I love vacations! Unfortunately, I just can’t afford to take proper vacations often, maybe once every two years. So typically we take little day or weekend trips to nearby cities and visit gardens, parks, zoos, museums, etc. I love the little time away to refresh my mind and take a break. It can be as simple as an hour lunch break in the park to give my mind a vacation from the office. Those of you who have known me for a while know my favorite place to relax during work is a little spot under a tulip tree less than 100 feet from my office door, but it’s quiet and relaxing, best of all no one bothers me there. On those beautiful summer days I just need a break.
My husband and I recently took a trip out west to visit a friend of mine that lives in Arizona. We had to coordinate our travel around his spring break so it made the cost of flying too expensive. We opted to rent a car and drive the 1,700 miles (one way) to Prescott, Arizona. We had a blast (well other than we couldn’t get out of Oklahoma or the hat of Texas fast enough). It was amazing how fast the scenery changed to high desert from the plains land of the Midwest and Texas. I was in love when we hit New Mexico. I loved all the mesas and high desert plants. I (the road warrior) actually let my husband drive so I could stare out the window like a child.
We trekked around New Mexico for a day and unfortunately didn’t get to see too much (we only had 10 days to explore everything). Though the highlight of New Mexico (for me) was spending the day in Chaco Canyon. Looking and exploring / hiking though all those old ruins was like a trip back in time. It really helped get the creative juices flowing. I remembered as a child I had always wanted to be an archeologist, but discovered as I grew up there wasn’t much of a living to be made. It’s really a shame how money dissuades our passions (that might be another post in the future). We then drove up to Four Corners and back down to Prescott.
My first impression of Arizona wasn’t favorable. I wanted to go back to New Mexico and look at the mesas. But once we got to the Flagstaff / Sedona / Prescott area I feel in love. The mountainous terrain, the rocky soil, and the cacti! How could I not love it? The first full day we were there we drove up to the Grand Canyon. I had never been and words just can not describe the awesomeness (true definition) of the view. I never realized how massive it was and beautiful. The color striations and the formations of the rock were just amazing. When we go back, I want to hike and spend a lot more time there, perhaps even take a burrow ride through the canyon.
The next day we went to Phoenix just to play and do some shopping. On the way I got to see some gigantic saguaro cactus. It was fantastic to see things I had only seen in photos and paintings. We ended up going to a desert botanical garden near the airport. I could have spent days there. If I lived in the Phoenix area I would have an annual pass, no questions asked. The scents were phenomenal. I enjoyed walking around seeing beautiful plants and even watching the wildlife run around. I mean there were wild quail just running around everywhere and lots of hummingbirds (breeds I haven’t seen before). I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t get to see a roadrunner (so I’ve watched too much Looney Tunes), but all in all it was another fantastic day.
One our last day in Arizona we drove out of Prescott the scenic route, up Mingus Mountain, through Jerome, Cotton Wood and into Sedona. I had seen pictures of Sedona before and I just didn’t understand the big draw to the area, but once we drove through town I understood. It was like living in the middle of your own mini Grand Canyon. We then drove through Monument Valley, saw the Mexican Hat and into Cortez, Colorado. The next morning we stopped in a Mesa Verde and explored the cliff dwellings. All in all another fantastic day.
So far, this has been my favorite vacation we have taken and I would love to go back and do some other things we missed due to time restraints. But the best part was after being away for a little over a week, I was recharged and ready to write some more. Because sometimes your body and brain just need a break from the ordinary.