- Where We Started: Green Valley, Ariz.
- Where We Ended: Scottsdale, Ariz.
- Miles Driven: 195 (6,867 total)
- New States: None.
- States So Far: 15 (Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona)
THE DAY'S HIGHLIGHTS
The past two days of the FHMA tour have been extremely busy ones, as we've met up with friends and family in Arizona, we've all gotten some extra sleep and R&R and I spent some time at Arizona State University meeting with students and faculty. The one thing we haven't done is sightseeing of any kind, so instead of trying to force two separate posts, we're going to head off into our three-day hiatus by combining the past two days into one post.
Thus far on this journey, reaching the hotel at day's end has rarely been a notable event. The routine is pretty consistent: Joan checks in. Joan and I each get a dog out of the car, Joan then takes both for a quick pee and I start unloading bags. We make a few trips to get all of our stuff into the room, and settle into the 10-minute routine of setting up a water bowl for the dogs, unloading and plugging in all our electronic equipment and getting ice for whatever large trough of soda I'm carrying at the time. Getting ourselves from the car to the hotel is a process we've gotten down to the point where we could do without exchanging a single word.
Wednesday was different, for two reasons. First, we were finally putting down somewhere for a while. While I am traveling back to Virginia for the weekend, Joan and the beagles will be in the Phoenix area for almost a week. This means sleeping in, naps, massages, running errands and -- knowing Joan -- more naps. Second, we decided to stay at a dog-friendly (and human-friendly) resort in Scottsdale, so we were prepared for all the extra care and feeding that one doesn't normally get from the cranky desk clerk at a crappy hotel at 11:30 at night. So we arrived at the FireSky Resort & Spa on Thursday, doing our best Beverly Hillbillies routine, unloading about a dozen bags for the bellman.
The FireSky is part of the Kimpton hotel chain, which is extremely dog-friendly and features all the amenities we've largely missed during our nationwide tour of Quality Inns, La Quintas and Best Westerns. Not that we haven't stayed at some very solid lower-end hotels, but along the way, we have not encountered too many minibars, iPod-enabled clock radios, on-demand TV or the opportunity for room service. Our room is also spacious -- which is good, since we emptied the car in order to get it serviced -- and the bed's quite comfortable. But we know that the humans are merely supporting characters in this story, so back to the canines.
So, did I mention that the FireSky is extremely dog friendly? What does that mean, you ask? It means this:
The FireSky also provides complimentary dog bowls and Bowser Beer, a brew for dogs. I have no idea what this "beer" is comprised of, and I'm reasonably sure I don't want to know. But odds are it's better than Milwaukee's Best.
In addition to the beds and beer, there's a courtyard to walk the dogs and a dispenser of custom poop bags for the inevitable cleaning up after feeding the dogs canine beer and treats. Unfortunately, these bags require a PhD to open. The FireSky also has offers numbers for dog-sitting services, since you're not allowed to leave the dogs in the room unattended (an excellent policy, I might add). We took advantage of this service when we went to dinner at the homes of friends Dan and Bridget Peacock on Wednesday.
The question for us was whether Fred and Hank would abandon their usual routine of sleeping in our bed(s) to take advantage of their individual accommodations. We decided quickly that they would likely choose the large beds over the mini beds, and the humans over a solitary sleep.
That didn't mean the beagles wouldn't give these beds a test drive, of course.
They hung out on these beds for a little while, and then...
Apparently, these beds were quite comfortable, because when Joan tried to take the boys on a walk a few hours later, Fred refused to go, and sat down outside the room in protest until Joan gave up. When she returned to the room, Fred hopped back on his bed, and returned to sleep. Hank soon followed suit.
Of course, Fred needed the rest because he had a hot date with the acupuncturist on Thursday. As usual, he had no issue being fawned over.
Now, Fred's been pretty spry the whole trip; he really does seem to love being on the road. But the acupuncturist/vet, Dr. Julie Bartz, saw that his back was pretty tight and tense, and that he'd probably been in a fair amount of pain the past few weeks. So kudos to Fred for battling through the pain. When the treatment was complete, there was a scary moment, as Fred wouldn't get up, even for a treat. And when a beagle doesn't move for a treat, that is indeed cause for concern. As it turns out, he was really chilled out in that way that Deadheads are chilled out during the 30-minute guitar solos that seem to be included in every one of their songs. Because when Joan picked him up and put him on the ground, he started sprinting all over the place. Even after the 30-minute ride back to the hotel, Fred continued his random sprint around the hotel room. And he wasn't medicated, if that's what you're thinking. He was just happy and feeling loose.
Fred wasn't the only beagle who needed some medical attention on Thursday. Hank's had some runny eyes, so we brought him in as well for and eyes and ears check.
The other good news on the dogs: They've both lost weight. Fred began this journey at 33.5 pounds; he's now at 30.8. Hank was 26.1 pounds when we left Virginia; he's now at 24.6. Joan and I have some sense where those pounds have gone, shall we say.
Anyway, we will begin our three-day hiatus from daily updates today, and by the time we return on Tuesday, the car will have gotten its own "acupuncture" of sorts, as Joan will be bringing it in for a 50,000-mile checkup and will also have some other bruises taken care of. I had a 90-minute massage at the hotel on Thursday, and Joan will be getting one today. So we will see you Tuesday, when we're set to head back onto the highway. Hope you enjoy the behind-the-scenes posts the next few days.
- Chuck Gafvert asked ih the comments area why the Trinity site -- where the first atomic bomb was exploded in 1945 -- is only open to the public two days a year: the first Saturdays of April and October. A cruise of the Web didn't turn up anything 100 percent definitive, but two plausible explanations did turn up: 1) the Trinity site is located on White Sands Missile Range, so open access is not possible; and 2) the Trinity site itself is isolated and in the middle of desert, which makes it a dangerous destination for tourists to seek out on their own.
- More stupid beagle tricks.
- The music report will return Tuesday.
- The past few days have been full of good food, as we've eaten at the homes of relatives and friends, but we have not been out exploring Roadfood restaurants. The only minor exception is that, when we had dinner with our friends Dan and Bridget Peacock on Thursday, they brought in some amazing carryout food from Richardson's, a place that has been highly recommended by some folks familiar with Phoenix. Dan and Bridget picked up some chili-laced potatoes and bacon-wrapped shrimp, and both were amazing.
- FireSky Resort & Spa, Scottsdale, Ariz.: I think we've covered the hotel plenty elsewhere in this post, so I won't repeat it here. Needless to say, we're very satisfied. Only small ding: The wireless connection, while quite fast, drops off completely for about 30 seconds every hour. Hotel rating: 4.5 stars (out of 5).
COMMENT OF THE DAY
- Today: Relaxing in Phoenix.
- Tomorrow: Day One of our FHMA hiatus.
- The Day After Tomorrow: Day Two of our FHMA hiatus.
BONUS BEAGLE PHOTO