First, a little background. My grandparents live in Arizona and since plane tickets from D.C. to head out west can cost as much as it does to go to Europe it’s hard to go to Europe AND go out west. When I realized it had been about 10 years since I had gone out to Arizona to visit my grandparents I decided I needed to go out there before my doctorate program began. When I told my parents they thought it would be nice if all of us went out. That quickly made plane tickets that were reasonably priced jump up to a very expensive trip.
So, on the first of the year my mom decided we were going to DRIVE out. Yes, you heard that right. DRIVE. 33+ hours. From Washington D.C. to Tucson, AZ. I thought she was joking. But she quickly convinced my dad and he agreed, as long as we took turns driving and we didn’t stop. You’re probably thinking to yourself, who are these wackos?! Driving 33 hours straight without stopping to sleep?!?! Well that’s right. We left that night at 7:30 pm on the first day of the new year and we drove cross country, arriving in Arizona at 4:50 am on the third. Obviously this was very early and since we were surprising my grandparents with our arrival they didn’t know they needed to be awake so early.
After numerous knocks on the front door and ringing the doorbell we decided to head around the corner to take an hour nap and try again. Eventually, around 6:30 am my nana made her way to the door. My family and I had made a plan that I would ring the doorbell and surprise her and then tell her that my sister was waiting in the Uber with our luggage (that would be when my parents would surprise her too!). At first my nana thought I was one of my cousins that live locally. I quickly told her “No Nana, it’s Lorine!” She couldn’t believe it. I quickly told her that I needed to get Isabelle out of the Uber along with out luggage. She was sweet enough to come out with me to see my sister…or so she thought. We went around the corner and then SURPRISE! Out came my sister, my parents, and all three of our dogs!
We spent the majority of our time catching up and spending some quality family time together. But, with some of my suggestions we were able to explore a little as well! Seeing as we drove cross country to see my grandparents we weren’t too interested in driving up north to visit Phoenix, the Grand Canyon, or Antelope Canyon (what I really wanted to see). I’m putting this on my list of things to see the next time I head out there. I’m refusing to wait another 10 years so keep an eye out for my next trip out west.
Instead, we decided to explore a little bit of downtown Tucson, Honeybee Park, and San Xavier Mission. I personally love he creativity and beauty that goes into murals and wall art so I dragged my family to downtown Tucson to check out some murals.
We hit Honeybee Park a few times, once just for a few minutes to check out some cacti and the second time to go on a longer hike with the pups. If you’re ever in Tucson and want to see some cacti and some gorgeous views without having to break too much of a sweat I would highly recommend this park.
Last but not least we made a little drive to San Xavier Mission. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when we went out there but that was one of my favorite day’s. Before we entered the mission we tried some Native American Fry Bread with honey, cinnamon, and powdered sugar on top! It was absolutely delicious.
Plus, Not only was the mission absolutely gorgeous, but there was a Native American craft fair right across the street where I got a gorgeous turquoise ring!
Before you leave don’t forget to hit up the Mission gift store. I bought two pairs of gorgeous feather earrings (they are made of metal) and a delicious prickly pear margarita mix (HIGHLY RECOMMEND)! My sister got a dream catcher and my mom got a statue and some prickly pear jam. If you’re interested in anything prickly pear this is the place to go!
Hopefully I’ll be out west to visit my grandparents again soon and hopefully I’ll be able to make it up to Antelope Canyon. If you haven’t already subscribe to my newsletter to receive email notifications of my new posts! To be doubly certain you’re aware of new posts, and to get more snippets of my life, follow me on my other social media’s! I’d love to interact with you.
Have you been out west? If so, and even if you’re dreaming of a trip, tell me in the comments where you’d like to go!