Struggle in Arizona

East of the Mississippi is pretty damn cold right now.  Even some parts of the north-mid-west are cold.  But Phoenix is delightful.  Warm and sunny in the afternoon, cool-ish in the evening but not in the least bit cold.  Slight breeze most of the time.  The desert is a bit brown, not as green as last time, but still not that burnt-to-a-crisp brown that I have seen before.  This is nice.  There is way more sun here than at our place OTG.

So, why am I feeling this way…..?

Simple:  I am transferring my disappointment in my writing output to this, the local environment and society.  The sunny bastards!  I blame them!

We’re both struggling.  Sal and I.  What was fun and an easy-flow before has become constipated.  We are blocked.  It is not so much that there is nothing to write about – because there is tons to write about – it is rather that there is not so much FUN to write about.  And we decided from the beginning to write mostly fun-stuff.  We want to have fun.

Mind you, I have always had a hard time with forced fun.  Scheduled fun.  Bought fun.  I find it all so desperate and depressing as a rule.  I ‘get’ that one has to kinda set the scene for fun to then maybe it will happen – if it is gonna – but setting the scene is the only concrete thing one can really do on purpose to aid the effort.  You can’t MAKE fun.  Fun is spontaneous and comes naturally from some kind of social/personal/circumstantial chemistry.  You can’t BUY or MAKE fun.  Fun, like poop, ‘happens’.  Or, if you are constipated, it does NOT.

We are in NOT.

So, to jump-start, I started to write down some fun OTG vignettes.  You know, old-guy-slips-on-banana-peel-on-an-OTG-dock……hahahahaha…..????  Well, to be more accurate, old-ramp-slips-off-old-dock-in-a-storm when old guests are arriving….hahahahaha….?

It’s not working.

This is a struggle.

AND, in an effort to struggle and fight the blockage, I suggested to Sal (after the above was written), “Let’s go to Florence to actually SEE the giant corporate prison that we featured in ACCIDENTAL FUGITIVES.” And so we did.

Florence is about 30 or so miles South of us and, in theory anyway, an historic town. Interestingly it has a large canal running through it and the area is irrigated by that. They grow cotton and pecans around there.

But our goal was the prison. We were not disappointed. In an area about half a mile long, maybe a bit longer, and a quarter of a mile wide, sits the Florence prison complex. It appeared to be made up of several prisons; the local jail (about the size of a high school with large gymnasium) and the state prison (which appeared like army barracks for many rows) and then the giant, private-run prison that was a series of bright-white structures in maybe twelve or so rows and each a few stories high. Each of these prisons was surrounded by barbed and razored wire maybe three or four layers deep and twelve feet high. There were prison buses, administration buildings, maintenance sheds and large parking lots amongst other things. The area was full.

The HUGE Central Arizona Detention Center owned and operated by the CoreCivic company – this photo was taken from the highway  (we can’t be charged for this one–it’s legal)

We drove to the entry gate of the white,’private’, for-profit prison and began to take a few pictures. We made no secret of it. AND, within seconds, we were followed by a police vehicle and the stern-faced ‘heavy’ behind the wheel waved at us to not take pictures. We pulled over. We spoke. He ‘kinda knew’ from our BC plates that we were more looky-loos than people casing the joint to ‘spring’ their boss. But he still warned us off, made veiled threats and maintained the ‘be-a-heavy’ personna. It made me smile. AND he said that ‘When I file my report and we run your plates, they may want to look at your camera so I suggest you delete any pictures!

This photo of one of the CADC entrances is similar to the one we took, but it isn’t ours. Credit: Beryl Lipton –



Directed to leave instead of being arrested, we turned and left. He followed us out and suggested that we could lawfully take photos from the highway. Instead, we went into historic Florence and had a burrito for lunch.

“Oh, God! We practically got arrested!”
“No, we didn’t. We got asked to leave private property. No biggy.”
“I’m shaking.”
“Why? He was kinda funny, really. And what are they gonna do? Roust us..? For what? Being tourists? And, anyway, we have the book in the back. Our story checks out. We’re fine. He was fine.”
“What if he runs our plate?”
“Then S will have some ‘splaining to do. It’s his car.”
“Oh, God! You gonna tell him?”
“Hmmmmmm…might be more fun if he doesn’t know…..hehehehehe”

17 thoughts on “Struggle in Arizona

  1. I find in life five percent excitement and ninety five percent banality. As you get older,it’s harder and harder to get excited because everything is so cliche, been there, done that. Oh how did ones heart use to pound at sixteen when waiting for her at the bus stop, now we’re lucky if it beats at all. But hey, it’s okay,one way or the other,tomorrow will arrive and instead of chasing anything, you just let it be. Just tell us anything, an ordinary day is fine.


