March 20, 2003

Saturday, March 8, 2003 Earl and I are on our w…

Saturday, March 8, 2003

Earl and I are on our way to Phoenix. I am currently sitting at Albany Airport.

We ended up having a nice flight. I thought the movie was an odd selection – it was “Spy Kids 2”. On the way back it’s suppose to be Barbershop, I’ll probably buy the headphones for that.

We got into our hotel around 9:30 p.m. Mountain Time. Phoenix is beautiful! Even at night. Fairly warm – 70 degrees when we landed. A decided difference from the 20-degrees we left back in Upstate N.Y.!

Earl wasn’t feeling well (he’d been feeling a little sick to his stomach all day), so we decided to order room service. We are staying at the Embassy Suites Biltmore off of Camelback – and it has an Omaha Steakhouse in it. I had a wonderful steak sandwich, and Earl ate a little bit of a “Nebraska Burger”. I hope he feels better tomorrow.

Sunday, March 9, 2003.

We got up fairly early, 8:30 to be exact. Today is “get acquainted with Phoenix day” so we decided to drive around and see what the area has to offer. We started off with breakfast at the hotel – Embassy Suites does that for free and it’s a full selection, not a limp bagel and a thimbleful of juice. I had fruit and orange juice, Earl had french toast and then we were off. We ended up driving towards Scottsdale on AZ 51 and exiting at Bell Rd. We headed east and it became Frank Lloyd Wright blvd. Our first stop – Taliesin West, the desert “camp” of Frank Lloyd Wright, the famous architect. One word – impressive. Actually, one word doesn’t do it justice as it was awesome, inspiring and beautiful. I absolutely love the “organic architecture”, building structures to be in harmony with their surrounding environment, rather than challenging them. The Sonoma Desert is good with that anyways, as all of the shopping centers, housing developments, etc. seem to blend beautifully with the desert, rather than contrasting with it.

Taliesin West, in typical Wright fashion, was built with thinking outside the box, literally. You’ll rarely find a squared off corner, anywhere. The use of glass and indigenous elements is astounding. If we’re ever rich, I would hope to honor our land with a harmonous structure for a home.

After touring Taliesen West, we headed onto “Loop 101” and stopped at a good-sized shopping center. We needed to pick up a few items from Target (it was actually called ‘Target Greatland’), including some shorts since it’s 85-degrees today. I had also picked up “King of Shaves” clear gel for the trip because it was easier to pack, but the stuff sucks. Major razor burn on my shaved head and not a really close shave at all on my face, plus Earl hated the stuff too, so we picked up a can of Foamy.

After Target we went to In and Out Burger, one of the fast food restaurant chains out here that we had originally experienced in Nevada back in ’01. They do two things – burgers and fries, it’s all fresh, never frozen, microwaved or heat lamped. Very good to eat, but very, very busy. Now we’re back at the hotel for a change of clothes, a quick breather and then we’re off hiking.

O.k., a little later. We’re back from the South Mountain Park in South Phoenix. Kind of cool. We drove up to three different summits and watched the sunset. Did a little bit of hiking while we were up there. It felt good and the sunset was stunning.

Now Earl is changing into long pants and we’re heading out to dinner before calling it a night. I think we’re going to go to “The Cheesecake Factory” which is about a block away. It’s a beautiful night, I’m looking forward to walk. This vacation is off to a beautiful start, I can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds.

Monday, March 10, 2003

Earl and I spent the day in Sedona, Arizona today. We started the morning around 9:00 with another Embassy Suites breakfast buffet, and then headed north on I-17. We gassed up in A___ Way and then headed up tothe ruins at Montezuma Castle. This place was impressive. The Indians built a five-story dwelling for about 35 people in the side of a limestone cliff. And the dwelling is about 75-100 feet above the ground. Awesome. I commented to Earl that it’s amazing what people did without “technology” – is all this man-made, fabricated stuff the way to go?

After Montezuma Castle, we stopped at Sonic for lunch. For those that haven’t been to a Sonic before, it’s “America’s Drive In”. You drive up, order and they bring it out to the car. Growing up, we had a similar restaurant called A&W. Nowadays it seems like A&W is shoved in with KFC and Taco Bell and doesn’t have a drive up in sight. Anyways, it was an excellent lunch.

We then headed up to Sedona and walked around the town a little bit after taking a short drive in Oak Creek Canyon. We climbed to a little over 7,000 feet (in the SUV) before turning back. It was a little startling, but there was snow up there.

After walking around the town we went on a jeep tour with Pink Jeep Tours. We took the sunset Broken Arrow tour. We piled into this bright pink jeep with another family of three and into wilderness we went. I hope to have pictures of the adventure on the photo gallery soon. If you’re ever in the area, we HIGHLY recommend Pink Jeep Tours. The views were breathtaking and the ride was unforgettable.

Afterwards we had a nice dinner at Heartland Café. I enjoyed a vegetarian dish. Then it was a pleasant night drive through the desert the 120 miles or so back to Phoenix.

