October 08, 2002
Footloose and Fancy in Carefree

The alarm went off this morning at 4:15, about three and a half hours after we went to bed, and our honeymoon got off to a sleepy start. Al's friend Beth is housesitting for us while we're away, so she took us to the airport at about 5:15. That gave us enough time to stand in the incredibly long line at Starbucks before boarding our 7am flight to Phoenix.

We arrived in Arizona without incident, picked up our minivan (a Dodge Grand Caravan, though how it earned the "Grand" without having a CD player, I'll never know), and hit the road for Carefree. Al remarked that Arizona reminded him of New Jersey, only more barren. Then he said that he wanted some french fries. We stopped at the Whataburger on Bethany Home Road to get some, and continued on.

When we got to Scottsdale Road, Al exclaimed, "Look honey! Cactus!" Indeed, huge Saguaro cacti dotted the landscape on either side. Imposing boogers, but something about them makes you want to run up and hug them (which I understand is ill-advised). Not long after the first cactus sighting we reached the Boulders, where we'll be staying for two days of golf and spa treatments.

There's something very late 70s-early 80s about the style of this place—the logo and its lettering alone seem to suggest orange shag carpets—but it's definitely a luxury resort. Instead of a front desk, they have two black granite desks with chairs in front of them, like at a bank. We sat down, signed in (I signed my name "Lori Hylan-Cho" for the first time ever, and it looked very natural), were given all the info about the place, and were shown where our room would be when it was ready.

We were also told that our minivan would be valet parked, and that we could either walk around the resort or be chauffered from the main destinations (front desk, spa, golf club). Since we had a 12:50 tee time and our room wasn't ready yet, we took our golf clothes out of our suitcases and boarded the van for the pro shop. We changed in the locker rooms, bought some balls and gloves in the shop, and had lunch at Bogey's. They seem a little confused here about whether we're Mr. & Mrs. Hylan, Mr. & Mrs. Cho, or Mr. & Mrs. Hylan-Cho, but they do understand that we're on our honeymoon, and they've been treating us very well as a consequence. The staff at Bogey's was incredibly solicitous, giving us extra iced tea and lemonade as well as a strawberry shortcake for dessert before sending us out to our carts.

The carts themselves were pretty neat, with an ice-filled cooler, a misting system in case it got too hot, and a ball washer built in. The staff gave us cups of water and straws, asked us if there was anything else they could do, and then started us off on the back nine. I won't say too much about our game—neither of us played particularly well—but the course landscaping was spectacular, and we amused ourselves by chasing cottontail bunnies, cute little quail (which we at first mistook for roadrunners), and salamanders, and by pointing out to each other what we thought the different cacti resembled ("hey, that one looks like Mickey Mouse!").

We were both really tired from lack of sleep and the heat, so we quit after 15 holes and headed back to the clubhouse. We crawled out of the cart and immediately boarded the van back to the front desk to pick up our key. As we opened the large, half glass, half boulder-shaped wood block doors, Al said, "oh, my locker." Yep, we'd forgotten our clothes. We got the key and then had the shuttle driver take us back to the pro shop to get the stuff out of our lockers. Al had to return his rental shoes as well, so I made it back to the van first. After a couple minutes, the van driver said, "Is your husband coming back?"

"What?" I replied. "Oh, yes! My husband! Yes, he's coming back." We keep saying to each other, "hello, my husband" and "hello, my wife" to try to get used to it, but that was the first time someone else had referred to my husband, and it took me a minute to realize he was talking to me. Oh yes, that's right, I have a husband! We figure it'll probably take us at least the rest of the honeymoon to get used to it.

Photos from Day 1

Posted by Lori at 07:50 PM | Permalink
October 09, 2002
Ahhhh, Spa

Today was our spa day here at The Boulders. We'd originally arranged for me to have a Golden Door Custom Facial and Al to have a Watsu Massage at 10am, but we received a letter from the spa when we checked in saying that the Watsu therapist wouldn't be available until 12:30pm. Al said that was fine with him, and I wasn't hungry after our room service snacks last night, so this morning Al went in search of breakfast at the bakery cafe, and I left for my 10am facial.

The Golden Door Spa here really is beautiful, with spacious and comfortable locker rooms that have every amenity you can think of; a spa cafe; a tea room where you await your treatment therapist and can relax, read, or even order lunch; a spa shop; a lovely outdoor swimming pool... I'm sure there's more, but those are the parts I experienced personally.

After changing into my robe and spa slippers, I took my book (I'm re-reading Pride & Prejudice) to the tea room to wait for my treatment and sat down on one of the couches to read. After a few minutes, letters started to disappear like pixels on a malfunctioning monitor—a sure sign of an oncoming migraine. It was probably partly from lack of sleep, partly from dehydration, and partly from the few sips of the champagne that the staff had left in our room in honor of our honeymoon. (Two sips of champagne have definitely produced migraines before, which is why I don't usually drink it.)

I went ahead with the facial anyway, and it was very soothing. When I got up from the table, however, my vision was still wacky—a completely new migraine experience. Usually the kaleidascopic vision only lasts for about 20 minutes, and then there's a 10-15 minute window before the headache hits. I couldn't read, so I went back into the locker room and lounged in the Japanese O'furo bath until my vision cleared. The moment it did, the headache came on. It was a relief to be able to see properly, however, so I ignored it as best I could.

