It's been quite the trip.
Tuesday -- Got up at 4:45 am (East coast time!) to fly out from BWI into Phoenix. Arrived at the hotel just before noon and spent the afternoon hanging around the hotel
(which is just gorgeous, BTW) catching up with friends and waiting for my family to arrive.
Wednesday -- Got up to meet folks at 6:45 am to go out to the Gila River internment camp
where my father spent a little bit less than two years between 1942-44. It was hot and stark and sad. And yet, I think the visit allowed my father to somehow come to terms better with the experience of his childhood, the experience which shaped his life. More about this later, but here are some pictures below.
My dad and a few others walking around the area where the hospital and the block houses used to be.
The block marker showing that yes, indeed, block 74 was here.
Remains of the rows of barracks that was the Gila River internment camp (Butte camp).
After the morning visit, my dad and stepmom were pretty much done for the day; we came back and had a late lunch at the casino, gambled a bit and then went to a "Welcome Mixer" for the convention (yes, despite the fact that I attended almost zero of it, I was ostensibly in town for this convention). My sister and I then walked around Rawhide
, the western town and steakhouse (it basically looks like the set of an old western movie; has some shops and a few things to pay to ride). A full day...
But wait, there's more!
Thursday -- Up and out by 5:30 am to drive to Tucson to meet a woman from the University of Arizona
about visiting a few tribal colleges. It took us about 1-1/2 hours to get to Tucson, from which we drove another hour or so to the Tohono O'odham
tribal lands and visited the Tohono O'odham Community College
. Again, more about this later because I am too pooped to do it justice now.
If you thought that was early, we're trending even earlier!
Friday -- Up and out by 5:00 am. And I thought this was supposed to be a vacation? Don't vacations usually involve rest? Sheesh. We drove up to the Grand Canyon
. Yes, ladies and gents, you read that correctly. We drove 3+ hours north to the Grand Canyon. If you think we drove the length of Arizona North and South, you are pretty much correct. We took a helicopter tour of the canyon, and it was one of the coolest things I've done. Truly spectacular. Beyond my capability to describe at this hour. More later and pictures below.
On our way back, we also drove to see Sedona and Red Rock State Park
, which was the only park open because of the fires in the Sedona area. More photos when I download them. On our way back from that
, we saw Montezuma Castle National Park
... and after that
, we drove back to the hotel. And my dad got a speeding ticket. Oops.
Saturday -- I blissfully was able to sleep in until 8:30 am. Yay! No major treks in the car today; just a trip to the mall for a few things. More casino meals (boy, are they cheap!) and gambling for my dad (who lost a chunk... too bad) and the closing gala dinner for me, which ran until 11:30 or so.
Can you see why I'm tired? Yikes.
Tomorrow we have to be out by 6:00 am to catch our flights. Ugh. I am not
an early-morning person, so if the things we saw weren't so incredibly spectacular, I would have been grumpy about it. As it was, I wouldn't have traded any of the experiences for more sleep. No way!
Another thing, Phoenix is three hours behind the East coast because the state doesn't have daylight savings time... so look at the time stamp. I've got to be up and ready to head to the airport at 6:00. Even I can do that math. Ugh. I'm gonna be one tired lump on the plane.
UPDATE (6/25): Oh, and this too...