The Arizona Trip from Hell – Part Two

This is Part Two of The Arizona Trip from Hell. I hoped things would improve on Friday, June 16, 2023, and Saturday, June 17, 2023, but they didn’t. From renting a vehicle to house hunting, and driving to Prescott, the misadventures continued. Keep reading to learn what happened and read Part One of The Arizona Trip from Hell to learn how the worst trip ever began.

Driving to the Car Rental Company in Goodyear, AZ

On Friday, June 16, 2023, I ordered an rideshare to drive me to Goodyear car rental company branch. The driver wasn’t talkative, which was fine with me. However, I should have paid more attention to his route but texted with my family instead. It was a mistake I would later regret.

The other error I made was renting from this particular car rental company.


Because there’s a branch close to where I live, and it always has a “bluey” car or pickup truck in the parking lot. How the heck could I have missed that warning sign?

When the rideshare driver pulled into the parking lot, I couldn’t wait to rent a vehicle. But I didn’t know what adventures were waiting for me.

There’s Nothing Like Driving Your Vehicle

In hindsight, I could have driven the 32-1/2 hours to Arizona. But I’ve done that drive a few times, and it’s exhausting. Talk about having a ‘face palm’ (emoji) moment. The entire trip was draining! At least if I drove, it would have been my vehicle.

At 8:00 a.m., people filled the Goodyear car rental branch wanting to rent vehicles. I waited in line, and Jack (name changed) waited on me. He seemed okay, but I felt something may be off.

Jack and I walked out to the parking lot, and he showed me an SUV without a GPS. You needed to buy a SIM (the three letters say it all) card to activate it. Something felt off, and I couldn’t get out of the SUV fast enough.

I noticed a silver subcompact crossover SUV from the automobile company my dad worked for. A quick backstory on this subcompact SUV. I rented one in February 2022 from the same car rental company’s airport location and was comfortable with it. In hindsight, it was ‘on the nose’ that the same vehicle (different color) was parked next to the other SUV.

Anyway, I walked back into the branch and asked Jack if I could rent the other SUV. He got the keys, and we returned to the parking lot. He told me the rows of vehicles in front of me had damaged windshields. It was a sales pitch to get me to buy the insurance, which I did. I lived in Arizona, and the drivers are crazy. Plus, the trip started badly, and I wanted peace of mind.

Jack gave me the keys, and I got into the vehicle, started it up, and drove away. However, I was unaware of what would transpire in the following days.

Buying Groceries and House Hunting in the Desert

Thanks to the GPS, I found a grocery store minutes away and bought fruits, veggies, and water. The good thing about staying in an Airbnb is having a kitchen to store your groceries. And once I put everything away, it was time for me to leave to tour a couple of homes and apartment communities with detached cottage-type homes.

Luckily, I organized and timed the tour of the homes and apartment communities precisely. Not that it would help me. Because in the Arizona desert, sometimes the GPS doesn’t work and takes you all over the place.

I left for my first appointment early and thought I’d have plenty of time to arrive. I was wrong. The GPS could not find the first apartment community.

The vehicle needed gas, so I pulled into a gas station and paid over $4.00 per gallon. It allowed me to call the rep and ask for directions. With my notes on my smartphone, I drove away and eventually found the apartment community. The detached cottage-style homes are super close, which doesn’t work for me. Plus, I can rent a single family home cheaper with neighbors that aren’t so close.

Stumbling Upon Another Cottage-Type Apartment Community

I had an hour before my next appointment and stumbled upon another cottage-type apartment community. It was one that I emailed leasing about, but the reps did not respond. It should have been a clue. However, I had time before my next appointment and stopped in. A leasing agent offered me a tour of the complex and a model cottage apartment.

To get to the gym, we had to pass by the pool. A piece of mail was on the ground, and the leasing rep picked it up and said it was the same resident who lost a bit of mail a few days ago. I’m unsurprised because of what happened next, which I debated mentioning. But here it is.

As we continued walking to the gym, we passed the pool area. A woman (tenant) wore a skimpy thong bikini and was going to lie in the sun. I thought, “That’s a great example of beta sex kitten programming.”

My second thought was, “What if she had a bowel movement earlier in the day and goes for a swim? It might be a reenactment of the scene from the movie Caddyshack where a candy bar floats in the pool, and swimmers scream and get out because they think it’s a piece of poop.” In the woman’s case, it might be little flecks of stool floating in the pool. That’s my wink and a nod to the entertainment industry, the “programs,” and the dangers of swimming in a public pool.

Trouble Finding the Next Cottage Apartment Home Community

Anyone who thinks we have advanced technology is mistaken. If our tech were out of this world, the GPS would have worked. Unless, of course, it was compromised. More on that later.

I finally found the second apartment after driving from one end to the other of Goodyear in a particular area. Straight away, I noticed the amount of “blueys” in the parking lot. Right then and there, I knew I was out. However, I was curious to see the model bungalow-style apartments. They were tastefully decorated and I took away with me some design inspiration.

The manager excused himself because he needed to get something from his office – his Golden Retriever puppy! I had to see the pup and walked with him to his office. The puppy was in his cage barking. Hopefully, he’ll grow up to be a great “office dog.”

