We’re trying to get back into the swing of house related things after a few exhausting weeks off. We took a road trip through Arizona, had family in town, and are now gripped by a vicious summer stomach flu. Additionally, and on a very sad note, my husband and I both lost a grandma in the past weeks, just days apart and have done/will do some traveling for memorial services. It wasn’t the happiest way to start or end our trip, but we value family vacations and do what we can to make them happen – and it’s one of our favorite things about our globetrotting grandmas.
In hindsight, we probably could have used a calm, relaxing type vacation, but that isn’t what was planned. We had a massive, hot road trip planned instead through the Arizona desert that just happened to coincide with a massive heat wave (I’ve now breathed and sweated in 124 degrees). I generally love road trips, even though they take a little more out of you, but this one was particularly tiring. I don’t know if it was our pace, our destinations, the heat, or just missing great-grandmas sadness, but it wasn’t the smoothest one. We were very grumpy. I’m glad we went anyways, and I hope that our kids look back fondly on these crazy adventures we drag them through. Though this one went waaaay Vacation (and I have never appreciated that movie more).
The first leg of our trip was the Grand Canyon. We hit up a little of Route 66 on the way. We honeymooned on the western half of the Mother Road long ago, and have traveled almost all of it during a few cross-country moves. But our kids have never been old enough to get it, and though they weren’t wildly interested, I forced them to have a look. We made a few stops, including Delgadillo’s Snow Cap in Seligman.The Grand Canyon was gorgeous, but scary. The cliffs were made less enjoyable by an especially obstinate and grumpy child. I made sure to put the grumpy one to bed and then take the other to catch the sunset over the canyon, definitely the highlight of our visit. I would have liked to do more walking/hiking, but it was just too hot. We did take the Desert View Scenic Drive on the way out and it was beautiful. It’s just kind of weird to visit a national park and do so little outdoor activities…Next up was Sedona and Phoenix, that I packed with architectural stops! In the Sedona area we saw The Chapel of the Holy Cross and Arcosanti, both of which I’ll do a dedicated post on in coming weeks. Because:Sedona was breathtaking. It was a perfect combo of gorgeous desert and gorgeous forest. I wish we could have done so much hiking, but that heat! We did a lot of AC-ed car touring and made an early morning venture on the West Fork trail: so good! It was like Zion’s Narrows, but without the crowds or long walk in. It ended up being the perfect “hike” for 110 and our sometimes reluctant hikers hiked longer than they ever have before. We spent long stretches just walking/swimming in the stream surrounded by towering red rock walls. Insanely pretty, right? Phoenix was…hot. So hot. Unbearably hot. In the 120’s the entire time. I was hesitant, but we visited Taliesin West and Cosanti despite the weather and both were AMAZING and highly worth the dripping sweat! Again, I’ll do a future posts on each.We also drove through a few modern neighborhoods, did a drive by of Beadle’s White Gates house, visited friends, and went inside a bank for the first time in years. We were so enamored with the exterior of this former Valley National Bank that we had to “get change” just to check out the inside…worth it! Do not miss the interior!But mostly we swam at our hotel, the Valley Ho. The architecture, for sure, is worth a stay, but beware the obnoxious party scene on the weekends. It was more a local college student party hang out than a family resort. But if you plugged your ears, it was so cute. The exterior is fantastic. The lobby has an amazing fireplace (pictured at the top of this post). The rooms are nicely done (bathroom terrazzo was NICE). Our room opened up to a big fountained-lawn area that was perfect for the kids to run around and was quieter than other wings of the hotel. As a testament to our trip exhaustion, we had planned a last night in Palm Springs, but we were so looking forward to home that we just arrived in our favorite city at night, did a quick swim, and then woke up at 6am the next morning to book it home. No neighborhood creeping, no house snooping, no Parker visits, no watching the sunset/rise against those mountains. Nothing. It was like we weren’t even there. Trip and life exhaustion.
In summary, I will be back with architectural delights from Arizona soon as well as the usual house updates. I hope you enjoyed my lengthy and boring travel diary…