Joni's Journal


Observations and

musings from the

keyboard of Joni

Kingman, AZ to Scottsdale, AZ

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Southern Route / New Orleans, LA to Santa Fe, NM
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DATE:


May 2nd

LOCATION:


Kingman, AZ

My Observations:



Friday, May 02 - Las Vegas, NV to Kingman

After checking out of Billís Gamblin Saloon, we took the Monorail to the end of the strip to the Hilton because Fred wanted to check out the Star Trek exhibit. Unfortunately it does not open until 12. Fred was royally bummed. We walked back to our car stopping at the food court to enjoy a breakfast wrap and our buy 1 get 1 free Ben and Jerryís ice cream sundae. They have a waffle cone dipped in chocolate and covered with nuts. I put Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl in it and it was sinfully delicious. After dropping another $5 into our favorite video poker machine, we headed out. I would say we broke even with Vegas or maybe even came out just a tiny bit ahead thanks to the big lucky $50 win.

One of our top Sports Bars was in Henderson, NV at the Sports Book at the Green Valley Casino. It was the nicest sports book we've seen but not sure why it was in the top 25 Sports Bars in the country.

As we were getting gas a guy said it looked like our car tires were a little low. After checking the tires, we discovered they all were wearing and had some spots of thin tread so we ended up getting 4 new tires. One thing we donít want to happen on this trip is a blow-out and even though it hurt $ wise, it is better to be safe than sorry.

This evening is one of the few where we do not have a room reservation. Kingman, pop 23,000, is the only town of any size between Las Vegas and Flagstaff. We found a reasonable Best Western and as I was checking in the clerk asked me if we were in town for the fun run. "If it is a 5K we might consider it", I replied. He laughed and explained that it is a huge car show. The old Route 66 goes right through Kingman.

We ate dinner at a 50ís dinner on Rt 66. Mr. Díz had bright pink booths and vintage decor, just what you would expect on this road. We sat at the counter and had some "diner" food. Yum.


DATE:


May 3rd - 9th

LOCATION:


Sedona, AZ

My Observations:



Saturday, May 3, - Kingman, AZ to Sedona

After breakfast we went to the museum in Kingman and learned some of the history of Route 66 and residents efforts to save this small piece of history. Much of Route 66 from Chicago to LA has been replaced by interstates. In this hurry up modern world, everyone wants to get where they are going fast. But once a year over 800 vintage cars gather and take a leisurely fun drive down Route 66.

Our leisurely drive along Route 66 took us through some tiny towns and all were celebrating the fun run. It was interesting to see the vintage cars and trucks passing us on Route 66. We could almost imagine we were back in the 1950's when these vintage cars were new and motoring down this well travelled highway.

We stopped at Yampai, which was on an Indian Reservation. A young group of the local native tribe were doing a traditional dance. Without Darla there, this time I was smart enough to not join in the dance. There was food and a band playing. We continued on to Seligman stopping every so often to take some pictures and video as we watched the parade of cars go by. The town of Seligman was a step back in time or at least it looked that way. Old motels, a general store, and souvenir shops all with Route 66 signs. I popped out of the sun roof and took a video as we drove through town.

The Black Cat was the only bar in town so we stopped in for a dose of local flavor. We overheard some of the bar patrons talking about a car that beat the 68 and of course I had to butt in to find out if they were talking about drag racing. Indeed they were and it had just happened down the road. I am sorry I missed it. I love motorhead cars. It was a Jag with a V-12 that beat the 68 (camero).

It was time to leave old Route 66 behind and jump on the highway to get to Flagstaff. We had lunch at the Flagstaff Brewery and continued on to Sedona. There is a 16 miles drive through Oak Creek Canyon on the way to Sedona that is one of the prettiest drives around. Winding along switchbacks, the tall green pine trees fill the canyon.

