has been a big problem for Zuzu, who has been used to doing her business on grass. So we went to REI to buy her some leather booties that we had seen on other dogs who hike the Arizona desert. We were warned that it might take some time before Zu would take to something on her feet. Sure enough, she hopped around like a rabbit and then tried to bite the booties off. No business got done. Jury is out on whether she’ll keep struggling on the sand and gravel or will learn to handle the boots.
This RV park was in a fairly developed area, but we still encountered some Arizona wildlife—a roadrunner that seemed unconcerned with us and a stray cow who apparently felt right at home around the park. We’ve also encountered several pretty big tarantula spiders in the desert. Fortunately, no snakes or coyotes yet.
On my early morning walk into Scottsdale, I encountered scores of bicyclists, many of which who shouted encouragement to me. Three stopped to visit and discuss my journey. Erik, Pete and Scott explained that the riders were preparing for the Arizona Ironman Triathlon to be held in November. I am in awe of what they have to do—a 2.4 mile swim, a 26.2 mile marathon run and a 112 mile bike race—and they seemed impressed with my walk across the country. Personally, I think their feat is more difficult; mine just takes longer.
As I walked into Scottsdale proper, the affluence of the area was obvious. The street markers, sign posts and overpasses were unique and attractive. The homes were generally extremely nice and some even had grass yards. Canals make Scottsdale an oasis in the desert. Despite the heat of the desert, it is easy to see why Scottsdale is one of ten “most livable cities” in the US.
We hope you have checked out some of our photos on this website or on Facebook at Heart Trek USA. Between Brenda and me, we have snapped almost 6,000 photos so far. Some of them are actually pretty good, though they don’t adequately capture the great views we have experienced. With so many photos, our I-phones and even our computer were getting pretty full. Thanks to a knowledgeable and patient new friend, Bernard Ibardolaza, at the Apple Store, we were able to backup and store the photos on an external hard drive, and clear capacity for more photos. Hope we’ll find a few more sights that will peak your interest.
While in Scottsdale a television crew filmed an interview about my walk. The footage is available to the ABC, CBS and Fox affiliates. (Bankers never cooperate that way.) Don’t know yet if anything will air. I also surprised by a contact from the Road Runners Sports store in Tempe. Jonathan Woehl, their grass roots marketing manager, asked me to come by to pick-up a pair of new shoes to help me complete my trek into Santa Monica. Coupled with the new shoes provided by my AHA friends and Fleet Feet in Raleigh, which also arrived while I was in Scottsdale, I just might make it to the end with some tread left.
We had a great visit at the Phoenician. Thanks go to many people—our friend Kelly Hurter; Lauren Gray, Allee Harrell and Sloan Garner at American Heart Association in Raleigh; Jessica Brown at AHA in Phoenix; and Denise Seomin, Sheryl McCormick and Beverly Skripsky at The Phoenician. The property is first-class and five-star. Brenda got some rest. I was treated to a massage, which my tired feet and legs truly appreciated. And Zuzu had maybe the best time. Since dogs are allowed in the Castinas at The Phoenix, Zu was in high cotton. She had plenty of lush grass to run on, a big room to explore and other dogs to play with. We were spoiled and pampered and are very appreciative.
Now it’s back to the task at hand. From Surprise, we head west to Wickenburg with California only about 150 miles away and Santa Monica less than 500.