Sun City

We went in search of the sun and we found it!! Arizona is hoarding the sun and since it seemed the entire month of January was gloomy here in Kansas City - it was wonderful to feel the warmth the entire time we were there. Our purpose in going was to run a race - really just an excuse for a fun girls weekend - and our goal was accomplished!  

Here we are arriving in Phoenix - with our coats and boots. We were able to get rid of those fast! 

Just missing Cheryl - she arrived a little earlier and was awaiting our arrival at the car rental.  

Just missing Cheryl - she arrived a little earlier and was awaiting our arrival at the car rental.  

We were starving since it was dinner time - so headed to a great Mexican Restaurant close to the airport in Tempe called Z'Tejas Grill. This way we could avoid rush hour before heading to our rental home.  

We ordered a bunch of appetizers to share and the margarita's they are famous for - all delicious! 

We ordered a bunch of appetizers to share and the margarita's they are famous for - all delicious! 

Next we headed up to Scottsdale to get settled in the home we had rented through VRBO - Vacation Rental By Owner (or Home Away - same thing.) I have rented through them a number of times and have always had great success. The properties have always met or exceeded my expectations from how they are pictured and described on the website - and if you are traveling with a group or family it is usually a lot cheaper then staying in a hotel. Plus you get the benefit of having a kitchen and living space to all gather versus having to cram into a hotel room.  

Our house was perfect! A great convenient location, clean and nicely furnished. 3 bedrooms and 2 and a half baths plus a pool! Too bad it wasn't quite warm enough for us to swim but we did stick our feet in and enjoyed eating at the lovely patio table.  

Our house was perfect! A great convenient location, clean and nicely furnished. 3 bedrooms and 2 and a half baths plus a pool! Too bad it wasn't quite warm enough for us to swim but we did stick our feet in and enjoyed eating at the lovely patio table.  

Friday started with a trip to the grocery store to get some basics for breakfast - coffee, bagels, yogurt, fruit and wine. Can't forget the wine! Everyone took a little run around the area since we were running a race Sunday and then got ready to head out for an early lunch and site seeing. First stop Kierland Common.  

A beautiful area in Scottsdale with lots of upscale shops and restaurants - gorgeous landscaping! Isn't every day Winesday?? 

A beautiful area in Scottsdale with lots of upscale shops and restaurants - gorgeous landscaping! Isn't every day Winesday?? 

A little shopping and then lunch at Postinos Wine Bar - we are going with a wine theme on this trip. I had heard good things about Postinos from a previous trip - there are multiple locations in the area so was looking forward to trying it. 

Kristen's sister Wendie who lives in Scottsdale joined us for a fun lunch - with wine of course! I had a delicious salad and half a panini. That was the lunch of choice for most - or salad and soup. I love their sign - TRUE!!!

Kristen's sister Wendie who lives in Scottsdale joined us for a fun lunch - with wine of course! I had a delicious salad and half a panini. That was the lunch of choice for most - or salad and soup. I love their sign - TRUE!!!

It wouldn't be a vacation to me if I didn't visit at least one museum - and the number one recommendation on Trip Advisor for the area is the Musical Instrument Museum - or MIM. The girls were really good sports about stopping there next - and everyone loved it! The museum displays more then 6500 instruments from over 200 countries. Their collection exceeds 16,000 so it is quite impressive and and housed in a beautiful building. Most displays are enhanced by state of the art audio and visual technologies that allow guests to see the instrument, hear their sound and observe them being played in their original context.  

Entrance to the MIM surrounded by beautiful dessert landscaping.  

Entrance to the MIM surrounded by beautiful dessert landscaping.  

Cool carved totem poles amongst these beauties! 

Cool carved totem poles amongst these beauties! 

One section of the museum is a tribute to famous singers. They have the actual costumes worn by the celebrities, their actual instruments and audio and video footage of them performing. I bet they have at least 50 or more!  

Elvis, Taylor Swift and Alice Cooper! 

Elvis, Taylor Swift and Alice Cooper! 

The Dance Organ (The Apollonia) pictured below measures over 25 feet long and weighs over 2 tons. It was originally manufactured in 1926 in Antwerp and was brought to the United States in the mid-1980's.  They play it twice a day and we were lucky enough to be there! 

They have displays from just about every country around the world. So interesting! 

They have displays from just about every country around the world. So interesting! 

We spent close to 3 hours at the museum and didn't get to see it all. I highly recommend it if you are in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. Next a quick stop at packet pickup for the race and we were off to Happy Hour!

A big group at Tommy Bahamas in Kierland Common. Kristen's nephew Blake works there and he took great care of us! Shared a bunch of appetizers - Coconut Shrimp, Sliders, Quesadillas, Desserts and their famous Coconut Cloud Cocktails! 

A big group at Tommy Bahamas in Kierland Common. Kristen's nephew Blake works there and he took great care of us! Shared a bunch of appetizers - Coconut Shrimp, Sliders, Quesadillas, Desserts and their famous Coconut Cloud Cocktails! 

Early Saturday morning those of us running the 10K got up and headed for a hike to the top of Piestewa Peak. Piestewa Peak is the second highest peak in Phoenix at 2610 feet. The tallest is Camelback. It used to be called Squaw Peak but the name was changed to honor Lori Piestewa, a US soldier killed in Iraq and the first Native American woman in history to die in combat while serving the US military. We were advised to get their early as parking is limited and it's a favorite hike for locals especially on the weekend. We lucked out and snagged one of the last parking spots and headed for the  Summit Trail to the top.

