Featured Rideout 29 Hours & 465 Miles Of Moto-therapy: Healing Our Hurt On The Open Road

Discussion in 'Rideouts, Trackdays, Touring & Spotted' started by Sandi T, Oct 18, 2020.

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  1. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    After bidding our beloved boxer, Annie, a heart-breaking final farewell last week, Mr. Sandi and I decided to get out of our empty, quiet, dog-less house for a couple of days and let the open road wipe away some of our tears. So we booked a hotel about 300 miles to the north of us and hit the road on Friday morning for an overnighter to Payson, a town near the Mogollon Rim. I found it very therapeutic to let the road and the miles wash over me while I talked to Annie from inside my helmet (Sena switched off of course).

    We've done this route as an overnighter several times in the past. We typically do the loop counterclockwise and did the same for this trip. The ride up to Payson was 280 beautiful, scenic miles and the ride back home the following day was 185 miles. We had perfect weather both days though it was a bit hot (102ºF) from Phoenix back into Tucson on Saturday. :sun:

    DAY 1--Friday: Tucson to Payson 280 miles

    We departed at 9:30 AM Friday morning after going for a walk together on the short daily route that we'd walked with Annie her last several months when she started struggling. We even stopped a few times in the spots that she would always stop to look around and sniff the breeze. :):heart: We both laughed that it's pretty easy to pack for a one-night motorcycle trip. But it certainly was strange and sad to not kiss a dog nose goodbye and share a couple of treats as we walked out the door.:sob:
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    Thanks to @Dozers Dad's suggestion, I chose Annie's favorite dog toy, Moose, and through toy and in spirit, Annie traveled with us.:heart:
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    Before today I'd not ridden more than 85 miles in a day since prior to my bicycle accident and that's with breakfast in the middle somewhere. Today's first leg of our ride was 104 miles and took us to the old mining town of Globe where we stopped for gas. We were disappointed to note that our usual Shell station (which carried Tier 1 gas) has been replaced by a Speedway. That company is absolutely gobbling up gas stations in Arizona and they do NOT carry Tier 1 gas unfortunately. Oh well. No photos of Speedway--no loss. :rolleyes:

    Our next stop was at one of my favorite places, a scenic overlook on the north rim of the Salt River Canyon called the Becker Butte Outlook. The Salt River Canyon is spectacular and I like to call it the Mini Grand Canyon. :) My photos will not do it justice but hopefully you'll get a bit of an idea of why I love it so much.
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    While we were enjoying the expansive views, a gentleman arrived and got out of his car to check out the views, too. We saw something on his shoulder and upon closer inspection realized it was a bird. I asked him about it and he informed us that her name was Antoinette and that she was quite friendly. He instructed me to put my hand out and she jumped right on it. In fact, she made her way up my arm to my shoulder where she proceed to go for one of my earrings! Her owner knows her ways well and got her before she got me. :joy: I always find that we meet the most interesting folks--and birds--when we're on our bikes. Not the kind of birds you're always going on about, @Duckadiledundee. ;)
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    By this time is was about 1:00PM and we were both getting hungry and thirsty. We agreed to ride on through Show Low where we often stop for gas and lunch. With our 6-gallon gas tanks and having just gassed up in Globe we had no need for gas at this point. So decided to go on a bit farther to a town called Heber about 75 miles up the road where we would eat at the Wild Women Saloon and Grill, a great little place we'd enjoyed on a trip last fall.
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    Wild Women has a lovely outdoor deck--perfect for our COVID times. There isn't a statewide mask mandate in Arizona and up in this part of the state, we quickly realized that folks are far less likely to wear them than around Tucson. Fortunately the weather was great both during the day and in the evening and many places throughout Arizona have outdoor decks and patios for dining. This place not only had an outdoor deck in the front but also an outdoor patio in the back. I'm happy as a clam here with my IPA--of unknown origin because the gruff waitress just called the beers "IPA, ale, and Bud Lite" and didn't seem receptive to being asked to provide more detailed information. :joy::joy::joy:
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    Our adventures continue in my next post....... :cool:
     