Between the closeness of the bungalows to each other, the high rent, and the “blueys” in the parking lot, I couldn’t wait to leave.
I toured another cottage-type apartment community (many of them in the desert) and it was more of the same. Since I had time before meeting a real estate agent in Buckeye and decided to see if I could find a property that offers single-family homes for rent. What I found was oversized “luxury” houses stuffed next to each other. In what universe is living on top of your neighbor luxury living? It’s not. With that, I was off to Buckeye.

The Home That Didn’t Want to be Found

I hoped to find the Buckeye home easily, but it didn’t happen. The GPS found the development, but it could not locate the house. And for even more fun, one of the streets was closed off to traffic (locals only) because of street paving.

Driving around in circles isn’t fun, so I pulled over and texted the real estate agent (her first name is my birth name which I changed, coincidence?) to let her know that I was in the area but needed help finding the home.

She wasn’t surprised because she needed help finding homes and developments.


For whatever reason, the GPS can’t locate new developments. I wanted to see it through (sounds like a mission) because I felt I was close. After composing myself, I drove off and eventually found the home.

The real estate agent showed me the house, inside and out, and I knew it wasn’t for me. Why? Because it was too close to the neighbors who had a trampoline in their backyard which I could touch. Um, no, thank you.

The real estate agent understood, and we parted ways.

As I drove to the highway entrance, I noticed a gold Nissan Altima in the lane next to me. It was the same year, make and model as the one I drove from 2003-2017. Coincidence? Probably not.

At this point, I wanted to get back to the Avondale Airbnb and relax from my house-hunting adventures. Once I returned, I thought about areas of Arizona that I might want to live in. Even though the GPS gave me the wrong directions, I decided to drive to Prescott on Saturday, June 17, 2023, to see if I’d like the area and to view a few homes (from the outside). It was another big mistake!

On the Road to Prescott

On Saturday, June 17, 2023, I drove to Prescott, about two hours from Avondale. The plan was to see if I liked the area and view homes (from the outside) available for rent.

Funnily enough, I’ve always wanted to visit Tucson, about three hours away. However, whenever I’m in Arizona, I never see the city and wonder why, but I digress.

Because of the GPS’ issues, I used a map application to view the route to and from Prescott. And with the directional issues I experienced, I should have printed out the map. But I didn’t. It’s another face-palm (emoji) moment that I regret.

Driving to Prescott started okay because I left early. And like most U.S. states, there was construction along the way. And I saw hawks flying. It was interesting because I didn’t see any while driving around Avondale, Goodyear, and Buckeye. It’s unusual because of the proximity of the mountains. You usually see them flying and circling in the sky.

As I drove, I noticed a white unmarked van with its lights on behind me. It followed closely, and I gave the driver a look from the rearview mirror. They backed off but continued to follow behind me.

At one point, the van got off at an exit. But then BAM! It was once again behind me. It freaked me out, so I switched to the other lane, passed a few cars in front of me, and took the lead. And this is when even more fun began.

GPS Can’t Compute the Arizona Desert

I continued driving; this was when I regretted not bringing the directions I viewed online. The GPS took me the wrong way on Willow Creek Road. According to the online map I viewed earlier, I should have turned left. However, the GPS kept indicating to turn right.

And then there were the roundabouts common in Europe and other countries but not throughout the U.S. I had yet to decide which way to go, especially when the GPS kept indicating to take the fourth left. It didn’t make sense.

I returned the way I came and noticed a gas station; I pulled in and filled up. Another regret I have is not using the online map application I used earlier in the day to view the route. Seriously. As I mentioned in Part One of The Arizona Trip from Hell, it was as if I never traveled before.

Active Aircraft in the Sky

I returned to the road and turned to see if I could find the first house I wanted to view. As I drove, I looked in the sky, and there were several small planes and a helicopter that looked exactly like the one that flew very close to my apartment/townhome complex the Wednesday (June 14, 2023) before I left for Arizona.

The helicopter hovered because it couldn’t enter the same air space as the small airplanes. As I continued driving and glancing at the aircraft, I thought about the unmarked van that followed me part of the way. It gave me a creepy feeling of being tracked.

At this point, you may be thinking that I’ve read too many crime and mystery novels and watched too many action adventure and crime and police drama TV shows and movies. However, I wondered if the unmarked van that followed behind me and the aircraft scrambled the GPS. It may have a hint of paranoia and craziness, but anything is possible. Right?

As I drove and approached the roundabout, I made a wrong turn. At this point, I had enough, made a U-turn, and started driving back to Avondale. But not before I went through another roundabout with an Arizona State Trooper next to me. What are the odds of that? An unmarked van, multiple aircraft in the sky, and a state trooper in one day.

Final Thoughts on The Arizona Trip from Hell – Part Two

The events that transpired on day three of the wacky Arizona trip made me think something bigger was at play. How is it that a seasoned traveler experienced so many issues?

It was supposed to be an easy and simple trip to the desert. Not only did it feel as if the trip lasted for months, but it was as if someone else was traveling. A person who was traveling for the first time!

It’s too bad that I didn’t get to see the homes that are available for rent. However, I can always go back to the desert.

What’s next?

Stay tuned for Part Three and the final chapter of The Arizona Trip from Hell, which includes:

  • Returning the subcompact crossover SUV to the car rental company.
  • The bogus plane tickets from United Airlines.
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor TSA.
  • The Denver airport.
  • The home state airport and the rideshare driver.