Today is Laura Walters' birthday.
Frank and I left Strattanville before 2 pm and headed to the airport. We caught a 6:30 pm flight to Phoenix. The flight left on time but since there were strong headwinds, it took longer to get there. The flight lasted almost 5 hours and we were more than ready to depart from the plane when it landed. We are staying at the Westgate Painted Mountain Golf Resort in Mesa for the first four night of our 8 night trip. It was between 9-10 pm when we arrived there to check in. Our place is very, very nice. It seems a little strange that the sun sets so early, around 6 pm; that is because Arizona doesn't use daylight saving time. Though this is Mountain Time, their clocks are the same as the Pacific Time Zone until the first Sunday in November.
After taking an Uber to pick up our rental car in Scottsdale, we headed out to the Salt River. We saw some nice scenery along the river and at Saguaro Lake. We saw quite a variety of cacti and we saw several wild horses. We got back in time for the early bird special the Golden Coral and then we went back to our villa to watch baseball.
We drove from Mesa to a city called Surprise. It took over an hour as we went from the far eastern side of Phoenix to this area northwest of the city. Our destination was Surprise Stadium where we watched an Arizona Fall League game. The AFL is a league that runs six weeks or so in October and November. Each Major League team sends a few players (about 7) who they think may be the stars of the future. The number one prospect in all of baseball is Vladimir Guerrero, Jr who is in the Blue Jays organization. He played the entire game.
Today I saw some of the greatest scenery ever. We drove the Apache Trail that follows state route 88 from Apache Junction to Theodore Roosevelt Lake, through the Superstition Mountains and the Tonto National Forest. It is 40 miles of steep, winding and mostly unpaved road past magnificent scenery of mountains with dense forests of saguaro cacti along with several deep blue lakes. We stopped for lunch at a town called Tortilla Flats (population 6). We ate in The Saloon where I had a good brisket sandwich and Frank had a cowboy burger, we both had a sarsaparilla. The bar stools were horse saddles. People who have visited in past donate a dollar bill and they write on it where they are from. All the walls of the saloon are papered with these dollar bills. The middle part of the trip had sections of the dirt road that would be only wide enough for one car with steep drop offs on the one side. One must keep very alert.
In the morning, I learned the sad news that Jack Callen had died.
We check out of our resort by 10 am. I was sorry to go because I really liked our accommodations, the best I had ever had. We got out of Mesa just in time as President Trump was coming into Mesa and the traffic became a real mess. But by the time he got there we were long up the road. We got to Flagstaff around 2:30 pm. In the evening, we drove the 10 minutes to Lowell Observatory where we listened to a couple of presentations then we looked through the biggest telescope and saw the moon up close.
We drove the hour and a half to the Grand Canyon and spent the day there. The views were unbelievable. The park was really busy.
We left Flagstaff and made the scenic drive down Oak Creek Canyon to Sedona. Our resort is actually in the Village of Oak Creek. It is really nice. We are within a dozen miles of Cornville, where John McCain lived and died. We explored the area in the afternoon.
In the morning, we took the Pink Jeep Tour. It was really good. We followed the Broken Arrow trail and did some real off road driving and saw some remarkable scenery. When the tour was finished, we headed to Phoenix. We turned our car back in and checked into a hotel near the airport.
We flew out of Phoenix at 10:30 am their time and got back to Strattanville about 8:15pm. It is good to get back home but it was a very good trip. We saw a lot and covered a large portion of Arizona. It feels pretty cold here since it was in the 80s when we left Phoenix. We've been gone a lot over the past three months. Looking forward, the only other trip Frank and I have scheduled is a cruise from New Orleans to Mexico in February.
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