Our home for the next week is the Arroyo Roble in Sedona, AZ and how wonderful it is to be able to unpack and stay in a condo for a week. Being on the road like we have been, spending only 2 or 3 nights in a town, we felt compelled to be tourists and experience everything possible in each town. Since we have been to Sedona before, we can spend some slug time this week although there is golf to play, hiking to do, and micro brews to taste. Another good thing will be that we do not have to be together every single minute. It will be nice to be able to spread out: one can be outside while the other is inside, one of us can be downstairs while the other is upstairs or one can stay in the condo, while the other goes uptown. Not that we don't want to hang with each other but 24/7 for six weeks can be a little much.

The timeshare is huge and although the dťcor is dated everything is in good condition. There are two fireplaces, one in the large master suite, and three decks. The resort is located along Oak Creek; we have already picked out our spot for a future wine and cheese picnic.

At the grocery store, a Safeway I had to join to get the discounts, we stocked up on veggies and fruit for the week. Fred made his veggie soup which we had for supper. A fire was going in the fireplace while we relaxed on the sofa and watched a movie.


Sunday, May 4

In the morning, we ate breakfast at the condo and lazed around reading. I told Fred today was going to be a day for strolling. Usually when we go somewhere, he walks like he is on a mission. So, we strolled to Los Abrigados where we watched a glass blower demonstrate his craft. We strolled back through town, we strolled into a few shops, and we strolled into the Overlook bar for a delicious panini chicken sandwich and beer while we watched the womenís golf match on one TV and the Phillies game on another all the while enjoying an expansive view of the red rocks and a local Oak Creek Canyon brew.

After we strolled back home, Fred made pasta for dinner while I made an assortment of veggies. We watched a movie, again with a fire going and had a lovely evening.


Monday, May 5

In the morning, I got a free chair massage at the resort from Henry. Henry had lived in Sedona many years ago, moved to Phoenix and when his wife dumped him 3 years ago he moved back to Sedona (his words). He was passionate about sports massage and told me that he had worked with Sugar Ray back in 1987 to help him while he trained for a fight. He also provided sports massage at the Atlanta Olympics.

I enjoyed a walk to Uptown Sedona to peruse the shops, find a nail place, mail postcards, stop at the Visitorís Center and do some leisurely shopping while Fred stayed back at the condo working on the computer.

Fred made his awesome eggs for brunch and then around 3ish we finally motivated ourselves to go for a hike. The Soldierís Pass trail was a 4.6 mile out and back with views of forest and red rocks. With only a slight elevation change, it was fairly easy. Many different wildflowers were blooming and it was interesting to see the different cactus.

The best part of the day turned out to be our impromptu drive to Red Rock Crossing. As we were driving down the back road to get to the Park, we saw a coyote walking in the woods beside the road. We quickly pulled over to the side of the road and Fred did manage to get a picture. I love spotting animals in the wild.

At Red Rock Crossing, we hiked along a trail back to a creek. Cathedral Rock is reflected in the water in Oak Creek but to get the perfect shot we had to wade into the water. Fred went first and I was not sure if I wanted to get my shoes wet but after he was out there for 5 minutes, I figured I might miss something so into the creek I went. After the initial shock of the cold water, I waded across to the large rock bed where Fred was taking pictures. The sun was at the perfect angle to reflect a beautiful image of the red rocks into the creek. Two guys were knee deep in the water moving their arms in slow motion doing Tai Chi or something like that in the vortex of Cathedral Rock. As I was standing on the rocks trying to experience the Vortex myself, Fred took a walk into the woods to get some pictures. He got more than he bargained for. As he was walking down the path, three javelinaís (Arizona pigs) were blocking the path. They startled him but he did manage to get a picture. I wish I would have seen them. We walked back across the creek and slogged back to the car in our wet shoes.

We had dinner in the timeshare while watching the Phils play Arizona.


