January 1 saw frost on the top of the car and when we brought the driver's side slide in there were chunks of ice that fell - from the rain two nights before. It was a nice drive, about 2 1/2 hours. The new 303 Loop is finished now and even though it confused the GPS, it was a quick way to Bell Road. We got snugged in our site and will be here for a month.
January 5 we had the front windshield replaced. We had taken a rock along the way and the crack was starting to grow. It took four of them, three ladders and two trucks to take it out and replace it. It only took them a couple of hours. Larry went golfing with Dale and friends on the 7th. We have gone to happy hour at the Tiki Bar several times. They have $2 beer and wine and great music - some bands are from outside, one is from within the park and there is also Karaoke. Maureen went to the Chef's Demo on the 9th. There were over 400 people in the Ballroom! After Chef Jeff demonstrated several dishes, his kitchen staff served enough samples for everyone. Excellent event.
On the 12th we drove over to Scottsdale to scope out the parking for Barrett Jackson and choose a place where we could meet Larry's cousin Doug and his wife Sheila on the 15th. We went to the Scottsdale Resort and picked up some more of Larry's plastic glasses then we went to the Village Tavern for lunch. Also on the 12th Maureen went to a performance of Carpenters music.
On the 13th it poured rain! The weather has not been very warm, only reaching about 15 deg C in the daytime and going down to almost freezing at night. On the 14th we had an appliance repair guy come over to see if he could fix the water dispenser on the fridge. He replaced a solenoid and the water filter head assembly and it seems to be better, although not what it was in the beginning.
On the 15th we met Doug and Sheila at Barrett Jackson at 10 am. What an amazing event! We walked up and down all the rows - hundreds of amazing classic cars enclosed in the huge tents (including the famous Ron Pratte collection) and several hundred more outside. We had Chinese food for lunch. We ran into a couple from Swan Lake and also a couple that we had known in White Rock who now live in Sechelt most of the time. Small world! We went from there to a little bar for a drink, then said goodbye to Doug and Sheila. They were heading back to Grand Prairie on the weekend.
On the 16th we had an amazing lunch with 20 others from Swan Lake. We all met at Rudy's BBQ in Goodyear. Some came from fairly far away, while the others were quite close. The next day we went to the Arizona Home Show. It was huge too. We got a few ideas for the new house. Sunday we had Dale and Jeanne over for Tri-Tip and Yorkshires for dinner.
On the 21st we decided to do our trip to the Grand Canyon and Sedona. We headed out just after 9 am on the 22nd - 303 Loop to I-17, I-40 to Williams, Hwy 64 to the Canyon. We had brought chicken sandwiches and snacks with us and had to eat it in the car at the Visitors Centre because it was so cold - it went as low as 27 deg F (-4 C). The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River. It is contained within and managed by Grand Canyon National Park, the Hualapai Tribal Nation, the Havasupai Tribe and the Navajo Nation. President Theodore Roosevelt was a major proponent of preservation of the Grand Canyon area, and visited it on numerous occasions to hunt and enjoy the scenery. The Grand Canyon is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and attains a depth of over a mile (6,000 feet or 1,800 meters). Nearly two billion years of Earth's geological history have been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock while the Colorado Plateau was uplifted. Recent evidence suggests that the Colorado River established its course through the canyon at least 17 million years ago. From the Visitors Centre our first lookout was Mather Point. Larry was able to take his scooter along most of this part.
We then took the Rim Road to the far western point - Hermits Rest. Hermits Rest is a structure built in 1914. The Hermit Trail, a hiking trail that extends to the Colorado River, begins about ¼ mile beyond the shuttle bus stop at Hermit's Rest. The location was named for Louis Boucher - a Canadian-born prospector who, around 1891, staked claims below present-day Hermits Rest. With help, he carved the aforementioned trail into the canyon. The main structure was designed by architect Mary Colter and built as a rest area for tourists on coaches operated by the Fred Harvey Company on the way to the now-vanished Hermit Camp. It now has a National Historic Site designation. We worked our back to the village from there, stopping at each viewpoint. This was the same route we had come a few years ago on a tour connected with the train trip.
One of the viewpoints was the John Wesley Powell Memorial. He is famous for the 1869 Powell Geographic Expedition, a three-month river trip down the Green and Colorado rivers, including the first known passage through the Grand Canyon. After we had had enough for the day, we went to check into our hotel. We were staying at the Best Western Grand Canyon Squire Inn in Tusayan, a few miles south of the National Park. The room was very spacious. We went down to the Sports Bar for dinner. A great buffet breakfast was included each of our two mornings - fruit, yogurt, oatmeal, sausage, eggs, biscuits/gravy, pastries, cereals, juice and coffee. Amazing!
The next morning we went for breakfast and set out to explore the eastern side of the South Rim. We did basically the same, stopping at each viewpoint. We had never been on this side before. Our goal was Desert View, 25 miles away. There we found the 70 foot Watchtower, built in 1932. It was also designed by Mary Colter as is the Hope House in the Village. Not much else was open. We came back a bit to the Tusayan Ruin. This ruin is one of more than 4000 archaeological sites recorded within Grand Canyon National Park. Tree ring dates indicate that people began building this Pueblo around 1185 AD. You can see the San Francisco Peaks in the distance. Included in that range is Humphreys Peak, 12633 feet high, the tallest point in Arizona. The area included a nice little museum with some artifacts and an explanation of the area. We went back to the Village, looking for coffee. We went into Hopi House, a nice gift shop and art gallery. Maureen bought some earrings and an ornament for the Christmas tree but no coffee to be found!
We headed back in the direction of our hotel and found RP's Stage Stop. They had excellent coffee, a cinnamon bun and a blueberry oat square - also a very interesting gift shop. We then went next door to the National Geographic Imax Theatre and saw the Grand Canyon: Journey of Wonder. It's a great film and one of the most viewed of Imax films. Then back to our hotel. We went to the Sports Bar for dinner again but it wasn't as good - they were busier and we don't think they could handle it!
On the 24th we headed for Sedona. We arrived before noon. Fortunately we could not check in to our planned hotel - the Day's Inn - it turned out to be Oak Creek, several miles from the centre of Sedona. We scoped out the Sedona Motel and were able to cancel the Day's Inn without incurring a charge for one night. The Sedona Motel was a single storey, older motel with a patio at the south end of the building overlooking the valley. The man at the desk was very nice and recommended things we should see and also where to eat. We went back to Oak Creek to a sushi place we had spotted for lunch. Then we wandered back to Tlaquepaque (an arts and crafts market), around West Sedona, Red Rock Loop and a Mexican Market. Maureen was able to find numbered tiles for our address for the new house. Then back to our motel to watch the sunset, which was so fast Larry missed it. We went to Cowboy Club for an excellent dinner. It was so busy we had to wait almost 40 minutes but it was worth it. We decided we had seen all we wanted to see in Sedona and after a breakfast and a bread purchase at Wildflower Bakery we headed back to Surprise.
On Tuesday the 27th we went and saw American Sniper. That used the last of our Harkins Theatres gift certificates. After that we went for Sushi - Larry had found a Groupon for Eastwind Sushi. It was excellent. Over the next couple of days we saw the F-35s practicing and also the Thunderbirds - for their Superbowl flyby. On Thursday we drove by the stadium where the Superbowl will be played. Friday it rained all day. On Sunday we said goodbye to our neighbour Don from Minnesota and pulled out in the fog with a temperature of 8 deg C (48 deg F).