Like I said in the closing to my last post, our trip to Arizona wasn’t ALL bad, though I do think we visited at the wrong time of year . It was unusually cold and windy, and we didn’t have the chance to spot any outdoor wildlife (though when the “wildlife” consists of tarantulas, rattlesnakes, and coyotes, that could be considered a GOOD thing). After spending time in Sedona, Flagstaff, and the snowy Grand Canyon, heading back down south toward Phoenix felt downright balmy at 55 degrees and sunny. 🙂
Here are some of the highlights:
This is the city where Justin’s Aunt Beth and Uncle Rob live (a recent move, after spending most of their lives in a much different New England climate). We mainly just stayed around the house on Christmas day, but we did take a walk (a LONG walk–I’m blaming my lack of enthusiasm on my pregnancy) to the entrance of their neighborhood where there was a nice little playground for Jake to enjoy. We got some cute pictures of him having fun on the jungle gym–sliding is obviously his favorite. 🙂 We made sure to take him back at least once more during our visit.
About a thirty-minute drive from Gold Canyon, this is a neat area of town full of history, culture, and a little folklore. Right in the shadow of Superstition Mountain, this area hosts a Native American history museum, a full-sized walk through replica of a gold mining outpost, and a café that serves a “Gold Strike” burger dripping with chipotle aioli sauce that I’m still dreaming about. (I searched the gift shop for a bottle of that sauce to take home with me, and sadly they didn’t have it in stock. I’m already seeing pregnancy cravings in my future.)
Justin, civil engineer that he is, decided that he really wanted us to take a trip to Frank Lloyd Wright’s personal home and architecture/design school near Scottsdale, called Taliesin (West). While I do enjoy watching HGTV and snooping through people’s homes during Open Houses (yes, I will eat all of your complimentary chocolate chip cookies and look through all of your closets…but NO, I am not interested in buying a home), I was a bit dubious that Jake would enjoy taking a tour. Particularly when I found out that it was an hour-long guided tour. And PARTICULARLY when they told us that the hour-long tour had sold out, and we would need to purchase tickets for the 90-minute tour (the three hour tour, the third option, was out of the question. How do you look at a house for three hours?) If Jake couldn’t do the Grand Canyon for 20 minutes, what kind of shenanigans would he pull on a 90-minute guided tour??
Luckily, Jake decided to make up for his behavior at the Grand Canyon by being a perfect angel during our tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s house. It did require some cartoons (on mute), pulled up on Justin’s iPhone to stick out the last thirty minutes, but he did remarkably well with being content sitting in his stroller. He even listened to the tour guide for much of the tour! We had a Heath Ledger look-a-like (who had actually grown up on the property while his father studied architecture at the school–how cool is that?) giving us our tour, and Jake seemed to like the sound of his voice. It was a win-win-WIN as Heath Ledger was completely flattered by Jake’s undivided attention and complimented his behavior right and left. 🙂 *proud mom*
This was the last major Arizona city that we visited, giving us a sense of accomplishment that we saw pretty much everything that we COULD see of the state within a six-day time frame. I was lucky enough to get the job of choosing what to do during our day in Tucson, and I chose Old Tucson Studios. It’s the site that many old western movies (and even some TV shows like Bonanza and Little House on the Prairie) used to film select scenes, and it had been converted into a theme park of sorts.
We took Jake on a carousel ride, train ride, AND go-cart ride, all of which he thoroughly enjoyed. We also got to watch the saloon girls do the can-can, visit some animals at the petting zoo, and watch a cowboy shootout. It was a lot of fun–we only wished that we had more time to spend there because there was SO much to do! Clearly, Tucson would have been a better choice than Sedona/Flagstaff (mainly owing to the nice weather which got up into the 60’s).
Overall, we had a great trip. We tried to really soak it in, because I think it may be our last big hurrah before baby #2 is born. And guess how eager I’ll be to get on a plane when I have not one but TWO children in tow? 😉
I also just wanted to reiterate that Jake had a rough few days, but overall he did really well on our trip. We even lucked out and got an empty row for our flight back to Tennessee, so Jake had a seat all to himself! Hurray! I’d say his first plane ride was a success. Now it’s back to the “grind” this week!