Phoenix Trip  2016

At the end of March, Jim took Kelly, Wendy and me on a four-day jaunt to Phoenix, AZ where we stayed at the beautiful Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa. We left the cold and snowless towns of New England and arrived on a beautiful day with temperatures in the 70’s. There were flowers everywhere.


This hotel occupies a large tract in Scottsdale. The hotel itself is immense. We arrived on a Wednesday when, for the most part, the guests were families with children. But that weekend there was a conference that occupied many of the large conference rooms. The rates went up and the families moved out.


We stayed on the fourth floor of the Marriott overlooking the pools, the playgrounds and all the outdoor dining areas.



We had adjoining rooms. For the most part we were together, but Jim had work to do in preparation for an Indy Car Race to be held that Saturday in south Phoenix so while Kelly and we were sunbathing, Jim was working.


Our favorite location was the spa.  Very few people at the spa, because most of the guests were families with kids who preferred the waterways which were distant from the spa.

All the hotels and restaurants in the Phoenix area had fire-pits. With these, you can enjoy the out-of-doors even when the temperatures plummet below 65 degrees.

On Thursday morning we went to the Sonoran Desert Museum located south of Phoenix. This was an extremely popular place, but they were well-prepared for the crowds. They had hosts that led people through the area every 15 minutes.

Of course, the museum featured all sorts of Cacti.



Some Cacti were bigger than others. This one was over a hundred years old. I must admit that I was not into these plants as were some others in our party.

On the way out of the Desert Museum we ran into a snake. I assume it was highly poisonous – like a rattlesnake or a cobra.

From my days as a Boy Scout I knew I just had to be patient and, although the snake really enjoyed me, it probably would not crawl up my leg.


On Friday we went to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West institution, which was his winter home, and then became a center for architectural students – there were about 40 students there when we visited.


Tours were given every half-hour or so. Here we are in the Wright’s living room. We went to about 5 rooms an ended at the institution where the students had gone to the dining hall. It was quite the place.


On Saturday evening we went to the Indy Car Race south of Phoenix. This is Jim’s job as a sponsor from Verizon.  Here we are out on the track before the race starts. This is Will Power’s car – one of four drivers who are on Roger Penske’s team.

Here we are talking to Roger, a Lehigh graduate about four years after me. I have met Roger at other events. This time I thought I would give him a trick question. I said, “When was the last time you were at Dorney Park?” Without hesitation he said, “Why that’s in Allentown, PA”.  We laughed – we all went to the races at Dorney Park when we were Lehigh students.


Everybody on the Penske team knows Jim. Usually we have a snack at the Penske tent with some of the team members,  but this was a night race, so the set-up was different.  After touring the pits, and after the race started, we went to a tent in the infield where we could get a bite to eat. It was located in the infield right next to the track. The noise was unbearable.  We got out as quickly as we could and hiked to our seats which were high up in the grandstands and the noise was not too bad.  It was a memorable night.


Thank you Jim and Kelly for a wonderful 50th anniversary present. It could not have been better!