Vacation Arizona

B and I took a trip to Arizona for ten days last September to a visit a friend. It was a much needed time for us to relax and hang with friends. [Don’t know why some of the photos are big and some are small but enjoy]!

We arrived in Phoenix Friday afternoon. It was a quick shuttle ride from the airport to the mammoth car rental garage. We hopped in our economy car and quickly found sustenance in the form of food and beer at Mother Brunch Brewing not far away. We knew it was a perfect place to choose when we saw the VW van parked out front. The interior of the pub was industrial and quirky.


I had the lunch special of a half sandwich, small salad and pint for $10. B tried the slider trio and a flight of six of their beers. One of their feature menu items is called The Mother of All Burgers. A beef patty topped with a fried pork belly, white cheddar, lettuce, tomato, red onion, smoked tomato-onion jam and aoli. You can add another patty if you like.

While lunching we searched for Geocaches in the area. B found one nearby that had been published three days before and had not been found. Getting an FTF [first to find] for our Arizona souvenir = awesome! We were even sent trackables as our FTF prize. We did a couple more Geocaches and then stopped at Wren House Brewing [Geocaching is thirsty work]. They also had an industrial vibe inside and this little alcove above a fireplace with a Madonna sitting in it [beer for size].



On our way out of town we stopped at Flowers Craft Beer & Wine to pick up some beers to take with us and share with out hosts. Great little craft beer market and deli founded by a guy who was from near where we were headed and recommended some breweries for us to visit. Our next stop was north to Cornville where my friend Terri moved. It took us about two hours including a coffee/Geocaching stop in Anthem [a bedroom community of Phoenix]. One of the things we noticed was how aggressive Arizona drivers are. Wow, 75 mph was NOT fast enough for some people! We also noticed there are A LOT of Geocaches in the desert.


Upon arrival at our friends house we chatted on the patio with some snacks and beer and went over our game plan for the week. Dinner and bed were early as B and I had been up since 3 AM [note to self, I learned my lesson flying red eye from our last trip but we still had to get up at an ungodly hour to get our ride to the airport for our 8 AM flight – Grrr].

The next morning we headed to Jerome for a VW bus show held by the Arizona bus club. We met up with a couple friends who reside in AZ, one who had been living in South America and drove a bus she had purchased up to the show.

Jerome “America’s most vertical city and largest ghost town” started as a large copper mining camp and today it’s known for its quirky artistic vibe. Near this puppy art below we found our first Geocache of the day.


The show is just outside town near the Gold King Mine and Ghost Town. The elevation of town is 5,200 feet and it was plenty hot so I spent much of my time that day under the shade of a friends tent. Below a leather bus bra another friend made and a Coleman tent trailer that was pulled behind the bug in the photo.



After a short nap and some nourishment our hosts took us in to Sedona. I was really excited to see Sedona for myself as I have heard it’s very earthy and well for lack of a better word – woowoo. I was a little disappointed as with all the visitors over the years it has turned in to a place to shop. The views of the red rocks were stunning and photos do no do it justice.



We ate dinner alfresco at The Jevelina Cantina in Sedona that evening. A Javelina is a small hoofed mammal kind of like a wild boar and local to the area. Our friends have seen them walking along the road in front of their house.

Sunday B wanted to go back up to Jerome as he had purchased tickets to win a bus. Sadly he did not but the person who won turned around and handed the keys to a friend and said “happy wedding”. How cool is that? After that we met our hosts at an ancient pueblan monument nearby, Tuzigoot built by the Sinagua people. Below you can see the separation of different rooms of the pueblo.


In the small museum at the site there was this amazing poster which was unfortunately not for sale. They had similar ones but I wanted this one. I found it on line and emailed the artist. He had one made for me for a reasonable price. I collect posters of this style of places I have been.

Tuzigoot poster

An interesting thing about Tuzigoot is they found bones from a toucan. Likely it was traded from South America.

On our way back in to Cottonwood we stopped at an art studio. The woman whose studio it was makes wings out of things like agave leaves and scissors [purchased from TSA].


B posing before huge agave leaf wings.


We found a great place to grab some food and drink at Pizzeria Bocce. This is also where all four of us played Bocce for the first time. It was a blast!


B is concentrating hard.


Terri is trying to knock our balls out of the way.

Latter that evening we drove along the highway and saw another ruin, Wupatki. You can walk out to this one and all the way around it.



Most evenings we spent time out on the patio enjoying the weather and the sunsets. In the early mornings I would sit out here by myself with a book and my morning coffee.


B and Terri’s husband Tom did a lot of plotting for excursions during the week.


