Saturday, April 22, 2017

To Phoenix...and Beyond! Part One

In December, my long-time friend and co-adventurer Summer up and moved away. She already lived a couple hours from me, in Oakland, and now, she and her husband Ben are in Phoenix. Needless to say, impromptu weekend meetings at the halfway point of the Vacaville Outlets for some shopping, or tea at Linde Lane in Dixon, are not happening.

Actually, I don't even know what halfway for us is now. Maybe Vegas? I'm not a big fan of Vegas.

Fortunately, we are grown-up women with careers, and my tax return was nice enough this year (hooray for home ownership!!) that even after paying off the last of my credit card debt and the new sofa, I had some fun money left over. I promptly used it to buy round-trip airfare for a Spring Break trip to Phoenix...and the endless plotting began.

Bright and early on Wednesday, I left Sylvie at a long-term parking lot at Sacramento International, and hopped on a Southwest flight to Phoenix.

Tangent: With all of the negative press about Airlines in the last few weeks--United and American in particular--I have to shout out to Southwest that both of my flights were awesome, even with both being completely full. When they said we'd depart at 8:15 from Sacramento, we were, indeed, backing out of the terminal at precisely 8:15. The staff was friendly and helpful, and we were delightfully free of any problems on board.

Sac International has a giant flying rabbit.

Waiting for boarding time.

My purple chariot.
 The flight to Phoenix is just under two hours, and it really seemed to fly by (haha, pun totally intended) quite quickly. When I got off the plane, I texted Summer that I was on the ground and in search of the nearest ladies', which I found quickly. Within a few minutes, I was in the baggage claim area, with no idea where my suitcase would be coming out. I walked up to the first claim, and saw my flight number on the computer screen...and looked down just in time to see my suitcase floating by me.

Within 10 minutes or so, Summer was there, I was in her car, and we were off to have some lunch in downtown Phoenix.

"I thought you'd agree this sounded good," said Summer. And it
was. I had the Tikka Masala pastie, with lots of spice and a
gorgeous crust. 

Summer is still learning Phoenix herself, so we drove around to kill some time before her last class for the week at Grand Canyon University. We saw an ornate building in the distance and assumed it was a church. It was, in fact, the State Capitol. We stopped to look around.

And thus began my utter fascination with cacti in Arizona.

In front of the building, there's a large area devoted to memorials, so we strolled around. It was only in the upper 80s (Phoenix will be a furnace come July and I'm also used to 100+ degree summers, myself), but the UV index is lower there, and walking in the sun felt more taxing than it does here at home.

 Here, I switched over to my Canon.

A monument to the Navaho code-talkers of WWII. 

Desert Storm



Law Enforcement K-9s. 


Native flora.

I love this shot--the various cacti are really fabulous, and so different than what
I'm used to in Northern California.

A random sign pic.

We stopped at Grand Canyon University for Summer to teach her class. I hunkered down with my laptop in a student lounge, charging my phone and checking in on Facebook and April the Giraffe, and looking up our destinations for the next day. When her class was finished, we headed home to Peoria, where Summer and Ben bought a lovely home. We sat around chatting with Ben, though I admit my initial hello to him was lost amid a loud chorus of, "HI BUDDY!!! BUDDY-BUD-BUD!!!" as their pit mix and I greeted each other with great enthusiasm. 

There was Mexican food for dinner from a place a few blocks away, and then it was early to bed, for Summer and I had great plans for Thursday...

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