Itchy Feet: Time to Move on from Phoenix
Last summer we made the decision to make some reservations in the Phoenix and Tucson areas for February and March. We wanted to retreat from the winter temperatures and also knew that some of the most popular parks in the area were busy and not easy to get into without reservations. Even though we love spending time in nature, we like to stay near urban areas to explore small businesses like breweries, artisan food vendors etc. I also had some business travel planned for March and needed to be near an airport. All of these thoughts led us to spend the last 6 or 7 weeks outside Tucson and Phoenix.
What we have learned is this is not how we like to travel. We like spontaneity and didn't enjoy spending this much time in one place. It's not that we don't like cities, we love them. Cities with character like New York or San Francisco are high on our list but we also enjoy small cities that feel like towns such as Bend or Durango. But Phoenix is so vast and spread out, with too many repetitive strip malls and not enough individuality for our taste. Perhaps we didn't search hard enough.
The parks that surround Phoenix are very good. We stayed in McDowell Mountain Regional Park, Lost Dutchman State Park and White Tank Regional Park. All of these parks were great with Lost Dutchman being our favorite. They all have wonderful hiking and scenery and are perfect for a short stay but are a long way from town. Heading out to get groceries, do laundry or visit a brewery or two takes ages. Everything is so far from everything else when you are camped out for a couple of weeks. The distances between major attractions were vast.
We did some great socializing while here, spending more quality time with our friends Shannon and Dave. We are looking forward to reuniting with them next up in the Cottonwood, Sedona area and are very excited about a change of scene. From here we have no reservations for a while, there is still more of Arizona we want to explore but we will freewheel, staying as long as we like in a place and then moving on. We are looking forwarding to finding some interesting towns and vistas to explore in Cottonwood, Prescott, Sedona, Flagstaff etc.
Hindsight is 20/20, and traveling is always a learning process. We have learned 2 things:
- If we are going to stay for a longer period of time it has to be somewhere we really want to be, with lots of things of interest. We stayed in Austin and Bend for several weeks and that was just fine.
- We prefer no reservations, but if we make them we shouldn't feel we have to stick to them.
Arizona fills with snowbirds in the winter. People who escape the weather back home and choose to live here for a while. I understand why they do it, but that isn't us. We are definitely not snowbirds! We are nomadic, we like to keep moving. Today we'll finally leave the Phoenix area. It's been fun but we won't do it this way again. We will take our itchy feet and lack of reservations and hit the road.