It took us seven years, but we finally made a return trip to Arizona! This time, I had a sidekick instead of an empty seat belt next to me.
After 2 gas station lunches on the truck topper, 17 art projects completed, an undisclosed amount of screentime minutes, 26 hours of backseat bonding with sissy-butt, and 1,700 miles traveled, we finally arrived!
First stop: dropping dad off in Payson, AZ for his hunting adventure. That, of course, was the worst part of the trip. A close second, however, was experiencing mom’s driving, as she anxiously navigated Dad’s new Toyota Tundra across Phoenix’s 10-lane interstate so we could meet up with our Arizona familia.
Spoiler alert: We made it there safely and with very few naughty words spoken.
We arrived on Thanksgiving day, just in time for Aunt Nay Nay and Uncle Jon to cook us a delicious turkey dinner! After giving thanks for that spectacular home-cooked meal at a cozy, shared table, it was time to do ALL. OF. THE. THINGS.
Between a boys vs. girls basketball game at the park, tagging along on a photo shoot with Brooklyn, hitting the jackpot at Dave and Buster’s arcade, braving the local indoor ropes course (thanks, Brooklyn!), arm wrestling Codey (I won), tossing the football around with Jon, playing with our furry friends, decorating a Christmas tree, eating lots of popcorn, and watching the gorgeous sunsets, WE. LOVED. EVERY. MOMENT.
…Until the sun set on our party and we were forced to say goodbye.
We hated to go our separate ways, but mom reserved an airbnb for us, near dad’s hunting camp, and the hot tub was calling my name! So, next stop: Pine, Arizona, where Genesee, mom, and I set up a home-away-from-home in the middle of the Pinal Mountains, hoping for Dad to harvest his elk early so he could join us for the fun. And sure enough, sometimes hope is an effective strategy because we only had to sleep there, fatherless, for two nights before we got to enjoy Dad’s company (and dad jokes) in the hot tub.
It was another trip for the books! We were amazed by the Saguaro cactus, we improved our chess game, we received breakfast in bed, we hiked through local state parks, and we even got to visit one of the seven wonders of the world: the Grand Canyon! Genesee and I were in constant awe of all 217 magnificent miles of it, except for those moments when Dad had us in constant fear by talking about all of the tragic endings that have happened onsite. I don’t think Dad meant for me to poop my pants, and for the record, I didn’t, but me and my puckered butt cheeks stayed VERY far from the edge.
Clearly, you don’t have a vacation like this without a lot of f-words: Family, Fun, Foaming hot tub bubbles, Friends along the interstate who admired dad’s rack, and Food in the form of elk meat for a year!
Apparently, some of the best things in life require a 52-hour round-trip expedition.
We will be back, Arizona! And hopefully before the next 7 years pass us by.