Monday, November 9, 2009

Phoenix in August and Other Unseasonable Trips

Our family took a vacation this past summer. A real, actual vacation; not a day trip or an overnight trip, or a business trip or a trip out of necessity. We chose to take a vacation. Not extravagant; we didn't go over our budget which meant we spent overnight most of the time at friends and family. We had a great time.

Our first stop was sunny southern California with all that it has to offer. Great beaches, amusement parks, great weather. It really is a great vacation spot. I was born and raised in So. Cal and always enjoy going back to visit, even if it is to see how much things have changed since I was growing up there. When I was a kid, Disneyland was just becoming a budding giant surrounded by a few backwater towns, orange groves, dairy farms and low land crops. There are STILL some low land crops grown in the area, but you really have to look hard for them.


Next, we chose to drive over to Arizona...yep; in August no less. My friends there said it was "monsoon season" there but I'll be dog-goned if I could find anything that remotely related to a monsoon while there. In fact, they had 113 degree heat and hardly a drop of rain during the week we were there.

I love hot weather, by the way and enjoy the dry heat that Arizona offers, even in the summer. We started off in northern AZ, driving to a friend's house north of Prescott, then continued onward toward the Grand Canyon. Spent the night near Flagstaff, then drove south to Scottsdale, which is next door to Phoenix. On our way down, we stopped at a variety of places, including Montezuma well and Montezuma Castle (which you see in the picture above). This area is located up in the hills just north of Phoenix and was quite hot the day we visited, but I enjoyed it all. In Scottsdale, my hubby found a casino and hang out in while I visited a dear friend of mine. The kids hung out in the pool and the local mall, which is pretty much what kids enjoy doing anywhere. Our time was pretty limited and we didn't really stop at too many touristy spots in Scottsdale/Phoenix area.

On our way back home, we stopped along Tuzigoot Indian ruins, pictured below.

As we made our way back to the Prescott area to drop off our other friend who had spent the last several days with us, we went up the side of a mountain and drove through a cool old mining town, touted to be "haunted", has lots of artsy/craftsy type things there. Gorgeous views, and RAIN!!! Yeah, we ran into some rain on our way up the mountain. It was a nice relief from the heat, even though I like the heat, change is always nice. After dropping him off in Chino Valley, we headed out toward Las Vegas and ended up staying overnight there.

We spent the night on the strip of course and checked out the Luxor the next day. Las Vegas is truly a place for fantasy. Pick your fantasy, you can find it there.

The next day we drove through the desert in California and passed through the Barstow area. Just west of Barstow, we saw a huge cloud of smoke going over the desert. We realized it was the smoke from the fires near Los Angeles. It was pretty impressive.

Over all, we had a nice relaxing vacation and lots of pics to remember our time with family and friends. That's what it is all about, isn't it?