Cheryl, Deidre and Harriett pointing out that the trail is marked "Extremely Difficult." 

Cheryl, Deidre and Harriett pointing out that the trail is marked "Extremely Difficult." 

If you were familiar with the trail and didn't stop to see any of the beautiful views you could probably make it to the top in about 45 minutes, but of course we took our time and enjoyed the scenery. 

Beautiful view of Camelback Mountain. 

Beautiful view of Camelback Mountain. 

The last quarter of the hike to the top was pretty rocky so we all decided the classification of difficulty was accurate - but fun and worth it! 

Cheryl climbing the last leg to the top! 

Cheryl climbing the last leg to the top! 

At the top with a wonderful gentleman we met on the way. Reuben is 82 years old and makes the hike 6 out of 7 days every week. He was our spirit guide and really an inspiration. 

At the top with a wonderful gentleman we met on the way. Reuben is 82 years old and makes the hike 6 out of 7 days every week. He was our spirit guide and really an inspiration. 

The hike was definitely one of the trip highlights for me - and we worked up quite an appetite. So next up we stopped at one of my favorite places and treated ourselves to a great lunch. 

Burgers, Fries and Chocolate Shakes for everyone. Yumm! It never disappoints! 

Burgers, Fries and Chocolate Shakes for everyone. Yumm! It never disappoints! 

After a little relaxing by the pool it was time to get ready for what we were hoping would be a wonderful and memorable dinner. A friend of mine that lives in Phoenix had recommended Ocotillo to us, and she has always been spot on in the past. Her record is intact as the restaurant was fantastic! 

Located in a cool area close to downtown Phoenix that is being rehabbed. 

Located in a cool area close to downtown Phoenix that is being rehabbed. 

The inside is modern and very clean and linear. Friendly knowledgeable staff making the whole dinner very enjoyable. 

Perusing the excellent menu! 

Perusing the excellent menu! 

The food was delicious and our waitress advised us on how much to order. The portions are large and are meant to share so she suggested 2 salads and 2 sides to start. The quantity was perfect. 

Top left and clockwise: Roasted Butternut Squash, Fall Greens, Wild Rice, Pomegranate, Pumpkin Seeds and Goat Cheese. Cauliflower with Kale Pesto. Carrot Fattoush, Greens, Carrot Hummus, Crispy Pita and Feta. Grilled Sweet Potato, Avacado, Cashews and Feta. All amazing! 

Top left and clockwise: Roasted Butternut Squash, Fall Greens, Wild Rice, Pomegranate, Pumpkin Seeds and Goat Cheese. Cauliflower with Kale Pesto. Carrot Fattoush, Greens, Carrot Hummus, Crispy Pita and Feta. Grilled Sweet Potato, Avacado, Cashews and Feta. All amazing! 

3 Pasta's to share: 

Reginette Pasta with Curried Beef Ragu, Smoked Beef Raviolis and Bucatini Pasta with Pork and Ricotta Meatballs.  

Reginette Pasta with Curried Beef Ragu, Smoked Beef Raviolis and Bucatini Pasta with Pork and Ricotta Meatballs.  

They have a great outdoor space complete with fire pit that is heated. 

Celebrating Tracy's birthday with a delicious banana cake. We were all too full for more dessert - even me!! 

Celebrating Tracy's birthday with a delicious banana cake. We were all too full for more dessert - even me!! 

What a wonderful evening - thanks Teri!! 

Oh that's right - we actually came for a race on Sunday! So we were all up early and Cheryl and I headed over to a great coffee chain from one of the coffee capitals of the world - Dutch Bros from Portland to get coffee for everyone. If you are somewhere and see them stop and treat yourself to a cup! The morning crew was very energetic and when they heard we were there for a race they gave us all the coffee free - nice! 

 

Open 24 hours! 

Open 24 hours! 

The weather was perfect for a race - 50's and sunny to start. Linda and Tracy did the half marathon and did great! The rest of us did the 10K (slackers) and to finish is to WIN - and we all did!

We got great jackets and really cool medals - and isn't that really why we do it??!! 

We got great jackets and really cool medals - and isn't that really why we do it??!! 

We had worked up an appetite so headed over to a breakfast place called Perk

Omelet's, French Toast and a celebratory cocktail for Linda.  

Omelet's, French Toast and a celebratory cocktail for Linda.  

Time was running out on our trip so we headed back to the house to get cleaned up and out of the house by 2 PM. The owner had graciously given us a late checkout because of the race so we had to hustle. We were clean, packed and out the door with minutes to spare and had about an hour and a half before needing to head to the airport. We stopped at another pretty restaurant/shopping area right across from Kierland Common callled Scottsdale Quarter and walked around and enjoyed our last bit of sunshine. 

I can understand why people spend the winter months in Phoenix - what's not to like! I had such a great fun time with these ladies - can't wait to plan another running trip! I saw this recently and it's so true! 

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It's the Year of Reading for me so I'm simultaneously reading these two books. 

Given to me by a friend - I'm really learning a lot and enjoying it. An account of how women have radically shaped our nation through social, political and economic means.  

Given to me by a friend - I'm really learning a lot and enjoying it. An account of how women have radically shaped our nation through social, political and economic means.  

A gift from my son and I'm getting all kinds of great tips that will help me plan my upcoming world tour. I'm not the only person who thinks nonstop travel would be awesome! 

A gift from my son and I'm getting all kinds of great tips that will help me plan my upcoming world tour. I'm not the only person who thinks nonstop travel would be awesome! 

Thanks for coming along on my adventure! The Best is Yet to Be!