We last left off in Tucson, headed up to Phoenix…
We arrived at our cozy, little Airbnb loft house that night, extremely exhausted and ferociously hungry. Luckily, The Main Ingredient was right around the corner. The cozy cafe in a converted house served beer, wine, soups and sandwiches. I enjoyed their delicious ‘Griddled Cheese’ sandwich with havarti, muenster, cheddar and tomatoes. In a world of disappointing grilled cheese sandwiches, their sandwich was like a light at the end of a tunnel.
Looking to escape the heat the next morning, we decided to go tubing on the Salt River.
We lathered ourselves up with sunscreen, took a couple of water bottles and grabbed the inner tubes we had rented. There were three “float trips” that we could choose from: two hours, three hours or four hours.
We chose the two hour trip. A bus took us to our stop and we walked to the shore, ready to get the party started.
Oh, and for you Portlandia fans, I did yell out “A-O River!” as I floated downstream.
I could tell that we were out of our element about five minutes into the trip. The hot sun was beating down upon our uncovered heads and heating up the rubber on the inner tube, making our skin burn. My skin began to turn bright red and my legs looked so blotchy it looked like I was allergic to the great outdoors (I am).
Meanwhile, the group of six ahead of us chatted away, shielded from the sun by their wide-brimmed hats, inner tubes tied together by a rope, covered with towels and blankets. In the middle of the group sat a cooler, on its own float, packed with waters and beers. Clearly they knew what they were doing.
Actually, I never even heard them scream once they hit the rapids! They just floated down as a unit, unfazed by their surroundings. Meanwhile, Halston and I were clutching on for dear life since we somehow kept getting pushed onto the most jagged of rocks protruding from the water. I was very determined to survive and not leave with an additional butt crack.
We gently floated back to shore two hours later and waited for the bus to pick us up. Our friends floated past us for the remaining two hours left of the trip, presumably.
During our stay in Phoenix we also visited the Desert Botanical Garden, a 140-acre garden featuring over 50,000 plant displays. We explored the garden’s five unique trails and laughed when we encountered visitors who were only there because the garden was riddled with PokeStops and housed a Gym. Kids these days.
On our way back to the Airbnb we stopped at Helton Brewing Company, a small craft beer brewery in the area, solely because I wanted to say that I was “at Helton with Halston.” I ordered their summer ale, Halston ordered the milk stout and we shared cheese and charcuterie.
During our stay in Phoenix, we also hiked Hole In The Rock, a geological formation that overlooks Papago Park. The hike didn’t take very long at all, but once we got to the top, things got weird.
A girl laid on her back, gingerly resting her foot upon a rock and grimacing. Her friends sat next to her and when we asked if they needed any help, they just stared back in silence.
Finally, the girl who was clearly in pain spoke up and told us that she sprained her ankle and that she was waiting for it to feel better so that she could make the trek to her car. I laughed, having sprained my ankles in the past and knowing that it took days for it to feel better. Unless she planned to stay there for the rest of the week, I didn’t see her leaving any time soon.
Her friends couldn’t carry her so Halston and another guy who had been hiking carried her to safety with her friends leading the way.
And that’s the story of how we became local heroes in Phoenix and received a key to the city.
Onward and upwards.