Phoenix Trip

Posted on 22 Mar 2022 by Steve Markham

Papa Ben invited us to join him in Phoenix while he visited his Uncle Bob, and then to drive back to Provo with him. We saw Corinne and Ben, Peter, Kristie, Brooke, and Charlotte, the Grand Canyon, and some Wiley Redd 2nd and 3rd cousins. It was SO MUCH FUN.

The Grand Canyon is grand!
The Grand Canyon is grand!

I loaded up my phone and a chromebook with 23.5 hours of videos and packed a ton of snacks to hopefully make the traveling go smoothly. Janet drove us to the airport around 5:30 for a 7:20 flight that ended up leaving at 7:50 or so. The plan was to watch videos on the first flight, and then sleep on the second flight. We would arrive at midnight AZ time, which is 3am NY time. By the time we got a car and drove to the hotel, 1am local was the best-case bedtime.

Snacks at the airport while waiting for a delayed flight
Snacks at the airport while waiting for a delayed flight

Nobody slept much on the second flight, and the car rental threw me for a loop since it was a “keys are in the car, find one that will work” type of arrangement with no one around to help, and I couldn’t find the sedans. It worked out in the end.

Finally in bed at 1:50am local time
Finally in bed at 1:50am local time

Dad texted me Tuesday night that the plan was for he and Corinne to meet in the hotel breakfast area around 8:30am, since breakfast ended at 9am. As it turns out Lewis woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 8am NY time. I kept him in bed as long as possible, but he was showered and three games into a tic tac toe session by 7am local when Corinne said Ben was up and they were heading to breakfast early.

After breakfast we went swimming. It was a heated outdoor pool, and it was lovely.

Swimming in the outdoor pool. It was 85 degrees and sunny
Swimming in the outdoor pool. It was 85 degrees and sunny

After swimming we went to Fashion Square Mall to check out Papa’s next EV, the Lucid Air. The children’s play area had closed several years earlier, so this visit wasn’t nearly as much fun for the kiddies as I had hoped it would be. Lewis was consoled with burgers from Shake Shack for lunch.

Next stop, Summit Park to play with Peter, Kristie, Brooke, and Charlotte, while Papa charged the Tesla. It was hot and sunny. The adults all had a grand time chatting under a pavillion, but the kiddies gradually ran out of steam as the sun beat down on them. I had packed us up in thirty degrees weather in NY, and hadn’t brought sunblock or hats. It turns out Adele did have a hat, but she didn’t admit to that and I didn’t find it in her suitcase (it was in the very bottom of her backpack, I found out when we were back home). Anyway, the park play date wrapped up in time for Charlotte’s dance class. The Markhams went back to the hotel to get ready for the party with Uncle Bob.

The family tree: Wiley and Lydia Redd were married in 1913. The siblings are their children, including Ida Mar, Lyman, Preston (aka Pep), and Bob (wife: Nancy). The cousins include Ida Mar’s son Papa Ben, Bob’s daughter Lynne (2nd husband: Steve), Lyman’s son Jerry (wife: Beverly), and Pep’s daughter Sally. The 2nd cousins are Papa Ben’s Steve and Corinne, and Lynne’s Ryan (wife: Brooke). The 3rd cousins are Steve’s Adele and Lewis, Corinne’s Ben, Ryan’s Alta, Ireni, and Lela, and Sally’s grandson Tru.

I confess. I had braced myself for an awkward/boring dinner conversation with a bunch of extended family I have either never met or can’t remember meeting. I told Peter and Kristie at the park that I’d let them know how it went, but I might take them up on their dinner invitation for Thursday evening. Boy was I wrong! Lynne pulled out all the stops for a wonderful party, and everyone was so nice and warm and welcoming. It was great fun talking with Steve and Ryan, and watching the kids play together, and getting to hear a few stories from Bob and others. Jerry and Beverly invited us all over for ribs the next night, and I didn’t want to miss it.

Tru, Ben, Lewis, Adele, Alta, and Ireni are 3rd cousins
Tru, Ben, Lewis, Adele, Alta, and Ireni are 3rd cousins

Thursday morning Lynne and Steve invited us on a kid-friendly hike to Wind Cave, through a cactus “forest”. The kids said it was boring, and perhaps we should have taken Ryan’s suggestion to see some petroglyphs instead, but I rather enjoyed myself.

Exploring plant caves on the trail up to Wind Cave
Exploring plant caves on the trail up to Wind Cave
Cousins, on a rock, overlooking Phoenix
Cousins, on a rock, overlooking Phoenix
Wind Cave
Wind Cave

The plan had been to meet Kristie, Brooke, and Charlotte at 1pm at Gilbert Regional Park, but the plan shifted to swimming at the hotel. Markhams started swimming just before noon. We picnicked poolside for the lunch, and were joined by Brooke and Charlotte at 2pm. I think we finally finished swimming by 3 or 3:30. It was terribly fun, though Lewis turned pink after having been outside since 8am.

