25 April 2013

Trip Days Five and Six: Up the Highway to Sedona!

Our fifth day in Arizona was Easter Sunday.

Thanks to the foresight and sharing of my cousins, Max got to participate in a little cousins Easter Egg Hunt. So much fun!

Organizing in the hallway.
Hunting in the hotel!
Opening eggs and sharing the spoils. 
Thanks to Molly and Karen for organizing! So fun for Max to meet and play with his West Coast cousins.

After saying our good-byes, we headed north out of Phoenix toward Sedona. Over the next several days, we reenacted a trip that I took in one day with my grandfather back in 2004. Grandad Gatton and I did the trip in about 18 hours. Paul and I chose to take a little longer. :-)

Stop 1: Montezuma's Castle 
This stop is just outside of Sedona, the ancient cliff dwellings of the Sinagua. It's one of many national parks in the area, and Max was able to get his Junior Park Ranger badge here.
About as good as it gets when trying to get Max to pose with me. 

Lizard - one of the things on Max's ranger park list.

Cutest tourist ever. 

Swearing in of the ranger!


Stop 2: Sedona
After our visit here, we headed over to Sedona. And Paul discovered that I was right: a person cannot oversell Sedona.

Here's the view from the terrace at our motel, the Sky Ranch Lodge.

Yep, cannot over sell that. Our motel was at the top of a hill by the airport. While the place itself was a little "old school," its convenience, views and affordability (lotta overpriced resorts in Sedona). We enjoyed the surroundings, and then we went in town to the aritists' village, Tlaquepaque, for an Easter supper.

Touring the gardens at the motel.

Just hard not to want to stay there!
Spaghetti for Easter dinner. Must be Grandpa Joe's influence. Yum! 
On the morning of day six, we spent some time touring some of the rocks and features of Sedona before heading up to the Grand Canyon.

Near to our motel/the airport is a "vortex" area by Overlook Point, a very hikeable rock formation. We decided to go for it, hiking, energy vortex, and all.
Deciding on a path.

Buns on the move.

Preparing to summit!

Morning in the valley.

Twisted tree - sight of vortex.

Thumbs up, ready to hike!

Paul and Max are the orange dots in the middle of the picture. After I climbed to the top,
those two made their ascent.

Selfie at the top. Note the cars behind my shoulder below for height.

View from the top.

Enjoying being taller than "everyone".

Little explorer.

Before heading up to Williams, AZ, we stopped down at the Chapel of the Holy Cross, a beautiful church just south of Sedona itself.

Random giant mansion just down the hill from the chapel. Uhm, I guess I'd take it. 

I will cut off this entry here. The rest of the day includes the Grand Canyon. We took a few pictures there. :-)
Can you tell we get pretty excited when we do new stuff? Ha.

18 April 2013

Phoenix Trip Day 4: Train Park

So I found a link to this place in Scottsdale, The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, and thought it might be a cute place to visit if we had time. Well, on Saturday morning, we found out it was more than just a cute place to visit. It was loaded with railroad action for our little railfan!

Big Train Ride (yes this place was so cool that they have two)

Ready to roll!

Yes, he's holding a small engine that he brought.
And yes, he bought more trains while he was here. :-)
Tunnel time!

The steamer that pulled us. The next time we came back (yep - twice),
they had a diesel engine pulling the train. Max points those things out. :-)
Model Railroading Building (No, not a layout. A building of layouts.)
And sorry if you don't like trains. Max loves them, and Uncle Rob does, too. These are mostly for their benefit. :-)

Layout #1

Layout #2

Layout #3

Pretty cool sculpture coming out of the wall above the back of the building.

Trolley Car photobombed.

Another cool sculpture. Telling ya, Scottsdale knows how to do a train park.

Rods pumped by pistons, says Max. Yep. We know. :-)
Smaller Train Ride (Told ya there were two.)

Paul and Max by the caboose, ready to go!
Big train passing the small train. Just cause I like how the picture shows the scale.
Max is still opposed to loud noises. And button shirts. And button pants. 

Hi boys!

Pulling into the station.

And, of course, a carousel

Vulcan death-grip stare.

Happy stare.
Steam Engine 
Trying for a picture.
Sorta got a picture. :-)
So the train park was fun. We enjoyed it, and Max definitely did. After that, we drove into downtown Phoenix to visit Alice Cooper's restaurant Cooper's Town. It's supposed to be a rock n' roll sports bar. Max was not impressed. It was, he said, too loud. We ate on the patio, which was really not photoworthy. The waitress was nice, and Max was impressed with her eye makeup and fishnets. However, we had to get back to the hotel to get ready for a wedding!

While Paul and I went to the wedding, Beka and Steven, once again, watched the little man. And they helped out watching my cousins' kids, Mark and Karen's three and Molly and Peter's two. Shout out to them!

Here are some pictures that Beka took of the kiddos and updated the moms with while we were celebrating with Jeff and Lynnette!
Kiddos eating pizza!
Basketball! Yep, our hotel had a basketball goal!
 Pictured from L-R: Nathan, Max, Jackson, Clara, Marie. Baby Jane is with one of the girls.

Steven has grown up with little bitties at his house, so he knows what to do! 

Wrapping up the night with a quick video.

And the one picture I have at the wedding. Oops. :-)
Susan, Buffie, and Stacie. 
I'm sure there will be more pictures from the wedding, but that's what I got now. My phone went on the fritz, and I had to depend on the kindness of others to take pictures.