I fell in love with the desert this June. The saguaros, the red rocky hills, the condors flying overhead, the crickets at night.
We visited Phoenix and stayed at my sister-in-law's house (with pool!) Yes, it was HOT. But I loved it! II loved waking up at 6 AM and it was already 80 degrees. I could step outside and soak it up while I sipped some coffee. By 7 AM we were in the pool. By 10 AM we had to get out for fear of heat stroke, but you bet we were back in that pool in the late afternoon.
Staying in a house as opposed to a hotel with a family is like night and day. It was so much more relaxing and enjoyable to stay in a house with a kitchen and barbeque. We could have our own personal space and didn't spend all our money on expensive meals or amenities.
The highlights of my trip were Rawhide and Goldfield. As a kid, I loved nothing more than the Old West.
Rawhide is an Old West re-creation town complete with gun fights in the street. There's little shops inside the town, restaurants and attractions for the little ones like burro rides (they were really donkeys), a petting zoo and a horse drawn coach. We went on Father's Day, so Shawn got a free prime rib dinner! We were bummed they were out of rattlesnake that night, but we enjoyed the live band of ol' timers playing country hits from the 70's.
Goldfield is a restored mining town just outside of Phoenix. It was a little hokey/touristy, but also amazing to think that it looked pretty much the same as 100 years ago. You can take a little train ride around the perimeter, go through the museum and learn about the Lost Dutchman Mines, or check out the little shops full of desert kitsch. It's an actual historical site, whereas Rawhide was built not too long ago for entertainment.