After visiting with my grandparents on Sunday, I borrowed my Grandad's Chevy Blazer and drove up to Flagstaff, Arizona. I left early in the morning so that I could head back down to Phoenix that afternoon. Despite the occasional rain, it was a great drive.
During college I frequently drove 1.5 hours of interstate highway between Flagstaff, Prescott, and Phoenix. I never grew tired of the drive though. Anyone who's driven along I-17 near Flagstaff knows how pretty the Mogollon rim and Ponderosa forest on the Colorado plateau can be. The dramatic descent into the Verde Valley area also make it a worthwhile, if somewhat long commute.
Driving Grandad's Blazer proved to make the trip even more enjoyable. Long gone was my ancient Saturn SL1 and its nonexistent air conditioning system. Not that it was necessary. Flagstaff has been getting tons of needed rain, making the temperature perfect for an afternoon hike through the woods. Unfortunately, it began raining before I even left my vehicle for a jaunt through Sycamore Canyon. Rain alternated with sunshine for most of the day, as Arizona's only precipitation comes in the winter or during its "monsoon season" which takes place in late July and August.
While it ruined any chances at hiking I was glad to see the rain. During my time in Arizona several years ago, the state was enduring a terrible drought. Forest fires raged through the parched pine trees and bark beetles devastated drought stricken trees throughout the state. It was refreshing to see plump saguaro cactus in the desert and green grass with healty pine trees in the high country.
I wandered through the NAU campus to see some of the changes taking place. A new research building went up, as well as a new 3 story parking lot. They also are building a new dormitory right in the middle of a big grassy area. I wasn't too pleased with the last change.
After my walk through memory lane, I descended down into the desert, braving Phoenix traffic for a reunion with my cousins Jonathan, Jessica, Maralie, Lisa, Corbitt, and my Aunt Nancy. I crashed at Jonathan and Jessica's house for a night. Unfortunately, my Uncle David couldn't make it as he was off doing something with his boy scout troop. But we all had a good time hanging out at Macayo's and another locale. Macayo's also has top notch Mexican food in the Phoenix area. We all love them for their quesadillas.
Everyone seems to be doing well. I'm probably closest to my cousin Jonathan. He married Jessica a couple years ago and they live in Tempe with their three dogs. Jonathan's considering a career in law enforcement while Jessica seems eager to give up the rat race for a low key job working with animals. Unfortunately, my Aunt Nancy seems to be dealing with some health issues. We're all praying she starts to feel better.
Maralie is returning for her second year at Brigham Young University this fall. She still doesn't know what to do with her life. She has so many options ahead of her! I suggested she be one of the following:
1. Finish college and go to Japan to teach English and postpone major life decisions!
2. Drop out of BYU and become a craps dealer in Vegas!
3. Get an MBA in finance and become a sleazy wall street stock broker!
4. Become a hip hop rapper in the tradition of MC Hammer and Snoop Dog! Lobby BYU to offer classes in rap, hip hop, and R&B music appreciation!
Lisa and Corbit appear to be doing well also! They now have three children from 4 to 7 years old. Corbitt just returned from a business trip to London. More on their family later!