When we had Minnesota friends stop by for a couple days, we enjoyed a couple of dinners plus a little local sightseeing. Peggy was looking for a long walk for exercise along with a good taste - figuratively - of the Sonoran Desert. So for their last day, we decided to explore the Phoenix Desert Botanical Gardens. I made the assumption that Steve thought it was a good idea just for being able to spend more time with Les, his fishing buddy.
Walking is not our forte, so we wound up taking two cars. Our back was filled with the disassembled parts of both our scooters. Their rental car held their possessions after checking out of their motel, enabling them to head straight up to Sedona when their schedule required them to. It turns out Les wasn't as enamored of long walks as Peggy, so he took advantage of the ability to rent an on-premises scooter for his own use. The result was over 5 hours of usage, so a very good decision.
It turns out I still haven't located the box that my little camera got packed into, and I didn't feel like hauling the monster SLR digital with a variety of lenses and other equipment, so Steve and Peggy were the ones with cameras. After the first hour, Steve hadn't started using his yet, so I borrowed it for a shot of a blooming tree aloe ("Hercules"), and wound up being the one using it for the rest of the day. Go figure.
About three hours into the tour, Steve started telling me how much he was enjoying the gardens. He repeated it for about the seventh time that evening after we were home, also after we had let ourselves be persuaded to use our admission price as a deduction off the cost of an annual membership before driving away. We both wanted to come back, even bringing friends along. Either of us could come singly and bring a friend for free, any day. There were lots more benefits as well.
Now the fact that Steve enjoyed the place so much could have been the surprise of the trip. But he had a bigger surprise for me. This from the man who just the week before had commented he was almost afraid to let me go shopping for fear I'd come home with yet another plant to be put in the ground: he'd found a plant in the garden he wanted to buy and plant. It was a tree aloe, beautifully blooming up on a tall trunk.
Now the one he fell in love with bloomed red, and the one I fell in love with was a few feet away and blooming yellow. That will be a discussion for another day; say, until next fall when we return south for the next planting season. For other things as well, but definitely for the planting season.