Jacob planned a trip to Arizona. I was skeptical of the idea for almost the entire time we had the tickets before we left. But our trip, the state, and a visit to our dear friends did not disappoint! We had an amazing time. What a diverse place Arizona is: cacti, kilometers, pine trees, red rocks, canyons, lakes, and some pretty sweet archeological sites too.
We had a full day of flying on our way out. We had to wake up at 3 am to get to our flight. I’m sure Anna was a great little traveler but every little thing was difficult to deal with from only a few hours of sleep. But landing over green golf courses and brown everything else, gave us a bit of adrenaline and we visited the lovely Mesa Temple on our first day in town.
Our first full day was “rainy.” Let me remind you that we had just flown away from our 3 feet of snow in New England, some sprinkles didn’t deter us from getting out. But we did stay indoors by visiting the amazing Musical Instrument Museum. Jacob and I aren’t that into music, however, our daughter can jam to anything. They gave the three of us headsets and set us loose.
There were huge instruments hanging from the ceiling, odd instruments on display including an air guitar, and rooms full of collections of instruments from countries on 6 continents. At each country’s collection there was a set of videos playing so you could hear the music made by their instruments. The videos know when you are near and send the stream to your headset. Anna danced with pure joy to all the African and Caribbean music. There was so much beat and dancers in the videos too.
But the best part of the museum for Anna was the experiment lab where we had free play with instruments from all over the world. The collection included harps, a theremin, drums, gongs, xylophones, ukeleles, and little frogs with ridges on their back that beat out a pleasant sound when rubbed with a mallet. We could have literally spent all day in there. There was also a room full of mechanical orchestras which was so impressive. But my favorite part of the day was hearing my baby girl sing. She has such a sweet voice.
The next day’s weather was much nicer. We enjoyed a train park and playground in Scottsdale to let Anna run around a bit before we dove all the way down to Tuscon. She was such a joy to play with, and Jacob let her do a lot of things that I typically wouldn’t have encouraged so I think she had fun too.
On the way to Tuscon we saw an ostrich farm and a mountain that we swore was named “Pikachu.” I wore Anna around our tour of the Titan Missile Museum. Jacob and I were so tall that we needed to wear hard hats. The control room and its panels and racks reminded me of the Yale chemistry basement but the latter doesn’t have 8 foot concrete walls or 12 inch thick doors that I know of.
It was great to hear some stories about the people who worked there and the building itself. We got to see the entire (decomissioned) Titan II missile. What a beast. Anna ran around up top and had to peak into the window herself, she did not want to be held, that was a first for the trip.
The mile markers on the highway by the museum were actually kilometer markers, we were only 40 miles from the Mexican boarder. That did mean that Tuscon had some excellent Mexican food. After the long drive back to Phoenix, Anna finally got to enjoy some pool time. The air was crisp and our Eastern expectations were baffled a bit to find an outdoor pool. At least it was heated. But Anna didn’t mind the location at all. She loves water anyway and anywhere. We made swimming, and bathtubbing a priority almost every night for our tadpole. (Yep, pool time in February, life is good!)
Our last day in Phoenix we tried to drive the Apache Trail. Oh wow, was it beautiful. The landscape of Arizona took some getting used to for this Appalachian girl. But the canyons and lakes that gathered into mountains were beautiful. We stopped a time or two to take it in. I was more afraid than usual to let Anna wander with all the threatening plant and animal life, however, we all walked away without any cactus injuries.
Jacob found us a beautiful canyon that seemed to have had a vehicle of some kind tumble into it and crash to pieces. I loved continuing our drive after that. But the lake scene later was worth it. Our trip was cut short by a flooded road. We were all disappointed but Anna wasn’t feeling her best so I didn’t mind heading back to civilization. (Okay, I was a bit tuckered out too…)
Instead of spending the rest of the day driving and stopping by vista points per our plan, we visited a local attraction: hole in the rock. Anna loved hiking up the hill with Jacob and they watched all the planes fly in and out of Phoenix.
The view of the city and the little oasis surrounding the hill were peaceful and we had a nice afternoon wandering, seeing the ducks and a pyramidal tomb for the original Governor of Arizona.
That was Friday. For dinner, we drove down to Florence to meet up with some close friends who no longer live close enough.