I showered, sunscreened, and put on my bathing suit, then donned my robe again and went back to the tea room to meet Al before his massage. We read together for a bit on the couch, and then he went off to the Watsu pool. I read USA Today, then ordered some lunch and returned to P&P. Al joined me after his massage (which he said I really would have liked), mentioned that the massage therapist recommended Ten Thousand Waves, a spa we already have hot tub and massage reservations at in Santa Fe, and ordered lunch. We spent the rest of the afternoon lounging in the tea room and on the chaise lounges next to the pool. It was exactly what I needed, despite the migraine: a day without obligations.

Photos from Day 2

Posted by Lori at 04:13 PM | Permalink
October 10, 2002
Suggestions, Please

I'm up relatively early this morning (though not as early as yesterday, since I went to bed 4 hours later last night than the night before), getting all our stuff together. We're about to hit the road for Santa Fe. I know we'll be staying at a Days Inn in Santa Fe on Friday and Saturday, but I have no idea where we'll be tonight. Gallup, NM, perhaps? Or maybe we'll only make it to Holbrook, AZ? Will we get all the way to Bernalillo? Who knows.

If you have any suggestions for what we should see along our route, let us know by commenting on the various posts (or send us e-mail). We probably won't have an Internet connection before we reach Santa Fe (and maybe not even then), but there's still plenty of driving left to do. Our route will take us through Flagstaff to Santa Fe, from Santa Fe through Amarillo to Dallas, from Dallas through Shreveport to New Orleans, and then from N.O. through Mobile to Orlando. If you have a favorite cafe, museum, roadside attraction, or donut shop along the way, we want to know about it!

Posted by Lori at 07:54 AM | Comments (4) | Permalink
Goodbye, Boulders

Al has called the bell desk for assistance with our bags, and I'm about to say goodbye to high-speed Internet access for awhile. :( I'm looking forward to stopping at the Golden Door Spa for a Caribbean Mood Enhancer smoothie on the way out, though!

Posted by Lori at 10:17 AM | Permalink
Long Day

Thank god for the restful day yesterday, because I'm exhausted now. Al drove from Carefree to Flagstaff, and I did the leg between Flagstaff and Grants, NM, where we are now. It was cool to see the scenery change from Saguaro cacti to pine trees as we climbed out of the desert and into the mountains near the southern entrance to Grand Canyon National Park. Flagstaff was at 7000', and the air there was incredibly clean and refreshing—I could have stood in the Safeway parking lot just breathing it in all day.

Luckily we didn't do that, because the leg from Flagstaff to Grants was the longer of the two, and we stopped at Meteor Crater Park to have a look at the hole in the ground left by the first proven meteor impact. The admission price was about double what we thought it was worth, but it was fun to take photos there and see something so unusual.

Next stop was in Holbrook, AZ, for gas. When we first planned the honeymoon, I thought we might stop here overnight, since it was halfway between Carefree and Santa Fe, but we revised our schedule to try to make it as far as we could. The computers were down at the Texaco truck stop we first tried to get gas from, so we continued on to the next exit, which boasted a Chevron. I'm glad we did, because we got to see the part of Holbrook that was frozen sometime in the 60s.

The Chevron not only didn't have a pay-at-the-pump option; it also had analog pumps, the kind I'd learned to pump gas on when I was a kid, and haven't seen in about 20 years. Next door was a Dairy Queen with an old-fashioned blue sign depicting a vanilla cone (I took some black & white photos, but no digital), and down the street were motels, coffee shops, and newsstands that looked like they were part of a movie set. I wish I'd noticed them before I put the camera away.

I had to go inside to pay for the gas, and the shop reminded me of Hillcrest Auto, the place my dad, mom, and later I, as a teenager, worked. There were hoses and belts hanging high on the wall behind the cash register, and the smell of grease and metal and hand goop. "This place reminds me of a shop where my dad used to work when I was a kid," I told the older guy who took my credit card. "That smell... it really takes me back." He half smiled, half gaped at me. "You *like* that smell?" he asked. "It's the smell of my dad," I replied, with an "of course" shrug.

After Holbrook it was a flat-out sprint for Grants. Both Al and I were very tired. When we got to Gallup, we called ahead to Grants to make sure we could get a room, because if we couldn't, Gallup was the only other logical stop. We found a room at the Travelodge ("right next to Wal-Mart!" said the ad in the AAA TourBook), reserved it, and floored the accelerator.

We arrived at 7:20pm, checked in, watched the remainder of Survivor, and then went out in search of eats. We couldn't find anything appetizing, so we went to the Denny's next door. I must say that as a Calforinian, I'm always shocked when I enter a restaurant and am asked, "smoking or non?" Do people really still smoke? Apparently, yes. We got seated a little too close to the smoking section for comfort, so we asked to be moved. It improved the breathability of the air, but not the edibility of the food.

After Denny's, we went over to the Wal-Mart Superstore and bought a few provisions (an apple, some grapes, more chocolate, Twizzlers, a pillow for the car, a collapsible cooler, a large padded envelope for all the stuff we're saving for our scrapbook, and some lip balm). We considered buying a microwave, since we both would rather have had a Smart Ones or a Lean Cuisine for dinner than the Denny's, but we didn't. I think we may do that tomorrow night, if our next hotel doesn't have a microwave, and there's a Wal-Mart nearby. We need a new microwave at home anyway, so might as well buy one now.

Photos from Day 3

Posted by Lori at 09:53 PM | Comments (2) | Permalink