I learned today about Casa Grande, Ariz. Learned by driving around in the town and spending the day there.
Diane and I woke up this morning at the Petro truck stop in Eloy, Ariz. We are laying over here while waiting for load offers. No offers were received today.
As planned, we took morning showers at the truck stop, put on our Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes and drove the truck to a church in nearby Casa Grande. This church visit turned out to be one of the strangest we have had on the road.
We do not expect to be the center of attention when we visit a church and that is not why we go, but this visit was the extreme on the other end of the spectrum. The only person to greet us was the usher outside the front door who said “good morning” as he handed us the bulletin. The pastor was standing with him and they both watched us pull into the parking lot with our truck, exit it and walk to the building. The pastor said nothing as we passed.
The next person to acknowledge our existence was the pastor at the end of the service who stood at the door and shook everyone’s hand as they left. “Thank’s for coming” he said.
We did not know what to make of it but felt so unwelcome that we did not enter our truck from the passenger side, which was the side facing the church. We got out of sight as soon as we could by walking around the truck to the driver’s side and getting in there. After waiting a few minutes for the parking lot to clear, we drove away, breathing a sighs of relief, glad to be out of there.
Thinking back on this, we were feeling the need to actually hide from the cold stares of this congregation when we ducked around the blind side of the truck. In eight years on the road, we have visited only two churches that we know we will not visit again if we are in the area on a Sunday. This church is one of them and I am quite certain they would be pleased to learn of our decision.
The city of Casa Grande was more inspiring. You get a feel for a place when you drive in and around it. We were positively impressed here. You could see the community pride in the municipal structures and their upkeep. You could see the same in the businesses and residential areas.
We found a place to park in a retail area and waited their for the after-church meal rush to clear at the restaurants. Casa Grande had no fine dining establishments that we could find so we went to Cracker Barrel to enjoy Easter dinner.
Today was mostly a day of rest. We did not expect any load offers on this Easter Sunday but we are eager to haul freight again. If something does not pop on Monday, we may have to head east on our own and stop taking, for a while at least, loads that are lucrative and fun but take us outside of proven freight lanes.