Mountains right in the city.
Okay, well how about this?
More mountains... bright and sunny.
Not yet, huh?
Surely this will help:
Feliz Navidad from sunny Arizona!
Sheer awesome-ness, I know. I'm such a clever wife with a surprise cross-country venture. Will was so surprised and we had a fabulous time. Initially I wanted him just to find out at the gate, but he wanted to hear where we were going from me and not from the screen. So after making sure he was definitely ready, I handed him my half-empty bottle of Arizona tea. I got it with dinner - total coincidence. Cool, huh? He was so excited :)
We're used to the kind of wilderness with our lovely deciduous trees - not the dusty kind with my new bffs cacti [I love them] growing everywhere. They are so wonderful and the landscape is absolutely stunning. We were technically staying in Scottsdale and there were mountains everywhere. Isn't that the dream? To be living in your normal bustling city but be surrounded by mountains? I think the most amazing thing about their mountain ranges out there is that they're not covered in trees. It allows you to see everything, every feature.
We arrived late on Friday night to learn that our economy car through Enterprise was no longer available. Folks, don't let people reserve more than you have. It's just dumb. So what were we barreling around the desert in?
Oh you know. No biggie.
A 2012 Chevy Silverado. Will called it our red sled, which then became known as our toboggan.
I felt like I was in a Chevy commercial when the dust trailed up behind us. Yeah, we're that cool.
After we settled into our classy resort (thanks to my parents' timeshare swap!) we snoozed, but not enough. Thanks pesky time change. I did not take that into consideration! Even though it's only a two hour difference, it can really mess you up!
Saturday, we were major gluttons and had an enormous brunch. What Will didn't know was that we were just killing time. So we went to Starbucks, picked up some groceries, investigated a motorcycle rental.... but it's really hard to put urgency in a person when they don't see a reason. So as Will was lolly-gagging and putzing around, I know that these two were back hiding in our hotel room!
The photo is kind of shoddy because it was in our shadowy hotel room, but my brother Tony and his girlfriend Cecily drove out to visit from San Diego! It was just over 5 hours or so for them, and it was phase two of the surprise for Will. And boy was he surprised! Tony leapt out at him from behind the door and Will probably thought we were about to be mugged. It was great.
Luckily they were only waiting for us for just under an hour, but I was so on edge trying to get Will back to the hotel. Then we went swimming, did some hot-tubbing, made dinner, had wine and played Apples to Apples for hours. It was just like this summer and it was excellent.
Then on Sunday, we drove (in order) here,
to get here:
(that photo deserved to be bigger.)
Grand Canyon has been on my life list and in my daydreams for years and it was stunning. But for some reason we weren't expecting two things:
1. The amount of touristy hype (sad day)
2. And the 40 degree weather with snow. I thought we were in Arizona?!
We did as much hiking along the South rim as I could bear. But my yoga capris, Nikes and cotton socks weren't too thrilled trudging through like 6 inches of snow.
My poor, poor extremities.
But it was gorgeous. A sight you don't see advertised much is the snowy canyon. It was gorgeous.
And on Monday, we spent some time in Phoenix before our flight took off at midnight. And it was raining. Say what? Arizona, you're not supposed to do that. Cheap shot.
Still pretty though.
Evidently Phoenix is huge and has a massive population... it didn't seem like it while we were there, but I'll take their word for it. Maybe they all feared they would melt in the rain.
We landed back in Boston on Tuesday morning jet-lagged and groggy just before 6AM, and then I headed to work like a champ. I was so not champ-like. I was a hot mess, practically asleep at my desk.
Was it worth it for our first big vacation? You bet!