This past week I found myself adventuring across Arizona for a week.
It was week 3/3 for this month’s travel, and I had such a blast with my mom running around and exploring unknown territory. We saw, what feels like, all of the state by the end of our trip. I have a deep love for experiencing new places, people, cultures, and food. What fascinated me the most about Arizona what its terrain, particularly the cactuses… cacti?… sticking out the ground coming out of Phoenix. I mean I have seen Texas cactus, but y’all, these tall cactus are like trees, but… not. My mind was blown.
And, contrary to what the song might say, there is indeed an Arizona.
If you have no reference to the song I just alluded to, then you didn’t grow up listening to country music and I forgive you.
I documented some of the places we ate and went while on our trip, if you are headed that way anytime soon! I apologize for the iPhone pics… haha, but I can’t take my girl Hannah from Cottonwood Photography with me EVERYWHERE. 😉
We went to the Grand Canyon first to surprise my brother, Cody. We haven’t seen him in over a year, and my mom jumped on the opportunity when Southwest Airlines had CRAZY good ticket prices running for a short time. It was a fairly spontaneous adventure we took. (Not an ad, haha. Just helping a sista out!) Our first day my mom and I found ourselves on a 6 mile bike ride around the south rim of the canyon led by my brother and his co-worker unexpectedly. We totally weren’t expecting to do the tour, but when Cody told us he was leading one in an hour after we surprised him, we decided to take the spontaneous trip. I was in my high-top leather Nike Air Max shoes and black skinny jeans… not exactly ready for a bike ride in the slightest, and my giant Warby Parker glasses because I happened to have an eye infection. I looked like such a Dallas girl, which I completely resent as a small town girl, but I just went with it. Had I known I was biking, I would have been in yoga pants and no make-up. My mom hadn’t rode a bike in probably 20 years, and she did it. (I was so proud of her!) All for my brother, right? Haha.
I highly suggest taking this bike tour of the canyon. It is about 3 hours long, and is stunning. They make multiple stops to teach you about the history of the canyon, the people who once inhabited the area, and so much more. Cody works there at the Bright Angel Bike and Coffee Shop that leads these tours. So, if ever you’re at the canyon, be sure to stop by and ask for him. All the people there, who I got to personally meet and hang out with, are class acts and absolutely hilarious. They are located right off the rim by one of the best noted sunrise spots, so head over to the shop for your coffee early in the morning before hopping on a bike tour with them!
On a spiritual note, I found myself singing and praying the whole bike ride, completely in aw of what was in front of me. The science behind the formation of the canyon is fascinating, and I totally believe much of it is true. I believe God uses science, because obviously science is real and He created all things. But, with at least a billion years “unexplained” of the canyon after scientists have studied the rocks and different layers… I couldn’t help but think “thank goodness I don’t need to know or understand everything.” A billion years missing from the rocks seems a little odd, wouldn’t you agree? I felt so assured in my faith and thankful that God explains all mystery, in the truth that he is mystery itself.
Food in the Canyon
Food is a little tricky, but we found the good spots! We ate at the Yavapai Lodge Restaurant and Tavern the most while at the canyon. Food is a little sparse there and the surrounding areas, but the Yavapai was fantastic. You either can eat at the hotel restaurants, or the food court type places. This was a nice mixture of both, I suppose. We ate once off site at a Mexican restaurant that, though they had great margaritas, my brother did get sick… haha, so eat at your own risk. But my fajitas were great. This was located in Tusayon- the city right outside the park.
After we left the canyon, we headed for Sedona a few hours away. We were originally so excited about this day trip, because of all we had heard about it. But, we chose an awful day for it, as it was sleeting and storming the whole time. BUT even still- it was stunning. No hiking for us though. You drive in from way on top of a mountain, and wind down for at least 30 minutes until you stumble on the downtown area. We ate at a Wildflower Bread Co., which was basically a Panera Bread. The views in Sedona are out of this world, and I totally want to go back in the fall.
We headed to Scottsdale for the end of our trip. Just a suburb to Phoenix, this was such a fun little area with so much character. They have an amazing foodie scene, and we ate at Farm + Craft as suggested by a friend. It was basically like if my two favorite restaurants had a food baby together, you would get Farm + Craft. (HG Sply Co and True Food Kitchen) I got the salmon bowl and a cucumber kombucha cocktail. (AMAZING.) My mom ordered a local beer on tap and the roasted chicken bowl. Both were absolutely delish. I highly suggest it if you’re even remotely close to the area. After dinner, we made our way to Creamistry, which I have been dying to try since watching a video my best friend had posted about the one in San Antonio. It is ice cream made on the spot with liquid nitrogen! SAY WHAT?! It feels like walking into an ice cream science lab. It was seriously SO GOOD. Pricey (we paid $18 for two bowls of ice cream) but worth it for the tastiness and experience. We were both pretty boring and got french vanilla ice cream, and I topped mine with nutella sauce while my mom topped hers with hot fudge. Perhaps we will get a little crazier next time we get to stop by one.
Arizona, you were an adventure to say the least- I literally experienced every type of weather you can in four days. I loved hearing from all you who are from AZ as I was there, too! I noted every single suggestion, and did a lot of them.
But, I have to say I am so happy to be home. After three weeks of sleeping more in someone else’s bed than my own, I am so grateful for my own bed, sofa, food, and filling in my planner with my normal schedule- like going to Pure Barre at 9:30. It’s the little things, y’all. Thank you for following along with me through this crazy Internet thing. I sure do love this community we have formed.