Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Southwest Travels Part Duex (2 of 2)

Friday 11/1 marked a new month and the beginning of an action packed adventure weekend! Tess and I had a late start to the day but we headed up to Jerome, AZ around 12:30pm so we arrived shortly before 3pm. We realized, upon arrival, that most of the shops closed around 5pm we busted arse through town to check out all the cute shops and galleries, of which there are many. Luckily we are power shoppers and not only did we get some great stuff, but we did almost all our shopping before the shops closed! We also had photo ops of the views and some unique things we saw about town (like a crumbling jail!) Once we checked in and got settled in the Connor Hotel, we headed up to the Asylum restaurant at The Grand Hotel at the very top of the hill (the entire town is built into a side of a mountain, about 5300 feet elevation and used to be a copper mining town). 

The view from Jerome
The Connor Hotel - our crash pad
Selfie with Jerome behind us on the mountain
The Asylum was still gruesomely decorated for Halloween. It was definitely spooktastic. We got seated right away and enjoyed a two hour fancy meal with a side of awkward winking from the waiter. Hahaha!
We intended to maybe go listen to some live music but I was so overly full from dinner it was all I could do just to get my home. It was good, though, because Tess and I just sat and talked for hours. Finally I could not keep my eyes open a minute longer and around 11pm I was out like a light. 

Saturday we packed up and had breakfast at the Mile High CafĂ©. It was really very good and we finished a bit of shopping we didn’t get to hit the day before. Around 11am or so, we headed out of town toward Sedona. The road out of town was so windy that it took us 30 minutes to go only 10 miles. AND come to find out, we were heading south (when we should have been heading north) so we had to turn around and go back through Jerome and down the mountain and finally headed toward Sedona. We got to Sedona around 1pm. The original plan was to have lunch there and head straight to the Grand Canyon but we were both enjoying Sedona so much that we decided to enjoy the afternoon there and hit the canyon in the morning so not to be rushed or miss out on anything. We spent a good chunk of the afternoon walking through an art fair where I proceeded to spend more money than I should have on gifts and goodies. 

Beautiful red rocks everywhere
Just one of many amazing outcroppings in Sedona

 We headed out of town around 4:30 or so and luckily made it through the curviest part of our drive before dark. We got to our hotel around 6:30 and had some grub at the hotel restaurant. Afterwards, we moved to the lounge area and ordered several rounds of wine (beer for Tessa) and taught two Australian couples how to play Yahtzee. 

Yahtzee lessons proved fruitful as the blonde kicked all our arses
We had decided to watch the sun rise at the Grand Canyon so Sunday started for us at 5:05 AM and we were on the road by 5:20 toward the Canyon. We really had no idea where we were going but luckily we got to bypass the park entrance fee and we found a great view point right away. It was dark and FREEZING and we had to wait about an hour for the sun to fully rise but it was amazing and incredible. There ended up being a huge busload of other people there, but despite that, Tessa and I enjoyed the serenity of the moment.

Sunrise at the Grand Canyon
The canyon in full morning light.
We found breakfast down the road at El Torvar Lodge which was quite lovely and then back to the hotel for a 2 hour nap (luckily we got a 1pm check out). Then up, shower and it was time for Tessa and I to part ways as she headed back down home to Phoenix and I headed northwest to Las Vegas.
On the way to Vegas, I did stop at the Hoover Dam and although I did not drive all the way through it, I’m glad I stopped. I also loved the viewpoint over Lake Mead. From there, it was only 30 minutes to Layne’s house…
Welcome to Nevada and then reminder to turn my watch back an hour!

Lake Mead lookout
And the rest is yet to tell! Have a wonderful week everyone!

Southwest Traves Part Duex (1 of 2)

And so the adventure continues! ….. I arrived in Phoenix around 5pm-ish on Saturday 10/26. I had just enough time to unload, settle in for a bit and put on my borrowed Halloween Costume. Tessa (my hostess who so kindly let me crash her pad for the whole week) and her boyfriend Esteban had plans to go to a Halloween party so Tessa loaned me a costume, we grabbed a sushi dinner and to the party we went! 

There is a new sheriff in town!

The Penguin and the Sheriff

The party was HOPPING and there were tons of great costumes there, but we didn’t know too many folks so we didn’t stay too late. It had been a long day for me anyway, being as I was only in Palm Springs that morning, so I did get tucked in for my beauty rest by 11pm, which I was appreciative for.
Sunday (10/27) was my visiting with friend’s day. I met up with one of my best friends from high school in Central Phoenix and we had an amazing meal at Chelsea’s kitchen. I had lost and regained contact with her so many times since high school with this last bout being at least 8 or 9 years. I was SO happy to see her! She looked SO amazing and exactly the same. 


Combating bright Arizona sunshine (the anti squint faces)
 We sat and caught up for hours and I was so sad when I had to leave her, but alas… I had other plans that afternoon in Scottsdale. I met my mentor, Deborah, at Houston’s in Scottsdale and enjoyed a wonderful snack with her and her fiancĂ©, Carlos. I worked with / under Deb on several projects during my early career with my company and she had (and still has) a great influence on me. I am very happy I got to see her during this visit. 

The lovely Deborah and her fiance Carlos (and me)
Monday I did have to work but Tessa put me up in her office so I had a quiet and bright place to hunker down during my week days, which I was eternally grateful for after working from bed with a nasty cold most of the week before. Tessa has 3 pugs so it was hilarious to see which one wanted to come and sit at my feet during the day, to watch the puppy wrestle with the others, and listen to the biggest one snort and snore. They were definitely entertaining!

Monday evening, Tessa took me to The Music Man in Scottsdale. We had no idea what to expect and when we noticed that the theatre was tucked away behind a strip mall, we were nervous. When we walked in and saw several “actors” none of which were over 17, we were officially skeptical. But, much to our pleasant surprise, we were genuinely entertained by the show and the cast and had a wonderful time laughing and singing along. 

Tuesday, Tessa and Esteban took me to my first NHL hockey game (AZ Coyotes against the Los Angeles team). We were about 5 rows down from the very top, but we could see all the action just fine and, even though it was freezing in there, it was a good fun time.

Bundled Up - BRRRRR

 Wednesday and Thursday were more mellow days. Wednesday Tessa and I went and had 90 minute massages and met up with Esteban for a late dinner where we feasted on chicken wings. Thursday was Halloween, so we carved pumpkins, handed out candy to trick or treaters and played Yahtzee. It was a wonderful night!

I'm a traditionalist
And on that note, I’ll save the next phase for the next blog. My time in Phoenix was better than I could have imagined and I was so happy to see old friends and do such fun and interesting things with Tessa and her boyfriend!