Spidey in Arizona

We just returned from a four-day, three-night visit to the Phoenix area, the primary purpose of which was to watch our son with his high school marching band in the Fiesta Bowl Parade. In addition to the roughly 120 seconds or so of watching our son, my wife and I saw some of the area, but were obviously limited by the short time there. We left St. Louis on Thursday afternoon (12/31), arriving into Phoenix around 5:00pm, and we left Sunday afternoon (1/2) getting back into St. Louis around 5:00pm. As I said, short visit.

I have read and heard a lot about how bad US Airways is. The plane interiors (and A319 out and an A320 back) were old and the seats were barely padded. I also don’t understand how, on a flight over 3 hours, the flight attendants don’t bring the cart out a second time to offer drink refills and don’t offer the entire can. All that said, both flights left on time and arrived on time — on a holiday weekend. That works for us. We stayed at Marriott’s Buttes Resort. It’s so close to the airport that you can see the planes take off and land. However, it’s on a hill and doesn’t seem to be in the flight paths. From the pool, you have no idea you are near a highway or the airport. The location makes it very convenient for people not staying at the hotel, but getting out and about. The room were standard, although I do think it’s time to upgrade the 25″ tube TV’s.

Our first night, we met up with our son and the rest of the band at a place called Rawhide, located in the Wild Horse Pass area. It’s a group-event type place that recreates a Western town. The foot was fine (we had a ticket for a group dinner), but there wasn’t much to do after that. It was cold by Phoenix standards, so we didn’t stay long. We left there and went over to the Wild Horse Pass Casino, which couldn’t have been more crowded. We tend to play slots, and were fortunate to find even one machine open. No luck there. We did have luck, however, when we found Roy’s Restaurant over in Chandler for some dessert and a cocktail. They have a Hawaiian Martini — made from vodka, vanilla vodka and coconut rum, infused with pineapple — which is perhaps the best drink I have ever had. It is comparable, if not better than the Stoli Dolis at the Capital Grille.

On Friday, New Year’s Day, we took the nearly two hour drive up to Sedona. On the way, we noticed Mayer, Arizona on our map, about 10 miles off the beaten trail. Of course, we had to go. We took plenty of gratuitous shots. Most notably, I thought it somewhat ironic that the placard showcasing the “Historic Mayer Building” somehow ended up on the side of an outhouse (see picture at below). Sedona itself was a bit touristy in town, which is why you must slow down on your drive in to take in the sites and take a jeep tour. We used Pink Jeep Tours, which I highly recommend. We went out for 2 hours on the Broken Arrow tour and four-wheeled it seeing the landscape. The driver was a bit too much like an encyclopedia, but he knew his stuff.

On the way back, we stopped for a bite and to do some additional gambling at the Cliff Castle Casino. Four hours later we left, after a great dinner and up $100, thanks to a Royal Flush hit by my better half on a poker machine.

Saturday was the parade. Now that I’ve watched a parade, I don’t know that I’m running back anytime soon. We spent Saturday afternoon in Scottsdale, mostly visiting Taliesin West, the winter home of Frank Lloyd Wright. Candidly, we were both starving and our guide droned on and on, so we may not have gotten the most positive perspective. I think the best part was learning of the history and how the site came to be before electricity, roads, etc. If you are an architecture aficionado, you’ll probably go regardless of what I say. Saturday evening we went over to downtown Tempe to see A Serious Man. We could see from the four blocks of downtown Tempe how Arizona State gets its reputation as a party school. It was very active, despite being January 2. A Serious Man was a good move, but two requirements before viewing. First – if you aren’t Jewish, go see it with someone who is. I’ve not been to a movie with more inside jokes about the Jewish Community. Second — plan a drink afterwards. This is a dark, dark comedy.

We’re back now into the cold of St. Louis getting ready to go back to work and school. My next trip is likely the week of the 18th overseas. I’ll have more on the blog between now and then.

You can follow me on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/lifewithspidey.

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