Thursday, June 26, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Maui

Our destination wedding is less than 90 days away, so Hawaii is constantly on my mind. I just can't wait to put my toes in this sand and swim with tropical fish and turtles!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Wild Ride at Bearizona

As I mentioned in my recent posts, Graham and I made an impromptu visit to Williams last weekend to tour Bearizona wildlife park. It wasn't on the way to Flagstaff, but we had always wanted to go there. We found it just off Interstate 40, at Exit 165 in Williams. We had our two dogs in tow, so we were worried we might not be allowed to see the park. But when we got there the attendant gave us a warm welcome and even gave Capone and Taylor some treats. Dogs are in fact allowed for the drive-through portion of the park, provided that the windows are rolled up the entire time. (However, if you want to stroll through the animal exhibits in the fort, the dogs are not permitted.)

When you enter the park, you're given a GPS unit that plays audio along the tour. It repeatedly warns that you should keep an eye out for a Sasquatch, but we didn't spot any on our drive. (It's all part of the fun, I guess.)


You're cautioned on several occasions not to lower your windows, but we didn't have any issues with curious wolves or bears. Most of the animals were more concerned with getting food and water, which was left on the side of road so that passers-by can get a glimpse of the animals.

You'll also notice train and car wreckage along the route, as if the attraction were part junk yard, part park.

You'll see Rocky Mountain goats, Dall sheep, American burros, bison, Alaskan Tundra wolves, Arctic wolves, black bears, white bison, and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. If you don't catch a peek at one of the animals you can always drive through again; admission gets you as many tours as you'd like. And the park is open 7 days a week year-round. 

We came across a bear that was cooling itself off in this pool. Temperatures in the high 70s were too much for him, it seems.

The Fort Bearizona walking area has javelina, a red fox, spotted skunks, swift fox, bobcat, badger, porcupine, ringtail cat, river otter, beaver and more. Live raptor shows are held three times a day from March-December. 

The best part of the visit was seeing the bear cubs play. Two were play-fighting atop the trees, which was entertaining yet anxiety-inducing. I am still in awe of how they can avoid falling. Impressive ... and adorable!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Weekend Getaway: Camping near Flagstaff

After exploring the Bearizona drive-through park, Graham and I ventured to Flagstaff for some cool, fresh air. We returned to Forest Road 420, where we've camped before. We even took our Christmas card photos there a couple of years ago.

We found a camping spot just off the road and set up the hammock. We decided not to pitch a tent this time. Graham put together a sort of truck tent by leaving open the back of the Jeep and putting the tent's rain cover over the opening. (More on that later.)

The  dogs love running around our campsite.
 Later, we went on a short stroll, where we came upon this view.

I love how little you need to do to have a good time outdoors. Later we made dinner and talked before heading into our truck tent. We blew up the air mattress and placed it in the Jeep. I must say, it was the most comfortable bed I've had while camping. But, as you can imagine, it was chilly that night. The temperature dropped from about the 70s to the 30s. We couldn't use the heater because we weren't in our tent and there was no place safe place to put it, so we cuddled each other for warmth. In the morning we turned on the Jeep for a while to warm up while packing up our stuff.  

We started our Sunday by driving to Arizona Snowbowl Road to see the Aspens. While getting out to snap photos, I turned around and spotted two deer. Then three more crossed the road to join them! Sometimes it pays off to wake up at 5:30 a.m.

The view from the end of the road is always impressive. We didn't quite summon the energy to climb to the top of Humphreys Peak again, like we did in 2011. Maybe sometime soon!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Lunar Flow Yoga at the Clarendon Hotel

I'm already daydreaming about the weekend.

Last weekend was jam packed and ended beautifully with an extra-long yoga class atop the Clarendon Hotel.

Sutra Midtown hosts Lunar Flow classes each month; the next one is 8 p.m. July 13 and will be taught by Mary Canisales.

If you get to the roof a little early, you can nab a good spot and watch the sunset.

The classes are popular, so expect to get close to your neighbor. Angie Hall, who taught Sunday night's class, encouraged us to touch hands in Warrior C and joked that we should even push each other over. Yoga is supposed to be fun, after all!

Sutra's Lunar Flow classes are $10 and benefit the studio's Karma Sutra Initiative, which helps local charities. Feel good, do good!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Williams, Arizona

It's been a few years since I've been to Williams, the "gateway to the Grand Canyon." We took some time to tour the town yesterday before heading to Bearizona, the drive-through wildlife park just off Interstate 40.

While it's a popular pit stop on the way to the Grand Canyon National Park, Williams is a tourist destination that can hold its own. It's home to quaint antique and souvenir shops, restaurants, bars, a train depot and more. There was a barbecue festival held over the weekend, for instance. 

Take a day or two to explore what the town has to offer and learn about its heyday during the days of Route 66.

You might notice a sign at the Grand Canyon Hotel with a rate of $3.50.

** Before I started this blog I had visited Williams and dined at a lively Mexican restaurant named Pancho McGillicuddy's. I remember enjoying its patio, where I could hear live music while savoring my meal. If we had more time I would have liked to try it again. It might be worth checking out if you're in town. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Last night’s Johnnyswim show at the Musical Instrument Museum Theater showed me two things. 1. Johnnyswim sound a thousand times better live --- and they already sound amazing. 2. The MIM is the perfect concert venue.

The show was the most enjoyable concert I’ve ever been to. The duo put on an energetic, touching performance. Amanda and Abner seem to truly enjoy sharing the stage. Graham and I were so impressed by their soulful, controlled voices, which harmonize perfectly. I still hear them in my head right now. I bought the tickets the day they went on sale, a week or so after I initially read they were coming to Phoenix on Instagram. I had commented on one of their posts, saying that they should visit our city, and I got a response! I then spent the next week researching venues to figure out just where they would be playing. I finally saw on Facebook that they would play at the MIM, a venue I had never visited. The effort was worth it to sit in the center of the front row.

Johnnyswim asked that audience members only take photos for the first three songs.

Johnnyswim praised the venue, talking about the museum's impressive selection of instruments. "Music is the language of the soul," Abner said, admitting that he stole that from the museum.

The concert was lively and fun. The audience got to hear about stories of Abner's dad and the couple's proposal in Paris. (The couple took artistic liberties when using their proposal as the inspiration for "Paris in June," now one of my favorite songs on the album.) We also heard the inspiration behind "Diamonds," which in addition to being inspirational can be thought of as a "suck it" song," while "Live While We're Young" is Amanda's version of YOLO. Their set list had fun additions, like 45 seconds of a June Carter and Johnny Cash song, Britney Spears’ “Till the World Ends” and a Cuban song from Abner’s childhood. The encore started with a passionate rendition of “Over” that I currently have in my head. We had such a good time that it seemed too short of a concert.

Afterward, the duo were available to sign CDs in the lobby. The 20-30 minute wait for them was worth it. They chatted and took photos with fans and seemed genuinely interested to hear what they had to say. We talked about how I have talked to them on social media trying to get them to add a Phoenix date, and they said they truly look at those when booking shows.

I'm excited to return to the MIM to see their instruments from around the world. For now, I have roses and a signed album to remind me of a fabulous Monday.

Sunday, June 8, 2014