A vacation…sort of.
On Sunday evening, I left my seasonal workplace in Page, AZ to spend a few days at home in Wickenburg.
I’d been in Page since August 10, when I flew my helicopter to Page airport from Seattle. Since then, I’ve been working with American Aviation to offer custom photo flights and day trips in the Lake Powell and Monument Valley areas. I squeezed in flights between chapters of a book I was contracted to write. Between flying, writing, and dealing with a bad back (now healed), I kept very busy. I was ready for a break.
I’d planned to go home on Monday, mostly because we’d had one of our horses put down on Thursday and I wanted to be there for my “family.” But I got a call on Saturday to do a helicopter flight in Wickenburg and the only time available was on Sunday afternoon. So I came back early and made a few bucks on a photo flight for some really nice guys.
I also had work to do at home. I needed to put together some promotional materials for flying at Page, using files on the iMac in my office. But the Internet was down for two days, making it difficult to get the information I needed to get the work done.
I soon found myself stressed out by a number of things:
- My sole remaining horse, alone for more than a few hours for the first time in his life, spent a lot of time pacing his corral, calling out to a friend who would never come. It was heartbreaking. I had to keep the windows closed at night so his whinnies wouldn’t keep me up.
- My inability to complete the work I needed to do because of the Internet outage. This was aggravated by the knowledge that I had more reliable Internet in a campground in Page than I had in my house in Wickenburg.
- My growing dissatisfaction with life in Wickenburg. I’d spent the summer on the road and had seen a lot of places I’d rather be. I almost resented having to come home.
- The seemingly endless list of chores I had at home. Life was much simpler in a 21-foot travel trailer in a campground.
When my Internet service came back online and Mike returned from his trip to New York on Tuesday evening, I started mellowing out. I was able to get work done and had someone to share the chores. I pushed back the date of my return to Page. And we went down to Scottsdale for a wine tasting with friends.
My friend, Tom, owns a house in Wickenburg. But these days he spends only one or two nights a week there. He owns a condo in the Deer Valley area of Phoenix, where his business is based. He has friends and a real social life down in Scottsdale. On Wednesday evening, I met Mike at the Kierland Resort for drinks and ceviche at Deseo. Then we drove over to Bacchus for their weekly wine tasting, where Tom was a regular. We tasted some extremely mediocre wines, then shared a few bottles of good wine with Tom’s friends. Then off to Ra to sober up with sushi and tea before the long drive back to Wickenburg.
Mike is thinking of buying a condo in the Biltmore area of Phoenix as an escape to civilization for us. He drives 80 miles each way from Wickenburg to Phoenix for work and is tired of it. (Unfortunately, there are very few good paying jobs in Wickenburg.) He knows about my growing dissatisfaction with Wickenburg and my need for a social life that’s impossible to attain in a half-dead retirement town. Wednesday evening’s activities confirmed our need to get out of town a lot more often.
I flew back to Page on Friday morning. While in Wickenburg, my mechanic, Ed, had installed a new battery and changed the oil in the helicopter. The starter had plenty of juice when I fired the helicopter up at 7:30 AM. I had a great flight back to Page, where I got a warm welcome from my friends.
And last night, I went to my very first high school football game. Mohave beat Page, 24 to 7.