Hiking along Horton Creek Trail

Kathryn and I decided to take a break from our usual summer routine of doing absolutely nothing in the sweltering Phoenix heat. Instead, we made a day trip to the slightly cooler Payson area to do some hiking along Horton Creek, just under the Mogollon Rim in Tonto National Forest.

Last weekend, Kathryn and I decided to take a break from our usual summer routine of doing absolutely nothing in the sweltering Phoenix heat. Instead, we made a day trip to the slightly cooler Payson area to do some hiking along Horton Creek, just under the Mogollon Rim in Tonto National Forest. Continue reading “Hiking along Horton Creek Trail”

Another Las Vegas road trip

Another road trip to Las Vegas gets underway in just a few hours. We’re going to try some new places to eat this weekend, and we’ll return to some old favorites too. As always, you’ll find updates and maybe even a few photos here.

Another road trip to Las Vegas gets underway in just a few hours. We’re going to try some new places to eat this weekend, and we’ll return to some old favorites too. As always, you’ll find updates and maybe even a few photos here.

Southwest go-around

I’ve never been on a commercial flight that’s had to make a go-around, so it was fun to watch a Southwest flight do one at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport a few minutes ago. I’m sure it was a lot less fun for those aboard.

I’ve never been on a commercial flight that’s had to make a go-around, so it was fun to watch a Southwest flight do one at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport a few minutes ago. I’m sure it was a lot less fun for those aboard. Continue reading “Southwest go-around”

How to order coffee at McDonald’s in Phoenix

I like coffee. I enjoy fast food. I live in Phoenix. You might be inclined to think I’d be a master at ordering a cup of coffee in a local McDonald’s. You’d be mistaken.

I like drinking coffee. I enjoy eating fast food. I live in Phoenix. You might be inclined to think I’d be a master at ordering a cup of coffee in a local McDonald’s.

You’d be mistaken. Continue reading “How to order coffee at McDonald’s in Phoenix”

Another beautiful morning in Phoenix

I managed to get out of bed this morning in time for an early hike before work. It’s one of those few beautiful weeks we see every spring in Phoenix. The sun is up early enough to start a hike at 5:30 am, but it’s not too hot outside. Today was gorgeous. There was no discernible wind, and yet the air was clear. The brown cloud that normally covers the city during the week was nowhere to be seen.

I managed to get out of bed this morning in time for an early hike before work. It’s one of those few beautiful weeks we see every spring in Phoenix. The sun is up early enough to start a hike at 5:30 am, but it’s not too hot outside. Today was gorgeous. There was no discernible wind, and yet the air was clear. The brown cloud that normally covers the city during the week was nowhere to be seen.

St. Mary’s Basilica in Phoenix

I took this photo of St. Mary’s Basilica in Phoenix several weeks ago, just before dusk. I was at the church for a meeting, and I liked the way the bell towers looked through the trees.

I took this photo of St. Mary’s Basilica in Phoenix several weeks ago, just before dusk. I was at the church for a meeting, and I liked the way the bell towers looked through the trees. Continue reading “St. Mary’s Basilica in Phoenix”

Additional tips for hiking

After not hiking for three straight weeks, I ventured out early yesterday morning and did my favorite hike at Shaw Butte in Phoenix. It’s amazing how quickly I can get out of shape. As I struggled to climb the south side of the hill, I thought of some additional tips I forgot to mention in my earlier posts.

After not hiking for three straight weeks, I ventured out early on a recent morning and did my favorite hike at Shaw Butte in Phoenix. It’s amazing how quickly one can get out of shape. Continue reading “Additional tips for hiking”

Observations from Sky Harbor

I recently uninstalled all the social networking apps from my mobile phone, so I’ll make my pithy observations here on the blog. The following are a few of my thoughts from Sky Harbor airport in Phoenix.

I recently uninstalled all the social networking apps from my mobile phone, so I’ll make my pithy observations here on the blog. The following are a few of my thoughts from Sky Harbor airport in Phoenix. Continue reading “Observations from Sky Harbor”

When a flight delay works in your favor

Shortly after passing through the security checkpoint at Sky Harbor, just before 5:00 am, we saw the departure monitor showing our flight to Charlotte would be delayed by 45 minutes. It turns out the first officer for the flight hadn’t shown up for work for some reason, so 45 minutes was just an estimate. In any event, we’d definitely miss our connection in Charlotte.

Flight delays are an inevitable part of air travel. Sometimes, though, they work out in your favor. Continue reading “When a flight delay works in your favor”

More photos from Shaw Butte

Not a lot of words in this blog post. Just some photos from a recent hike at Shaw Butte. The hike was later in the morning than usual. The sun was bright, which put me in a black-and-white mood.

