January 29 – February 2, 2017, I flew down to Mesa to visit my folks who are down there for six weeks. I scored a decent direct flight on Allegiant and knew this was the only small window where I could make a visit work between job, personal life and home life. I’m so happy I went!
I only had a few days there so we planned a few things carefully and also winged a few. Great balance that way so we didn’t feel rushed.
I flew in later on Sunday and we basically got home and went to bed. Monday we were up and at it to head over to Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale. My Dad dropped us off at the base and he went golfing. Mom and I choose to go on Cholla Trail which is rated difficult and is about 1.5 miles up, gaining a little over 1,200′ elevation. The trail started out easier than I expected but towards the top it got a bit more technical. We were awarded with glorious views on a blue clear day. The weather was perfect this morning, about 60 with a slight breeze. It got windier at the top of course, so having a light long sleeve shirt was welcome.
Some of the views along the way. There is a resort and golf course below the mountain. You can also see gorgeous homes built into the side of nearby mountains. You can tell it was quite sunny. We were worried there might be a lot of people hiking, but it wasn’t bad at all. My Mom’s Bison t-shirt attracted a few comments from fellow hikers!
Yes, we made it to the top. I was very proud of my Mom. I know she struggles a bit with her breathing and I offered a time or two to turn around and she was like NO WAY! Amazing views!!
This is me posing. I am very happy to hike. I have gotten to enjoy it the past couple of years but I do not like the edges or looking over. I get scared. There were all ages and body types hiking. It was inspiring.
As a reward for our hike (I think it took about 2.5-3 hours and we took breaks often), I wanted to go get some fresh juice. We had to walk about another mile and by that time my Dad was done golfing. We ended up at the Juice Core in downtown Scottsdale and Mom and I both got toast and I ordered a fresh juice and she got smoothie. I went with the I.P. Freely that supposedly promotes peeing. It hit the spot.
Later that day, after a shower, I wanted to hit up a little place I read about called Pita Jungle. It is in Dana Park, Mesa. They had happy hour Mon-Fri from 3:30-5:30 where you could get small plates for $1 and $2. I can’t recommend this place enough. Our waitress was fab, drinks were also on special and the food was so fresh tasting. My favorite was the feta plate (large chunks of feta with oil, cucs, tomatoes and seasonings – so salty!!), garlic dip with pitas and the falafal. I really loved it all. Dad got a falafal wrap (to our surprise!), mom got a roasted cauliflower dish (amazing) and I got this massive spicy chicken pita wrap with huge chunks of roasted veggies. The leftovers were also excellent a few days later.
Our other big event was on Tuesday where about 15-16 of us loaded up into two vehicles and drove over to the Waste Management Phoenix Open at the TPC Scottsdale public course, dubbed The Greenest Show on Grass. Supposedly, there is little to no waste, everything is recycled. Someone in our group is a Members Club member or has access to that so we all had $10 tickets to attend on practice day. That included 10 drinks of soda, wine or beer and all the food you want on holes #9, 17 and 18. Before checking out the golf, we went to the exhibits to check out the booths. I didn’t buy anything but saw a few fun things. I have to mention that all my parents friends were so warm and welcoming to me. I knew a few but a few were new – just lovely.
Mom and I wandered around to a few different holes. This is famous #16, a short par 3 where you can see some really fun shots. These guys are so talented!!
You can see we go pretty close to the players. The views were also incredible. The hole on the right was #18 where we spent most of our time. The white thing floating is the Waste Management logo made out of golf balls. We dined on turkey sandwiches, cheese enchiladas and southwest salad. I had my share of water and Miller Lite also.
Later that night after we got back we caught a late taco Tuesday at a nearby eatery close to my folks. I can’t remember the name (too many Miller Lites) but it was on a golf course and good. The sunset is just as we were leaving. I bet they have some good ones in Arizona.
Wednesday was reserved to be a POOL DAY, which was nice considering my beers the night before. Mom and I wanted to relax and swim and we did just that. Here she is in her “happy place” swimming laps in the pool where they rent their park model home. They have lunch available on Wednesday’s so I had this refreshing taco salad and we met a couple from Washington, DC. They asked about the pipeline which is always a frightening question to receive from anyone not from ND!! They were kind though.
Wednesday was also market day. My folks live close to (we walked over) Superstition Market which is like a farmers market/grocery store. The produce is UNREAL cheap. A few examples: 4 avocados for $1, 3 bell peppers for $1, 3 bunches of kale for $1, 5# of apples for $2. Just insane. I bought all the produce pictured above (including the hummus which was $2.50) for $8!! I love to cook, so I cooked up some veggie tacos for us. Mom already had these fresh tortillas that are handmade and sold at the market. So thin they are see through but sturdy. They are so, so good. I made a mango guacamole to go on them with: avocados, mango, red onion, tomatoes, jalapeno, cilantro, salt and lime juice. Mom and I love guac and ate it up. Everything is so fresh. I am jealous!
Later that night, they taught me how to play Mexican Train. They play tons of games with their friends and I really ended up enjoying this one. Even better? I beat them! Beginners luck, no doubt. We played for hours!! I got in activity every day I was there. How could I not with the perfect weather? It had been cool before I arrived but I timed it to get some nice days. I feel so blessed to get a short break from our winter and quality time with my folks. They have so many more adventures planned with their friends.
Thursday was the day I flew out. We got to stop at a few new to me grocery stores (Sprouts and WinCo; I love visiting grocery stores) on the way to the airport. I look forward to being active and adventurous for many years to come. Their park is filled with lots of great people! Thanks for hosting me Mom and Dad. I can’t believe (but yes, I can) we don’t have a pic of the three of us. Dad is never in a photo, poor guy! Thanks for reading my long vacation recap. Take me back!!!!