Cactus Fries and my Arizona Vacation!

Between cactus fries and my Dad bringing guns to meet my boyfriend, I had an adventurous trip to Arizona, where I grew up! 
I have no clue what type of cactus this is.

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Well I am back from AZ! Holy HOTTNESS! I laugh now because I have friends saying “Oh it’s really cooled down”…….cooled down? It is 108 degrees! Oh man, I know I grew up there, I know I went to grad school there, but all my heat tolerance is GONE! It was gone with Snowmageddon in DC and the three feet of snow!

Thank heaven day one was Sedona, where it was only 95 degrees. Yes, only 95. Weren’t Stephen and I just so lucky? Even with it all nice and “cooled off” we started the day out swimming.  Before I tell you about our day, I have to give a disqualifier: Arizona is not at all creative with names, as you will learn greatly with the following sentence. We drove past Black Canyon (the rocks are black), Rock Springs (rocks, with a spring), past Rimrock (Rocks that make a rim!) and shocking Big Park….. I was sad that name didn’t involve “rock” too. Like Big Rock Park….but we made it to Sedona, and - shocker - Slide Rock State Park (a rock that is like a natural water slide).

Now here is one of the moments you may or may not understand. Arizona is a “men should be men” kind of state.  So, sometimes I can be a little traditional. I’m a girl who bakes, I mean c’mon like you didn’t see that coming? I have this odd line of thought that goes like this: If you want me to do the cooking (and trust me, you do) and the laundry and birth the children, then I want you to kill the bugs, mow the lawn, and go down the bumpy, cold, rock slide first. Oh, you want to wuss out and ask me to go down the rock slide first? Okay, you birth the children! Yeah, that happened.
Clockwise: Honanki Ruins, An Agave Plant, Path to the Honanki Ruins

Happily after that we went and took care of one of my Life’s Bucket List Items: Pink Jeep Tour!  Okay, so it’s “just” an off roading tour, up and down big – shocker- rocks and tons of fun and cactus! Our tour guide, Chip, was highly knowledgeable and answered every ridiculous question we had to offer, about the Native American ruins we saw and even fed us a bit of ripe “tuna” or prickly pear. He took us on a thrilling ride through Diamondback Gulch (because Diamondback Rattlers live there).

Cactus Fries! 
Chip told us that there were a couple places in town that make cactus fries! So Stephen and I decided to change our dinner plans and go try that out! The fries we liked, they reminded us of a breaded and deep fried  cajun spiced green bell pepper! But, normally where I’d give the name of this place….I’m not going to, because I don’t recommend going there. The waiter was making eyes at Stephen (hello! I’m sitting right there! I'm the girlfriend, not the beard!) and I came out of the evening with food poisoning. No good. I’m blaming it on Stephen’s new boyfriend trying to eliminate the competition.

Friday, I was not feeling so hot….actually I was feeling blazing hot. It was 108 degrees after all!!! But physically I wanted to die. We were supposed to go out to Lake Pleasant and rent waverunners….but with food poisoning? Bad plan. Julie at the Marina CafĂ© gave me her “magic drink” which she claims is an old bartending secret. The secret? She wouldn’t tell me, but I know food. It’s soda water with bitters. A few dashes of bitters added to 3 oz. of club soda can do the trick. Turns out it is pretty helpful. I started feeling a bit better and we rented a boat instead. Between the two I was on the mend, and by the end of the night I was ready for some ice cream at Nielson’s Frozen Custard with Stephen and one of my best friends and her husband.
Some of the more than 3,000 glyphs at Honanki Ruins

Now Saturday is the real kicker. Stephen got to meet my Dad. Let me introduce you to my dad via his Facebook status:

 Shotguns? Ready! Shotgun shells? Ready! I can't wait to meet my daughter's boyfriend!

You can imagine the comments….but why make you imagine? It’s easy enough to copy and paste!

I would say go easy on the kid, but this is going easy lol
Easy daddy..... all you gotta do is stand in his personal space when he comes over, get really really close to him and just stare at him....
I have the full autos if you need back up!

You thought my dad was just kidding right? HA! We took Stephen out to the Rio Salado Sportsman’s Club for a round on the Sporting Clay Range and its twelve stations. Thank heaven we took the golf cart! As if I haven’t said this enough: IT WAS HOT! Stephen did awesome. He’ll tell you he only hit 40 out of a hundred….I hit…………2. Okay, I also only took four shots once we started keeping score. But I think my man did great! And despite my Dad’s many jokes about shooting him, he came out in one piece, and the clay pigeons didn’t. That’s as good as anyone can ask for right?
Many forms of cacti whose names I have forgotten. Top Right is Aloe Vera! I know that one!

The rest of Saturday and Sunday has Stephen running the gauntlet. Poor guy. He got to meet all my mom’s extended family and try to learn their names. That was a lot of people all at once! My mom is one of five, and her siblings are all married, and have anywhere from three to six children, and half of those children are married, so you have to meet the spouses and then they have kids too….and well….he did great there too! As it was, I have three cousins with babies that either weren’t born, or were barely born when I was home last time! I had to memorize a few new names and faces too!

All in all a great trip! Back to the long distance