Wendy & Bill Visit us in Fountain Hills

In Journal by Steve Sliwa

Our new friends Wendy & Bill visited us in early January 2022.  They reside in Portland OR and both are pilots.  We met them when we were selling Maxwell, our 2016 Cirrus SR22 GTS.  They were considering their options as they own a Cessna C-182 G1000.

They have been contemplating a second home and both of our locations (Arizona and Nevada) are of interest to them.  They wanted to leverage our analysis and thought processes.  So we invited them to spend a week with us in Arizona.

I offered to pick them up in Malcolm, our Vision Jet.  The flight from Scottsdale to Portland is right on the range limits for Malcolm at MCT (Maximum Cruise Thrust).  But the day I picked them there was ice fog at PDX in the morning with a ceiling that was going up and down.  The nearest clear airport was Bend OR so I decided to refuel at Reno NV along the way.  That way I could arrive with lots of fuel for extra approaches and a diversion to Bend.

All went according to plan. I took off about 8:30AM and arrived back just as it turned dark about 6:30PM.  It was lots of good flying including some IFR.  Wendy and Bill took turns sitting upfront with me and helping to manage the radio and some of the systems.  So it was a good experience for them.

During their stay we did lots of fun things, including the following:

  • Nancy cooked her famous Chicken Spectacular Casserole and we all had multiple helpings and then finished off the left-overs quite quickly.
  • Steve took them on his 4.1-mile dog-walk among the hilly streets in our neighborhood more than once.
  • Wendy did lots of cooking for the group including:  Kale Salad, Vegetable Tahini, and Buffalo Cauliflower.  She also introduced us to a clever kitchen trick of putting a layer of cheese on left-over salads, veggies, rice, etc., and cooking in the microwave.  Adding chips and salsa and you have what I call ‘kitchen sink’ nachos.  Yummy.  I introduced them to Spicy-O’s (Terra Verde Foods), which makes everything taste better.  They agreed.
  • I grilled some steaks, asparagus, and made some french fries.  We teamed up and made a Stetson Salad (originally from Cowboy Ciao).  Wendy made tapioca.
  • We had meals at OkaSushi, Olive & Ivy, The Mission, First Watch, Euro Pizza Cafe, and Casa Mia, which were all good in their own way.
  • One meal that was noteworthy was at the Mesa Grill at the Sedona Airport.  The views were hard to beat.
  • The most outstanding meal was at The Village @ Skytop.  It was a dome that fit 4 people, had a heater, had a good view, and was a gourmet chef’s table type of meal.  It sprinkled rain on the plastic overhead to add to the ambiance.
  • We took a view hike on the Promenade and Sonora Trails from the Adero trailhead.  We had great views, saw some deer, and the dogs got good exercise.
  • We rented a couple of trail bikes and did the Pemberton – Lariat – Granite – Delsie – Pemberton look from the staging area.  We took out time, but enjoyed the views and got a good workout.
  • We went for a Sporting Clays lesson with Mike O’Keefe at the Ben Avery Shooting Range.  All four of us got at least one double target.
  • Wendy and Bill spent an afternoon with Val O’Keefe looking at real estate options.
  • We took Malcolm to do a tour of the Grand Canyon.  It was snowing on the north side and clouds blocked the passageway we planned, but we adapted and went through Zuni and then Dragon.  We then went to Sedona as mentioned above.  Steve flew the first leg and Nancy brought us home.
  • We visited the Arizona Commemorative Museum and Falcon Field.  Wendy and Bill got to do ground visits at Scottsdale, Deer Valley, and Falcon Field airports during their visit.  If they move to Arizona, they’ll need to find a location for their airplane.
  • Wendy, Nancy, and Steve got a quick visit to the Heard Museum, but there is more to see.

Here are some videos from the visit.

Bill & Wendy on Trail Bikes

Touring the Grand Canyon

Our dinner in the domes over Fountain Hills.

Steve flying into Reno

Here are some photos from the visit.  Click on one to launch a larger version and slide viewer:


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