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Spring Training 2014

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Insipired by the Cooperstown HOF induction thread. Give me the skinny on Spring Training, anyone going?

 

I went to SoxFest last couple of years but can't make it this year because of work commitments and the fact I've moved to Texas.

Thinking about making the trip to Spring Training for the first time. Feel free to share any information that might help me plan the trip.

 

Did you go, where did you stay, did you rent a car? Should I worry about the game tix ahead of time? What do you do after the games?

 

Thinking March 18th to 21st , Sox play 2 home games, day off (which has me thinking about going to visit the Grand Canyon ) and Cubs come to Glendale to play the Sox that Friday to finish off the trip.

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-You're going to need a car, there's no getting around that. Phoenix is very spread out

-I'd stay closer to downtown Phoenix instead of Glendale. Glendale is more of a residential suburb. Camelback isn't more than 20 minutes away from downtown Phoenix

-Don't worry about game tickets beforehand unless they're playing the cubs.

-There's a ton to do around the area besides baseball, mostly involving hanging out outdoors. (hiking, kayaking, zoo, golf etc) We did the grand canyon trip last year as well, that was totally worth it. (About 4 hrs away)

-The biggest mistake I made the first year is that I scheduled it around sox "home" games. All of the away games are within a 30 minute radius, I'd try to see as many different stadiums as you can. Camelback and Salt River fields were my favorite.

-One of the days at camelback, get there super early (like 9-10am) and go to the practice fields. You'll be within feet from everything.

 

Damnit, now I'm really feeling the itch to get back over there.

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I would caution you against going to Spring Training. I say this for your own good. Once you go, you will not stop going. Because it's kind of f***ing awesome in a way that can't be explained.

 

I actually stay in Glendale or Peoria when I go (and I go every year). There are a couple of nice hotels right around the University of Phoenx stadium. It's kind of late to get decent hotels because fans snatch them up, so you might be better off staying closer to Phoenix. Traffic in late afternoons is a b**** so I like staying closer to Camelback rather than drive back to Phoenix, Tempe or the like.

 

Great thing about Peoria is this spread of restaurants and theaters all around the Mariners/Padres complex up there (I think it's Bell Rd). You can't walk it but it makes eating and entertainment very easy.

 

This year I'm going to check out the Cubs new complex so I'm staying in Mesa (unfortunately travelling with a cubs fan). But like others said, do yourself a favor and check out the other parks. My faves include the Rockies new complex, Giants in Scottsdale, Rangers/Royals just north of Glendale, and the Angels in Tempe. Heading down to Goodyear for the 1st time this year to watch the Sox play the Indians. But the best by far is Camelback, and I say that without any bias.

 

Have fun!

 

 

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Hope everybody that comes out has a blast...and yes...go to as many stadiums as possible! Camelback Ranch has some fun stuff around the area...hanging out at Westgate (the Hawks aren't out here in March...but still some good hockey at Jobing). Some pretty decent places to eat at Westgate...The Yard House and Gordon Biersch are my faves. Saddle Ranch is ok.

 

Off of Northern (3 miles north of Camelback) there Park West...which has my favorite pizza there...Grimaldi's!!!! It is THE BOMB IMO...nice place too. There's also a Fleming's Steakhouse there...they just opened a Toby Keith's Bar and Grill (haven't been). If you're hungry for a good burger...Blue Burger Grille!!!...I highly recommend!

 

Like Ginger said...up around Peoria you can find just about anything to eat. Traffic is a b**** up there though. My office building is right next to Peoria Sports Complex and it's a zoo around there in March. If you just want a beer and some food I like Fox and Hounds personally. If you want to hang out outside and have a beer go to Salty Senoritas. All kinds of food joints around there. The PF Changs there isn't that great IMO. If you can...go up off or Union Hills and go to Arrowhead Grill. GREAT food!!!

