Surprise, Arizona

Hank – On Saturday we drove to our friend’s house in Surprise. We’ve known Michael and Eileen for many years. Michael owned and operated the North Division Bicycle Shop in Spokane for something like 35 years. Eileen was a school teacher and a long time cycling advocate and educator. They’re retired now and they winter in Surprise.

On Saturday evening we went to their friends, Joe and Roberta (also Spokane snowbirds) who treated us to an excellent meal and drinks. I entertained everyone for a short while playing some of my songs on the ukulele. Outside of that we had a great time hanging out. Roberta’s sister, Sandy, rounded out the group.

On Sunday, Michael and Eileen took us to the Musical Instrument Museum. Wow! Instruments from all over the world are on display. Plus, each section has a video showing various instruments on display being played. You have a headset that automatically connects to the display connection so you can hear the audio. And there’s a room full of instruments you can play. I tried my hand at the theremin and managed to get the spooky sound you used to hear in the old B horror movies.

The American section is the largest. Every genre is represented. There’s even a cigar box guitar made by Shane Speal. It was amazing to see the similarities between various instruments across different cultures and the differences in their sounds. This is a must-see museum and a fantastic resource. They also have a theater, which apparently has amazing acoustics. Michael and Eileen have seen several artists play there. No matter where you sit you hear everything perfectly. Shows are almost always sold out way ahead of time so you have to be quick, and a member, to get the early tickets.

During my down time at the house I swapped out the old tires on my bike with new ones. I had ordered them to be delivered to Michael’s house. My Schwalbe Marathon Mondial tires have over 6000 miles on them. They’re rated for 5000 so they were showing how tired they were. (Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk)  This new set should easily last for the remainder of our trip. I also put one new Marathon tire on Kathy’s bike, replacing the Panaracer tire we bought back in Ohio. So she has a new Marathon tire on the back and an older one on the front.

Kathy – We received a warm welcome from Michael and Eileen in Surprise, Arizona. They are such amazing people, cyclists, and community advocates. Although Hank has known Michael and Eileen for many years from the Spokane cycling community, I did not know them too well since I was more of a runner in the past. It was wonderful to spend time with them and get to know them better. The are truly great people and excellent host.

We turned in the rental car and will be back to riding soon. Dinner at Roberta and Joe’s place was super fun. Among other talents, Joe is also an amazing chef and he created a delicious dinner for us. Roberta’s such a beautiful person inside and out. He sister Sandy is a real sweetheart too. We are so thankful for their wonderful hospitality. We talked and laughed all evening. We could easily spend days hanging out with these folks, just good people having fun and enjoying life. Such a great night getting to know all these people from Spokane while they winter in Arizona. Heading out of town to avoid the Spokane winters…I think they are on to something…I could easily get on this bandwagon.

The Musical Instrument Museum was outstanding! We spent about five hours there and could have easily stayed another five hours. This is one fascinating place. So many beautiful instruments and music to enjoy and read about. It is not only super interesting but the displays visual presentation is perfect. Also, the amazing technology they have installed allows you to hear and see videos of the instruments and/or artists as soon walk up to the area. This obviously has been thought out well. The emphasis is on the people visiting the museum to gain knowledge while enjoying music. Lucky for us to be able to experience this gem. Thank you Michael and Eileen for taking us to this amazing museum!!!

Eileen made a yummy salad and delicious veggie pizza for dinner. Truly the best veggie pizza I have ever eaten. She is such an excellent cook. We enjoyed the evening with them talking and playing some Karma (card game). It was so wonderful to spend a couple of days with Michael and Eileen. They are such amazing people and we had such a great time with them.

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