Monday Tom, B and I headed to Montezuma’s Castle and Montezuma’s well. Although Montezuma had nothing to do with these ruins. We found out that the women and children were responsible for the building of the walls and they are slightly tipped back toward the cliff. If you were able to go up to the dwelling you can even see finger prints on the walls.


Sycamore trees and Datura were plentiful. I love the bark on the Sycamore, it looks like camouflage.


Datura, also called Angel’s Trumpet is poisonous and the Native Americans used it as a hallucinogen.


Below is Montezumas well. You really don’t want to swum in it. Not only is the water very brackish but there are leaches and all sorts of creatures that live in the water.


Later we went back to Sedona to this crazy little shop called Silver Sun West. The shop was made up of a bunch of little buildings all cobbled together in a maze. We also went in to Tlaquepaque which is a shopping area in Sedona with restaurants and lots of stores. It has the feeling of an old Mexican town with squares and fountains full of art and lush flowering plants. We even met up with a couple famous people. Can you spot B with Einstein and Mark Twain below?









The next day we took a drive north east. Our first stop was Walnut Canyon which was probably one of B’s favorite places on the trip. Unfortunately I didn’t take many photos as I had a serious case of acrophobia. The trail down in to the canyon was steep and narrow and there wasn’t much in the way of railings. B and Tom hiked down and Terri and I waited at the top. The visitors center location at the top has an amazing view down in to the canyon. The photo below does not do it justice but you can see some of the cliff dwellings across the way.


There was a trail that looped around the ridge of the canyon that Terri and I followed. We came across a little garden. The red plant in the photo below is amaranth.


Another view of the canyon.


It was really windy and the view was amazing! Next stop was Winslow, AZ where yes we did stop at The Corner. Route 66 runs through Winslow and that “one song” is played on a loop outside at the corner.


We obviously took the opportunity to take a selfie.


Lots to spy in the mural. Notice the eagle in the first window on the left.


We lunched at La Posada which was built by renowned architect Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter who also designed buildings at the Grand Canyon.


There were a lot of sculptures in the gardens.


A view from the back. Lush grass and just opposite the train station.


I love the sign on these doors.


The next day we went back to Sedona for some shopping with Tom and then on the way back home we did a little wine tasting. We stopped at three wineries and Page Springs Cellars was our favorite. Their menu was amazing and they had loads of gluten free options as well so we knew we were going to need to bring Terri back with us another night.


Our $10 tasting fee included this glass. The vibe in the place was really cool. Lots of leather couches with burgundy velvet curtains to partition sitting areas. When we went back a few days later we sat out on the patio.

The next day we took a drive up north to Flagstaff and stopped for lunch at Beaver Street Brewery. This place also had an amazing Gluten Free menu. Route 66 runs through this college town too.

In the town of Cottonwood near our hosts home B and I stopped at That Brewery which was recommended to us when we were in Phoenix. Between the two of us we had a flight to taste all of their beers.


I love the industrial vibe of the place!


B with our tasters.

One of our last days in Arizona B and I trekked north to the Grand Canyon. It was my first trip to this wonder of the world and it did not disappoint. Alas photos do NOT do it justice.

We started on the east end of the south rim at the Watchtower [also designed by Elizabeth Colter].


Inside the watchtower.


We visited several lookouts along the way where my acrophobia did not get any better. I peeked over the side and then stepped back some distance to feel better. Some people were going past the barriers and it was making me very nervous.


B looking to the north over the canyon.


Some shots taken from the different scenic overlooks along the way.



When we got to the main area we parked and walked several of the paths or took a shuttle to get around. We wandered by different hotels designed by Mary Colter [the same woman who designed La Posada in Winslow]. The sun was at a weird angle so my photos of those buildings did not come out. We ventured inside El Tovar which was really cool.

On our last day visiting our friends we headed to another pueblan ruin called Palatki heritage site. Our friends husband Tom volunteers here and we were treated to quite a tour.


Cave drawings at Palatki.


Looking out from our hike.


A man who originally owned this property in the 1930’s used some of the cliff dwelling rocks to built a shelter which he lived in for two years. He planted an orchard with all different types of trees and later built a house which stands today and is used as the office for the historic site. We even saw wild mistletoe on our hike to the shelter and cave drawings.


B is looking at the outside of the shelter.


From the inside. The wall B is looking at is on the right.


This is that same wall B is on the other side of. The top has this makeshift screen.

We are very grateful to our hosts for having us for ten days and can’t wait to go back as there is so much more to see and places we want to revisit. All too soon we were headed back to the west coast but we have the photos and our memories.



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