All I've really ever heard about Arizona has been about Phoenix and how it's basically a less cool Dallas-Fort Worth (sprawling Metropolis with 'burbs and chains) with tons of geriatrics.
To be honest, my view of the Phoenix area and its burbs now is all about Spring Training, making it awesome, and on Wednesday the Boedeker clan got to see a little bit more of Arizona, and it was impressive.
Heading up Interstate 17 to Flagstaff, we saw all kinds of terrain -- saguaro cactus-laced landscapes, mountainous terrain, a dormant volcano, snow, flat land, forests and desert. We literally saw just about everything. After a quick 30-mile jaunt on Interstate 40 West, we hit Williams, which had the feel of an old frontier town and turned north toward the Grand Canyon to scratch one off the ol' bucket list.
For a $30 payment to the National Park folks, we got to see a really, really large hole in the ground.
In all seriousness, it was breathtaking. It didn't even look real. We let the kiddo run around -- tightly guarded, of course -- and had a picnic for lunch before heading back home after a little more than two hours in the park. If it were just my wife and I, we could've done more, but if you're going with youngsters, two hours is about the limit and really, once you've seen the spectacle of the canyon, you've seen it.
So we left to see the sun set in Sedona, something we'd heard was tremendous. We drove through Slide Rock State Park on Arizona 89, and that was quite the adventure as my wife got stuck driving through this, surrounded by monstrous red rocks.
It was pretty spectacular as the sun set behind us and lit up the rocks bright red and orange. It was pretty beautiful. Then, we ate fantastic Greek food at a place my friend Yelp! suggested to us called A Taste of Marrakech. It was awesome.
In all, it was a pretty spectacular 14-hour day with seven more hours in the car, but hey, when in Rome, right?
If you're planning a trip out to Surprise for Rangers Spring Training, I'd strongly consider a similar trip, especially if you've never seen the Grand Canyon (none of us ever had). We had considered hitting up another nearby park on the Rangers' off-day and seeing two random teams, but I think we made the correct decision.
I'll try to check back in with more on our journey in the coming days.
Next up? A morning spent with my daughter watching Texas Tech in the NCAA Tournament at 9:30 a.m. (gotta love Pacific time) while mommy goes to have girl time with her best friend, and then a night game at Surprise Stadium between the Rangers and Brewers. This time, I'll be trading in my top-notch seats just behind the Rangers dugout for lawn seats in center field to get a different perspective and maybe catch one of those Gallo moonshots.