Round 2 at the pool, with Brooke and Charlotte
Round 2 at the pool, with Brooke and Charlotte
My phone died of heat exhaustion, since I wouldn't let it get in the water
My phone died of heat exhaustion, since I wouldn't let it get in the water
Brooke taught Adele to back float
Brooke taught Adele to back float
Afterward, Ben taught Lewis the joys of Geometry Dash
Afterward, Ben taught Lewis the joys of Geometry Dash

Adele went home with the Crapos to see their house and play with their toys.

First they played airplane in the living
First they played airplane in the living
Tragically, the plane crash-landed, so next they played doctor
Tragically, the plane crash-landed, so next they played doctor
These girls LOVE each other
These girls LOVE each other

I picked up Adele around 5:15, in hopes of being to Jerry’s by 6. Well, Adele didn’t want to leave. I convinced her to go, but then she asked whether we would see Brooke and Charlotte again on this trip. No. Then she went back to play just a little more. A minute later she came back again and asked if she would see Alta again on this trip. No. Her face was the definition of dilemma. Eventually Peter, Kristie, and I decided to be adults and just tell our kids what to do, which was involved me getting some ribs before Papa ate them all.

A short playground visit before Jerry's ribs
A short playground visit before Jerry's ribs
3rd cousins by the color-changing hot tub
3rd cousins by the color-changing hot tub

Night two of the family reunion was great. Friday morning we returned the rental car and headed North. First stop, Flagstaff to recharge. Next stop, Grand Canyon.

There was a little nervousness driving to Page. The car said it had a range of 105 miles when were had 113 miles to go. The last many miles into Page are downhill, so we were fine, but I’m sure Dewey (who tracks the Tesla whenever Dad is out) was still antsy. Road-tripping with an EV, a grandpa, and two kiddies means re-fueling takes longer than usual and there are more bathroom breaks than usual, so we got in later than I had hoped. Dinner at Denny’s turned into dinner at El Chorro Loco since Denny’s had a 45 minute wait. We finally got food after the kiddies’ tummies were asleep, and they barely ate. Fine by me–it was delicious and I helped them out that night, plus had leftovers for lunch the next day.

Saturday morning started with a fast food breakfast.

Lewis rocking out at McDonald's
Lewis loves fast food
Lewis loves fast food

Then a hike to see Horse Shoe Bend, just South of Page. I could have stayed there all morning!

Horse Shoe Bend is so cool
Horse Shoe Bend is so cool

We left Papa at the main spot and climbed up a little hill nearby for better/different views, and just to have a little fun hiking around.

Can you find Papa Ben in this picture?
Can you find Papa Ben in this picture?
It was hard to take pictures with eyes open, given the angle of the sun
It was hard to take pictures with eyes open, given the angle of the sun
Beauty everywhere you look
Papa is a good hiker, especially when he has helpers
Papa is a good hiker, especially when he has helpers
There were 100 cairns at the best resting spot
There were 100 cairns at the best resting spot

On the way out of Page we stopped at Glen Canyon Dam. Papa had lots of stories, and Dewey even knew the dam when she saw a picture of it.

Glen Canyon Dam
Glen Canyon Dam

Not wanting to repeat our experience the day before, we decided to top off at a non-Tesla charger in Panguitch. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the right adapters for a fast charge (125kW) and ended up getting only ~20 miles worth over the course of an hour (at ~6kW). That meant a leisurely stroll from the charger back into town to McDonald’s. Except, McDonald’s was drive-thru only for some reason, so we strolled to the market and ate fried chicken inside.

Champs Chicken for lunch
Champs Chicken for lunch

It was more beautiful scenery as we drove. Next stop was a re-charge in Beaver, then a top-off and a bathroom break in Nephi.

The kids were SO good on the trip that I got them a DQ treat in Nephi
The kids were SO good on the trip that I got them a DQ treat in Nephi

We got to Dewey’s house before 8, after picking up Cafe Rio along the way.

Cafe Rio in Provo--does life get any better than this?
Cafe Rio in Provo--does life get any better than this?

Sunday was our reset day. No restaurant food, no screens, and plenty of sleep.

Dewey taught the kids to play pool, and they got pretty good!
Dewey taught the kids to play pool, and they got pretty good!
Adele hits a ball in about half the time
Adele hits a ball in about half the time

Adele and Dewey broke out the water colors several times. Dewey was a very good teacher, and Adele was a very good student, and she made many beautiful works.

Monday we had another quite morning and then Spicy Thai for lunch.

Lewis wanted to see the dinosaur museum while Dewey and Adele painted
Lewis wanted to see the dinosaur museum while Dewey and Adele painted
Cockadoodledoo!
Cockadoodledoo!

Dinner was Kay’s Kitchen, with William, Matthew, and Melanie. Matt and Mel came back to Dewey’s house after dinner and we stayed up chatting until 10 or so. It was a lovely visit.

Tuesday morning we packed up and left for the airport around noon, and were home in bed by midnight NY time.

23.5 hours of screen time make planes and cars much more pleasant
23.5 hours of screen time make planes and cars much more pleasant