Tuesday, May 6

Fred went looking for milk, a bakery, a mac machine and a paper. He came back empty handed. Tuesday was definitely a super slug day. We had booked a tee time at an executive course for the afternoon but fortunately it rained so we just hung out reading, doing crosswords, and surfing the internet. We did manage to motivate ourselves to do a P90X workout around 5:00. What a great day.


Wednesday May 7

After breakfast in uptown Sedona, we played golf at Canyon Mesa Country Club. It was an executive course, par 56, but in pristine shape. We walked with our clubs but at a leisurely pace. Since there was a foursome in front of us, we had time to observe the stunning scenery of the red rocks all around us. It was a gorgeous day with perfect weather-sunshine and low 70's. We could see Bell Rock (one of the Vortex rocks) from several of the holes and I kept saying that I was feeling the Vortex. I was playing like I had suddenly turned into Anika. No thinking, just a nice easy swing and almost every shot was perfection. Par 3 shots were hitting the green, putts were droping. Talk about being in a zone. I was less than 1 foot from a hole-in-one on number 9. I ended up with a 56-par golf-two bogies-two birdies and all the rest pars. Why canít it always be that easy and perfect.

Since, as Fred kept saying, it was my day, we stopped at the Oak Creek Outlets which were just up the road from the golf course.

Back at the timeshare resort, we had a pleasant lunch down by the creek at the spot we had picked out earlier in the week. After lunch, I decided to sit on a bench facing the creek and read a book. Fred went back to the timeshare but he was locked out so he climbed over the wall of our patio and hung out there reading the newspaper. At the creek there were several swings, an overlook, and various chairs-perfect for sitting, relaxing and listening to the babbling brook. I saw two large but graceful birds land on the rocks and wished that I had the camera.

Somehow we motivated ourselves to do another P90 Workout while watching the Phils. Since the Phils are playing the Diamondbacks of Arizona in a four game series, all the games are on TV so we have been able to get our Phillies fix.


Thursday, May 8

When in Sedona, hiking is one of the best activities and you can't beat the price. No cost (except maybe some aches and pains) to get out there and enjoy nature. There are so many trails. This morning we hiked Wilson Canyon. By the time we got ourselves motivated, we only had 1 hour (since I had a pedicure scheduled-important stuff) so we did not hike the entire trail. Part of this trail reminded me somewhat of hiking at home as we hiked through forest. There were some slight elevation changes with rocks but only drips of water flowing down over the rocks. We were surprised that there was not more water coming down from the mountains. All in all, a pleasant hike. We were mostly alone.

Fred caught the beginning of the Phils game. Only the beginning since Myers turned in another stellar performance (NOT)

Our golf at Sedona Country Club was an interesting experience. We had the first twilight tee time saving $30.00 per person and were paired with Ashley and Mike a young couple (mid 20ís) from Virginia. They warned us they were beginners and we said no worries, we are just here to have fun. The starter told us that we had to set the pace for the twilighters behind us since we were the first group out. Fred and I were a little concerned after the 2nd hole when the group in front of us disappeared and the group behind us was waiting. We wanted Ashley and Mike to have fun but we needed to keep moving and were trying to figure out how to suggest they play a scramble especially after another one of their balls shot off to the right into the scrub. Fortunately they decided to start picking up after the 5th or 6th shot and play from the other personís ball. Ashley was funny on the greens. She announced that she was a slammer and that was the only way she knew how to hit it. We did have fun.

Just as I predicted in my journal in 1999, Sedona Country Club is surrounded by houses. There are still gorgeous views of the Red Rocks especially Hole #10 but now many of the views are marred by condos and houses. I guess you canít stop progress-everyone wants to live on a golf course and the golf course developers want the big dollars houses bring in.

Fred told Ashely and Mike he would buy a drink after the round since they had given him a beer during the round. The waitress brought out Ashleyís drink Ė a martini with no less than 10 olives in it. Ashley loves olives and asked for as many as could fit in the glass. The bartender gave her a bigger glass just to fit in more olives.

