Monday, March 18, 2013

Dolly Left Without Me: Apache Junction, AZ

Before I go too far into this story, I need to set the stage a little.  I left for Arizona on Sunday to attend a conference.  The Friday night before, someone in my personal life caused a lot of drama.  This isn't totally unusual for that person but no matter when it happens, it never fails to waylay me, sometimes for days.  This was one of those times.  Extra-large drama that I am not over on Sunday and that is, in fact, still occurring while I am trying to catch my connection in Salt Lake City.

I arrive in Arizona late and don't get to my hotel until 10 pm pacific time since Arizona doesn't observe daylight savings and today is the first day of that.  So I sprang ahead and immediately flew to another time zone feeling very stressed out.  Good plan.

Monday finds me sitting through long and boring sessions at the conference.  I don't know a single attendee and because I am a "vendor", other participants avoid me.  I assume this is because they don't want a sales pitch, which if they knew me, they would know they wouldn't get from me.  I like to pretend it isn't that I am unapproachable though I have been told this before.  A former boss told me that even my walk is intimidating.  My husband recently compared me to a Sasquatch, in the most loving way possible of course.  (His exact words were something like "She's going to squatch up on you and kick some ass".  See, very loving.)  Whatever the case, I am not making friends.

So I picked up some of those brochures next to the registration desk to find some way to spend my evening alone.  This is a "resort" hotel (code for gigantic and expensive) and there are a lot of brochures.  I sort through them in my room and select a couple for further inspection, including one for the Dolly Steamboat tour (

This one appealed to me for two reasons:  1) The nature tour, the only one that will happen on a schedule I can work with, promises beautiful views and animals like big horn sheep.  This is one of the animals I have yet to see in Montana.  2)  Who goes on a steamboat tour in Arizona?  This isn't St. Louis or New Orleans.  The oddity of it calls out to me.  So I go online and purchase a ticket.

The GPS and one attendee who lives locally agree that it will take me an hour to get there.  Being a person who cannot stand to be late, I give myself an hour and a half.  The drive out is very scenic once you leave the main highway and I have to control the urge to pull over every few feet to take a picture.  When the GPS says I have arrived, of course I haven't.  I call because at this point I am a little concerned that I have missed it or that I won't be there in time.

The woman who answers says she isn't positive where I am but if I am where she thinks I am, I won't make it.  I have 15 minutes until the boat leaves.  I tell her I am trying but at some point this highway became a two lane twisty road with no place to pass.  There are a lot of turnout areas but the car in front of me refuses to use them.  There are also 2 single lane bridges that hold up progress but on the last one, after the original car in front of me finally pulled into a scenic overlook, I go when it isn't my turn.  I can see the dock and the boat and I am determined to make it.

On the road to the parking lot the driver in front of me stops to let out the passengers in his car.  I can't park because he is in the way.  His family goes up to the ticket booth.  He finally parks - in a handicap space right in front - and I skid around him, jerk into the first spot and rush to the ticket booth. He calls out, "Think you'll make it?" as I go by.

I power walk up to the counter and say to the woman who has just sent the man's family to the boat that I am the one that called.  She smiles broadly.  "I gave your ticket away."  I laugh.  I assume she is kidding with me since she is smiling so big.  "The captain made me."  She isn't joking.

There is Dolly, still parked at the dock while I stand near the ticket booth after finding out I will be denied passage.  The man that prevented me from parking isn't on the boat yet.  

I am in shock.  I am not sure they understand the concept of the word RESERVATION.  The point is that when you arrive you are guaranteed a spot.  I wouldn't have been so upset if the boat had already left.  But it hasn't.  I am ONE person.  I HAVE A RESERVATION.  The man BEHIND me is getting on the boat!  Also, the ticket lady knew I was coming because I called and I assured her I was going to try to make it.  She never said they might sell my ticket.

AND I was not offered or given a refund.  So, I paid for the ticket and so did someone else.  Nothing like a little double-dipping to pad your profits.  Now, in fairness to them, I was late.  By 5 minutes.  But the boat is still here, I called and I HAVE A RESERVATION THAT I HAVE ALREADY PAID FOR. 

I am very upset but despite what people think about me squatching up, I would never be rude or ugly to the ticket agent.  I step back from the booth and she begins to lock up for the night.  I take a few more steps back and...


There are a few people standing around (this is also the marina for Canyon Lake) so I flee back to the rental car where I can cry in private.  Once I get some control and can drive, I leave.  Back up the twisty road to the scenic lookout for Canyon Lake where I can see her one more time.

There she is.  Dolly.  The boat I am not on.

Standing here, I start to calm down a bit.  I have been working on trying not to force things in my life (don't listen to anything David says to dispute this, it is a work in progress).  I try to take this as a sign I am not supposed to be on the boat.  Maybe something bad will happen.  Maybe I am supposed to be somewhere else.  I try to be open to what is possible in light of the circumstances.

I turn the car back towards Phoenix but since I have nothing to do when I get there besides sit in my hotel room, I decide to take my time.  I wanted to stop on the way out to take pictures and I couldn't. 

Now, I can.  And I do.  A lot.

As I get near the town of Apache Junction, I see a sign for the Mining Camp Restaurant and think why not?  I need to eat.  

This full name of this restaurant is The Historic Mining Camp Restaurant & Trading Post & The Dutchman's Hideout  (  There is a large store and two rooms where you can eat, and in theory, the Dutchman's Hideout but I didn't see anything other than some other buildings that didn't appear to be open.

In the back room, where I eat because it seems quiet, it is pretty traditional and there is a bar.  In the other room meals are served "family" style and there is a show.  (I didn't know there was going to be a show until I am leaving but I doubt I would have waited anyway.)  

There isn't much in my life that a good piece of salmon won't fix.  And it is good.  I am not crazy about the cactus sauce on top but it isn't terrible and most of it was easily removed.

I enjoy my food, read some posts at The Bloggess' blog for some laughs (, very funny and frequently inappropriate, don't say I didn't warn you).  I am much calmer now, the tears are gone and don't feel like they will come again so easily.  

On my way out, I check out the gift shop for souvenirs for my granddaughters when I spot him.  Like I said earlier, some things are meant to be if you are open to accepting whatever may present itself.

$2.98 for a therapy session whenever I need it and all I have to do is add water?  Sign me up.  I am not sure what they think people do with their therapist though that there needs to be a Do Not Swallow warning right on the front of the package.

Back in the car with my new Therapist (who needs a name, I am open to suggestions), I head back to Phoenix.  The sun is going down now and I can't resist stopping for a few more pictures.

Sometimes missing the boat is just what the doctor (or therapist) ordered.

Dolly...this one's for you.

1 comment:

  1. Noelle, Sorry you missed your boat, but so nice to see all the beautiful photos! You made lemonade out of lemons--Yayyy! Hope to see you soon, Diana