Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday Family Flashback-last years trip to Arizona

It's Friday & time for our Friday Family Flashback. And since I am in the middle of telling you about our latest trip to Arizona, I thought I would show you again our trip from last year. That way you can compare the two trips (last years was more exciting & we took a ton more photos).

Arizona vacation 2008:

We just got back from a week in beautiful Arizona. What kind of crazy person goes to Arizona for vacation in August? Well, the crazy kind like my family. But we were not alone, Mom, Dad & Jodi came along as well.

Mom let us use one of her time share weeks & they used another. We stayed in the Cave Creek Villas in a a small town called Cave Creek which is about 30 minutes north of Phoenix. It is closer to Scottsdale than to Phoenix. Each condo had 2 bedrooms plus a loft. Staying in a time share condo is much better than staying in a hotel. The condos had a kitchen, 2 bathrooms, washer, dryer & a hot tub. Needless to say, we didn't use the hot tub as it was too hot. The complex also has 2 swimming pools, a rec room with a pool table & ping pong table as well as a gym. We had a lot of fun swimming & playing pool & ping pong. Never used the gym. But from looking at my photos you can tell I never use a gym, so why start on vacation?

We arrived on Sat 8/2 about 6pm. Mom, Dad & Jodi arrived about an hour and a half before we did. We spent the first evening getting everything unpacked, went grocery shopping (food prices were much higher there than at home). Brought back Rubio's for dinner.

On Sunday we roamed around Cave Creek & checked out most of the little shops. Cave Creek is a tourist town that caters to the rich. Most of the homes in town are someones second or winter home and most of them cost a million dollars or more. The town gets most of their business in the fall & winter months. Summer is their slow season. After shopping we ate again at Rubio's & shopped at a Target with Mom, Dad & Jodi. Afterwards, we split up & went to Walmart. We thought we were going to the same Walmart, but ended up at different ones. Jesse was looking for a switch blade knife to buy.

Monday was spent shopping around again, hanging out at the condo. We went to the Horny Toad Restaurant in town for all you can eat beef ribs. Only Brandon, Mike & Jesse had the all you can eat ribs. Jodi & Dad had 1/2 rack of baby back ribs & mom & I had salmon. It was pretty good & pretty expensive.

Tuesday we drove to Sedona. On the way, we stopped in Campe Verde to visit Montezuma's Castle National Monument. This is an Indian cliff dwelling. Since we had already seen Mesa Verde in Colorado a few times, this Indian dwelling wasn't quite as impressive. But it was worth the short stop to see. After leaving there we drove on to Sedona. If you have never been to Sedona, you need to go. It is quite beautiful to see. The only bad part is that they are redoing the road & the traffic is quite bad because of it. In Sedona we walked around checking out all the little shops. We all had ice cream (really expensive). Mom, Dad, Jodi, Brandon & Jesse decided to drive to the Grand Canyon. Jesse is the only one who had never been to the Grand Canyon before. So they left Sedona early so they could reach the Grand Canyon before Sunset. Mike & I stayed in Sedona & shopped, then we drove back and had Rubio's again for dinner. (We love Rubio's & don't have one close to our house.)

Wednesday Mom & Jodi went shopping. Dad stayed at the condo & my family went into Phoenix & Mesa in search of a knife for Jesse. We went to 2 different Military surplus stores & Jesse finally found the knife he was looking for. While we were driving in Mesa, we just happened to pass the temple. I had never seen the temple there. It was quite different & it was weird not seeing an angel Moroni on top. We then went to the Goodwill & did some thrift shopping. We finally ended up at Sam's Club & bought steaks for Mike to BBQ for dinner. When we got back to the condo, Mike BBQ'd the steaks & we also had baked potatoes, corn on the cob & mushrooms. It was quite tasty.

Thursday was spent hanging out at the condo, shopping in town & doing laundry. We went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant in town that everyone raved about. We were told that people come from all over Arizona just to eat there. It was OK, but all of us agreed, we wouldn't drive very far to eat there. Mexican food in California is much better. While we were at dinner, we had a thunderstorm. We had lightning & thunderstorms almost every day we were in Arizona. This is their monsoon season. It was funny that Arizona is more green right now than California. When you think of Arizona being a desert, you expect it to be desolate. I wasn't expecting it to be so green.

On Friday Mike, Brandon, Jesse & I went to the Grand Canyon. We decided that we would go on the Grand Canyon Railroad which leaves Williams, AZ at 9am. We had to leave our condo at 5:30am to make sure we were there by 8am to check in. They had a wild west shootout prior to the train departing. The train is great. We sat in the Budd Coach cars. They are about the cheapest price seats & had air conditioning. All the cars are from old trains that have been restored. The train was pulled by a 100 year old steam engine as well as a diesel engine. On the way to the canyon, the diesel engine broke down. They had to break the train apart into 2 sections so the steam engine could take 1 section at a time. This made us about 45 minutes late to the canyon, but they gave us an hour and a half extra at the canyon to make up for the delay. So we had about 4 hours at the Grand Canyon to explore.

At the canyon, we hiked, watched the condors, shopped & ate lunch at the restaurant in the Bright Angel Hotel. I was surprised how reasonable the lunch prices were at the hotel. I expecting prices to be high as we were in a tourist trap, but the prices were about the same as buying a burger or sand which from Denny's or Coco's. The temps at the Grand Canyon were in the high 70's. It was a nice break from the high 90's & 100's we had been having all week. About 3:45pm we started back to the train depot to catch the train back to Williams when it started to rain. By the time we go on the train we were a little wet. And we were sitting in air conditioned car. It was a little chilly.

The train ride back was a lot funner than the train ride going. We sat in a different car on the way back & had a better attendant who gave us lots of info on things to do in northern Arizona. We will have to come back in order to visit all the places he told us about. Plus the entertainment on the way back was better. We even got robbed by train robbers. It was quite fun. I highly recommend taking the train to/from the Grand Canyon from Williams, AZ. It is a bit pricey, but worth the money. We didn't get back home to the condo until about 9:30pm, so it was quite a long day.

Saturday morning was spent packing up. We were suppose to check out by 11am, but we didn't get checked out until about 11:30am. Mom, Dad & Jodi left about 9am. We took a scenic route home (GPS sent us on this scenic route). It was quite interesting & saved us about an hour of drive time. We stopped at an Indian casino just east of Palm Springs & ate lunch before arriving home about 6:30pm. We would have been home at 5pm but stopped to eat.

We had a great time in Arizona & recommend it to everyone. We want to go back and check out more of northern Arizona. Cave Creek is a great town to stay in. Luckily for us, it wasn't too hot this past week. Brandon was happy to see lots of lightning. We spent most evenings, just sitting on the front porch watching the lightning.

Now it is back to the real world & back to work. It is always depressing to return from vacation. At least Mike & I get to go away for 3 days in a week and a half for my 50th birthday. So I have something to look forward to (besides getting old).

Enjoy the photos & let us know what you did fun this summer.


Click to play Vacation to Arizona 2008

There are a lot of photos. Enjoy!

Click to play Arizona vacation photos
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Well I hope you enjoyed my family flashback for this week. You can have a lots more fun on vacation when you have money!!! On Monday I will continue with this years trip to Arizona.

If anyone else in the family wants to post old photos and/or stories or posts for Friday Family Flashback, you are more than welcome to join in.


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