Tuesday, April 09, 2013

I Survived!

We both did actually.  I didn't kill him nor vice versa, though we all know which was the bigger threat.  I made it through my first trip with a someone-I'm-dating. Prior to this, my only trip with a someone was when I came back to Washington to visit family.  That doesn't really count because the stress was about a 1.2 on the Richter scale, not a 7.5.  There wasn't any flying, setting an agenda, navigating, etc. We had all of that plus he met my mom and step dad.

We flew out at before the crack of dawn on Friday.  It was painfully early, and I'm kind of a morning person. The flight to Phoenix was direct and by the time we picked up the rental car it felt like it should have been three in the afternoon when in reality it was 9:30 am. We snagged a quick bite and headed for Flagstaff, where we would stay two nights.  He very wisely suggested a nap and we were both semi-conscious at best by then. El Capitan provided a great pre-nap snack complete with high class beer  . . . a PBR tall boy in a paperbag.

We went to Lowell Observatory that night and saw Jupiter plus four of it's moons.  There is a telescope there that was built about 1906. It was educational and interesting.  The area smelled like the world's best campground, wood smoke and piney.  The staff were all amazingly friendly and knowledgeable. There is a AAA discount and we spend a whopping three plus hours there. I recommend it.

That night we went to Beaver Street Brewery that wasn't far away.  We split a sampler of all eight beers they had on tap, all their own.  A couple were very good, like the Red Rock Raspberry.  A few were disappointing.  My Pesto Cream Cheese bake was stellar though to claim it was unhealthy was an understatement. His chicken soup taste like it had been left out in the woods to get gamey.  ick.
Saturday we went to the Grand Canyon.  I'd never been and was excited to go.  It's a couple hours drive there and we had a stutter start with low tire pressure and snack finding. The weather was good enough but without direct sun the Canyon takes on a strange 2D quality. It looks like all the postcards you've seen.  The closer levels of red rock look 3D and have depth and detail.  The North Rim (we were standing on the South Rim) looks very flat and the edges are fuzzy. The point of focus in the distance isn't really one point but a line.  It's strange but not entirely unappealing.  We spent about six hours walking around, taking in the visitors center and geology museum.  We walked about five miles, walked, sat, snacked, people-watched and really enjoyed the day there.  It was a fantastic day.

I do need to comment on some of the looney toons at national parks.  I understand that National Parks are made for the public, but I don't really like the public.  If I were ever to be ridiculously wealthy I would pay for the privilege to go to some of these sites alone. sort of a "I'll make a huge donation if you close the park for me for half a day" kind of thing. End of March/early April is spring break for some schools and of course lots of folks take their families to the Grand Canyon, but man, why does everyone have children? UGH!! There seemed to be very few well behaved, quiet children.  There were children with whistles, children running around in the walking path of others, etc. We also noted the man who walked out to the edge of the Canyon for photos and the presumed entertainment of his friends.  He was dressed head to toe in Columbia/REI gear which was overkill considering the rims of the Canyon have paths and little trekking. There was a family who had a couple of kids.  They'd gone to the trouble to bring their kids all the way to the Grand Canyon but were "smart" enough to keep one kid in the stroller staring at an ipad so that he didn't get any exercise or enjoy/see/learn from the experience.
 It was nice to see that the US government hasn't caved and put rails and glass on every edge of the Grand Canyon to prevent people from accidentally or intentionally maiming themselves. That said, it did mean that I contemplated throwing a particularly irritating child in to the canyon. I wouldn't but it was a nice thought.
Sunday was Easter.  We found a little place called Bellevia for breakfast.  It was very busy with a high turnover so we didn't wait long.  The Eggs Benedict selection was interesting and different; I had the king crab and jack cheese.  If you need a singular reason to go it's the cafe aloha!! Think mocha but with coconut cream instead of chocolate syrup.  Afterward was a leisurely stroll around town in the sun and some shopping. Sunset crater was our destination for the day.  There were two associated sites there and apparently we missed the third/last/best site.  Other than that, the day was kind of a miss for seeing something interesting and amazing.  The company and weather were good but I got a bit surly and we gave up on the sites.  That evening we headed back in to town to meet up with my mom, stepdad, sister and a couple that are family friends. Dinner at Salsa Brava to wrap up the day before we crashed.

I'll wrap up the trip in Sedona in the next blog post.

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