On The Road Again…

While sad to leave our downtown San Diego condo, we were also pretty excited to get back on the road (again).  Although Adam spent his college years in Tucson at the U of A, we didn’t get to spend a whole lot of time visiting as Emily was in the middle of her rebellious high school years.  So off to the middle of the Sonoran desert we went.

We checked into the Westin La Paloma, a beautiful resort nicely located in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains.

We last stayed here for Adam’s graduation in 2006 and really enjoyed the facilities. Unfortunately this visit got started on a bit of a sour note as our rude front desk clerk notified us that they were able to “upgrade” us to a nice room……with 2 double beds.   So here we were, tired after 7 long hours of driving through this:

and more than a little perturbed at being “upgraded” to a room of lesser value than what we had reserved.  Afterall, at some point on this trip we attained platinum status with Starwood and we just weren’t feeling the love we worked so hard to attain.  We informed our poker faced attendant that our upgrade just wasn’t going to work for us.

Me: That room just isn’t going to work for us, find us a room with a king bed.

Rude Desk Clerk:  I’m sorry sir, there aren’t any king beds available.

Me: OK, we are platinum members, how about a suite upgrade.

RDC: I’m sorry sir, there aren’t any suites available either.

Me:  Our reservation was confirmed for a room with a king bed.  Look again.

RDC:  Looking…….looking…..oh, huh, here’s a king available in building F.

So, still annoyed, we go to our room and find it’s actually very nice.  Great views, roomy, private.  But being in a fightin’ mood, Robin goes on-line to see if she can book a suite (platinum members are guaranteed a suite upgrade if one is available) for our stay dates. Sure enough suites are available……uggh. Time to call the hotel manager……..

Long story short, after sharing our check-in experience with the manager and informing him that according to their own web-site suites are indeed available, he miraculously finds a suite for us………..”one just happened to open up…….a cancellation….just now”.  So we got a nice suite but needed a great sushi dinner at RA Sushi to fully get over our poor treatment at the La Paloma.

We even found our beloved half sour pickles at the grocery story next to the restaurant so we were now good to go!

View from our balcony

View from our balcony

Tuesday started with a great sunrise (a rare event for us late sleepers)

and was spent working out at the health club, eating lunch at the hotel tennis club, in the suite working, and visiting the local Sweet Tomatoes, one of our favorite buffet style salad bar restaurants.

Wednesday we visited Saguaro (pronounced swar-oh) National Park.  The popular Saguaro cactus found exclusively in the Sonoran desert (and of course road runner cartoons), can live up to 200 years and grow up to 60 feet high.  We intended to do some hiking but decided instead to just drive the park loop (too many warning pictures of rattle snakes, scorpions and tarantulas).

Thursday was another day that started poorly but ended well.  Back in 2008  we attended the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament in Scottsdale.  We were in town for the Super Bowl (our wonderful children treated us to Super Bowl tickets for our 50th birthdays) and heard the golf tournament was something we had to experience, so we went and had a great time.  When we decided to visit Tucson this year, we noticed that the tournament was again scheduled during our stay, so being only a 2 hour drive away we figured we would go again.  Big mistake.  Not sure exactly what happened, but perhaps with the Super Bowl in town again, rain expected on Friday and Saturday, and Tiger Woods playing in the tournament for the first time in a decade, the Thursday crowd broke all attendance records.  It took us the expected 2 hours to get to Scottsdale, then another 2 hours to park and walk (the wait for the shuttle bus was over an hour) to the course, where we spent most of our time looking for an available concession stand where they only had hot dogs and warm beer.  On the positive side we did see a couple of golfers, met Kelly Stein, a really friendly and fun co-worker of Adam’s, and got in a lot of exercise.

18th green

18th green at TPC Scottsdale

We made it back to the car just before a huge storm opened up and made our way to downtown Phoenix to meet Adam for dinner.  Adam was asked by the NFL to work the Super Bowl this year and thus has been in Phoenix all week.  He jokes that he was asked to help because of his expertise in dealing with unruly fans (Raaaiddders) on ticketing issues. Guess he made a good impression on the NFL ticketing brass when they had to deal with Raider fans in London last fall.

Downtown was crazy with parties and events.

And we had a great time visiting Adam!

The last couple days in Tucson have been very cold and very wet.  Rain in the desert is pretty interesting as it doesn’t take much to cause flash floods.  We ventured out to lunch and to pick up prescriptions

and were very happy to get back to our hotel on the high ground and watch a nice dark movie (Foxcatcher).

Tomorrow we are off to La Jolla, CA for a two week stay.  Hoping to get to our apartment in time for the Super Bowl!

Happy 88th birthday Aunt Corie!  Hope you had a great day.

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