Note: This column appears in the 5/15 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 5/16 issue of the Peoria Times...and has nothing to do with sports
My parents came to visit my wife and I last week from New Jersey. They were here for about nine days, and in that time, they managed to experience more of Arizona than we have in a year.
Much of Arizona they discovered while searching for the 10 East from the airport in their rental car. When I called my mom to find out where they were -- roughly three hours after they landed -- she said they had finally found the 10E, and were going straight to the nearest divorce court. Then they’d get something to eat.
Once everyone was settled in, it was time to experience the desert. After a weekend that included a D-Backs game, several stints at our development pool, and a few tastes of fine, local cuisine (the Peoria “Chili’s”) my parents were on their own once the workweek started. Luckily for them -- because our section of Arizona is largely bereft of street signs, though with a surplus of construction cones -- they had their trusty GPS.
Their first stop was the Cibola Vista Spa in Peoria. This was negative one point for the GPS, which directed them to drive straight into a cactus one mile away from the spa. Nevertheless, they found the spa, and they loved it. It was good for them to relax and unwind after a nine-hour flight, five hours of which were spent sitting on the Newark runway. And while they were lounging outside on the spa balcony, soaking in the sun, they noticed a horse farm across the street that offered horseback rides. When in Rome…
The next morning they had their horseback ride bright and early. Keep in mind that I, personally, have never been on a horse in my life. I actually just fed a horse for the first time two weeks ago. His name was Buckwheat. Anyhoo, their guide recommended that they wear helmets, although my dad, kindly, I’m sure, refused. My mom did wear her helmet, and looked like the exact opposite of John Wayne in the photos that their guide kindly took of them. (I find it intriguing that this state has no helmet law for people riding motorcycles at 75mph, yet they recommend wearing one while riding a horse.) They had an absolute blast though.
Hi, Judy? I found your horse. It was in the ocean. Good thing you were wearing a helmet.
What’s the next logical stop for two fun-seeking tourists who just experienced beautiful Arizona on horseback? The local chiropractor, of course! Yes, my parents -- a little sore now -- walked into Parkway Chiropractic for some quick treatment. Not only was this experience, in their words, quicker and cheaper than back home, but also Glenn, the chiropractor, was from New Jersey. Good times all around.
Feeling refreshed and less arthritic, the next day they traveled around Peoria with our fabulous real estate agent (plug alert!) Ryan Richter to get a read on the area. Not that they’re thinking of buying or anything (yet), though this did provide my dad -- a recently retired plumber-pipefitter -- a chance to ask many questions about vents, roofs, outlets, and other blue-collar stuff that his own son had been previously answering with a shrug of the shoulders.
Yes, Dad -- the supply air ducts in Arizona ARE different...I think
Later that night, with us, they discovered their favorite Arizona restaurant, North in Glendale. Then they traveled to Sedona. (The GPS was banging on all cylinders now.) Then we all went to the Shrine of St. Joseph in Yarnell, and finally to Westgate and the Yardhouse for our last meal before they left.
Last Saturday morning my parents, sadly, boarded the plane back to New Jersey -- no word on whether my mom was wearing her plane helmet -- acutely more aware of why we moved here. In fact, they talked about coming back as soon as possible. When they do, maybe they can show us around.
I wasn't kidding about Buckwheat