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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Arizona Trip - Thursday


Panoramic view of the National Park

6:45 am - The sun is up and the birds are singing. It’s time for me to be up as well.  And now the phone is ringing.  A Mom's work is never done. No one cares if you are on vacation, in another time zone, or out hiking the Grand Canyon, they will still call, text, and email as if they are the one thing on your mind every waking hour of the day.  
Blooming Prickly Pear - we even
saw  Purple Prickly Pear!

Today is the day we check in with our fearless leader. There are no plans for the day. I'm thinking Saguaro National Park. It seems interesting. I didn't know it existed until I saw a sign yesterday. I looked it up and now I want to go.  Maybe start checking in - and cleaning up. 

9:00 - Everyone is clean, fed, and our things are picked up. The larger igloo cooler is nearly empty of cold food and one bag of ice isnt lasting 2-3 days any more. Time to switch cold food to the smaller cooler and vice versa.

We are on day 5 of our trip and still haven't found a place to go bike riding. Looking really hard for a place today.

Flowers/Fruit of the saguaro.
Dove nest up here

9:30 we arrive at Saguaro National Park. This place is amazing!   So many variety of cacti. We stopped at nearly every pull out to take photos and look at the birds.  The girls were fascinated with the fact that every cactus looked so different. We wandered around the visitor center and even got supplies for another junior Ranger program.

I have no idea what kind of tree this
is, but it has unique leaves
While at the visitor’s center we looked at all the displays, watched an informative film, worked on the ranger program and listened to the ranger. Since Big Girl can't hike too far and Big Boy has a headache (dehydrated?) we picked a very short hike. Baby Girl and I walked a bit more while the other two played a desert version of slap jack inside. It was apparently hotter than we thought. The winds were still high today, keeping us cool, but my phone shut of twice due to overheating. We left the park about 2:00 when every one was hungry.

About half way out of the park I noticed a car behind me. Since I was going 20 under the speed limit- admiring the scenery- I pulled over to let it pass. Turns out that it was a police car. Then he pulls up behind me!  Oh no.  Now the lights are on.  I panic. I don't need a ticket while or of state!   Wait!  What did I do wrong?  Impeding the flow of traffic because I was going so slow?   Turns out that the bike rack is completely blocking my license plate. The road I was on is a straight shot to Mexico and they have s huge problem with illegal aliens in this area. And I am in a 12 passenger van. Hmmm. Fortunately he let's me of with a warning. That's getting fixed asap!  I just don't know how to do it before getting home. ....

Working on the Jr. Ranger books
3:00 pm - We check into the Tucson Omni.  Big Boy is feeling better. I think he was hungry and dehydrated. This place is fabulous. We don't stay in hotels often and so far on this trip it has been all camping. The girls got a kick out of the bell hop taking ALL of our luggage and asking for what they were carrying as well.  Big Girl nearly had a panic attack when she heard "valet."  She missed the fact that it is complementary. We stay on a tight budget,  so something silly like valet is not common for us. You want to park my gigantic van in your small parking lot. .... go for it. 

When we got to the room I had to tell them to settle down a few times. This room is definitely the nicest we have stayed in. Baby Girl loved the patio overlooking the pool. There are 2 queen beds, but also a 'living room' and wet bar. Then she saw the bathroom. Its larger then theirs at home. Not only is there a really deep tub and separate shower, but the closet is almost as large as my master closet at home.  There is also a separate sink area.  This valet is so sweet and helpful.  I asked how cold the wine cooler got and he said ‘not too cold.’  When I asked if it would keep milk cold he said he would request a mini fridge for me.  Yea!  Must be a dad.  He mentioned something about the ‘honor bar’ (overpriced candy and water they leave for you),  I asked if it could be taken away and he said it would be taken care of right away.

After requesting a mini fridge (wine cooler is not cold enough) we organized and got dressed for the pool.

After swimming in the warm water for about 90 min, it was time to shower and get supper. 
7:00 pm we get a knock on the door. I'm still in my swim suit so big girl answers.  Some man at the door starts handing her milk and cookies and ice. I am confused because I missed the conversation. Big Girl is about ready to have another panic attack. I say "we didn't order this" and he says it's a complementary turn down service. It's free (already paid for with the room)  Big Girl is so excited. Milk and cookies before bed :)

8:00 pm - After everyone is clean and dressed we take a walk around the resort and sit by the outdoor fire place. We watch humming birds flutter by and admire the plants. Then we make our way to the banjo concert and hear some of the many performers here this weekend.

By 8:30 the kids are tied. We go back to the room for milk and cookies and go to sleep.

A damaged cactus.  They form a "boot"
to protect themselves.

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