Sometimes the desert is just the thing….

Last Wednesday we packed up and headed towards Phoenix. We made it to Las Vegas (ok, Las Vegas, NM) before turning in for the night. We listened to an audiobook version of Bill Bryson’s A Walk In the Woods. This book has been on my must-read list for a while, and it was so good. The author’s recounting of various sections of the Appalachian Trail, most of which we were familiar with, were amazingly accurate and completely hilarious at the same time. Bryson definitely has self-contradictory views on forest management, but I will try not to hold it against him. Abi fell asleep in the car for a bit and woke up at 11pm totally giddy, just laughing and squealing with delight at the whole prospect of sleeping in a big bed somewhere else.
Thursday we drove the rest of the way, really only stopping at Trader Joe’s in Santa Fe for a little break. Once the audiobook was over the drive seemed to drag on….and on…..and on. We arrived to 70-degree weather in Carefree and turned in for the night.
Friday, Wes and I got in a nice mountain bike ride on some local trails, including a flat tire rescued with a butterfly bandage from the first aid kit. Abi got in some quality time with her Meme and Don and their new puppy, Buddy. I don’t think there is anything cuter than a toddler playing with a puppy. It was like they were on the same wavelength. Abi could not stop talking about her new friend “Buh-ey.” That afternoon we checked out the Desert Botanical Gardens, where an artist had huge glass sculptures on display.
mei tai
The next day, we got in a ride at McDowell Mountain Park. My next post will be more a nitty-gritty trails report of the area, but I will say here that it was “severely awesome” as Wes would say. We also had a really nice dinner and visit with all the family including the Perrys and Bonne Maman.
Sunday, Abi and I went for a ride on the bike path with Aunt Bea and Bonne Maman. It was so fun to ride with these ladies, and it was another gorgeous and perfect day. We spent the afternoon watching the Cardinals with their historic win, which was, as you could imagine, a HUGE deal there in Phoenix. We also spent a large part of the day packing up the U-Haul with things that our family generously gave us, including FRESH CITRUS picked right from the Perry’s trees that day.
We rose early Monday morning to hit the road, stopping in Sedona for a quickie hike, because you just can’t miss Sedona when you visit the area. I think this was my fourth time there. Then we pressed on to Santa Fe. This time we had the Audiobook of The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. This book is soberingly realistic. It is written as a series of letters from one experienced demon, Screwtape, to another, Wormwood, on how to tempt a human soul. It definitely needs to be digested in chunks, but it was very good. Abi did really well in the car, although she had a few bouts where she could only be entertained for 43 seconds at a time before switching activities, which did make time seem to slow down and caused me to miss much of Lewis’ headier points.
In Santa Fe, Wes and I climbed into the other bed at 7:30 pm “to help Abi sleep” because she thought it was playtime. Well, we woke up at 2am and realized that we actually fell asleep instead of reading like we talked about. Then we slept until 6:30 am. It was GREAT. Yesterday we drove the rest of the way and it was so good to see our mountains again. Once we got home I immediately spent over an hour making citrus juice to freeze and open when we need some sunshine.
The biggest part of this trip, for me at least, was how much it felt like a VACATION. It was the most relaxed I have been in a very, very long time. We were blessed with good health and good family times and good travel and good weather, and I can not be more thankful. We decided we would like an annual training camp-style trip to AZ each winter. The people, sunshine, and trails were fantastic.


5 responses to “Sometimes the desert is just the thing….

  1. The glass definitely looks like the work of Chihuly. I’ve never been to the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix but I have been to the Boyce Arboretum outside of Phoenix and highly recommend it. My grandma “winters” in Arizona. Maybe the next time I make it down there to visit I will go check out the gardens.

    Sounds like the family had a great trip! At least you got home while the weather is still nice here. Welcome home!

  2. Yep, it was Chihuly that did the huge art glass. The name was escaping me. Hill, I got a HUGE discount by showing my Denver Botanic Gardens membership card – basically got 2 of the 3 of us in for free!

  3. What a wonderful trip…and break. Sounds like you got in lots of great riding and Abi enjoyed the time with her grandparents! I’m glad Abi did great in the car, what a trooper!

    Welcome home!

  4. We really had alot of fun with all of you. Abi was just fabulous eating broccoli from my garden. Glad to hear you found your sunglasses!! Bisous! Meme

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