Detailed Arizona Trip Part Two

Apr 17th, 2005, 01:25 PM
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Detailed Arizona Trip Part Two

Arizona Trip Report Part Two

Well here goes my second attempt on the final installation of this report. As many of you know I have already written quite an extensive version a few days back that I somehow lost when trying to copy it to Fodors. Here’s hoping this one survives as I don’t know that I have three versions in me.

Before I proceed on this tale I want to go back to Chinle and my Hospital experience. John and I view all our trips as adventures and part of our experience of new and different places. My ER visit was just that –an adventure! Live and learn. I in no way meant to discourage anyone from visiting the reservations as they are a must see. It was just to perhaps help the next tourist there to be more aware than we were. I think knowing about the limits of medical services and the distances (sometimes great) between hospitals and help while on vacation can avoid potential disasters. There was apparently another hospital about 40 minutes away that was better equipped (staffed?) to help had I known. Also bring any and all meds with you “just in case.”

Now on to my story: By the time we left the hospital, packed quickly and left the Thunderbird Lodge about 7 am I (now having had the shot and pain meds) was feeling no pain whatsoever. In fact I felt WONDERFUL!!! We are now enroute to Wickenburg and the Rancho de los Cabelleros. It is to be a long scenic ride. We stopped first very briefly at the Hubbell Trading Post. I loved the store itself –so authentic feeling and great merchandise. Here is where I did the only shopping of this trip for a little girl I know who was having her 9th birthday soon. It was too early for the displays to be open (which was a shame) but we did see a demonstration of rug weaving. I think hours could be spent here experiencing and learning. Great family place as well.

We continued on our journey seeing a bit of the petrified forest and the pastels of the Painted Desert. This trip went much faster than expected and especially since I was “drugged” but very very happy!!??

We decided to take a different route and visit Prescott which we had heard about. It is a cute town once you get downtown but it is clearly evident that there has been a population boom of late with the numerous shopping malls etc. We decided to try the Belvedere’s Bistro on Main St (I believe). However it was closed for renovation and the sign referred us to 129 ½ just a few doors down. So we tried that which was the same owner. When we told her we came because of the sign she graciously offered us free appetizers. 129 ½ is a jazz supper club that has just recently opened up for lunch. These same owners have three other restaurants in town by the same owner. The food was very very good. (Real food!) I had the onion soup and John had a hot crab dip with crusted bread. Then John had the pasta with cheese and walnuts and I had the chicken salad on greens. Both were beautifully presented and delicious. Prices were average range. We would recommend this place and in all likelihood you would be pleased with any of their five restaurants.

We now decide to take the mountain route down to Wickenburg that turned out to be a beautiful ride although a windy one. Soon we arrive in cute little Wickenburg. What a delightful town on arrival. We went first to Basha’s Drug store to get my prescriptions filled (with our fingers crossed). The doctor at Chinle had given me these prescriptions but was not sure they would be good in Arizona as he was only licensed in Utah and New Mexico. They filled them with no problem.

We find our way to Ranch Cab.($344 per night plus gratuities and taxes) It has a beautiful approach with gorgeous homes on the golf course. I could see my husband getting excited just getting a peek at the golf course! As we drive in we both say “Wow!” It is just a beautiful resort with lots of colorful flowers and perfectly manicured grounds etc. They couldn’t have been more gracious at the front desk. We followed our valet in his golf cart to our casita. When he opened the door for me it was like going from black and white into full living color. The room was large and gorgeous—beautifully decorated. Outside our front door was an orange tree filled with fruit!! Our rear patio was large with a great view and nice patio furniture. We had a bay window with window seat, two comfortable arm chairs and an ottoman. The bath was huge with a Jacuzzi tub. We were impressed. A wonderful feeling of calm came over me as soon as I got here.

All meals are included with room rates-full American plan. Dinner that evening was delicious—real food!! Lamb chops etc etc. Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style and both are very complete and quite good. The bed was fabulously comfortable and we had a great night’s sleep. John and I had breakfast together the next morning and he was off to golf on the resort. He drove his cart back to our casita at lunchtime and we had lunch together and then he was back off for another 18 holes. This was fine with me as I was finding myself very tired and napping all the time. I thought it was because I had the drugs still in my system so I backed off those and hoped my symptoms didn’t return. They didn’t—but new ones cropped up on our second full day there. I developed terrible vomiting and diarrhea!! I repeat I am not a hypochondriac and NEVER get sick on vacation!!!

The next day I stopped vomiting but still had the other problem big time. I had no appetite and was still sleeping my days away. I kept thanking God our touring was over and John had golf or I would have felt worse. I actually loved golf on these days as they kept him occupied and happily so.

