The Arizona Vacation Journal

I must say that Arizona/Mexico was one of my favorite vacations that I have ever taken.  Hell, Stacy and I have already talked about going back again and Ian has even mentioned interest in wanting to go there after hearing my stories.  Lets begin the rundown of events.

I woke up on Monday at 6 am just bouncing off the walls and anxious for the flight to leave.  I had already packed on Friday and I did a few last minute changes to what I had packed.  I then had to finally get out of the house a couple of hours early because I couldn’t stand the wait any longer.  I went to Joliet and to Fox Valley to look for a Weird Arizona book from Barnes & Noble but couldn’t find one.  I got to DeKalb and we left for the airport.

The flight out to Phoenix went well.  I can’t really complain too much.  We had bratty college kids behind us that were annoying but nothing too bad.  We went to the car rental place and I was feeling froggy so I upgraded us to a Ford Mustang convertible…silver was the only color they had left so we hopped into the car and started heading for Nogales.  Here is a picture of Stacy by the car the next morning:


The speed limit was 75 the whole way down to Nogales and the traffic wasn’t too bad at all.  We ate supper at a cracker barrell and for awhile, we were the only ones in the place!  We finally got down to Nogales and found the hotel.  We were expecting a fleabag hotel but it was actually kind of nice for the price.  We got a huge laugh at the sign for the hotel though.  It was called the Americana Motor Inn but it had an Aztecish Totem Pole thing as its logo.  Nothing says Americana like a Mexican logo!  It also had on the sign a message reading “come as our guest..leave as our friend” and we got a laugh out of that as well.  Here is a picture:

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It was about midnight by the time we got to the hotel which would have made it 2 am here in Morris.  I had been up since 6 so I was tired.  I had originally thought about walking into Mexico when we got there to experience the night life there.  I was just far too tired to have to fight for my life if need be so we decided on sleep and Mexico in the morning.

We got up and walked the mile to the border.  You just walk through a turnstile to get into Mexico.  No checks.  No searches.  No questions.  We decided to walk around and take it all in.  There were shops everywhere and all the owners stand outside and try to usher you into their store.  We were wearing Cubs jerseys because we had tickets for the game that afternoon.  They were yelling “Go Cubbies” or talking about the Bears in the Super Bowl to try to get us into the stores.  We got a lot of neat things for souvenirs and got some interesting pictures as well.  Here is us on a donkey cart.  They had these on every corner and would take your picture in sombreros and such for $2.


We then went into a store and the guy was offering free Tequila shots…I said no and Stacy had one.  He was then trying to get us to drink more.  He asked if we were married and then told me how he could tell that I was a lucky man to have someone as great as Stacy obviously is.  I agreed and we bought some stuff and then he offered to take our picture is his store.  I love this picture:


There were discount pharmacies on every corner and some stores had lucha libre masks in them.  I would have bought the La Parka mask but I had already spent my limit.  The driving in Mexico is just pure anarchy.  You took your life into your own hands walking across the streets.  There were no stop signs.  There were no stop lights.  Just four ways of traffic left to police themselves and decide who was going to go and when.  It was crazy.  I took a couple of photos while walking around:


We then decide that it is time to get back to the US side and the car at the hotel and head towards the game.  On the way out, I was struck by how it was just a little wood fence that divided the countries and how close all the houses on the Mexico side were to the fence and how easy it would be for them to get over it.  We just walked right back into the US.  The guard asked our nationality and just let us through.  I feel real safe now.  Here is the picture I took of the wall up the mountain:


We started heading towards Tucson for the game but we didn’t make it there on time.  We saw a sign for a Mission so we pulled off and went sight seeing.  Here are the pictures from San Xavier Mission south of Tucson.  It is still a Roman Catholic Church that is active.

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We finally made it to Tucson and we ate at a Bennigans and then tried to find a post office to mail out all the souvenirs we got because they wouldn’t fit into our suitcases.  Everyone kept telling us it was on Cherry Street and to go down the one road until we saw it.  We drove all over Tucson for 35 minutes before I finally found a Cherry Street and the Post Office wasn’t even on it!  It did lead me to it though.  Everything has arrived that we shipped out except for the two blankets that I sent to my grandmas and I didn’t get insurance or tracking confirmation so I may be screwed on my Mexican blankets.  We then decide to head towards Phoenix to the hotel.

The next morning we went to Apache Junction.  I had a great time seeing the sights and enjoying the weather with the top down.  We went to a “ghost town” right before the mountain and it had some neat stuff but I was more impressed with the scenery at the Apache Junction mountain.  Here they are:



There was a lake up in the Mountain that had a lookout point.  We stopped and got our picture taken there:


Stacy then took my picture driving with the top down:


We then headed back towards the hotel because it was a warm one.  We had a hard time finding a place to eat supper though.  Downtown Phoenix had nothing and what it did have was closed by 7 pm when we were there.  We also had trouble finding a Walgreens when we got there as well.  Lots of driving all over creation and not finding anything.  We ended up eating at a place called The Claim Jumper that was alright I guess.

The next morning was time for us to get to the airport.  We went geocaching and driving to find this house made out of bottles or something.  We then ran in to where everything was located in Phoenix.  Walgreens, Target, plenty of restaurants.  We grabbed a sandwich from Subway and some ice cream from the Cold Mountain something or other. We eventually got to the  bottle house but didn’t have time to take the tour so we headed towards the airport.  We did get in a geocaching adventure on the way back to the airport as well.

I guess that about sums up the trip.  I had a blast.  I hope you enjoyed the pictures.

Here is one last picture taken from the plane on the way back while flying over the mountain.

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