Sedona is beautiful. Another reason for Earl and I to retire to Arizona someday. Tomorrow, we head south.

Wednesday, March 12

First of all, I didn’t write a blog entry last night simply because we were just too tired!

Earl and I started the day by heading southeast. We drove to Tucson and then headed south on Interstate 19 towards Nogales. Our first stop was the little town of Tubac for a potty break. It’s a quaint little dusty town out in the middle of the desert. Lots of arts and crafts sort of stuff. Then we went onto the Tumacacori Ruins, a church built in the early 1800s. It was sort of surreal.

After touring Tumacacori, we drove down to the border city of Nogales. We parked the car on the United States side and walked over into Mexico. It was both our first time in Mexico. Shopping is the name of the game down there! If you like to barter, go to Nogales. I bought a cheap pair of sunglasses for $8.00 (down from $15), a blanket for $30.00 (down from $35.00) and a cowboy hat for $35.00 (down from $80.00). Earl is better at bartering than I am, as he actually bought the hat and also a hanging planter for some obscenely low amount of money.

I thought getting back across the border would be hard, but all we had to do was show our licenses and what we bought.

After Nogales and lunch at a local cafe, we headed to Sabino Canyon in Tucson, where we hiked about 2 miles until sunset.

After a quick bite to eat at Cracker Barrel in Casa Grande, we headed back to the hotel and called it a night.

Today was our “wild card” day, where we didn’t have any specific plans or destination in mind. We decided to head east and ended up going to a ghost town outside of Apache Junction. We took a tour of a gold mine and did some sight seeing.

After the gold mine, we headed up the Apache Trail (which is mostly dirt) through Tortilla Flats and Apache Lake to Roosevelt Dam. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking! We took a ton of pictures which should be up on the photo gallery soon.

We had a quick lunch at Jack in the Box in Globe and then headed back to Phoenix.

The folks out here seem to be much more in touch with what’s going on around them. They are more in tune with Mother Earth. Something cities on the East Coast seem to forget about with their garish colored buildings and fast, fast attitude.

Tomorrow we head home and then embark on a little weekend getaway to round off our vacation.

Arizona has been beautiful. I can’t wait to return.

Thursday, March 13

Even as I type the date, I can’t believe that it’s March. It’s seemed like July to me. But I guess that’s what Arizona’s weather can do to you.

Earl and I are currently sitting at gate 11 in terminal 2 at Sky Harbor. He’s reading the newspaper, I’m feeling antsy. I love to people watch, but I don’t like waiting for flights. We’re flying on US Airways because of freezing rain in Cleveland. I’m strictly a Continental sort of guy, flying on US Airways will be kind of weird. We’re going through Philadelphia instead. We’ll be in Albany about any hour later than originally planned. I guess I can deal.

US Airways flight 735 from Phoenix to Philadelphia. The pilot just announced that we are somewhere over Missouri. We are experiencing light turbulence. He is leaving the fasten seatbelt light on. The flight attendants made an announcement that everyone should stay in their seat with their seatbelt fastened. So why is everyone jumping around like jumping jacks? Ignorance. Mark my words – one of them stumbles or something and they’ll be suing US Airways. I think suing should be illegal and you get what you are dealt – or what you deserve.

I have decided that if the plane goes down, I am saving Earl and myself – these fools can fend for themselves. Mostg people weren’t even paying attention o the safety demonstration – so they wouldn’t even know how to get out if they had to. I might help the girl sitting to my left, she seems nice enough and I think she’s a vegetarian.

Now there’s a woman holding onto the front door handle for support looking out the window. What the heck. I hope she doesn’t get sucked out the door and take half theplane with her!

The lady in front of me, who’s been up and down more than a whore on

Friday night, has her seat reclined as far back as it will go and she’s leaning forward to talk to her husband. I just headbutt her.

So we have a 1 1/2 hour layover in Philadelphia. I wonder if there’s a Chick-Fil-A in the airport. That would be very nice. 🙂

Earl mentioned something about going to Baltimore for the weekend, but I don’t know if we are going to or not. I doin’t know if the East Coast is getting a nor’easter or not, and if we go anywhere I want to head away from snow, not towards it.

Monday, March 17

Earl and I ended up not traveling anywhere very far this weekend – sort of. Friday we just kind of kicked back and caught our breath, and then decided to head to Albany to see “Bringing Down the House” with Queen Latifah and Steve Martin. Great, great movie.

On Saturday, we took a drive through the Catskills and ended up in Danbury, Connecticut. We went to a local mall, looked around and had dinner and headed home.

On Sunday, we headed up to my dad’s to pick up Tom (our cat). It’s really weird not having him in the house, I’m glad he’s home. Apparently he was the purr-fect gentleman up there.

And then today it was back to work. I approached work with a calm serenity today except for one little explosion. I stopped half way through and said to myself – “It’s not worth it”. My mood was decidedly better after that.