What a super great trip I had in Phoenix! Each year I get to travel to an expo around the United States to help promote the marathon. It’s a fun way to do something different at work while seeing the country. 2011 I got to go to Phoenix with my co-worker Sandy.
We departed FREEZING Minnesota on Thursday morning for our 9:00 a.m. flight. I was happy to learn once on board that they were hosting an in flight movie, “The Social Network”. This certianly would make our three hour flight go by a lot faster, and it did! We landed saftely, and it was neat over looking the valley and the mountains. I noticed one thing on our decent… NO SNOW… and… no grass….. interesting….
We grabbed our luggage after we deplaned and hoped across the road to grab the shuttle to the rental car facility. Once out of the airport we felt the AMAZING warmth that Phoenix had to offer, and it was gladly recieved. I turned my cell phone on for an instant weather report… 71 degrees. Woot Woot!
We drove over to our hotel which was super nice, and got up to our room on the 26th floor with an amazing view. After that we ran over to the convention center and set up our expo booth, which took a total of 15 minutes.
After that we hopped in our rental car and went touring. Sandy had found this Mineral Museum online and wanted to check it out. It was really neat to see all of the different rocks and minerals! It reminded me so much of my grandpa and his love for egats.
Sandy is also a “geo-casher” which means that she does modern orientering with a GPS device. So I happily rode along with her as she looked for chaches. We came across a military memorial park which was really interesting to me and also hosted the anchor from the USS Arizona which was sunk during the attack on Parl Harbor.
We also came across this riduculously old gravesite that was the most pitiful graveyard I’ve seen in my life. Again… no grass… just dirt and delapetated headstones. It was kind of sad to tell you the truth.
Then since we didn’t know where else to go, and since most museums were closed, we tooled around on a impromptu “road trip” through Northern Phoenix, and some mountain foothills/aka little mountains. We had a really fun time looking at the different neighborhoods, and alas we found some yards with grass.
We had a coupon in our Expo packet for a free appitizer of lettuce wraps from P.F. Changs so we took a road trip to Tempe for dinner, and it was pretty good. Our waitor was from White Bear Lake so that was kind of fun in a “small world” kind of way.
Friday we went for breakfast right at the hotel and had a super good breakfast buffet. Probably… the best breakfast buffet I’ve ever had in my life! We were stuffed! After that it was work time! We were across the aisle from some sparsley dressed women who were working with overclothed men. It was interesting… but there were SO MANY people from Minnesota that either came down for the marathon, were snow-birds, or have relocated permenantly to Arizona from Minnesota.
While at the expo my old roomate from the Navy when I was in Spain and Japan stopped by to say hello. It was really fun to see her and her super adorable daughter.
After work we headed out to Scottsdale for a really nice dinner at the Old Town Tortilla Factory which is a restaurant that was remodled from a 75 year old adobe home. It was great. We sat on a sprawling 1,400 square foot brick patio that was filled with heaters to keep you nice and cozy, and lots of white christmas lights all over. It was really a nice ambiance!
After a delicious dinner we strolled down the main road which was lined with Art Galleries. Actually it was called the art walk line . It was just gallery after gallery filled with amazing artwork that went for a minimum of $1,800, and the most expensive piece I saw was a piece by my new favorite artist Pejman going for $42,000. It was definitely a great night spent with great company!
Saturday morning we woke up and had breakfast again at the hotel and this time I had a waffle that was equally delicious! We worked a full day while taking breaks also to enjoy the beautiful weather! We saw lots of Minnesota folks at the expo including some people we actually knew! After a long day it was time to bust down shop…
Shawna picked me up at the hotel, and it was as if I had only seen her last week! It was a great reunion! She brought me to her new sprawling house that was really nice, and some other navy buds were at her house as well. She cooked a very very lovely Carne Asada Tacos for dinner, and we had a bonfire at her house until 3:30 a.m. when we finally fell asleep after some much needed catching up! I miss her so much already! I’ll have to watch for cheap air fare so we can visit each other again!
She brought me back to the hotel in the morning and Sandy and I packed up and headed to breakfast. We didn’t go to the hotel for breakfast but rather some mini chain restaurant that specializes in breakfasts and lunch. It was super delicious. I had an omelet what was super nummy. After that we sadly were due to go back to the airport. Our time in the sun had ended…
We got on our plane – this time with no movie…and headed back to Minnesota. I had so much fun with Sandy on this trip! It was truly a marvelous time.
On our decent I noticed the houses and all of the snow… so much different than our landing in Arizona… but it looked like someone had set up a magnificent “Department 56” display… and again… I was home….