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  2. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    #2 Sandi T, Oct 18, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020
    Day 1--Friday: continued

    I had the same meal at Wild Women that I had last time we were here. I couldn't initially remember what that was but did manage to remember that it was outstandingly delicious! When I saw the Reuben Sandwich on the menu that jogged my memory and I ordered it again. It was just as tasty this time around, maybe even more. And their fries (yeah, chips) are some of my favorite anywhere. :blush::yum Mr. Sandi went with chicken wings (and fries/chips) to keep it light so he'd be hungry for our dinner later today. IMG_0475.jpeg

    The last leg of today's trip from Heber to Payson was only about 65 miles. But those 65 miles are spectacular as they follow Route 260 through the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest with expansive views of the largest stand of Ponderosa Pines in the world. I've said it before and I'll say it again--I need to get a Go Pro or some version of one that will allow me to snap pics as I'm riding. I wish I could download the video and photos in my memories and share them with you all!

    Payson is a nice small town that sits in the middle of the forest. It's a nice getaway for those of us who live further south in the desert because the temperatures are typically quite a bit cooler. An annual event that Payson is famous for is is the Payson Pro Rodeo, touted as the World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo. This year was the 137th annual event and, with some adaptations due to COVID, the show went on. It's also a getaway for those who want to spend time on the Mogollon Rim with its great hiking and spectacular views.
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    We found a great little non-chain hotel a number of years ago where we always stay. It's inexpensive with simple but nice rooms and amenities. We were glad that they still had a room available since we decided on this trip on a whim and didn't plan ahead. There are always a number of motorcyclists staying there since the riding Payson is smack in the middle of Arizona and a gateway to many, many great riding routes.

    On this trip, I met a couple of guys from Minnesota, one who had already moved to Arizona a year ago, and his buddy who is in the process of selling his home in Minnesota to move to the same town as his friend. They were in the midst of a multi-day motorcycle trip that had started in the Phoenix area. The now-Arizona asked me if I ever missed the cold. Hahahaha! No. :joy::joy::joy: His buddy said he's so ready to be out of Minnesota that he can't sell his house fast enough and he'll be thrilled to be able to ride his motorcycle nearly every day of the year rather than 3-4 months a year. I always think of the non-riding part of the year as the 6 months of winter but he reminded me that, even when it's not winter, rain and storms ruin about half of the other days.
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    While it's convenient and safe to be able to park the bikes right outside our room, the rooms themselves are pretty basic and don't seem particularly "majestic". Though "Majestic" may be referring to the Mountain and not the Inn.;)
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    But what's really nice is the little patio replete with two chairs and a side table on the back side of the rooms with a door out to them. They also sell a nice assortment of cold beers at the front desk. :grinning: A definite selling point of this hotel. And the out back area is lovely--lots of big trees and shade so it's nice and cool and relaxed-feeling after a day in the saddle.
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    Moose and Annie's spirit hanging out at the hotel. :):heart: Kinda makes me wish we'd had a sidecar in which we could have taken her on some motorcycle adventures.
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    Another great thing about the Majestic Mountain Inn is that it's about 300 yards--if that--away from the best restaurant in Payson, Fargo's. Fargo's is a terrific steak house with a diverse and delicious menu. They also have an extensive offering of excellent alcoholic beverages. Thank goodness. :p:laughing: And because we can walk from the restaurant back to our room, we can imbibe with impunity. ;)
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    Fargo's has always had a patio but since last we were there they have really expanded it. It's now probably four times the size it was before. I suspect they may have done it because of COVID but whether that's the case or not, it's an awesome place to eat and even when COVID is a thing of the past we'll elect to eat out here rather than indoors. The lovely heaters were more than welcome for us "desert rats". When I checked the temperature at 9:00PM as we ate our dessert it read 59ºF which, when you're used to 100º+, is a bit nippy. :worried:
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    Because Fargo's is one of the only non-fast food chain restaurants and perhaps the only "fine dining" establishment in town, we had a long wait. They only take reservations for parties of 6 or more. So our wait was 45 minutes but we didn't really mind. We weren't in a hurry and the night was beautiful and cool. Plus we didn't have any viable alternatives at that point. :joy: And our meal was worth it!! :yum
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    I had this Botanist martini and the broiled scallops and shrimp accompanied by garlic mashed potatoes and winter squash. Mr. Sandi had a New York strip, the squash, and a Caesar salad. They had some good bread available too, but I opted out of bread so I could have THIS! :grinning: (It's all about balance.)

