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Road Trip Day 5: Vegas baby AZ and NV by Ann Treacy
January 9, 2022, 6:04 am
Filed under: Arizona, Nevada

We had a super nice meal in Flagstaff. It’s a very cute town but no one wears masks and it feels like a resort town. We went to see some music and then it felt like it was a town full of adult kids on resort vacations with their parents – unhindered by masking or costs. It is a pretty area.

Then we had a lovely drive from Flagstaff to Las Vegas.

We spent the afternoon walking through the casinos. I always enjoy walking somewhere new and I haven’t been to Vegas in years.

We stayed with friends of Heather. They were amazing hosts with absinthe and a really nice home. Heather got a chance to catch up with old friends.

Road Trip Day 4: Music, murals, petroglyphs, pawn shop and ostriches NM and AZ by Ann Treacy
January 8, 2022, 12:48 am
Filed under: Arizona, New Mexico

After a fun day in Santa Fe we spent the night in Albuquerque with the hopes of seeing some music – and we got lucky. We did our research and found The Launchpad had a show that included Los Ratones Atomicos and The Tewa. First band was very old school punk with lots of slam dancing. The second had an amazing guitar. We definitely found the place for us for the night.

Then for the first time on this roundtrip we woke up to warm weather! I walked around downtown and was rewarded with some awesome murals. Then we spent a lot of time driving and making random weird stops.

We stopped in Albuquerque to see the Petroglyph National Monument. You could spend a whole day hiking around and seeing the very cool symbols in the rock but we didn’t have all day so we focused on Boca Nerga, which offered the easiest access. There are about 100 petroglyphs in this fairly small space. There were created 400-700 years ago and while some symbols seems recognizable, there doesn’t seem to be a translation to them. It is amazing to think about how and why these were created and wonder what the folks who wrote them would think about them being around for so long.

We stopped in Gallup, because a waiter we had said there were good pawn shops there. Same person told us (at the very end of the meal) he wanted to go to school to become a cop but it wasn’t worth getting vaxed so he was going to look into being a flight attendant instead, although he’s never actually flown. Anyways – turns out our shopping taste is about as similar to his as our views on everything else. Neither of us wanted overpriced jewelry, a gun or video game. But interesting all the same.


Next stop, crystal and meteor shop at the side of the road. (It was a long drive, don’t judge!) Super bonus, there was a small ostrich farm next door and Heather got to feed them. That might be a once in a lifetime event for her – unless “feels like Jurassic Park” is a good thing.


Now we’re chilling in Flagstaff. Hoping to see some music tonight. Might even have dinner!

Musical vortex, quick beautiful sunset, steak send off: Girls trip to AZ Day five by Ann Treacy
October 20, 2021, 3:54 pm
Filed under: Arizona

On our final full day we hiked around Boynton Canyon Vortex. When we got there we heard the music coming from the vortex. Someone was playing a flute sitting on top of a rock formation. Or it was an apparition – who can say? (You can watch the video and decide for yourself!)

We hiked around for 7 miles. The terrain went from red rock to forest to beach and back again. Getting to the top felt like an accomplishment. (It was up but not steep, so even I could do it.) After the long hike, we trekked the quick trip to the vortex.

The vortex is a spiritual center; the Boynton Vortex is a balance of masculine and feminine energies stemming from the energy of a rock formation called Kachina Woman and the nearby knoll, which has masculine energy. I bravely walked to the outside of the formation, not to be confused with the top.

I’m trying to be open to the mystical nature, although that’s not always a good fit for me. I did make a wish like it was a birthday cake or 4-leaf clover; two things I feel I do understand.

We also caught a gorgeous sunset by the Mesa airport. And heading for a lovely steak dinner while we listened to someone play popular tunes on a guitar harp. We had a very lovely last night!

Super windy walking around the Grand Canyon: Girls trip to AZ Day Four by Ann Treacy
October 19, 2021, 3:14 pm
Filed under: Arizona

Turns out the Grand Canyon is just two hours (and change) from Sedona – so we went to visit yesterday. I say that like it wasn’t planned but it was. Most of the group went down toward the bottom on the Angel Bright trail. One of us walked around the Canyon because the trails down are too steep for me, especially as people pass.

But being honest, I had a super lovely day. It was chilly and windy but very sunny. I walked 10 miles from the Visitor Center to the Pima Point on the south rim. I think I was walking about three hours. Plenty of time to stop and take pictures and of course one video to show how windy it was. Then when the others were done with their hike, I just shuttled back.