We left reluctantly on Friday. We would definitely come back here in a heartbeat. There was such a calm, peace and beauty of this place that I am not describing well. If I had to be sick anywhere it was here. John played golf in the morning and we had lunch before we left. (I think I tried a piece of toast!) My husband’s appetite was not affected at all by my illness. I was blaming this illness on Chinle Hospital as well. I figured one of those sleeping patients waiting in the ER must have had this bug—it was highly contagious –and I caught it. Do you guys think I have Chinle-itis?

We moved on to the Hyatt Regency at Gainey Ranch in Scottsdale on Friday for the weekend. This is a beautiful resort. I had never been to Scottsdale before and wanted to check it out. Our room was spacious and very comfortable. The bed here was great too. We decide when we get home we are treating ourselves to a bed of this quality.

Tonite we are trying L’Ecole the restaurant at the Scottsdale Culinary School. I had read of it in my research. They said it was a great find and hard to get reservations unless made well in advance. I made the reservations well in advance. While not feeling hungry (at all) I am looking forward to trying this place out. They have a prix fixe 9 course meal for 35. They also have a la carte menu. Now you KNOW there is no way my stomach can take nine courses! Both people at the table have to get the prix fixe so we both had to order from the ala carte menu. We both ordered the shrimp gazpacho. My husband ordered a lamb entrée and I ordered another appetizer –diver scallops. Thirty minutes later the gazpacho arrived and it looked beautiful. The TASTE??—well left something to be desired. I thought it was awful so my husband had them both. Now another hour goes by (I am not exaggerating here) and I have gone to the bathroom about ten times. We wait and wait. Not even a basket of breads were served to us. Finally the waiter comes over and apologizes for the delay and offers us a complimentary bottle of wine. We say we will each have a glass of wine. Now another 20 minutes go by and the food finally comes. Meanwhile people all around have been served the wrong food or no food and are getting up and leaving. My husband wouldn’t leave. I took a taste of my scallops (which by the way were presented beautifully.) and they did not taste cooked. I know I can’t fool around with uncooked scallops in my condition. I suddenly felt hot and uncomfortable. I asked my husband if he would mind if I left and got some air and of course he didn’t. He sat there drank both glasses of wine and both of our plates of food. (Remember I told you earlier about that stomach of steel?) They only charged us half price for our meals in the end. (Which is more than they got I guess from the people who walked out.)

So in conclusion I think somewhere along the line the quality of food and service at the Culinary School has deteriorated significantly. It is no longer a find but a “forget about”.

We did have a wonderful night’s sleep and the next morning John was at the golf course. His tee time was noon so together we explored the resort. We were going to have some coffee and at the Coffee Bar however we got deterred. The woman in front of us ordered three waters and two granola bars (regular in foil) and she was charged $21.05 for it. I was shocked by this and told my husband I couldn’t handle these prices –as they were absurd. We asked for a rec and went to a breakfast place called Le Peet’s not far from the Hyatt. I am trying to eat again. Not being much of a breakfast eater I ordered what else but a hamburger!! My husband had a full breakfast and enjoyed it.

They have 27 beautiful holes here on the Gainey course and he loved them. He could not get over the beauty of the holes and the course. My medical problem continues and I am basically LIVING on Imodium.

I did get outside from time to time with my book for a bit of sun by the pool. They have 10 pools here one adult pool and even a pool with a sandy beach. This is a very kid friendly resort for sure.

I felt sitting by the pool as the majority of people were enjoying beverage refreshments by the pool in rapid succession that it had the atmosphere of an expensive cruise. I looked at the menu and margaritas were like $13. each in small clear plastic cups. Yikes!!

We went out to dinner per the concierge’s recommendation to an Italian place closeby called Laconda. The place was small—bistroish and the walls were adorned with angel art. The food was very good and reasonable. My husband got the black pasta with shellfish that he thought was divine. My veal marsala was very good, tender veal that I had to work on eating. I am still not dining out material but the guy has to eat. They served a lovely bread platter with oil and lots of garlic, soft cheese and fresh tomatoes with basil. On a more healthy night I would have done a job on that but not this night. One final note here. The ladies room had a decanter in there with small cups. It looked like ginger ale. When I asked the waitress what it was she said mouthwash. When I said I had never seen that before she said neither had she. Perhaps that garlic oil???

We return for another goodnight’s sleep in that glorious bed. John was up bright and early for golf. I sat outside with my book feeling somewhat better but not 100%.

We got a 2 pm checkout time which was nice and we left about that time. We return to the Radisson Phoenix Airport Hotel (50. Priceline) for our last night. We tried to eat at Oregano’s again but there was too long a wait. This place must be great with the lines it has both times we tried on a Thursday night and a Sunday afternoon. Anyone been there?? We ended up sharing a pizza from somewhere which will remain nameless—terrible greasy pizza.

