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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

It's the People You Meet

~Friday, February 18, 2022~

Day 614

Since we’re near a big city, it was the perfect time to get Hank into the dealership for an oil change and a tire rotation. But what we didn’t expect was a dealership so swanky and refined. No wonder Jim Click Ford has been awarded the Ford President’s Award for the highest level of customer service and satisfaction. Between the comfy leather couches, the spacious tables and chairs, and the full deli/coffee shop, it made our 2-½ hour wait actually very pleasant. Originally, our wait was going to be 1-½ hrs. but with the added recall item, it extended our hang time. (I guess recalls are not too rare these days with all the computer chip technology). This recall was to reconfigure/recalibrate the RCM module (it basically sends information from a module to Ford in case of a crash). It’s not a safety issue, but purely for data gathering for Ford.

When the truck was ready, we had killed two or three birds with one stone by getting the truck taken care of, phone calls completed and more trip planning done. Oh, and we received great news that our brakes and tires are in amazing shape. It must be all those highway miles and very little city driving that make the difference. With 55,000 miles on Hank at the moment, we still have 8 millimeters left on our brake pads (they’re at 10 when you first drive it off the lot). They should be changed when they’re at 3. We just thought with all of the towing that the pads would have been more worn. And it pays to keep up those tire rotations too. It looks like we still have about 15,000 miles of wear left. Yipee!! Which begs the question……do we get a new set of tires before the Alaska trip or after? We know from the Canada border, to Alaska and back, we’ll be putting on about 5,000 miles. And since we know we have a couple thousand miles of travel left until we leave, we’ll still be under the 15,000 miles left on those tires. We also need to consider the supply chain issues. We just don’t want to settle on inferior tires for the truck because of it, so waiting might be a better option. We’ll see.

Being in downtown Tucson and not having gone out for Jeff’s birthday dinner yet, it was an opportune time to check out a restaurant we’ve had our eye on since we got to Tucson……Penca.

It was as if Jeff’s birthday should have been today with the stars aligning so perfectly…….a $5.00 roomy parking spot for Hank right next to the restaurant, the perfect ambiance of a high energy, yet quiet place to hold a conversation, attentive friendly staff, and top-notch food and spirits.

Our bartender told us the restaurant was established in 2013, transformed and restored from a former 1920’s auto shop. The brick and glass building with the rustic furniture made it warm and inviting.

We began our experience at the little corner of the small, yet high energy bar where I ordered a Boca del Rio (with 6 ingredients), and Jeff, a Fort Point IPA which he gave an 8.5 out of 10 score. They only had one IPA selection, so thank goodness it was a good one. With 90-minutes to go till our seating we decided to order the Ceviche to pair with our spirits. Deeeelicious!! Seated next to us, was a slightly older couple, dining at the bar so we decided to hold off striking any conversation with them until they were finished. When I found the opportune moment, I asked how they liked their meal. 45 minutes later, we knew their life story. We had a wonderful conversation with Jesse and Joan about gemstones, fossils and our experiences of living in the Bay Area (they’re from San Francisco). And as of two years ago, they purchased a condo in downtown Tucson, perfect for escaping the winter temps of San Francisco. They and 65,000 other participants had just attended the world renowned Tucson Gem & Mineral show the previous weekend, and they’ll be heading back to San Francisco tomorrow. Apparently, Jesse’s lifelong career involved bringing back gems from the U.K. and Europe to the U.S. But they’re enjoying retirement and their 2-person instrumental only band, the Borogroves where she plays Melodeon (a type of accordion) and her husband, guitar. We exchanged information so we hope to keep in touch with them. Would love to pick their brains too about their travels in Scotland since we hope to visit one day.

Our window seat for dinner was perfect…….a view of the busy city and in sight of the busy kitchen. Because we like to cook so much, we really appreciate the inner workings of a professional kitchen. Their well-oiled “machine” was entertaining in itself as those chefs were working so hard. Our dinners were amazing…Jeff had the Costilla de Res which was short ribs on a bed of polenta and microgreens and I had Enfrijoladas with blue corn tortillas, butternut squash, sweet potato, refrito beans with a roasted garlic/habanero sauce…..delicious!! Whenever I have a healthy dinner such as this, I think how much my sister would love it, being the vegan she is.

Even more of a treat was our waitress. She was delightful. When the insanity died down, she had time to engage in more conversation where we talked about her recent move to Tucson and our 20-month journey through the U.S. Speaking of travel, she and her husband are in the midst of converting a school bus into an RV (called a schoolie) and have just started documenting their experience on YouTube. Can’t wait to see the demolition phase of their project (that’s always the fun part of any project, right?) We look forward to following their journey and wish them the best of luck with commencing their travels in 2023 with their new “home on wheels”. Their name is “Bridges and Butterflies”, so check them out on YouTube and Instagram. The hustle/bustle, hip, classy vibe of the 5 blocks surrounding us, begged for a little more exploring, but we had to get back to our Sadie. But we’ll be back! 😉

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