Hello from Arizona, my dears!
How are you doing now that the world has "opened up" a bit? Well, I hope. Stay safe please as we progress slowly through this pandemic situation now at this still challenging stage. Steve and I are personally still social distancing, wearing masks, staying home most of the time, and being careful. We are using grocery delivery and making freezer meals together. Recipes coming soon. Steve is still working his banking job from his home office that we made over together earlier this year for him, and I'm working on new writing projects/eBooks. Home office helps.
Recently, since the state of Arizona is opening up again, we put on our masks, packed our favorite snack bars and gorgeous water bottles, and headed out for a scenic day trip through the Tonto National Forest. It was such a lovely little trip that I thought you might like to join us for a little "armchair travel" adventure. Not all the photos are perfect since I took them through our car windows as we stayed inside the car during the whole drive.
OUR DAY TRIP TIPS: We always keep melamine trays in our car for when we want to eat lunch or snack in the car as it makes it easy to sit the trays on our laps without making a mess since trays keep drips and crumbs under control, plus our drinks have a flat stable surface too. We wipe the trays off with these. I buy wipes in bulk and we keep at least two packs in each car. (Plus I use them daily to wipe off my bathroom counter and toilet, even pre-pandemic as it's so easy.) Once we get home, we wash the trays in the house sink and put them back in the car right away so they are always in there.
Also since we both love scenic day trip drives and plan to do more of them, God willing, I bought these for hot lunch in the car for our picnic bags similar to these as we don't feel comfortable eating out right now and we don't know when we will feel comfortable with that food m.o. Times have changed; we change with them, and we try to make it fun and charming as we go! Why NOT turn your car into a romantic little "bistro" or colorful "coffee shop" to make it more fun?! We used to be really into "bistro therapy" (a.k.a. eating out in charming places) but life is what you make it, and sometimes just looking at something from a different vantage point makes you grow in creativity and resilience. Your investment in the supplies for your "car bistro" are "dollarwise" as you can use things again and again and you're saving money on not eating out.
BTW, if you have kids, smaller melamine trays would work great for the times you have to eat in the car, or are on vaca, and I like these car seat organizers too so that kids can keep themselves tidy in the car, on their own! That top pocket would hold a small melamine food tray in all likelihood.
Venturing on now to the beautiful Tonto National Forest ...
There are those I've heard say that Arizona is "all drab brown." But I don't think so ...
Okay, they have a point about lots of brown, but you know what? It's not all brown; there's also lots of greenery and colorful flora too if you open your eyes! Stick with me here ...
See what I mean about green!? And oh, that oh-so-blue Arizona sky!
I rest my case on the green! And although we didn't see any wildflowers on this particular drive, there are many gorgeous wildflowers in Arizona in the spring.
See that horse-crossing sign? That's an Arizona traffic-jam! :) Kidding. My hubby told me he saw on the news there were horses on the road the other day. Well, they were here first! :)
The cactus are starting to bloom! I give it a week and these will be breathtakingly beautiful and fully open. (Sorry it's blurry but I was in a moving car here!) I am so in love with cactus since moving to this state. I have taken oodles of pictures of them and they just amaze me every time I go outside.
One of the things that surprised me the most when we moved to Arizona in 2018 is the number of gorgeous lakes! Really blue, really pretty lakes.
One of the other things many Arizonans and visitors like about this state is you can still get on the road and drive, vs. sit in traffic. The Tonto National Forest is one example of a drive like that, although usually you will see some cars, and sometimes several in a row during a busier time. But you hardly ever sit in traffic.
Okay now, let's get back to talking about these cactus. The people who claim Arizona is totally brown are usually those people who also say, "Oh p-shah -- you've seen one cactus you've seen 'em all!"
But, I beg to differ! Here's why ...
Cactus don't all "hug" each other like these ...
They're not all "funky" like this one ...
They don't all have about as many arms as an octopus, like this one!
They're not all "loners" like this one.
Some are a little "messy" and rugged.
Some are more "prim & proper" and like all their "ducks" in a row!
Some are "groupies."
And others are content to "do their own thing" -- thank you very much!
The one thing cactus, (it's cacti for plural if you want to be correct), all have in common is they thrive in the sun! Good thing too since it was about 105 degrees the day we took this drive, and as you can see, the sun was out! That's A-okay by me though as I personally love the AZ heat and sun! (Growing up in the Midwest shoveling snowbanks, I'll personally take +120 sun any day!)
My hubby Steve and I hope you enjoyed your Arizona "armchair day trip" with us!
Come back soon please as I'll be sharing some more dollarwise home and lifestyle tips.