Road Trip 2021: Day 2 — A new friendship blossoms

Meeting of pen-pals was the highlight of the day

This is an account of what happened on Day 2 of our 11-day southwestern road trip in December 2021. Check this post for an overview of the full trip.

Our first target location on this road trip was Tucson, AZ, to start off by visiting the Saguaro National Park. So, just like Day 1, we planned yet another simple and long stretch of freeway driving from Indio to Tucson. Entirely on I-10, making it even simpler. However, Day 2 had in store an entirely different experience for us.

On seeing that the route took us right through Phoenix, a brainwave struck me.

But I am getting ahead of myself. First, a little background.

Years ago, my wife Praveena was contacted out of the blue by Angel, a recruiter. The employment opportunity was a good match and Praveena really enjoyed the adventure. For it was an adventure, taking up employment in North Carolina, working remotely from California.

Normally, a recruiter fades away after employment is realized and the finder’s fee is secured. But not Angel. Praveena and she got into a correspondence relationship whereby there was a steady exchange of information through picture postcards of their travels. I daresay this was a pen pal situation.

The Brainwave

Now comes my brainwave. It happens that Angel and her husband Brian live in Phoenix. I think you can connect the dots.

Just a couple of days prior to our scheduled pass through Phoenix, we asked if Angel and Brian would be available for a quick get-together for coffee. Much to our delight, they were available. The rest was logistics.

Our new friends in Phoenix

The coffee meeting lasted just a couple of hours, but we exchanged a wealth of information. We got several tips from Brian about Tucson and Saguaro National Park to help us get the most of our visit there. The most important ones were to see the gorgeous sunset from the Gates Pass lookout and also to partake in the baked goods from a local bakery, Beyond Bread. We did visit the bakery, but missed the Gates Pass sunset.

Just like Brian said as we were leaving, we can now “put a face to the postcards!”

Road Trip 2021 Day 2 was quite unlike Day 1. There was no unexpected, unforeseen detour leading to unwanted experiences–only the planned stop in Phoenix that provided us the enjoyment that was expected, foreseen, and wanted.

On the way from Phoenix to Tucson, we saw the University of Phoenix building and smiled. A couple of our friends back home did their coursework remotely and earned their graduate degrees from this university.

Since the overall drive time for Day 2 was less, we even checked into our hotel at a decent time!

This is part of a series of stories about our road trip through the southwestern United States in December 2021. Please follow the links below to check out the other parts.

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