    Continued in my next post....
     
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  3. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    #3 Sandi T, Oct 19, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020
    I'd say trading bread for this was a good deal. ;) This is my Mini Skillet Cookie with vanilla ice cream and chocolate drizzle. It was delicious accompanied by a dram of High West "American Prairie" Bourbon and coffee. :yum I'm thinking that bourbon will be a nice addition to our cupboard. :)

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    Day 2 Saturday: Payson to Tucson 185 miles

    Breakfast at the Majestic Mountain Inn is quite nice. It's in this building at the back of the property that sits next to the pool. Mr. Sandi got there ahead of me and saved us a lovely table out on the deck where we could watch the sun come up over the pine trees. :):sun:
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    When we travel together on the bikes, Mr. Sandi and I wear these pendants. They are made by a company called "Night Rider Jewelry", a company that caters to bikers and that we happened onto at AZ Bike Week some years ago. When we got married, I surprised him with these two pendants which are called the King's Key and the Queen's Key.
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    Rather than backtrack through Show Low and Globe, we typically do this Payson overnighter as a loop. The second day is about 100 miles shorter but takes us down a beautiful road known as "The Beeline Highway". It has expansive views and big sweepers which are great fun to ride and we're on this road for about 70 miles before turning off onto the Bush Highway which routes us down past Saguaro Lake and into the eastern part of the Phoenix Metro area.

    This time around, however, I was wondering and a bit fretful about how much fire damage we would see from the Bush Fire which burned nearly 200,000 acres this past summer. :( There was none to be seen for the first 2/3 of the ride. But unfortunately when we started seeing the fire damage, it was devastating. Especially sad was seeing once stately saguaros burned nearly beyond recognition. :sob: I'd shed tears in my helmet over Annie on this trip and now I was shedding tears for the desert and its plants and creatures that were destroyed in this huge fire.

    This photo is one I located on Google and gives you an idea how the lower part of the road looked before being ravaged by fire. I didn't find one showing the dead saguaros but unfortunately those images are burned into my brain now. :(

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    Prior to gassing up in Payson I suggested to Mr. Sandi that we make our next stop at Superstition Harley-Davidson in Apache Junction. Neither of us had ever been there previously even though we now realize that it's only a couple of miles off the path from routes we'e done dozens of times. It's a super nice dealership and all of the folks we talked to were quite friendly. We actually talked for some time to one salesman and finally realized that we have a number of H-D-related friends in common, most of whom now are scattered around the country in Minnesota, California, and Texas.

    The name of the dealership comes not from anything related to being superstitious, but comes from the nearby mountain range, the Superstition Mountains. @JtC , I'll bet you've spent some time in those mountains perhaps??