Over dinner at the Cowboy Club, we found out that Ashley (a commercial realtor in the family business) and Mike (a 1st year law student) come from similar backgrounds. They seem perfect for each other. The company was enjoyable but unfortunately Fredís burger was dry and my ribs were just ok.


Friday May 9th

Wildflower Bread Company Ė doesnít that sound like an environmentally friendly establishment? I have to say my Brie and Ham Fritatta with baked apples and leeks was delicious but I was disappointed that they double cup the coffee. Everyone that was drinking coffee had two cups. What a waste of resources. They have real plates, why not real mugs?

We were ahead of schedule, finished with breakfast and on the road by 8:15 for our Behind the Scenes tour of Out of Africa Wildlife Park. Prererie and Dean, the owners of the park conducted our tour of 7 people. It was obvious this couple is passionate about what they do here.

The Serengeti sectioin of the park has no individual cages so the giraffe, zebras, ostrich, camel, and antelope hung out together. We were riding in an open air vehicle and the first awesome thing we got to do was feed Kiki the giraffe. She came up to our vehicle and took biscuits-right from our mouths. When we fed the Zebras we had to throw the biscuits in their mouth. They have big teeth. One of the Zebraís was pregnant-due any day with her 70 pound baby. Imagine that!

After the Serengeti, we got into a trolley where 7 other people were waiting. At first it sounded neat to hear they were a camera club but when we got out of the trolley to see the lions, tigers, and bears, oh my, the camera club crowded to the front and click, click, click. They must have each taken 1,000 pictures and were just a little bit annoying.

The lion pride, the bear cubs, the tigers and the jaguar are all beautiful beyond words. It was much better than a zoo because the animals were in their natural habitat. We also saw many of the animals being fed treats by the owners who cared for all the animals as if they were their children. I was able to feed a piece of raw meat to one of the tigers. (Through the fence of course!).

The two tiger cubs they had in residence were adorable and endearing. Their trainers, two young men, frolicked with the tiger cubs as if they were playful kittens. Fred and I wanted to get in the cage to play with the baby tigers ourselves but alas that was not part of the tour.

Boom-Boom, the most recent acquisition was their pride and joy. Boom-Boom had lived on an animal preserve on the east coast and the for some reason the guy had to sell all his animals at auction. The ownerís of a Big Game Preserve bought Boom-Boom and were planning to use her on a hunt where her head would eventually be mounted and hanging in someoneís basement. The guy who owes the rhino clothing line heard about this, bought her for twice as much as the Big Game Preserve paid for her, and gave her to Out of Africa. Now she lives in the lap of luxury for a Rhino and has her very own mud hole.

During lunch, Deana one of the handlers brought a baby porcupine out for us to see and pet. Well you donít actually pet a porcupine but we did get to touch her. Deanna also showed us a Boa Constrictor that we could touch, which I did, and hold, which I did not.

After lunch we watched the Tiger Splash show. Two grown tigers played with the trainers chasing toys and jumping into the pool. Dean said they do not train the animals here-the animals just play and mimic natural behaviors.

Over lunch, we met an interesting couple Laurie and Jim from Surprise, AZ. They have a pet photo business. They moved from Seattle to Arizona practically on a whim but love it. I had Laurie say their website on my recorder so we can contact them. Trouble is I canít quite understand it. Pawfpetphoto.com???

We had planned to re-hike Cathedral Rock this week and were being wishy washy about it on the way back into Sedona. We wanted to do it because the view from the top is stunning but were feeling lazy and did not want to expend the energy we knew it would take to do the hike. We decided to stop and hike with the caveat that if we wanted to turn around part way we could. Of course we didnít turn around and we hiked the whole way to the top. This is an awesome hike that was just as hard as we remembered but worth every step when you finally reach the saddle and feel like you are on top of the world.

