Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Typical Trip

Our Phoenix-Mesa Trips are rapidly coming to a close.  We have a wee bit of April 2nd and a few hours on April 8th and that's it.  No more shopping forays into the Big City.

What's a Typical Trip?

Basically, the motto is: "Shop 'Til You Drop."  The plan is to go, go, go, GO until you got no mo go.

This trip has been fairly typical so we'll just describe it and let it go at that.

We left Rimrock about 10:30 am and drove to Black Canyon City were we shopped for a gas cap.  We found one for $6 in a decrepit old auto parts place--the ONLY auto parts place in Black Canyon City.  Meanwhile, Sweetie Susun went shopping for an ice cream bar in BCC's only grocery store.  Sure, we could have bought the gas cap from a national chain like Auto Zone but what fun would that be?

Then we drove to Sportsman's Warehouse to return a small $8 stool.  We went over to the adjacent Costco to gas up and ask if they had the gas cap we left there a couple of weeks ago.  Nope.  No gas cap.  We hope to find it some day.  Hope springs eternal for lost gas caps.

Then we headed out to The 51 and went south to the Cactus exit and then east to Paradise Valley Mall.  We returned a back packing pillow at the REI there and tried to find a couple of elusive items--a Rat Sack and a Bear Proof food container.  No luck.

After that, we called up a real hyper kinda guy who regrips golf clubs in his garage.  He lives only a quarter mile from the Paradise Valley Mall.  After winding around various curvy roads we finally found him.  He got our titanium drive regripped in under a minute for a mere five bucks.  It's the fastest I've ever seen anyone work in my lifetime.

After leaving the golf club regripper guy, we stopped at the In-N-Out and enjoyed a cheesburger each both with extra grilled onions.  We only recently learned the "grilled onion" trick at In-N-Out.  Try it next time!

Then we headed back up The 51 to the 101 and then around and down to the 202 and then east to Alma School Road.  We got off the 202 there and drove down to the LDS Thirft Store--Deseret Industries (AKA: DI, as in Dee-Eye) for the obligatory donate-shop-donate cycle.  First we dropped off a big tub full of clothes at the drive-through donation area.  Then we went in and bought more clothes.  I found a great new shirt.  So, we came back out to the truck and I stripped off my shirt, put on the new one and then we drove back through the donation drive through to donate the shirt right off my back.

Afterwards, we drove Broadway over to MacDonald and then took the leisurely route up MacDonald to University.  Nobody drives MacDonald because they can't be in a hurry.  It's like driving in Camp Verde only it's Mesa.

After getting to Roger's Place in Mesa, Susun began socializing and I began looking for an embroidery shop.  One of the hiking shirts I bought at DI has an annoying "Oracle" logo on it.  Well, I spent the rest of the afternoon online and on the phone to no avail.  Struck out.  It's rare to strike out but I did.  Skunked.

Finally, I gave up and went off to do some banking at Chase and then some small scale grocery shopping at the nearby Fry's.  Fry's has undergone an extreme makeover and looks real upscale now.  The trouble with extreme makeovers is that the designers go to extremes to shuffle stuff hither and yon so you have no clue where anything is any more.  It makes a short shopping trip twice as long.  We were gratified to see that we could buy a single stalk of celery for 10 cents.  Nobody I know likes celery in their salad except me.  If I buy a huge bunch of celery it always goes to waste.  Buying a ten cent single stalk guaranteed I would use it up right away with no waste.  Ditto the single 56 cent piece of broccoli.  Ah, the Life & Times of a Frugal Shopper!

Anyway, after returning to Roger's I was done for the day, at least as far as driving goes.  Once I've had some wine to drink, there's absolutely no thought whatsoever about getting behind the wheel for anything.

Meanwhile, we continued our "Shop 'Til You Drop" mantra by shopping online via Craigs List.  Even though we got skunked by the local embroidery shops, we weren't beaten.  We just regrouped and came back at it from another angle.

That's when the word "patch" somehow sprung into our mind.  Sure enough, we typed in "patch" on Craigs List and all sorts of possibilities magically appeared.  Why bother to have a custom patch made for $50 when you can buy a perfectly good vintage, retro patch for a couple of bucks?  Oh, what fun we had shopping for collectible patches in the Phoenix and East Valley Craigs Lists.

We also entertained ourself shopping for 205 75R15 trailer tires, bike racks, and Dillon-branded equipment.
All-in-all, it was a fun shopping evening that didn't cost us a dime.

Before dawn today we were once again shopping online, scoping out various local grocery store specials.  You see, the ads change on Wednesdays so Tuesday is always the last day to score stray specials.
Sweetie Susun arose early and we both left at 7:30 am to go to Pro's Ranch Market to have one of their signature breakfast burros.  Mine was eggs and chorizo and hers was eggs and machaca, a dish prepared originally most commonly from dried, spiced beef or pork, then rehydrated and pounded to make it tender.  The salsa bar there is really good and we were happily stuffed for breakfast.  Since there wasn't anything particularly enticing in their weekly ad, we left without buying anything else.

Then we went back to Roger's Place.  Susun and Roger took off to do some Family Stuff while I was assigned to wait and check Susun in for her flight to San Diego tomorrow.  I dutifully managed to score her an A38 Boarding Pass for her Southwest Airlines flight.  Of course, the only way you can do that it to load an atomic clock onto your computer and then load the check in screen showing separately.  You sit watching both screens and a split second before the US Navy atomic clock goes from 9:19:59 to 9:20:00, you click "Check In."  That's how that works.  If you wait another second or two, you're toast and have to maybe settle for a B or C Check In.

