17 March, 2009

Deer Valley Airport

Later, on the way back to the hotel, we popped into Deer valley airport, close to here Mike is working, because this area is swarming in small planes, not many helicopters. This airport is home to 900 small, mostly privately owned, aircraft.
They also had a restaurant there and so we had an early dinner- Sunday night roasts on the menu along with the usual bowl of thick soup and enough bread for 6 people! These people can eat!! Then they have these amazing looking desserts that look so appealing when we arrive, but have yet to sample.
Lloyd, John Travolta was in town. You will recognise his private plane - big one with the red Qantas tail!

The Battle!

Yesterday, we went back to Pioneer Village (where we went last weekend) because they had a re-enactment of civil war battles. Quite cool really. Mike loved it! And it was his birthday! They had replica clothing, guns and cannons and an overnight camp set up. The noise echoing in the hills from the cannons was deafening! It was interesting talking to the cannon owners and "soldiers "and learning some of the history, but, boy do these guys love sharing their history!!!

Grand Canyon! So Grand!!

We arrived at the Canyon about 10 o’clock. We were driving along and suddenly got a glimpse through some trees. Wow! It just about takes your breath away. Suddenly, there are all these mountains, except that they are in a canyon below you! and go as far as you can see. We parked and walked around the tracks, which are only a few metres (and sometimes less than a metre) from the edge. Most of the track is unfenced! You would not take young children there, unless like one young couple who had them on a string! My stomach still turns when I think of looking down. I don’t think I could ever go on that glass walkway they have on the East side (5 hours driving away!)
The views, the whole thing, is totally awe inspiring! So majestical!
We took lots of photos, but when you look at them they don’t show what it is really like, as the mountains blend into one another and there is no concept of the depth -7-8000 ft! We took one photo of a helicopter going down and then landed, but in the photo we cant see the helicopter or the buildings, and in the photo, the bottom looks close.
Anyway we walked for about 3 hours and then caught the shuttlebus back to our car park.
We stopped for a late lunch snack- pecan pie and coffee- and headed south.

Someone had said we need to go to a little place called Jerome. It is an old mining town on the side of a hill that has become very trendy. The winding road up really tested my left-hand driving skills and my knuckles were white from clenching the steering wheel by the time we got there! But it was worth it. So cool! Cute little shops, bars and restaurants. We would loved to have stayed for a little shopping and dinner, but I didn’t fancy driving back down that hill in the dark and then navigating back to the main freeway, esp when I was getting tired! All in all, a good decision because it was dark most of the 2 hour drive home and the freeway was so busy! Cars and trucks scooting past beetle at 140km/hr can be a little intimidating in the dark!!

Beautiful Sedona

Well, so much to tell ! We have done so much in the last 3 days, but I’ll simplify, simplify!
Friday we arrived in Sedona, a beautiful very touristy town, at about 11am and were lucky enough to get onto a Pink Jeep Tour as someone had just cancelled! Now, these jeeps are PINK! We hadn’t counted on it being quite as cold as it was and had to rush into the “Pink Jeep” souvenir shop and buy something warm to wear. Bugger!! Anyway, looking the part for the tour we took off into the rugged red rocks of Sedona for a fascinating and at times, hair-raising trip. The red rocks are stunning and we had a wonderfully knowledgeable, witty guide. Our first absolute highlight! I’ve attached 2 of the 102 photos that I took!!

After lunch (at 2.30) and a look around some shops and a replica Mexican village full of boutique shops, with very boutique prices!, we moved on to Flagstaff, about an hour closer to the Canyon, where we had booked a hotel. Unfortunately, no-one had mentioned to us that a lot of the ground in Flagstaff is covered in snow and it could be an idea to take more than ¾ trou and sandals. By the end of the night walking home from a restaurant my toes were nearly as pink as the jeep! It was 2 degrees when we left next morning and beetle was covered in ice!
Forgot to mention, I was getting tired part way there and let Mike drive. OMG, I was so scared and he took a wrong turn which put us back on the freeway and we had to go a few more miles to get back off and backtrack! Of course he blamed my directions!!!!! Consequently, I drove for the rest of the weekend!

We finally got to the Botannical gardens and the Chihuly glass exhibition.Wow! Wow! Wow! Just amazing!! The exhibits were all thro the garden, (mostly cactus, of course!) and were truly beautiful. They were all the work of Dale Chihuly, who has his innovative glass sculptures in museums worldwide, but this is his first in a desert garden (spiel from the pamphlet!) I have attached only a sample, there were so many. We took so many photos both our cameras went flat! How he ever put these together is mind boggling. The shear weight of the structures and being glass! We wondered how they ever managed to transport them even!