Not a lot of words in this blog post. Just some photos from a recent hike at Shaw Butte. The hike was later in the morning than usual. The sun was bright, which put me in a black-and-white mood. Continue reading “More photos from Shaw Butte”

Smog cloud over Phoenix

During a hike last weekend at Shaw Butte, I pointed my camera south and took a picture of downtown Phoenix under a thick layer of smog.

During a hike last weekend at Shaw Butte, I pointed my camera south and took a picture of downtown Phoenix under a thick layer of smog. I converted the photo to black-and-white to bring out the detail of the buildings. Continue reading “Smog cloud over Phoenix”

Halfway from Phoenix to Las Vegas: Wikieup, Arizona

On previous trips, we’ve often stopped at the Wikieup Trading Post. They make a pretty mean patty melt. The problem is that it became played out for us, stopping the same place every time. That, and the fact their bathrooms are beyond disgusting. This time, we stopped at Dazzo’s Chicago Style Eatery. I can’t speak from experience to the authenticity of the place, but the food was pretty good.

Roughly halfway between Phoenix and Las Vegas is a place — I hesitate to call it a town — called Wikieup. It’s a perfect spot to stop for a bathroom break and a bite to eat. Continue reading “Halfway from Phoenix to Las Vegas: Wikieup, Arizona”

The opposite of a travel photo

What’s the opposite of a travel photo? A photo you take while sitting at home in front of your computer. I captured this sunrise over Phoenix this morning by rotating my swivel chair 90 degrees to the right.

What’s the opposite of a travel photo? A photo you take while sitting at home in front of your computer. I captured this sunrise over Phoenix this morning by rotating my swivel chair 90 degrees to the right. Continue reading “The opposite of a travel photo”

Incomparable sunrise at Shaw Butte

It was another beautiful morning in Phoenix. I arrived at the trailhead for the Loop at Shaw Butte at 5:48 am, and the temperature was 68 degrees. At a stopping point on the way up the south side of Shaw Butte, I snapped a photo of the sun rising over the mountains to the southeast.

It was another beautiful morning in Phoenix. I arrived at the trailhead for the Loop at Shaw Butte at 5:48 am, and the temperature was 68 degrees. Continue reading “Incomparable sunrise at Shaw Butte”

Wasted opportunity

I wrote off any chance of getting out for a hike in the early morning today because I had a 9 am meeting scheduled with my team lead. So what did I find when I arrived at work?

I wrote off any chance of getting out for a hike in the early morning today because I had a 9 am meeting scheduled with my team lead. So what did I find when I arrived at work? An e-mail from the team lead telling me he’ll be out sick today. It was a perfect 73 degrees this morning. An opportunity wasted.

Another beautiful morning

It’s another beautiful morning for a hike in Phoenix. After two days hiking the Loop at Shaw Butte, though, I think I’m ready for a break. My knees are a bit wobbly today.

It would be another beautiful morning for a hike in Phoenix. After two mornings of hiking the Loop at Shaw Butte, though, I think I’m ready for a break. My knees are a bit wobbly today.

Favorite Phoenix urban hikes: The Loop at Shaw Butte

One of my favorite urban hikes in Phoenix is what I call the Loop at Shaw Butte. It’s a roughly five-mile hike, has a lot of changes in elevation, and is relatively uncrowded. My preference is to start this hike about 20 minutes before sunrise.

This summer was one of the hottest on record in Phoenix. When enduring the scorching heat of June, July, August, and even into early September in the Valley of the Sun, it can be easy to forget what’s here to enjoy the rest of the year. Fortunately, mid-September rolls around every year and reminds us we have eight to nine months of nearly endless outdoor possibilities in front of us. Continue reading “Favorite Phoenix urban hikes: The Loop at Shaw Butte”

Mission San Xavier del Bac: White Dove of the Desert, Tucson

During our recent weekend trip to Tucson, Kathryn and I took an opportunity to visit Mission San Xavier del Bac, just outside the city. As luck would have it, there was a Mass scheduled there Saturday morning. It was to celebrate the 366th birthday of Fr. Eusebio Kino, the Jesuit priest who founded the mission way back in 1692. So we made sure to schedule our visit to coincide.