Up on top, I hugged Cathedral rock trying to draw some of the Vortex out. I wanted Fred to do it too but instead he found a crevice to back up into. He said the rock was hugging him. We stayed up on top for a short time enjoying the views and the approaching sunset but the winds were strong and knocking us around so we headed down. On our way up, while crawling up the rocks, sometimes on all fours, huffing and puffing along the way, you certainly think you will never be able to get back down. It isn't always easy to see where the trail is. But , just like last time, we made it with no mishaps.

After the hike we certainly deserved the sampler at the Oak Creek Canyon Brewing Company along with one of the best soft pretzels Fred has ever eaten. Cooked in a wood-fired oven, they were served with a scrumptious cheese dip.

Dinner Ė panini again at the Overlook Bar. We were sitting on the patio looking out over the red rock mountains as dusk settled in. We did not have the camera so Fred went down to our condo to get it which was good of him since the trip back up is no easy feat.



DATE:


May 10th - 16th

LOCATION:


Scottsdale, AZ

My Observations:



Saturday May 10, 2008 Sedona, AZ to Scottsdale, AZ

I finally saw some javelinas. As we were packing the car, they went running through the parking lot and into a field. Three big ones with a teeny tiny baby trailing along. They are so ugly, they are cute.

We had one last breakfast on our patio before packing up and heading out. As is our habit with breakfast, we enjoyed it thouroughly. Sedona is one of my favorite places in the country. I am sad to be leaving the beauty and serenity of this town but am excited to be meeting our friends in Scottsdale.

Jerome, a former mining town built on the side of a hill, looks like it could go sliding off down the hill at any moment. Since they are located on a fault line, I guess that could happen some day. We went to the museum, learned about the history of Jerome which at one point in time was labeled as the most sinful town in the US. At it's peak in the 1930's the town's population was over 15 thousand. It has since dropped to 500 but the town is adorable with appealing shops and restaurants on the switchback streets.

It was a scenic and winding drive over the mountain to Prescott. I wanted to explore Prescott since my friend Carol's maiden name was Prescott. Are the Lancaster Prescott's related to the Arizona Prescott's? The town was a hub of activity. We finally found a parking space and started hurrying toward lunch. Some guy yelled at us and we realized he was telling us our car door was open. Duh. In my haste to apply sunscreen, grab water, grab the camera, and get to lunch, I had left my front car door wide open. That would have been sweet pickings for a thief as all our worldy belongings for 4 months were in the open car.

Downtown Prescott was a hub of activity with all kinds of people enjoying an arts festival that ws in full swing at the park in the middle of town. All the restaurants were full but we were able to split a beer at the oldest bar in Arizona. The Palace was downstairs in what was once a hotel, had swinging doors just like you see in the movies in the old saloons and we could imagine what it looked like long ago.

We had lunch at the Prescott Brewing Company where we split the beer sampler and a great hamburger.

We finally arrived at the timeshare in Scottsdale and were greeted by Jamie and Barry. How wonderful to see friendly smiling faces and know we are going to spending the week in the company of good friends. What a fantastic place. The Finks even have a seperate little lockout with their own kitchen and bathroom. The grounds are also beautiful with two tennis courts and two pools.

After upacking, we went to the grocery store to stock up on food. Our timeshare is set up perfectly for two couples. It is a 2BR lockout so it is like we each have our own apartment. Of course, the first thing Jamie did is come over and lay claim to our couch.


Sunday, May 11, 2008 Scottsdale, AZ

After breakfast at the condo, we did the number one thing on Jamieís list. We went to open houses. In the real estate guide, we saw great deals at McCartney Ranch in Casa Grande (plus the guy from Page gave us an inside scoop that values were depressed there). Our first stop was to take Barry and Jamieís rental car back and then we headed down to Casa Grande looking for McCartney Ranch. When we got to the sales office about 10 minutes early, a large truck was parked outside but the door was locked so we drove around downtown Casa Grande. It was less than impressive but the gas was 15 cents cheaper than Scottsdale so I figured the cost of living here might be lower. At the one bar we could see, there was a large bellied man standing outside at the front door and we joked that he was waiting for it to open.

