Arizona vacation journal – part 1

Sunday, April 24th — The family did a great job getting up and going; we left the house at about 7:15am and made it to Oakland Airport almost 2 hours early, just to be on the safe side (remind me to tell you sometime about the Hawaiian adventure we had).  I passed the time writing one of my posts on this blog, and really enjoyed the fact that I could crank out a thousand words in about an hour, as opposed to sitting there bored or just texting.  The flight was uneventful and even arrived in Phoenix a few minutes early – always a plus.  My brother Tom met us at the airport so that we could find somewhere to eat lunch together.  Had not seen him in a couple of years; he has lost weight due to type 2 diabetes and a months-long bout with valley fever.  He suggested an IHOP, and we all enjoyed the comfort food – “Swedish Crepes” for me, yum!  Not sure what makes them Swedish, but they were delish…  We checked into our room at the Hyatt and then went over to his apartment, where Carla was waiting after having worked until 1pm.  Here is the thing:  I do not recall the last time, if ever, that I got to sit and chat with just Tom & Carla!  It was great.  They were relaxed and glad to see us.  Carla told us about her great new job as a KinderCare director (plus she works part-time at Babys R Us.  Hardest working person I know…  For kicks, we all spent a couple of hours browsing thru the Brass Armadillo consignment store.  Lara picked out a cute pair of earrings for only $6; that was all we bought.  Tom kept telling me about how Carla loves antiques and consignment stores but never buys anything – cute!  He is so funny; no matter what he is talking about he makes me crack up, just the way he tells stories…  Dinner was at Chili’s, because it’s tried and true for us.  Erik really does love his baby-back ribs (but he won’t sing the jingle)…  We spent the rest of the evening at their place chatting and watching part of Avatar on their 3D plasma TV – only later did Tom realize he put the 2D disc in!  We thought the glasses weren’t charged up or something; pretty funny…  Then, off to bed at our hotel.  A very nice first day.

Monday, April 25thPhoenix/Grand Canyon — After breakfast, drove north to the Grand Canyon; the drive itself was very scenic and not at all boring.   Stopped at a Wendy’s to get frosties for the kids.  Unfortunately, I was tired and in a grumpy mood most of the day, so I felt bad about that afterward.  Had not slept well for days!  Somewhere around Flagstaff, we switched, and Karen drove the last part.  The kids and I had fun passing the time by inventing a sort of hand dance.  It started out as Lara and me, but Erik wanted to do it too and really got into it.  Made it all the way to our hotel before stopping for lunch at a mexican place – mediocre, but not terrible.  Drove into the park and were all set to walk to the rim when Erik discovered he had lost his cell phone, so Karen and Lara went to the rim while Erik and I drove back to the restaurant and found his phone, yay!  Met up again with the girls at the visitor center.  (I was bummed that they got the first view of the canyon without us.)  It was pretty cold and windy, so we did not hang out around the rim very long.  Nevertheless, I have said it before, and I will say it again:  the Grand Canyon is a must-see destination.  Pictures just don’t capture it; you have got to see it in person, the huge scope of it!  Only by standing at the rim can you really appreciate what ten miles to the opposite rim looks like, or how awesome the changing colors are!  Nature at such a level is truly restorative, spiritual, humbling…  Dinner was pasta and salad back near the hotel – edible, but not great.  Re-entered the park and attended a ranger program about the climate at 8pm, which was fairly interesting.  Huh, seems like there should be more to talk about; the day passed very quickly… 

Tuesday, April 26thGrand Canyon — After my first decent night’s sleep in about a week, I finally felt positive and more like my usual self.  Karen, Lara and I woke early and drove into the park and walked to the rim for sunrise – missed the moment when the sun rose above the horizon, and it was bitterly cold and windy, so we didn’t stay long.  Discovered that I was not operating the DVR correctly, so did not take any usable video before the battery ran out and I figured out that I had neglected to bring the recharger, so the whole DVR thing was a bust!  Erik was sleeping back at the hotel and didn’t miss much.  I got take-out from McDonald’s for breakfast (ok, ok, I know), which was not a big hit with the fam, but darn it, once in a great while a sausage biscuit with egg will not kill me!  Drove back into the park and went on a hike of about 1.5 hours along South Kaibab trail.  Lara got upset from a sort of vertigo/fear of heights thing, so we turned around, and I walked with her all the way back…  Lunch was back near the hotel, and we rested in the room.  Went back into the park and walked around the village and along the rim.  It was semi-crowded, and the sites in the village were not all that interesting.  We ate pizza at one of the lodge restaurants, then wandered around until an astronomy program at 8pm, which was fairly interesting.  Went on the computer and watched a bit of TV  back at the hotel, then went to bed.  A decent if not great day at the Grand Canyon…  OK, so I really built up the GC and just admitted I didn’t have a super-dee-dooper time there the last couple of days, and yet I wouldn’t trade this trip for anything.  If you haven’t been, just go there and see what I mean!  Trust me.


About goldenbearflyer

Robert Martz is a writer who doesn't make any money writing, so he keeps a day job in finance. He lives and works in Walnut Creek, CA. He began blogging in 2011 as a way of taking responsibility for and finding a place to put his thoughts and feelings. He loves to eat, cook, and travel. He volunteers, practices yoga, runs, bicycles, hikes, and explores nature with passion and a child-like sense of wonder. He is inspired by his amazing friends, doers and other writers. Check out another of his blogs at
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