During our recent weekend trip to Tucson, Kathryn and I took an opportunity to visit Mission San Xavier del Bac, just outside the city. As luck would have it, there was a Mass scheduled there Saturday morning. It was to celebrate the 366th birthday of Fr. Eusebio Kino, the Jesuit priest who founded the mission way back in 1692. So we made sure to schedule our visit to coincide. Continue reading “Mission San Xavier del Bac: White Dove of the Desert, Tucson”

Sonoran hot dogs at El Guero Canelo in Tucson

A Sonoran hot dog starts with a standard frank. The frank is wrapped in bacon and fried. The fried, bacon-wrapped frank is put into a soft, split roll which has been filled with beans. Then it’s topped with diced tomatoes and onions, mayonnaise and mustard, and a drizzle of jalapeño salsa.

A couple years ago on one of my other blogs, I wrote about my first experience eating Sonoran hot dogs in Phoenix. I had first read about Sonoran hot dogs in an in-flight magazine on US Airways, but the article was about Tucson, not Phoenix. Since then, I’ve been looking forward to an authentic Sonoran hot dog in Tucson. The time arrived on a recent weekend trip. Continue reading “Sonoran hot dogs at El Guero Canelo in Tucson”

Things you probably don’t know about me

Here’s a list of things you probably don’t know about me. It’s in no particular order.

Here’s a list of things you probably don’t know about me. It’s in no particular order. Continue reading “Things you probably don’t know about me”

St. Mary’s Basilica in Krakow

Usually when I talk or write about St. Mary’s Basilica, I’m referring to the beautiful Spanish mission style Catholic church in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. I was looking through some of my old photos recently, and I found a picture of another, much older St. Mary’s Basilica. This one is in Krakow, Poland. It’s also beautiful, built in a Brick Gothic style in the 14th century.

Usually when I talk or write about St. Mary’s Basilica, I’m referring to the beautiful Spanish mission style Catholic church in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. I received confirmation there. My wife and I were married there, and we remain parishioners there. It’s quite special to both of us. Continue reading “St. Mary’s Basilica in Krakow”

Home from New York City and then gone again to Portland, Oregon

I’m back on the road again after enjoying three nights of sleep in my own home. Actually, that’s not quite true. I spent one of those night’s at Kathryn’s place. I’m aboard a flight to Portland, Oregon. I have about an hour until landing, so I thought I should take a few moments to catch up on my blog. Continue reading “Home from New York City and then gone again to Portland, Oregon”

Eventful start

Our adventure has started rather eventfully. We took off from Phoenix this morning right on schedule, and now we’re safely back on the ground … in Phoenix. The aircraft had a mechanical problem shortly after takeoff, and we had to return to land, but only after circling for almost an hour to burn fuel. We’re not sure what happens next.

Arizona road trip: Tonto Natural Bridge, Strawberry, Jerome

I had a chance Sunday to get out of town for several hours and enjoy some parts of Arizona I hadn’t ever seen before. The weather was warm and the sky was clear. It was a perfect day for an Arizona road trip.

I had a chance Sunday to get out of town for several hours and enjoy some parts of Arizona I hadn’t ever seen before. The weather was warm and the sky was clear. It was a perfect day for an Arizona road trip. Continue reading “Arizona road trip: Tonto Natural Bridge, Strawberry, Jerome”

Drinking in Pasadena, redux

I spent last weekend in Pasadena, visiting the same buddy I saw in August. I’ve spent the time since then sobering up.

I spent last weekend in Pasadena, visiting the same buddy I saw in August. I’ve spent the time since then sobering up.

When my friend and I started planning this trip a few weeks ago, I reserved one of my club airplanes, intending to fly out there. I was looking forward to getting some good cross-country experience, and flying into the crowded Southern California airspace was a challenge I felt I was ready for. However, the week before the trip, the weather forecast started to deteriorate, and by Wednesday, I decided just to abandon plans to fly and simply drive there instead.
Continue reading “Drinking in Pasadena, redux”

Summer fun begins

At last, my voyage is underway. A friend had breakfast with me, and then she gave me a ride to the airport. For a while, I wasn’t sure I was going to get out of Phoenix. When I checked in at the airport, I was given a boarding pass to clear security, but with no seat assignment because the flight was oversold. I was biting my nails until a few minutes before the flight departed, when I finally got a new boarding pass. After a very rough flight, I’m now in Minneapolis, sitting in the plane waiting for our gate to be free, wondering if I’ll make my connection. I’ll let you all know how it goes.

Day trip south of the border to Nogales, Mexico

I took a day trip today to Nogales, a city that straddles the Arizona-Mexico border, and I went on the other side of the fence for a couple hours to have a look around.

I took a day trip today to Nogales, a city that straddles the Arizona-Mexico border, and I went on the other side of the fence for a couple hours to have a look around. I’ll follow up about the trip when I’m not so tired. For now, take care!

Border fence at Nogales
Border fence between Arizona and Mexico at Nogales