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My last full day here in Arizona was certainly that.  I woke up to a beautiful desert sunrise, had breakfast, and then we headed up to Lost Dog Wash Trail to do some hiking.  Evan was great – he hiked 3 miles with Mom and never once asked for a piggy back ride!  I went ahead without them at some point and hiked all the way to Taliesin Overlook.  It was a perfect day for a hike, too – a few thin clouds overhead to mellow out the intense sunlight, temperatures still in the upper 60s.  The weather forecast had said we had a 50 percent chance of rain showers, but they never made it our way.  Too bad – there were still a couple of things of the desert I wanted to experience: a desert rain shower (which, according to Rick, makes everything filthy and stinky) and javalinas!  Since it rains less than 10 inches per year in these parts, I knew I was being a bit hopeful about the rain bit, but javalinas?  The desert is practically overrun with the furry little pigs and I’ve not seen a single one.  Plenty of bunnies, plenty of quail – where are all the javalinas?  I told Meteena my prediction: after they drop me off at the airport, they will see a dozen of them on their way home.  Despite the lack of wild pigs, it was still a great hike.

After we got off the trail, we got back to the house, ate some lunch, and I headed into Phoenix and Scottsdale to return the instruments and the car I had rented for the week.  John at Harmony House said he really enjoyed my CD and said that I have “a tremendous voice and a tremendous talent”!  When I returned the guitar to Music Masters I chatted briefly with Eric, gave him a CD, and thanked him for the tip about The Blooze.  One more stop on my last solo jaunt through the city to return the rental car, then Meteena picked me up and we headed for home.

Today was the 40th birthday of the town of Fountain Hills (home of this crazy dude) so that meant that the fountain in the center of town was firing 560 feet in the air instead of the usual average of about 300 feet.  So Meteena, Evan and I went to check it out.  After some serious playing on the playground, we came back to the house to get to work on pizza night!  I’d been promising to make pizza while I was here, so the pressure was on to whip up a couple of tasty pies.  I think I did pretty well – 2 large-ish pies and not a single slice was left at the end of dinnertime.  Then, ironically, we piled in the car and headed over to Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa – but not for the pizza, mind you.  Who knew that this hoppin’ little pizza place is home to the largest Wurlitzer theatre organ in the world?  Evan and Meteena shared an ice cream while I gawked in awe at this amazing instrument which boasts about 6000 pipes and various percussions.  On the way out, we stopped into the arcade and I played a few games of pinball while Evan played a few racing games.  I think it was the perfect capper to a great vacation.

Home again and predictably asleep during the first half hour of another movie on the couch.  I awoke just a short while ago to finish packing for home, post photos and type these words.  I really and truly can’t wait to see Shawn when I step off that plane.  And it will be so great to get home and see Tina and the kitties and sleep in my own bed.  This has been a fantastic adventure out here in desert, one that I won’t soon forget.