When we got back to the open house, the realtor had the door unlocked. We were looking at the 9 models available in the neighborhood and I asked him "why do people live here?" He said "because they like Casa Grande." I said, "But WHY do they like it here." He said, "Because they do." Great answer. We thought he was a pompous pompadour. We walked through the model homes and they were all professionally decorated and beautiful. Several of them had open floor plans. We couldnít figure out the price sheet so we sent Jamie back to ask the PP. He made her feel stupid when he took the sheet form her and said, "Itís right here." Every house we went in was Jamieís favorite. She loves the southwest look and these model homes were decorated beautifully. The values were unbelievable. A $320,000 brand new "inventory" home had a sales price of $199,000.

We tried to take the most direct route to Johnson Ranch, the next housing community we were going to look at. We passed 50,000 homes and 1,000 signs pointing us to Centex Homes. Every sign we saw said Centex Homes-Straight ahead. It got to be a joke. When we finally arrived, the agent was not there but the model homes were open. We didnít like these homes as much because the floor plan was not as open as the homes at McCartney Ranch.

We had a delicious lunch (except for Fredís chicken) at the golf course club house at Johnson Ranch while watching the end of The Players Championship.

On the way back to Scottsdale we stopped at Majerles, #11 on the Top Sports Bar list. We could not figure out why it was that far up on the list. All the employees were young 20 somethingís more interested in talking among themselves than waiting on their customers. The bar does have location, location, location. It is blocks from the ballpark and basketball arena. Since it was a Sunday afternoon and there were no sporting events going on, the streets were empty.

Happy Motherís Day, Mom.

After stopping at Sports Authority to stock up on golf balls for our 36 holes tomorrow, we had dinner at Gordon Biersch. Jamie had the best salad of her life and mini burgers to die for. Fred and I had the beer sampler which gave me 7 more beers to add to my list.


Monday, May 12, 2008 Scottsdale, AZ

After getting up at 6 and having breakfast at the timeshare, of which my highlight was coffee made by Barry and served with love (he and Jamie had been up for two hours by the time Fred and I drug our sorry butts out of bed), we headed to WeKoPa to golf 36 holes. We were all planning to walk the first 18 holes (yes even Jamie) and then we found out the Cholla course is riding only and cart path only. We were not happy about the cart path only until we realized that keeping carts off the fairways made them beautiful. Every fairway was perfection. It was like playing on a carpet. Even the rough had very few imperfections. Because the course is on an Indian reservation there are no houses. The desert landscaping seemed completely natural. It was more beautiful than we remember from our last trip. Jamie and I were aahing all day over the bunny rabbits especially the babies. They were everywhere and so cute.

We had lunch on the patio at the clubhouse before heading out for our second 18 holes on the Saquaro course. The Saguaro course was built for walking. If anything, the course was in better shape because of less cart traffic. Jamie and Barry walked the 1st nine and took a cart the second nine. Fred and I walked all 18. What were we thinking? We were tired, tired, tired by the time we finished. We Ko Pa is definitely on our top 10 golf list. The course was in pristine shape and the holes are cut such that we could see no other golfers. We felt like we were on our own personal courses.

After the round, we went back to the timeshare for our own personal happy hour. Barry was hurting so he and Jamie headed down to the hot tub. Fred, sitting on the deck of our third floor condo, heard Barry moaning and sighing as he sank into the hot tub. Later Jamie told us that some guy asked them what was going on over there. He must have heard Barry also.

