Would you believe me if I told you I had never taken a vacation for vacation sake in my adult life? My eldest sister lives in beautiful British Columbia so when given an opportunity to escape work, my family usually ventures to the Pacific Northwest for some drizzly, hiking adventures. Even a recent trip to Glacier National Park was because of a wedding that brought me to remote Montana. So at 26 years of age, I was feeling in need of a true vacation.
My roommate recently decided to pursue graduate school and it has been a tizzy of studying, GRE, applications and school visits. In the midst of chaos, she threw out the option to visit some schools in AZ and southern CA with her. Ok, so I guess it's not 100% for vacation sake, but I was still on board. We booked airfare, started mapping out our route (as it would involve a mini roadtrip) and started making a list of can't miss to-dos for our #SunshineTour. First up, the "sunny" state of Arizona...
Whether this trip was for vacation or school visits, we decided to indulge a little. Our first night, we stayed at a cheap AirBnB. We had only booked a single bedroom; but, our host was out of town, allowing us full reigns of the small condo. Our stay was quirky. We counted something like 43 ducks - figurines, pictures, and paintings throughout the small apartment and the "dining room table" was a piece of wood on cinder blocks about a foot off the floor with scattered pillows around for lounging. Quirks aside, it was a place to lay our heads down at night and start our adventure!
After grabbing our Turo car, we headed toward Scottsdale to check in to our next hotel and grab a bite to eat. We checked in at a Marriott in North Scottsdale to find the most heavenly bed. After lunch and walking around town, we vowed we'd only take a quick nap... Waking up just before dinnertime, we decided we needed to spend a little time out by the pool. Though we were blessed with some unusual rain in the arid desert, we had the pool all to ourselves and even the rainy weather beat the weather in the teens in Minnesota.
Mmmm. Between checking out and checking in to our different stays, picking up our Turo car and squeezing in a little nap, we didn't have a ton of time to explore the sights of Arizona. But we certainly had time for Mexican. The Mission is described as "modern Latin cuisine" but I would probably describe it as the food of the gods. We ordered the guacamole they make right at your table, variety of tacos, and finished off with churros and chocolate sauce.
That evening, we weren't outrageously hungry so we opted to share a woodfire pizza at Lamp. At this point, I decided that all hopes of keeping to my gluten-free restriction was out the door... but churros and woodfire pizza was already so worth it.
Being those crazy coffee ladies, we did some searching for local coffee shops before arriving in Arizona. Disappointed there weren't many too choose from (we're so spoiled in Minneapolis), the couple spots we stopped were amazing. Coffee was rich and smooth and the pastries were incredible. After getting drenched in the rain on the way to our Turo car, we warmed up at Lola Coffee Bar. Then on the way out of town, we stopped in Phoenix at Lux Central for some java for the road. We hit the road Sunday morning and they had a DJ spinning records and a case full of delicious baked goods - we weren't convinced we could tear ourselves away from Arizona just yet but California was calling!
We had planned on getting out in the desert a little - whether to hike or just stroll around some cacti and succulents - but the weather changed our plans a little. We ended up walking around Old Town Scottsdale and ducking into little shops to avoid the rain. We stumbled into an art gallery, filled with landscapes and cowboy-themed art. It was neat to see the local scene reflected in the paintings and sculptures on display.
While it may have technically been across the California boarder, we finally got to enjoy the desert as a break from our mini road trip to San Diego! After stopping for gas, I suggested we spread out a blanket I scored at a rest stop and dig into the snacks I had packed in my carry on. I had just returned from a food show for work and was loaded with some yummy bites which made for a perfect impromptu picnic. The spare tire in the desert wilderness just made it better.
All photos taken with iPhone 6+ and edited with VSCO.
I wanna keep on driftin'
like a rambling man, mile after mile