I think it would be fun to spend a whole day walking the entire south side. I’m not sure if it’s the same set up on the north rim but I’d add that in too. It’s amazing to see how the shadows and sun impact the views. The walk is pretty easy and yet, I didn’t see very many people. There are places where you stomach drops if you’re afraid of heights but those are easily avoided. Honestly I was more afraid of being swept away that slipping!

Monica did most of the driving there and back. She has done most of the driving – and for that I’m thankful. Also I think the spirits around us rewarded her with caribou and elk on our drive out of the park!

Cathedral Rock climb and art in Tlaquepaque: Girls’ trip to AZ Day three by Ann Treacy
October 18, 2021, 3:38 pm
Filed under: Arizona

We started out a hike to the top of Cathedral Rock today – we quickly ended up with a hike around Cathedral Rock. A hike straight up will never be a good hike for me. I pulled the rip cord about 20 percent of the way up. And we decided to take a longer hike around the mountain (or rock or whatever we’re calling big hills here).

It was a nice 6-7 mile walk up and down. We found a river and a fun place for a photo shoot. It wasn’t as crowded and we dipped into and out of the shade, which was easy temperature control.

In the afternoon we checked out Tlaquepaque Village. It has tons of fancy shopping and lots of art. Some folks went shopping and got wonderful treasures; one person hiked all around and took pictures of art and got another 4 miles under her belt. It is a fun area – very touristy but not unpleasantly so.

For dinner we found a fun Mexican restaurant with a Flamenco band right outside. We even got in a little dancing!

Church on Hill in Sedona: Girls trip to Arizona Day Two by Ann Treacy
October 17, 2021, 3:41 pm
Filed under: Arizona

It’s a gorgeous day in Arizona. Sunny, as promised. Hot during the day, a little chilly at night. We drove from Phoenix from Sedona, which is a little bit of a haul. But worth it. We stopped by the Church on the Hill (Chapel of Holy Cross),which is the only thing I knew yet still a super favorite.

The Chapel is built into the side of the hill in Sedona. It was built in 1956. Marguerite Brunswig Staude got an idea in 1932 to build a church in Budapest inspired by the Empire State Building. It is gorgeous to look at it’s gorgeous to look from – it’s surrounded by the red rocks.

The crucifix in the church is spectacular too; it’s newer than the church itself. The whites of the eyes are stark and yet so imploring and pained.

After the church we hiked around. It was an easy hike – but from our hike we could see serious rock climbers traversing a huge rock or mountain or whatever we call them here. It made my palms sweat but they seemed to know what they were doing and we never heard any sirens so I’m assuming the best.

We also stopped at an art fair – where some folks made little purchases, someone is thinking about a major purchase (all beautiful) and one of us made a skeletal friend. And we had a very lovely dinner at Cucina Rustica.

Girls trip to Arizona Day One: Willie Nelson and the Outlaw Tour by Ann Treacy
October 16, 2021, 2:56 pm
Filed under: Arizona

Know what makes a few crazy busy weeks at work easier? Finishing the week with a vacation with friends. I’m in Arizona with Monica, Anne and Jennifer. They have planned almost all of it, which is definitely a gift to me. I just follow along. Except for the first night, but I’ll get to that.

We landed, dealt with all of the hassles of flying and getting a car and then headed to a lovely late lunch at Taco Guild. It is a gorgeous restaurant inside a Methodist Church built in 1893. The stained glass is amazing –  although it’s difficult to see in the picture because our heavenly hue got in the way. The altar bar would make any Catholic crazy jealous. And the food was delicious!

The we booked into the hotel and rested a bit because … and this was my *only* contribution to the planning … we had tickets to Willie Nelson and the Outlaw tour at AK- Chin at night! The lineup was great we saw the tail end of Gov’t Mule (pun intended), The Avett Brothers and Willie. It was an outdoor amphitheater that seats up to 20,000. We were definitely in the nose bleed section but it felt close – not front row close but definitely in the mix. The sound was great.

Turns out everyone knew more Avett Brothers than they thought and Willie was amazing. It’s pretty stripped down – Willie on stage with a guitar and some folks backing him up. (Sadly his older sister who often plays with him was missing.) His voice wasn’t as strong a first time I saw in at the MN State Fair probably frightening close to 40 years ago – but the guitar playing is still amazing and he never missed a beat.

First day of vacation – big win!!

