Day 217 : Driving home for Christmas

19 February 2011

Location: Phoenix to Shumway

High point: Reaching Bill Caskey’s farm after eight hours negotiating dicey roads through blizzards and ice on one of the most tricky drives in FTFE history. Thanks to Troy Caskey for being our guide and Guardian Angel

Low point: Leaving our new friends at Phoenix Fire Station and saying good bye to stage 7 crew legends Rob and Ben, we miss you already!

Snow point: Getting back into the cab and Martha sliding 5 inches down hill, icy conditions or too many burgers?

No point: Stocking up on cookies, Shelley from station 35 sent us on our way with enough cookies to feed a football team, for four weeks. Thank you!


After our sleep over at Fire Station 30 it was an early start to get over to Station 35 where Captain G Hawk (is that the coolest name you ever heard?) had invited us for breakfast and to hang out at the station, maybe accompanying the crew on a few calls. As we arrived a film crew had already set up to interview Steve for Good Morning Arizona. Being used to the limelight now he did an awesome job as the FTFE crew stood in the background looking a bit awkward.

Soon after we arrived there was a major call out to a serious road traffic accident. Rob and Ben who had gone along with the fire fighters arrived back pretty shook up at what they had witnessed, as did everyone.

In the meantime Holly and Shelley had bought a whole shop out of breakfast burritos and it was time experience our first Mexican breakfast. It went down pretty well.

We were slightly worried about the weather as the forecast warned people not to travel north unless absolutely necessary due to the snow. Since when did that get in the way of the Follow That Fire Engine expedition? Whilst we were seriously deliberating whether to change our route Troy Caskey arrived at the station and said his dad Bill, who lives just outside Show Low, would like to put us us up. Troy even offered to escort us there as we were worried about the adverse weather conditions. Was this guy for real?

We couldn’t leave without Steve being put through his paces by the Hawk in a work out involving lifting a huge tyre, roof bashing and press ups, all in full fire fighters uniform and breathing apparatus. Steve wasn’t going to let the fire fighters think he was a wimp so did us proud. He did however need a little help to cut his food later in the evening due to sore wrists bless him. A special thanks to the legend Captain G Hawk, Holly, Shelley, Tim and everyone at Station 35 for everything you’ve done for FTFE and for making us feel part of the Phoenix FD family. You guys rock!

The drive to Shumway was interesting to say the least. The further north we drove the more the weather closed in on us, to the point we could hardly see through the windscreen due to the snow. Every 15 minutes we came across another car or truck having problems, Troy (dressed in just shorts and a T-shirt) stopping for anyone in trouble. Without being able to engage Martha’s 4×4 we would have been up a sticky creek without a paddle. Not the best FTFE induction for new crew members Gemma and Val who looked slightly worried in the back of the cab. The pine trees on either side of the road covered in snow created a Winter Wonderland and we decided to play Christmas songs to keep our spirits up.

Eight hours later we arrived at Bill’s farm, we’d never been so pleased to get anywhere. A huge thank you to Troy, Bryson and Kaden for the escort to Shumway and to Bill for the lovely meal and chance to re-charge our batteries in your lovely home. Very humbling.


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