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    The salesman we met came over when I was drooling over this bike. This is the M8 and new chassis version of my 2017 Dyna Low Rider S which I (now regretfully) traded last May. So I have to admit that I've been jones-ing over this 2020 Low Rider S. Shhhh....don't tell Mr. Sandi. :joy: H-D brought the Low Rider S back this year so I've not yet test ridden it though I've test ridden most of the 2018+ Softail line which now contains some former Dyna models and all of which have the Milwaukee Eight motor and the new mono shock frame. This particular bike was painted matte black and has some custom graphics as well. The bike only comes in Vivid Black stock, so I am particularly in love with this particular bike. Uh oh. That empty garage space is calling to me. :p
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    Back in the garage safe and sound. I haven't ridden this many miles since Sturgis and Vegas last fall and it feels great to be back at it again. And now my new Street Glide Special is fully broken in and I'm nearing my first service at 1K. The bike ran like a champ and I'm very happy with it and very happy I bought it. Though I'm less happy I traded in my Low Rider S. :joy:
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    All in all it was good therapy to get on our bikes and ride and get out of the house and out of town. We spent time reminiscing about all of the great things about Annie and all of the wonderful times we had with her. While I will hurt and cry for quite some time, this trip put me -- us -- on the road to healing from the loss of our beloved dog. Here she is on her last day with us, smiling as usual. :):heart::heart::heart: Man, I love her!

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  4. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Yes, Annie's spirit was definitely there with us as we traveled through Arizona with her moose safely tucked in my left saddlebag. I really could feel her presence which I know sounds sort of silly. But those of you who have lost a very dear and devoted furry friend knows just what I'm talking about.

    As you said, DD, losing a furry friend is never easy. In fact it is one of life's saddest challenges because they love us unconditionally and are there for us no matter what. One of the things I will most miss about this particular boxer was her unbridled curiosity about simply everything. Annie was always up for exploring and always had to know what was going on around her. Part of that was the guard dog in her but much of it was just that curiosity. She noticed every little change whether it be in the house, in the backyard, or out on the walking path. :) My Annie will definitely stay alive in my memory and in my heart forever! :heart::heart::heart:
     
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  5. Octoberon

    Octoberon Crème de la Crème
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    To some of us in distant parts, Arizona usually brings up thoughts of desert and cacti, and not much else. You're doing a fine job of making the state a lot more appealing, Sandi! But really, the Wild Woman Saloon? That's just duck-baiting. ;)
     
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  6. Don the Don

    Don the Don Bigger Than The Average Bear

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    Thanks for sharing the great Pic's @Sandi T. and I did enjoy the write up, what a great roundabout trip the reservations are great places to visit,
     
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  7. Hippo-Drones

    Hippo-Drones Noble Member

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    So sorry to hear about you losing your little girl Annie, she looks like a very good doggo x Very lovely that you could bring her favourite toy with you :)
    Cockatiels are lovely birds, but they do like earrings and other jewelry :D
    The views and the food looked spectacular
     
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  8. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Thank you so much for your kind comments about my ride reports, @Bikerman. I enjoy putting them together. :) Yes, this trip did help to ease some of the hurt we feel in losing our Annie Lou. There's something about nature and places like the Salt River Canyon that are vast and old and ongoing that gives me hope and a sense of peace and this rideout began moving me in that direction. :heart: That's part of why I also love the ocean so much--but there's not much water of any kind to be seen here in Arizona. :cool:
     
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  9. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Thanks, @Hippo-Drones. Our Annie was a very good doggy--very special and near and dear to our hearts. Her time with us was far too short but I'm focused on how blessed and lucky we were to have her in our home and lives for the time we did have with her (4 1/2 years). I don't know much about cockatiels but this one was certainly friendly--and certainly did like my earrings!
     
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  10. Bad Billy

    Bad Billy Baddest Member

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    Another epic road trip & pictures Sandi :cool:, I am so jealous of the climate that allows year round riding & of those wonderful wide open spaces ;). I am glad that the trip helped start the healing process of losing Annie, it is heartbreaking when you lose a beloved furry friend :heart:.

    It's nice that you finally got the new Harley run in, and that you personally got some good miles under your belt.:)

    Keep on keeping on Sandi, ride lots & enjoy your bikes, and don't forget to write your threads & fill them with wonderful pictures & facts, even if it makes me Jealous! :p
     
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  11. JtC

    JtC Elite Member

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    What a great write-up, Sandi! A trip like that with and about those you love is the best therapy there is in my book!

