Thursday, January 15, 2015

Back to Work

Odometer 43,585 to 43,860
Trip Meter  275 mi.

Ajo to Vegas
Jan 3- 8, 2015

Saturday Jan 3rd

I recently ran across this historic pair of photos of the Phelps-Dodge mine "before and after" and decided to share them with you to give you an idea of the changes that have happened since the closing of the New Cornelia Mine here in Ajo.  The first photo is the ore processing part of the operation in 1995, well after the shut down a decade earlier, but before any tear-down.

This next photo is the "after" image

The dates read 1995 and 1996, which means that P-D wasted no time in dismantling the processing buildings.  The reason the buildings were removed was the tax savings realized when the buildings were taken off the tax roles and it reverted back to taxes on the bare land.

Late last year I (Jeff) took a Safety Trainer position with D2000 Safety headquartered in Eugene, OR
The work is part time, once or twice a month for a day or two.  I got the call for my first training session in Halsey, Oregon on the 6th and 7th of January. I gave them two options and D2000 elected to fly me out of Las Vegas, rather than Phoenix.  Joan and I were originally going to meet friends in Bullhead City in mid-January- so this was great.

We slipped anchor and pointed the motorhome north towards Vegas.  No way we were going to do the whole distance in one day.  We drove up the Arizona side of the Colorado River to an old favorite of ours- Moon River RV Resort.  We stayed here for a week or more in 2012 while we explored Bullhead, Laughlin, and Oatman.  

Sunday Jan 4th
Odometer  43860

We left the Mohave Valley the next morning for an easy two hours into Vegas, and the Las Vegas RV Resort- Joan's new home for three days while I fly out to Eugene, Oregon.  

Joan dropped me at McCarran International on Monday morning at a little after 9 AM and I caught a United flight to San Francisco, where I was to have boarded a connecting flight straight into Eugene by 3:30 Pacific Time

But Wait!  That's not what happened.  The aircraft that was to continue on to Eugene with me on board did not arrive- It was grounded with mechanical problems before it took off from its last destination.
United has a program where you can sign up to be texted if there are any changes and before each boarding- and they spent the next 6 hours using text messages, moving me from gate-to-gate, and pushing back the departure time.

Finally at 5 PM we are boarded and on our way!

 6:40 PM I'm in Eugene selecting a rental car.  I get a set of choices that includes a Fiat 500L and I jump at the chance to test drive one.  Joan and I are un-abashed mini-car affectionados, and we have been smiling at the TV everytime there is an advertisment for the Fiat 500.  The car turns out to be very cool.  The first thing I notice is that there is an incredible amount of room-including headroom!  This is a four-door and has a backup cam, 6 speed automatic floor shifter, a slightly anemic gas 1.4 liter 101 hp engine, and headlights that are way out of alignment- pointing at the pavement in 10 feet in front of the front bumper.  Not great for this dark foggy night.
I took a chance on a room at the Quality Inn in the Gateway area of Eugene.  Joan did a lot of research on the internet, finding me a place that was on the north edge of Eugene so I could slip onto the freeway and head north to Halsey at 5 AM.  The room was on our price-point at $70/ night and had a mini-fridge and microwave.  Dashing out at 5 AM meant breakfast in the room at 4:30, so I drove over to Target for some Amond milk, cereal, and fresh raspberries, to stock the refer.

The training sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday went well, and by 5:30 PM on Tuesday I was back at the Eugene's Mahlon Sweet Airport nervously looking out the terminal windows at fog down to the window sills.  I asked an off duty TSA inspector nearby if planes had been flying in and out this afternoon.  His answer was that if I was flying Alaska Airlines I was in luck- they'll be on schedule.  And they were!

After a short dog leg north 281 miles to Seattle and back, I flew on to Las Vegas.  I wasn't happy about the side trip to Seattle, but that's what you get when you want to fly out of a small airport, late in the afternoon.  By midnight Pacific time, I was winging over the Las Vegas Strip, and thanks to my sweet wife, home and in bed by 1:30 AM.

We'll spend the day in Vegas and leave on Friday for a short stay in the desert near Quartzsite, so Jeff can get his bargain hunting fix at the fleamarkets and vendor booths there.

Your Traveling Friends

Jeff and Joan

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