John left me back at the hotel and returned the car to Avis. Then he had Avis bring him over to the airport where our hotel van picked him up. This took him about 45 minutes and made our departure day so much easier with no rushing. Our flight was at 7:30 am.

I was worried about my “condition” and all that time flying. I did not eat a bite all day to be safe and had no problems at all. Our flights were fine and on time. We even got exit seats for our legs on the last leg.

We have been home now for six days. I still needed a few more days to recuperate fully from what my doctor tells me was some type of food poisoning. He said it must have been something I ate or drank. One fault we do have if you could call it that is that we drink mainly water with our meals and lots of it. We never asked for bottled water and just tap so methinks somewhere out there the water got me. I am not blaming Chinle water but the thought did occur to me???? Mr. Stomach of Steel had no problem whatsoever thank the Lord!

So our much researched, highly anticipated trip is over. I know I was a trooper and carried on no matter what. The boy’s love of golf really saved the latter part of our trip. The sightseeing (concentrated) was over before my troubles started. We saw a lot, learned a lot, experienced a lot and I can honestly say we both had a great time. My husband is raving about it. He said he came home to his own golf course a golf snob after the great course in Arizona.

Probably after 35 years of marriage is how much we enjoy being together and especially on an adventure! Until the past 10 years our vacations were always family vacations and then suddenly we were back to just the two of us. It is like when we were first married only better. While we are both very different from each other we are at the same time very much alike. It is so easy to be together like it was meant to be. Now if I can just stay healthy!

I have tried to be as honest as I could be here and hoping this will be helpful to someone lucky enough to be taking an Arizona holiday. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask. Here’s hoping this one goes thru. Helen
Reeder is offline  
Apr 17th, 2005, 02:43 PM
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Very interesting report, Helen, sorry for your sickness attacks. The second one sounds like food poisoning to me. After a bout one time, I try not to eat chicken salad or undercooked fish on trips. You can't tell how long they have been sitting out and they turn bad quickly. It's not fun to get sick on a trip.
seniormsuedu is offline  
Apr 17th, 2005, 02:46 PM
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Just to update my report as I check out my typos. The Rancho Cab is a great place for kids and there are lots of activities daily for all ages. (wish I could have participated a bit) It is a Dude ranch so lots of horseback riding and related activities there. It is a cool place.

We got the Hyatt in Scottsdale for $150 per night on Priceline. There is a 12 per day resort charge on top of that mandatory.

In my last paragraph or so I wanted to say was after 35 years of marriage I am still amazed at how well we get along and enjoy being together. Am I being too gushy here? It is the glue that kept I guess what could have been a catastropic vacation on course! H
Reeder is offline  
Apr 18th, 2005, 12:06 PM
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Reeder is offline  
Apr 18th, 2005, 12:18 PM
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Reeder, next time you go on a vacation, try taking an Airborne cocktail. They sell it in Walgreen's and you put it in water and it fizzes like Alka Seltzer. It tastes lemony. It's a potent vitamin/herb type of booster for your immune system. I have found that it works for me. In the last 5 years, I now do not react to foreign germs as I once did.

And actually, if it was the water, you both would have gotten it, because those kinds of bacteria do not respect exceptions, unless they are acclimated to them. Most probably it was something you ate and he didn't.
JJ5 is offline  
Apr 18th, 2005, 02:03 PM
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The problem we are having its that we cannot figure it out. Either we ordered the same thing--remember all those burgers or he finished whatever I ordered. He does have a stomach of steel?
I did begin the vacation tired and rundown and I am immuno suppressed. Given the earlier episodes on the trip eye reaction and the SHOULDER FROM HELL I think I was just susceptible and very much so. This was our first big stateside vacation in a long time. In past recent years we have been heading to Europe. Last year we did 17 nights in Italy with nary a problem. Neither of us have ever experienced food poisoning before.
Thanks for your tip on the Airborne Cocktail. I will definitely give it a try on any and all future vacations. Also will make an effort to leave home rested the next time. Thanks. H
Reeder is offline  
Apr 20th, 2005, 08:18 AM
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I am rebouting this as I hope everyone who wanted to read my second instalalment got a chance to. H
Reeder is offline  
Apr 26th, 2005, 05:35 PM
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I am happy to report that my "problem" with food poisoning or whatever it was feels like it has finally moved on. I am back to my normal routine and ready to plan our next excursion having learned a lesson or two. To whomever recommended the "airborne drink" I want to say both of my kids will be hitting the Dominican Republic once again in late May and they will be enjoying an "airborne cocktail" before they go if I have anything to say about it--plus daily yogurt the week prior!! h
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