A Month in Phoenix

We are finally back on the road again after spending a whole month in Phoenix. Well, kind of on the road. We headed up to Sedona to spend a week with family that came to visit us and had a timeshare up there, so we moved about 2 hours north and then stopped for a week again.

At first I was not looking forward to going to Sedona because the weather had been cold and I’m trying to find the summer we missed back home, as soon as humanly possible. It didn’t take long to change my mind. The Sedona area is absolutely beautiful – stay tuned to check out some of the pictures of Sedona, Arizona that we’ll post very soon.

Meanwhile, back in Phoenix…. (pictures at the bottom of this post)

A month seems like a long time to sit in one spot now. It’s weird being on the road and then stopping. You feel like life is going on around you and you’re just sitting still. We picked Deserts Edge RV Park in Phoenix for our month long camp out, and it was pretty awesome as far as RV parks go. Review to follow soon. The first week it seemed really long to be in one spot since I knew that we’d be there for another 3 weeks. We arrived on the 15th of December and I think watching the hustle and bustle of everyone getting ready for their consumerist celebration of Christmas while we had a nice slow pace of life also made it seem disproportionately longer. I thought it was quite refreshing to avoid being a part of the “stuff” of Christmas and be able to spend some time with my lovely lady alone.

On Christmas eve we went out to T. Cook’s which is the restaurant at a very awesome meditteranean style hotel well known for excellent food and has been rated as the best brunch in Phoenix. Our service was apparently slow to their standards so they comp-ed us for 2 appetizers and desert. They didn’t know we are living a lifestyle of rolling island time, and had no problem with the service at all, but who’s going to say no to free awesome food? Basically all we had to pay for was a few glasses of wine.

After this we went over to our friends family’s house for food and to hang out. We sang carols, which at first I was dreading but turned out to be fun. There was a big group of family and friends and we split the 12 Days of Christmas song so each person had their own role and had to sing it every time it came around. Some people were awesome, and some people were hilarious. It was super fun and if I’m ever around a big group of people for Christmas again I’m definitely going to suggest it to the group.

We spent time hanging out with friends, cooking ribs on a smoker, playing poker, ate awesome sushi, visited a fantastic wine bar with the best deserts evar, played racquetball, chilling at friends houses, swimming at the pool and relaxing in the hot tub, visiting the Phoenix Zoo, taking the dogs on walks and to the park, and overall enjoying a relaxing pace of life. We did have some friends from back home come to the Oregon v Auburn football game and we tried to hang out with them a couple times but it didn’t work out, and they dissed us pretty hard. Oh well. Overall, it’s hard to get used to relaxing at first, but after some time it’s pretty nice and you wonder how come you didn’t do this sooner.

But if you think you can escape the troubles of life, think again. They will find you wherever you are. They might not be the same troubles, but you’ll have something to deal with. In our case, about 5 days before we were scheduled to roll out of Phoenix our 2004 Chevy Duramax started blowing smoke out the exhaust. After a bit of online research (aka self diagnosis) it seems this is a common problem with the LB7 Duramax engine in trucks from 2001-2004 where the injectors will fail. Chevy has extended it’s warranty for those injectors to 200k miles or 7 years from the original delivery date of the truck. We fell within that time period, but GM denied our warranty claim and we got stuck with a $2000 bill to fix 4 of them. And that’s a cheap price! I bought the injectors online and had them overnighted to me, then installed at Strictly Diesel in Phoenix who treated me very well. Their service was 100 times better than any Chevy dealer I have ever been to. Keep in mind, there are 8 in this truck so the other 4 could have problems at any time in the future. I called GM’s customer service which turns out to be in Malaysia and finally was able to talk to someone in Detroit but they said they could not help me and “were not at liberty to say why” which is a total joke. Don’t buy a Chevy, they don’t stand behind their products. No wonder they loose market share to companies like Toyota who recall anything and everything that’s a problem. At least they fix the issues with no hassles. Anyway, the point is that you’ll still have to pay what my friend Mike calls a “life tax” even when you’re living the dream.

Awesome Amerixican Food at San Felipe Cantina in Desert Ridge:

A day trip to Scottsdale or Snottsdale as the non-Scottsdale locals call it:

Dos Gringos in Old Town Scottsdale.

Totally worth a visit. Great deals on really good Mexican food every day of the week, plus they let you take your dog in as long as you sit in one of the perimeter booths outside. They have other locations in Arizona too.

Phoenix Dog Parks:

Phoenix has a number of official “dog parks” most of which are nothing more than a regular park that has a fenced area for dogs. Most of them have separate sections for small dogs and large dogs which is pretty stupid – cause all dog fights are small dogs versus big dogs. Ya right. Almost every park that we went to had huge signs all over the place that explained how The Man is gonna ticket you big time if you get caught with your dog off the leash at a regular park. Ironically, most parks had more people with dogs (on leash) than people or kids using the park. Well, we found a decent sized park that was just down the street (in Phoenix that means about 4 miles) from where we were staying that didn’t have signs at all. Must have been government budget cuts that stopped them from posting signs. At any rate, we figured if someone said something we’d play stupid tourist and say there were no signs and proceeded to take the dogs there about 4-5 days per week. No one ever said anything, and I think Phoenix cops have a lot more important stuff to do than ticket people playing fetch with their Golden Retrievers. Seems like there’s about 1/10th the amount of cops in Phoenix than back home anyway.

We also took the dogs to a vet called Deer Creek Animal Hospital for some things, and found that they had a doggie daycare which has 1 acre of running space behind their building, and they let the dogs in to the clinic behind the reception counter whenever they want. They loved it!

Outdoor Lifestyle Prevails:

Say what you want about Phoenix – and their intolerable heat in the summer but they do have something like 8 months of the year where you can be outside. In the super hot summers, you can still be outside at night when it’s 90 degrees and pitch black. Outdoor malls and restaurants with patios are commonplace, and also actually usable for most of the year. This one has a HUGE outdoor fireplace that no doubt burns an entire dinosaur worth of fossil fuel per day, but on those chilly December days where it barely reaches 60 the locals probably love it. Here’s a few photos of Desert Ridge which has a cool outdoor corridor that feels much nicer than any indoor mall ever has, back in the Pacific North Wet.

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