13 March, 2009


Something that is quite facsinating in Phoenix -all the houses are built of varying shades of brown and blend in with he landscape. This photo is of a new development but is typical. And the roads go forever! But dont ever think Phoenix doesnt have peak hour traffic. Check out the photo Mike took while I had my hands locked on the steering wheel, hoping I was in the right lane to get out of there!!

I went back!

So I had a couple of hours to spare so I zipped back to get photos of "crafter's
heaven"! After another half hour inside, taking photos of course, I came out and another little red beetle had parked next to mine. So cute!

12 March, 2009

Found-Crafters heaven!

A couple of days ago Beetle and I bravely ventured out with Tomtom (the GPS) all on our own and found crafters heaven! This was a little shopping place, only 12 shops in all, but..... amongst the 12- a quilt shop, a coffee shop, a scrapbooking shop and a wine shop! What more could a girl want?
The quilt shop was very olde worlde, just beautiful-lots of Amy Butler stuff. The coffee was OK ( We have such good coffee in NZ!).
The scrap shop, The Mad Scrappers was so cool! It was set out in subjects, rather than product brands. I really liked it! If you were looking for ideas for, say, teenage boys or travel, neat stuff was all together. Needless to say, the visa took a hammering! I took my camera out to take some photos, but the battery was still in the charger back at the hotel. Bummer! I might have to go back - just to get photos, of course!
Finally, I couldnt head for home, in the hot Arizona sun!, without checking out the wine shop! They even had a couple of NZ wines, but I thought I should try local ones.
My favourite shopping place, so far!!

10 March, 2009

The Bettle!

Saturday – Time to rent a car! Very scary! I was so scared of driving it, but we went around the same block half a doz times, then got the courage to hit the 4 lane road, 1km back to the hotel.
Check it out in the photo! A bettle! It must be the smallest car on the road. Some of utes are so big! One drove in front of me, bumper to bumper, at the gas (not petrol) station and I was looking straight at its grill!
Anyway we decided to be very brave and drive up the Freeway to a Pioneer Ranch for a dinner and entertainment that we were given tickets to. We had a great evening. The village was cool and we met some neat people, mostly dressed in cowboy outfits. The entertainment was great, a country and western band, a Native Indian dancer, American wrestling,hay wagon ride, an incredible magician and the most amazing guy riding a buffalo and doing tricks. Mike had a go at lassoing and we had a gun fight ( quick draw!). By the way, I have been doing all the driving and Mike and the Tomtom give me directions!

Today we wanted to go to the Botannical gardens, but after driving 40mins on the bravest of freeways ( some 8 lanes wide)and city roads we got there, joined a queue (in the car) only to find out there was a special show on for ticket holders only. So we went next door (after driving around the block and having a couple of scary car moments) to the zoo. So we enjoyed an afternoon along with the other 60,000 people there! We might try and go to the gardens later in the week because the special show of glass sculptures looks amazing.

Phoenix, Arizona!!

We arrived Wed avo (Phoenix time), took one look at the maze of roads out of the huge airport, and decided against hiring a car for a couple of days. Phew! Mike was so for hiring a car at the airport! Anyway we got a shuttle van (an amazing service) and got to see a bit of the fascinating landscape.

We are of course, basking in glorious sunshine, cloudless blue skies and wind – what’s that?!! They don’t have wind, only breezes, which is why all their trees ( and cacti) are standing so straight! I must confess, tho’ that their cloudless evenings outside are a tad on the cool side.
We had dinner the next 2 nights at the hotel sitting outside in the courtyard with a large gas fireplace – very pleasant.

Talking about landscape- they love to shape their bushes. Walking around the area where we are staying (Deer Valley) the buildings, hotels shopping malls, apartment blocks, homes, are all varying shades of brown and lots of shaped bushes, unless it is a cactus or yukka type. Notice from the photos how flat it is, but with random hills which pop up on the horizon.

Thursday, Mike caught a taxi to work and I hiked MILES to a shopping centre (that was just around the corner and at the end of the next street!). When I got there the place was so huge you could hardly see the other side of the carpark and the thought of walking another half mile to get to other side wasn’t very appealing. So I bought a pair of more comfortable shoes, went to Wal-mart and bought a bottle of water and wandered home again. A 3- hour adventure!

Friday, I went in Mikes taxi to another even larger shopping centre, Desert Ridge, which amongst all the fashion shops, cafes etc had a large craft store. Jo-Ann's! This store is about the size of the Warehouse and all craft! After 6hours and a few heavy bags later I caught a taxi home.
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