Monday, June 7, 2010

Flagstaff Adventures

Our weekend journey up north started out on Saturday morning. My goal was to be at my mom’s house by 9am and even after stopping at McDonald’s for an ice coffee (which I should have skipped – closed rest stops and long in-between to bathroom!) we were still a few minutes ahead of schedule. The weekend weather in the valley was supposed to be well into the 100’s and we looked forward to heading up to the pines. Little did we know at the time that they would be breaking their own heat records!! Ugh!!

The ride up went pretty smoothly, however Matt was over excited about getting to Flagstaff and then leaving via train to Michigan Sunday morning. He was our human GPS and was funny every time we saw a sign to Flagstaff, “109 miles until you reach your destination.” All in his computer GPS voice. We couldn’t believe that you could still see snow up on the San Francisco Peaks! I love how the ride starts out with cactus everywhere and then all of a sudden you are surrounded by pine trees.

Check in at the hotel wasn’t until 1pm, but we decided to stop there first to see if we could work an early check in or at least drop off our bags. Little America has just the BEST customer service and had no problem getting us in early and getting us two rooms right across the hall from each other. After getting everything to our rooms and freshening up some we were off to find the train station!

My mom wanted to get the tickets all taken care of and find out what time we needed to be there Sunday morning since it was such an early train (departed 5:21am). The AMTRAK station in Flagstaff is so adorable! Being right there on Route 66 they even had a cool gift shop. It didn’t take long to get everything taken care of and the guy told us if we were there by 5am we would be fine. He was even nice enough to direct us to a great place to eat lunch right across the train tracks!

After waiting for a train to cross we walked over to a new brewery there in Flagstaff for lunch and of course some beer!! The restaurant is new, so we knew they would have A/C, a must for the warm afternoon. They had lots of different types of beer and we ended up trying a pitcher of their red brew and it was amazing!! So was everything we ate for lunch, which was way too much.

We left there with fully stomachs and decided to wonder thru historical downtown and check out the stores. Because of the heat and the most all of the old building did not have air conditioning we ended up not staying long and headed back to the hotel.

The pool had lots of guest out swimming, but we found a nice quiet spot under the pine trees and were able to sit on the cool deck with our feet in the pool while the kids swam. Meghan was so into the fact that the pool was nine feet deep, for some crazy reason it freaked her out. John’s highlight of the whole weekend was getting me to walk over to the truck stop right next to the hotel to get a 12-pack of beer. What makes that so exciting you ask? I was wearing my swim shorts (they are short) and bikini top – in a TRUCK STOP. Ugh, I thought he was joking but no. I had every guy in there looking at me; it was an awesome moment in my life. LOL! We spent the rest of the day out at the pool, talk about relaxing.

Since John and I had enjoyed a few adult beverages all afternoon we thought it was best to have dinner there at the hotel. I had the most amazing veggie sandwich with sweet potato fries. Everyone was starving, but again we all ate way too much!!

We spent some time in the gift shop after eating. John was killing us with his need to try on all of the cowboy hats there. Meghan and Matty also did some hat modeling for me too! After so how my crazy family felt the need to go over to the truck stop for ice cream cones. They had a dinosaur out front that made for some great photos. Me getting on and off the darn thing was really enjoyable.

As the evening cooled off and it got late John and I helped get the kids ready for bed in their room with my mom. Matt was so excited about the next morning he was bouncing off the walls and it took us awhile to get him all tucked in. John and I had planned on going down to the bar for awhile after, but only made it through one beer and then we were in our room asleep. It had been a relaxing long day and 4:30 am was going to come early.

The kids and my mom were knocking on our door at 4:45am Sunday morning and we were off to the train station. Flagstaff is beautiful when it is so quiet and peaceful out. It took us just a few minutes to get there and I expect more people there, but really only about 6-10 people waiting. Since we had tickets already there wasn’t much to do but wait for the Southwest Chief (that was the name of their train). It starts out in Los Angels and ends in Chicago.

Right on time the train pulled up and we headed outside to watch it stop. Then had to find the correct sleeping car. Everyone working on the train was so nice and helped us out. They only stay in Flagstaff for less than 15 minutes so they move quickly. The Stewart was nice enough and let me hop on to check out their TINY sleeping room! Wow, looked much larger on the interactive website! LOL! Just that fast though I hugged my mom good-bye and kissed my handsome boy and then the train pulled away.

John, Meg and I watched the train pull out and head east. Since we were up we decided to find a Starbucks and enjoy some coffee and wake up a little. The truck ride was much quieter without the boy child! LOL!

We also spent some time back at the hotel just relaxing watching TV together, but then realized we should really check out the hotel buffet for breakfast! I mean, we are on a min-vacation! Again, as with every meal we had in Flagstaff we all over ate! BUT the hotel had their own 2 mile hike right there in the pines!! Meghan was done after ¼ mile into the walk, but we made it through despite the heat of the morning (so much for our cool weekend getaway).

After cleaning up we decided to head over to the mall for a little while and then start back to Phoenix.

The drive back seemed quicker and QUIETER! LOL! We stopped at one of our favorite restaurant in Phoenix that we only hit when we are coming back from up north. They have most amazing nacho pizza!! Matt also gave us a call to let his know that he was loving the train! He had old fashion train French toast for breakfast and when you walked on the train you walked like a duck. LOL!

I am going to miss my little boy, but I know he will have quite the adventure to remember for the rest of his life!

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