Road Trip – Santa Fe, Colorado Springs and North Platte by Ann Treacy
April 2, 2018, 3:08 am
Filed under: Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska

Today we traveled for 12 hours. We went from Santa Fe to North Platte (600 miles) and a few stops. The stops started in Santa Fe. We checked out Canyon Road – a haven for top art galleries. Of course it’s Easter and it was 7:30 in the morning so none of them were open – but the area is covered in statues and other works for art.

Then we had a quick visit to the Cross of the Martyrs at the top of the Fort Marcy Park. It is a monument dedicated to the Franciscans killed in the 1680 Pueblo Revolt. It was sort of the perfect thing to do Easter morning. Also it gave us a glimpse of Santa Fe. It was fun to see how different the houses are. Apparently the style is called pueblo style – they are low-slung, earth-colored buildings made of adobe bricks, which consist of a mixture of sun-dried earth and straw.  They are a little reminiscent of Whoville.

Our next stop was Colorado Springs. We stopped to see the Garden of the Gods – huge rock formations at the base of Pike’s Peak. We stopped at the visitor center, which had a great view of the peak. We saw some animals, much like we might run into if we were hanging in the wild looking for animals and then we drove around to see some of the rock formation – like the balancing rock. It was pretty cool.

Finally we landed in North Platte, Nebraska. North Platte is a rail road town and home to a home of Buffalo Bill Cody. We won’t see much of the town – but we had a nice dinner and the hotel feels pretty new and serves cookies. So it’s a winner. Oh and the sunset was very pretty. Gorgeous at Arizona is the sunsets there happen so quickly. It was nice to be back in the land of the long-lasting sunset – even if it means snow and cold.

Road Trip – Sedona to New Mexico by Ann Treacy
April 1, 2018, 4:43 am
Filed under: Arizona, New Mexico

After a few super fun days in Phoenix, we’re making our way home. This is when we’re most thankful for everything digital because we put in some long hours – especially grandpa, the driver. But we’ve had some fun along with the long drive.

We started in Sedona and everyone was a little surprised that I insisted that we go to the Chapel on the Hill there – until we got there. It’s awesome. It’s tucked into the red rock mountains. It’s the perfect place to stop and check out the scenery. Also the crucifix in the chapel is amazing. And of course there’s some family lore related to the candles in the chapel – but you have to go there to hear the story.

We had a super quick stop in Rock Creek Overlook between Sedona and Flagstaff. It’s an incredible view of the Oak Creek Canyon.

We also made a stop in Winslow, Arizona – such a fine site to see.

We had dinner in Albuquerque. We saw the area near the community college but I’d be hard pressed to say that I know Albequerque. With the university and various labs it does seem like a haven of techno-smart people in the middle of the desert. It is a gorgeous drive and fun to see the mountains all around. Driving it feels like you’re on the top of a plateau – so while it’s flat it feels high. Maybe because my ears were popping the whole time!

Hiking in Arizona – saguaros, chollas and prickly pears by Ann Treacy
March 30, 2018, 10:11 pm
Filed under: Arizona

We’re not gone yet – but tomorrow we start the road trip home, I thought I’d get a jump on the archive of the trip. We’ve had a great time. First – it’s snowing back home and I’m sitting in an air-conditioned house with 90 degrees outside.

Second – we got in a lot of hiking. Aine, Grandpa and I made two trips to Tonto National Forest; both times to the Sears Kay Ruins, which are a pretty easy but high walk to the peak of a mountain. The ruins include a village, homes and fortification of Hohokam – an ancient Native American Tribe, who “may be” ancestors of the Pima Tribe.

The location is beautiful but it’s amazing to think that people would choose to land here – high up in the mountains with limited access to water. The village isn’t built on the side of a cliff as we were used to seeing in Ireland but it’s slippery enough. You can definitely see the where the rooms would be in the building of the ruins. It’s pretty cool to see. We also like see the rock formations that look like a strong wind would take them down. (Though none toppled while we were looking.)

On one visit we made a detour to see Lake Bartlett – a reservoir for much of the water used in the area. Pretty and huge.

Aine and I spent about 30 minutes climbing Piestewa Peak. It’s a much more difficult climb, many more people and it was a super-hot afternoon. I can’t tell you what the top of that peak looks like. I’m sure it’s not as nice as the Sear-Kay Ruin.

We three also went to the Botanical Gardens. The big highlight was the butterfly pavilion – and some of the art. It also gave us a quick 101 on cacti. We learned about saguaros, chollas and prickly pears. I think my favorite part of visiting Arizona is the fact that you’d never mistake a drive through Minnesota’s Superior National Forest with a drive through Tonto National Forest.

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