After rejuvenating ourselves, we headed out to Four Peaks Brewing for dinner. We sat on the covered patio and were entertained by our personable waitress. She was the second oldest of 10 children, had just graduated from college and was planning to spend the summer with her family at their lakeside cottage in North Dakota.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008 Phoenix, AZ

We hung out in the morning at the condo and I am getting spoiled by Barryís coffee made with love. We were talking about the camera club people that were at Out of Africa. Jamie said I bet it was interesting to talk to them about their photos. I said not really they didnít talk much to us. She said "oh did they keep to themselves. Were they clickish?" And then started to laugh quite amused at her wit. As a matter of fact, they were clickish!

Jamie and Barry went to the store to get a few things while Fred and I stayed at the condo and caught up on our bills. Late morning, Fred and I went to play tennis. Not long after, Barry and Jamie came to sit at the pool and watch us play tennis. Barry promptly fell asleep in the sun. I lost as usual but it was a good work-out.

Fred and I decided to check out the fitness center and Jamie came along with us. Fred and I grabbed some free weights and started lifting. Jamie looked around and said "I donít feel comfortable here. I am going to get Barry and we will meet you at the condo for lunch." Ok Jamie Ė you are on vacation after all.

For lunch Barry cooked us bratwurst and Italian sausage outside on the grill. We sat under the gazebo and enjoyed the great weather. This is something we can all do together Ė EAT!

Jamie and Barry are taking a nap (at least that is what they said) while I am catching up on the journal. As a matter of fact, Fred is napping too. ZZZZZZ.

When Jamie finally got out of bed, I asked her to give me some help with my journal. She said if she was guest journalist she would say that Vacations are supposed to be relaxing but this week is the clash between the active Haucks and the sleeping Finks. The Haucks spent the day by playing two rounds of tennis, three games of shooting hops, and going for a run while the Finks took three naps.

Happy Hour at 6, Dinner prepared by Barry at 7. Yumm. Awesome spaghetti with pepperoni, sausage, and hamburger although there was a dispute as to whoís recipe it was. Fred and I didnít care because it was delicious. The Haucks were supposed to make the salad and vegetables but forgot so it was 2 servings of spaghetti.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008 Scottsdale, AZ

The Finks wake up at 4 am so by the time we left for downtown Scottsdale at 10, (after I had my coffee made with love) they already had a half day of activity in. I use the word activity loosely Ė for them it was a walk to the reception center and sitting by the pool watching water aerobics where Barry took a nap.

In downtown Scottsdale, we were planning to walk around and explore the town, but after passing the Salty Senorita on the way to the Post Office, we decided that the Salty Senorita was the place to hang out. Barry and I enjoyed Cadillac Margaritas while Barry and the "ring through his lip" bartender discussed the merits of various tequilas. Because the bartender bonded with Barry, he gave us a free shot of Don Julio 1942 tequila. I had a sip and thought it burned the whole way down.

We were feeling good by the time we got to Troon North to tee off on the Monument Course. The course was scenic and fair unless you got off the fairway, then you were in the dessert and good luck finding your ball. The course was surrounded by beautiful homes but they were not intrusive on the golfing experience. Jamie, in particular, loved browsing these homes because her dream home was always in the southwest style of architecture.

The weather was perfect-85 degrees, no humidity, and fair skies. Even though Troon is one of the more well known courses in this area, it was uncrowded so we did not have to hurry, which was good considering the greens had been recently aerated and were super slow. We enjoyed Troon North Monument Course and, for a nice and welcome change, all played well.

We had dinner at Foxís Sports Bar sitting on the patio. Fred had pizza and decided the best pizza in Scottsdale is not here but at Gordon Biersch. Barry had a shrimp appetizer that he shared with me (he offered-I did not ask). I had the salmon dinner that included garlic mashed potatoes. I was feeling just right until Jamie ordered cheesecake and insisted that I help her eat it. I think she had two bites, Barry had one bite, Fred had a nibble, and I had the rest.

When we got back to the timeshare we watched the movie Michael Clayton. Well at least three of us did. Jamie fell asleep.


