Traveling the winding road proves to be stop-and-go

The winding road home in Arizona has gotten a little more congested. That’s one of the things I took away from my first day back in the state since I left in early 2011 to pursue a new chapter of my life in Wisconsin.

After waking up at 2:30 a.m. Wisconsin time, which was still Saturday night prime time at the bars in Arizona, I embarked on a trip from Wittenberg to Milwaukee to catch my 8:25 a.m. flight directly to Phoenix. Little travel tip: If you have Southwest Airlines, their air fares are cheaper than most, and you don’t have to pay extra fees if you want to check in a couple of bags.

I digress, though. Once I arrived in Phoenix and got my car, it was time to head up the hill to Prescott, where I’d be seeing one of my grandmothers after a six-year absence. Years ago, the 90-mile trip from Phoenix to Prescott would be 90 minutes.

Not so much anymore. I expected heavy traffic on Interstate 17, but when I got onto Highway 69 and approached Prescott Valley, it was like Phoenix gridlock. My grandmother warned me when I called her letting her know I was on my way. She was right. She is wise.

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Sunset Point is a rest stop on the journey between Phoenix and Prescott. Even in the middle of the day, the view is impressive. (Photo by Lee Pulaski)

It was important for me to reconnect with family, and while many members of my family are friends on Facebook, there is nothing quite like seeing each other in person. My grandmother and I talked the whole afternoon away, and while I can’t go into detail about what we chatted about, I can tell you that it was nice to have a different person to talk to about the good things and bad things in my life. Also, with my grandmother, it seems like I’m always finding out interesting twists about her life.

It was definitely nice to keep things fairly positive on a day remembered for tragedy. Prior to my flight leaving Milwaukee, the airport called for a moment of silence in memory of those who lost their lives 15 years ago on Sept. 11, 2001. Everyone showed their respect, except for this one lady who was chatting and laughing on her cell phone. Everyone was glaring daggers at her, and another lady went up to her after the moment passed and told her off. Not the happiest moment of the day.

It’ll be interesting to see how the rest of my week goes. I have another grandmother to visit and standing dates with several friends. It’ll be interesting to see what other ways “home” has changed.

Assuming I can get around town, of course.

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