arizona anniversary: part 1

Yes, I know this is overdue…but that won’t stop me from back-dating it so it looks like it’s not :)

I’ve wanted to go to Arizona for as long as I can remember.  The idea of the Grand Canyon has always beckoned me…and my love of Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers has (of course) only heightened my desire to visit the Grand Canyon State (yes, that’s its real nickname…I know, I was expecting something more creative too). 

So, it must have been fate/serendipty/kismet that called Trey to the little town of Gilbert, AZ (right outside Phoenix) the weekend of our second anniversary for a database conference. 

The Saturday before our anniversary, we headed to GSP to board the first leg of our flight.  Point of interest – we were seated right in front of Christy Henderson, WSPA’s own weather lady (for some reason the term “weather girl” seems derogatory).  Does anyone else think she looks like Alison Krauss?

Okay, so we flew from GSP to Dallas Fort Worth where we had 3 hours of down time before flying to Phoenix.  The view from the plane was spectacular.  It’s amazing how different things look from 36,000 feet. 

In Phoenix in mid October, it averages about 95 degrees a day and there’s almost no humidity.  That means you can lay out by the pool for an hour an not realize it at all…but your nose will be dry for a week.  The first three days of the trip, Trey spent surrounded by his new found nerd friends (I really do say that with loads of affection, the RefreshCache guys are awesome) and I laid out by the pool and watched lots of cable (hey, we only have rabbit ears at home).  Monday night, October 11th, our anniversary (holy cow, two years go by FAST), Trey ditched the evening session to get all gussied up with me and take me to dinner.  If you live anywhere near a Brio Tuscan Grille, you should eat there.  Frequently.  A lot.

On Wednesday, we drove our happy little Dodge Caravan rental car (and yes, we decided that we are, in fact, not van people…although it was a lovely car – if you are van people, you should get one) from Phoenix, north through Sedona to Williams.  As we got out of the city, we found cacti everywhere.  Phoenix was full of those little ping-pong paddle cactus (the official name is Prickly Pear Cactus – but to me, they look more like ping-pong paddles) and palm trees.  But north of Phoenix, there are Saguaro cactus…and they’re absolutely magnificent!  They can grow anywhere from 15 to 50 feet tall and can live up to 150 years.  And I think they’re fascinating…so fascinating that I took over 200 pictures of them on the drive.

Now, Phoenix is almost completely flat, but Sedona is at an elevation of almost 7,000 feet.  As we drove up into the mountains, we were both stunned by the view.  It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen.  The colors are amazing…and there are very few trees.  Mountains in Arizona look absolutely nothing like the Appalachians.  But they’re just as breathtaking.