Thursday, May 15, 2008 Scottsdale, AZ

We have eaten breakfast in the condo all week. I canít complain because each day I got coffee made with love from Barry. Jamie had been craving (lusting) for blueberry pancakes and found out that The Good Egg was the place to go for breakfast. Indeed it was. Everything was delicious. There is nothing like a well made breakfast. Yumm! After breakfast, we had an hour back at the condo which is "just enought time for a nap" Jamie said with a laugh.

Boulderís Golf club is aptly named as there are many holes with piles of boulders either behind the tee or behind the green. These large rocks are like nothing else we have ever seen on a golf course. Some are the size of houses perched so that they look like they will fall any minute. The greens on the front nine were also aerated which is not fun. On the back nine they were not and it took us a while to keep from putting way past the hole. What a difference. Again the weather was under 90 degrees and perfect. Top top off the day, we saw three coyotes walk across the course behind us on hole 17.

After golf we went to Charleston and had a drink at the bar. The guy next to us started talking and appeared to be thrilled to find out we were from PA. He grew up in Hagerstown, Md and claimed that he played LCC many times. However, we doubted his claim since he said LANcaster. He said he has played 1,499 golf courses and rates courses for Golf Week. The more Jamie chatted with him the more we realized that he thought quite a lot of himself.

We returned to Gordon Biersch for dinner. Jamie and Fred love the sliders. Julia, our server, had an accent and after asking a few questions, Fred guessed correctly that she was from Czechoslovakia. We peppered her with questions and she filled us in on how she came to the USA as a nanny which is ironic because she does not like kids. She married, moved to Phoenix, got divorced, and is now waiting to get her citizenship. We all enjoyed talking with her.

Jamie drove us back to the timeshare and the Finkís promptly fell asleep.


Friday, May 16, 2008 Scottsdale, AZ

Out the door and on the road by 6 to take the Finks to the airport for their flight to Mexico. We will miss you guys. It was a fun week with lots of laughs and stories. "Iíll tell you tomorrow."

Fred and I went to hike Camelback Mountain. We thought we knew what we were getting ourselves into and figured we would be up and down the mountain and at breakfast before Jamie and Barry took off on their flight. We were so wrong. Jamie, it is good we did not talk you into taking this hike with us this week. It was brutal. Several times we lost the trail and one time ended up hugging the side of a cliff trying to avoid being jabbed by cactus as we inched along. At that point, I was scared. We were too stubborn to turn around and were determined to make it to the top which we finally did an hour and a half later. We could see the ballpark in Phoenix downtown and all of Scottsdale. After enjoying the views from the top, we found it easier to keep on the trail on the way down although it was not easier on our knees.

We deserved our breakfast at The Good Egg and enjoyed every bite. Jamie we had a blueberry pancake in honor of you and it was just as good as yesterday. We had an interesting pair sitting at the table next to us. He was on the phone talking to one of his buddies and she butts in and says, "Jeffrey, tell him the truth, you were drunk and that is why we left." I was starting to feel sorry for him because she kept harping at him. However, that quickly diminished when Jeffrey called the waitress over to yell at her because she ignored him when he sat down and waited on another larger table because she saw a larger tip there. Blah, blah, blah. He went on and on. The waitress started to apologize and he said oh you always have excuses, I donít want to hear any excuses. And I plan to let the manager know. Then, his girlfriend starting yelling at him for being rude and we got up and left. On the way out, we told the manager what had happened and the manager said bring it on, Iíll be ready for him. I donít know if I have ever seen anyone act so rude.

Fred and I felt lonely back at the timeshare without our roomies. I know you guys are having fun in Mexico. Have a magarita or three for me. After our hike from the morning, we did not have much energy to do anything. We hung out the rest of the day doing laundry, crossword puzzles, and Fred got caught up on the pictures. I did manage to motivate myself enough to spend 15 minutes at the gym.


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