    You are correct -spent some time in the Superstitions and we have travelled most of that route at some point or other. You are also right that pictures cannot do it justice!

    I wouldn't shed too many tears over the desert, Sandi -it'll renew itself as it has over and over again . . .
     
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  12. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    You're welcome, Don! I'm glad you enjoyed the write up. :grinning: I've said it before but I'll repeat myself. I really do enjoy creating the ride reports that I post! Doing ride/trip reports encourages me to observe and notice things even more than usual when I'm out on the road. And it's fun to think about what parts of our moto adventures are particularly fun or funny or special or interesting that I'd like to share with my forum friends and to appreciate those things even more myself! :)

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  13. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    First of all, thank you for your kind words about Annie and about healing after the loss of a beloved furry friend, @Bad Billy. I sincerely appreciate them. :heart:

    Yes, it was great to get some good miles in on the new Harley. And on my out-of-riding-shape body, too! Funny how certain parts need to get "reacquainted" with the bike and riding position after time away--shoulders, neck, knees....butt! :joy: But I was very pleasantly surprised that I was able to do a 280 mile day followed by a 185 mile day with few negative after effects. I did learn that I will probably need new handlebars to move my hands/arms up and back about 2 inches each. Everything else was excellent so this overnighter was a good "shake out" and assessment of ergonomics on this bike.

    I'm really glad to know that you enjoy (even if it makes you a bit jealous) my road trip adventure, threads. As long as friends like you and the others who respond positively to them continue to enjoy them, I'll definitely keep doing them. It's fun for me, too, because I get to relive my trips as I cull through my photos and think about what to write and share with you guys. :) And I will DEFINITELY "keep on keeping on", riding lots and enjoying my bikes! In fact, I enjoy and appreciate my bikes and riding now more than ever after not being able to ride for seven months. Gotta make up for lost time...darn. ;)
     
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  14. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Thanks, @JtC! Yep, I completely agree that a trip such as the one I just took--with and about those I love--is the best therapy going. :grinning:

    I figured you'd been in the Superstitions before. I do wish we could capture the grandeur--both big and small--of the mountains and the desert with photographs. But, alas, it just cannot be done. Maybe that's for the best. And photos can't capture the "feel" of the place like being there in the flesh.

    You're right about the desert, it shall renew itself. Sometimes, though, I'm sad when I realize that in my lifetime it won't ever look the same. I've been meaning to get Mr. Sandi over to northern California, Sonoma and Napa Counties in particular, for a number of years. We never went and now it is forever changed. :sob: A good reminder to not wait around when you really want to do or see something because if you wait it may never happen.
     
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  15. Vulpes

    Vulpes Confused Member
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    That is SO true! Do the things you want to do when you can, don't postpone.
    My father worked his fingers to the bone so that he would be able to retire at 55.

    He died of a massive stroke when he was 43....
     
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  16. dilligaf

    dilligaf Guest

    My father also died aged 43:(
    Heart attack :skull:
    You’re right do as much as you can while you can :)
     
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  17. Vulpes

    Vulpes Confused Member
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    Absolutely mate. An important lesson learnt (far too) young.
     
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  18. Don the Don

    Don the Don Bigger Than The Average Bear

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    An old boy once told me when I was a young man, Eat, Drink and be Merry for tomorrow you may die, I'm here for a good time not a long time.
     
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  19. Foxy1

    Foxy1 Crème de la Crème

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    Great write up, as per usual, Sandi. love reading em.Thanks.
     
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  20. joe mc donald

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    Sandi T / Steve
    Firstly my condolences For Your Annie. Yes i could just see the love shared by you and Annie. And it is sad and heart braking when we lose them. But Annie is in a place where she can look over you and Steve and keep you safe. Bless you both. Secondly I have not read you full story yet but I will get to it soon and you know i look forward to your books.
    Love & Respect.
    Joe.
     
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