    • I can do that…but NOT write that in a book that requires a plot, character development and a reason-for-being-written (AKA, a story). I have a lot of little stories about a lot of unrelated things…a book can’t work like that.


  2. Speaker Plecas issued a 76 page report today, on the spending of the BC Legislature’s Clerk and Sergeant at Arms. It is alleged that one of the items claimed was a $3200. log splitter that was being stored off the Legislature’s grounds at a private residence. It was also alleged that these two while on a junket in London, England stopped by Savile Row to buy what they euphemistically
    call uniforms so that they could be put on an expense account allegedly. All allegations but unproven but currently under criminal investigation. A $5000 expense for booze.


    • I know. I read. And, while Plecas comes across in the article as a ‘bit of a pill’ complaining of chocolate bars and magazine subscriptions, he’s 100% right. There is a culture in the public service to FULLY claim all that you can. And that means a full per diem of about $120.00 a day for food when, in fact, the traveling ‘crat’ would be hard pressed to spend half of that when I was amongst them. We used to claim two per diems each for five days on the road. Why? Because to claim five would have been ripping off the government. We never charged for anything not 100% legit. One guy I traveled with was wealthy and a ministerial appointment WITHOUT pay. He refused to charge the government one red cent!
      “Why?” Because he didn’t want to EVER be questioned on his ethics by anyone.
      But career ‘crats used to milk their expenses to the last drop. I think Plecas is right even if the worst he’s showing is NOT the worst there is.


      • It is worth noting that the opposition ran a recall against Plecas for his perfidy in accepting the Speaker’s Chair. We now have an alleged claim that the leader of the opposition in Alberta, while a federal minister was charging parliament $10,000 a year in expenses for a bed in the basement of his mother’s residence, while his permanent residence was in Ottawa


      • There are two types of people – honest and dishonest. The honest ones still cheat a little now and then…..they might let the BC ferry employee ring up two riders when there were three, that kind of thing….silly. Petty stuff. But it is taken like a free sample at Costco. NOT evil so much. Then there are the really dishonest ones – the ones who LOOK for ways to cheat. They have a cheating mindset. My experience has been that most are in the former, honest category.
        BUT the expense account world seems to bridge the other two. For some reason, many people think that expense accounts are intended for cheating and, in my experience, there are more of those than the truly honest people. It’s a categorical anomaly.


  3. I have to confess, I did a bad thing just to be an outlaw, hehehe. I didn’t renew my license plate sticker last year on purpose. I did the math, you see. To renew the sticker cost 120, if I get a ticket from York Regional’s finest, it cost 90, so I still would be on top even if I get caught within the year. Now to get caught twice in the year would be a different story but the probability of that is 1 in 1.3 million. But the stress, oh boy, priceless. 😝


    • THAT’S funny. But think about it, WM…….IF YOU ARE going to ‘cheat’, is it worth it for $90.00? Do the real math. What is my conscience worth? If you have NO conscience over this issue (I am not sure I would either) then it is ALL about the money. IF YOU HAVE a conscience over this issue, then it is moral sellout over $90.00. In other words, it is at best, a petty win. No?


  4. Wow! Rousted by a grumpy prison guard.
    I wonder if he is a federal employee and not getting paid… might explain his “mood”.

    Time to be a tacky tourist .
    Your trips and interactions with folks are usually pretty funny.
    Check out “Boot Hill” in Tombstone, Az. About a 3 hour drive. Leave early in the am. gives you a few hours there then drive back OR do a bus tour there and let someone else drive.
    The “poems” on the Boot Hill graves are hilarious.
    Oh, and “enjoy” the roadblocks driving in and out of Tombstone. …You’ll be getting close to the Mexican border (30 miles)and the Wall isnt built yet so the US Federales check you out coming and going.
    There must be other “old west” sites or parks in Az you can visit?

    I find the large cities a bit of a let down when travelling.
    They all morph into these flat, anonymous, cookie cutter “i could be anywhere in Canada or the US” kind of places…..

    besides . Its p!ssing rain and 6 degrees here! Quit yer bitchin


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.