OK, after doing my duty for Susun, I left Roger's at 9:30 am and was gone for four full hours, returning at 1:30 pm.  The only thing I forgot to get done during that time was a stop at Alpine Bakery but we might be able to rectify that egregious error on April 8th.  Hum...maybe we will rectify it tomorrow.  Aye, but that is part of the story yet to be told.

Anyway, the goal was to get to the Gilbert Costco at 10 am.  I started heading that way at 9:30 am but did a U-Turn and went to the Sprouts Market 1.5 miles from Roger's  The Sprouts Market near Catherine B's Place sells dehydrated okra.  I realized I wanted a LOT more dehydrated okra so I went to Sprouts.  Unfortunately, they don't sell dehydrated okra so I left empty handed.

Then I drove down to Harbor Freight but the check out lines were so long, I refused to shop there.  So I went next door to the Dollar Tree thinking I might find some nice picture frames.  There were none so I left there empty-handed, too.  That's three stores in a row empty handed.

Then I drove to Advanced Metal Supply and tried to find a small piece of thin, lightweight titanium.  Nope--struck out.  However, I was rootin' around the company's scrap bin and found an intriguing piece of scrap sheet aluminum.  When I weighed it on their gram scale and it came to a half a pound.  Since they charge $3.50 per pound for scrap aluminum, I figured that would be a couple of bucks.  So I began to offer to pay and they waved me off and said, "Take it and go."  Cool.

So, that's how I surfed ashore at Costco at 10:10 am, ten minutes later than my arrival time goal.  I processed numerous large format photos, got my receipts and kept on moving.  Then I studied the various Android tablets available at Costco.  Then I snared 80 hearing aid batteries for $20, including tax and was literally "out the door" and headed to a nearby Wal-Mart to study Android tablets.  I noticed that they had a Nook for $79 and inquired about it.  That simple inquiry opened up a whole new ball game.

I also inquired about an RCA tablet for $69.  Anyway, there was nothing else to buy so I left Wal-Mart and headed for Dobson and Main Street.  There's a shop there called "Ultimate Consignment."  That's a worthy name.  The place is huge, probably half the size of a Wal-Mart Supercenter, and filled with stuff on consignment.  Everything has a computer code.  A clerk gives you a cart with coding machine to help determine the prices.

Anyway, I had learned the previous evening this shop has a HUGE array of embroidered patches.  Oh, yes, they did, probably 200.  Maybe more.  They let me dump them all out on a table and check 'em out.  I spent $5 there and got four patches so that's about a buck a patch.  One of them is from Lowell Observatory so that will be a perfect patch to sew over the "Oracle" patch on that shirt.  It was a real eye-opening experience.

Meanwhile, I got lost looking for a discount hole-in-the-wall tire joint.  I called Susun and she looked it up on the laptop at Roger's and talked me in to find them.  I got a great brand new tire to use for a spare for our travel trailer for $65, including tax, out the door.  (When we bought the trailer in Yuma on January 10th, we knew it would need a new spare.  The Yuma Wal-Mart wanted $138, including tax for a tire, PLUS mounting and balancing!  Patience paid off, of course, and we wound up getting a really good tire for half of what Wal-Mart would have stiffed us for back in early January.

So, after leaving the cheap tire joint, we headed back to DI and shopped for yet another nice hiking shirt.  It dawned on our feeble brain that we needed a "color matching" shirt.  That would be a pale green shirt that would match our backpack and hiking pants.  We found a beauty and bought it for $5 (which is a lot of money to pay) and then headed to Costco to pick up the prints.

No problem there and then we drove to yet another Wal-Mart now in search of the elusive Nook Simple Touch.  No luck at the second Wal-Mart. Even though there wasn't a Nook there, we bought a $69 RCA tablet just in case we got shut out on the Nook.  Then we drove back to Roger's, arriving at 1:30 pm, four hours after leaving.

Then we began to make calls to try to find the elusive Nook.  Finally, we found one last Nook in stock at a Wal-Mart way out by Falcon Field in Mesa.  Counting in person visits and phone calls, it was our sixth Wal-Mart! So, we had them hold it.  Meanwhile, everyone was wanting to go to The Back Yard Taco joint so they made a viable plan of stuff to do while I dashed off for Falcon Field.

There I returned the RCA Tablet and had the Customer Service person go fetch the Nook and swapped it out on my charge card for a $10 refund and then dashed back to Roger's just in the nick of time.

We four drove off to Back Yard Tacos and had a great early dinner there and came back to Roger's about 3 pm.  Susun and Nancy decided to head off to Hobby Lobby but I had hit the wall and dropped down horizontal for a nap.  I probably would still be napping but The Cat came and started rubbing its butt on my eye glass frame.  Then it turned around and blew Cat Breath into my face.  Well, that's a great wake up call from an afternoon nap.

We didn't realize we forgot the Alpine Bakery stop until we sat down to write this post.  Meanwhile, we once again resumed our online shopping on Craigs List and found two great used 205 75R15 trailer tires in Payson.  They are at such an enticing price we might go home through Payson.  That would mean we could do our Alpine stop tomorrow.  If not, it will have to be April 8th.

Then I rearranged all the stuff in the truck, packed my boxes and got ready for our 6:30 am departure from Roger's tomorrow morning.

Things are getting quiet now.  The Cat is napping.  No, I won't go blow Bubba Breath at The Cat!  Sweetie Susun and Roger are talking out on the patio.  Nancy is off to her yoga class.  The dog is tired and lying low as dogs are wont to do.  Yea, verily, we have shopped until we dropped.

And so it goes...on a Typical Trip.

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