Our plan had always been to camp as much as possible before picking up my brother (Vince) in Denver for Thanksgiving at our Grandmother's house. But the weather had different plans for us. It is COLD up here in the mountains in November! And we're pretty unprepared for the low temperatures. After all, it's only November!! It's still pretty warm then, right? Yes, in TEXAS. At SEA LEVEL. Not at 7,000 + elevation! Apparently, a lot of the campgrounds in the area recognize this little known fact and are closed for the season. So, we've been staying in a lot of hotels, blowing our budget. At first, this was OK, because we thought we had just 2 more weeks until we picked up Vince. And we knew that we had friends in the area we could spend a couple of days with. But when we realized we had THREE weeks left, and there were winter storms approaching, we got desperate enough to call our friends Debra and Ed Malooly in Flagstaff, AZ and ask if we could come early (and, as it turned out, stay late!).
We got to Flagstaff just in the nick of time. It snowed for 24 hours!! Beautiful!!!
Kipper and the Malooly dog, Blackjack, were instant besties. Blackjack LOVES loves LOVES snow and taught Kipper how to play in it.
Kipper also made sure to make friends with the Malooly boys, Jared and Jett. Here, he's giving Jared a kiss. Jared looks like he's pushing Kipper away, but he's not. Those boys love dogs and loved Kipper. And Kipper loved them right back.
If this snow was in Texas, the grocery aisles would be empty and there would be NOBODY on the road. Not so in Flagstaff. 6 inches of snow? No problem. We went to lunch at a locally owned burger place in downtown. They had the best burgers! All locally sourced and delicious.
And then we walked around in the cold. Brrrrr. But Debra loaned/gave us some warm snow gear so we were toasty!
The next day, Debra had to work, so Ed took us and the dogs out to the ski mountain, Snow Bowl. It's about 1,000 ft higher than Flagstaff so the snow was deeper. And nobody had been out yet, so there were no tracks except the ones we made. So much fun!!
Ed and the dogs forging a path for the Texans.
Blackjack laying in the snow. Did I mention he loves loves LOVES the snow?
No, I'm not purposely making a snow angel. I fell. Did I mention I'm a Texan?
Kipper took right to it.
The snow was up to our knees in some places. Debra gave Greg some awesome snow boots (they're pretty masculine, not pink or anything...) that were too big for her, so he was nice and cozy. Thanks Debra!!!
We missed Debra and the boys!!
After our hike, Debra was NICE enough to give me and Greg haircuts!! Which we desperately needed after 5 months. Thanks Debra!!!
And then we went to dinner at the Tinderbox, a super yummy place in downtown Flagstaff. So good. Greg's NY Strip.
I had the pork belly on a bed of blue cheese grits. Oh. My. Gawd.
It was a great meal with delicious food (the best of the trip so far??) and great friends.
Even though we wanted to go back to the Tinderbox the next day (and the day after that, and the day after that), our budget really won't allow for it, so we went on a little drive instead! First stop: Montezuma Castle....cliff dwellings from looooong ago.
And then we visited Ed at work. He's a flight nurse and showed us his chopper! Cool.
Debra and the waiter at Tinderbox told us that Jerome is a cool little town, so we went by there. It's an old mining town....gold, silver, copper.....and a lot of it.
You can stand on top of the shaft and it is soooooo deep. You can't see the bottom. It's just dark, and kinda creepy. Can you imagine being a miner and going down that far into the ground day after day? That's a hard job.
The mines are pretty much shut down now, but the town is still hopping. There's a very active artists' community and a couple of vineyards in the area! Maynard Keenan, the singer for Tool, lives in the area and owns Merkin Vineyards, Caduceus Cellars...
...and has part ownership of Stronghold Vineyards. Debra got us a bottle for a going away gift. Thanks Debra!
Remember about a year and a half ago? When we found LeTigre in Sedona? We just drove through this time around, making a short stop to run Kipper in the Sedona Dog Park.
That night, we spent some quality time with the boys and the dogs. That's Jett, hiding behind the couch. That's Kipper, looking embarrassed. And that's Jared, looking sympathetically at Kipper.
Kipper and Blackjack giving Jared birthday kisses. Happy birthday, Jared!
Whew, all that playing around can be exhausting.
Jett invited us to stay an extra night so we could see his play the next morning. How could we pass up an invitation like that? He and his classmates wrote and produced a play about the Industrial Revolution. They also did all the research, decided who the characters would be, and designed all the sets and costumes. It was very well done!!
Jett's in the middle here, deep in his character of Igor Sikorsky, the creator of the helicopter.
Steve Jobs. All the kids are dressed in black turtlenecks and jeans.
The captain of the Titanic.
We had to embarrass Jett a little and get a photo. Thanks for the invitation, Jett! It was great!
And then we left. We miss the Maloolys already. Their home is so warm and comfortable and we had a great visit. We look forward to seeing them again!!
P.S. Kipper loves his Dia de los Muertos squeaky toy Debra got him!
P.P.S. And I love the warm headband and gloves Debra made me!