 

Have fun! I'm going to make my crappy weather prediction right now. It's been so ridiculously nice here since the beginning of December til now...70 and sunny...every stinkin' day (and actually it pisses me off because I got new skis and we haven't gotten squat for snow up north!!!)...but it's been so nice here I predict it'll be rainy and cold! It always works that way. I'll be stoked for ST...and we'll get rain! It'll be nice for at least half of it tho!

 

Which reminds me...if you do want to ski (if the weather lets you) there's a bus that leaves from the 101 and I-17 every day up to Snowbowl in Flag. It's only $89 which includes your lift ticket (you'll have to rent skis tho). IM me if you want more info...

 

btw...this is my FAVORITE ALL-TIME picture from Spring Training here. It's our parking lot next to Peoria Sports Complex after the Cubs were hear playing the Mariners! Hahaaa......Lovable Effing Losers!!!

 

198209_1894386840000_5369101_n.jpg

 

 

Edited by Wanne

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QUOTE (Wanne @ Jan 18, 2014 -> 01:01 PM)
this is my FAVORITE ALL-TIME picture from Spring Training here. It's our parking lot next to Peoria Sports Complex after the Cubs were hear playing the Mariners! Hahaaa......Lovable Effing Losers!!!

 

198209_1894386840000_5369101_n.jpg

 

Let me guess.... He mistook the asphalt for his baby crib on the streets from his childhood?

Need a binky or a diaper?

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From a 6 year Tempe resident who hails from the south suburbs...spring training, especially when you come straight in from the polar hell you all still call home, is a magical feeling. It feels like you've traveled time to early summer.

 

The White Sox/Dodgers field is one of the outliers, in west Glendale, about 15 miles west of downtown Phoenix, which is by no means the center focus of this area.

 

The Mariners/Padres field is pretty nice up in Peoria, it's one of the closest to the White Sox park.

 

The Angels park is great for seeing games up close, but is usually sold out on weekend/big games. Scalping is legal here, so you can always get tickets.

 

The Cubs new park is going to be the highlight of spring training going forward. It's one mile west of a big outdoor mall (Mesa Riverview) and one mile east of Tempe Marketplace. It's only 3 miles from Mill Ave ASU's party street and less than 2 miles from campus. Buy tickets beforehand, more than you need, and get ready to make $ scalping tickets.

 

The A's park is 3 minutes from the PHX airport and allows you close seating (although no grass seating) and is usually empty.

 

The Dbacks/Rockies park in Scottsdale is probably the nicest facility. The Talking Stick Resort across the highway has 2 amazing restaurants (Ocean Trail and Orange Sky).

 

The Giants facility is Scottsdale's old town is nice, but crowded and often sold out.

 

Those are the stadiums I would go to. The rest are iffy, insignificant, and/or in iffy areas. Try to see games in these parks.

 

Baseball : Terrible. I love baseball. I do not love spring training baseball. They may as well just go out there and have batting practice and play catch. You get close to the players, I mean close, but who knows which players will even be there. Many times lineups are watered down to the point where you know only a few of the guys on your own team. It's just the fact that baseball is back and the weather is nice again.

 

Night baseball: Starting to be more prevalent. Going to be busy, but very nice weather and no sunburn on pale skin.

 

Camelback ranch is home to a lot of teams as far as practicing goes. make sure to go explore and watch practices before games.

 

As far as food, they put a Portillos in Tempe Marketplace near Cubs park. There is also one on Shea near the DBacks/Rockies park.

 

Oreganos Restautants (An AZ Chain) is great for Italian food and deep dish pizza (close to chi style).

 

We have potbellys and jimmy johns now, too.

 

Stay away from Jack in the Box, El Pollo Loco, In and Out Burger, and Del Taco unless you have easy and immediate bathroom access.

 

If you want amazing views with half the drive, go to Sedona (2-2.5 hour drive north) or make sure to see it on the way to/back from the Grand Canyon.

 

Do NOT go to Tuscon.

 

Do NOT go to Mexico.

 

If the weather is nice, check out Payson (1.5 hours northeast of Phx) or Flagstaff (3 hours north of phx).

 

If you have kids who can handle a 3.5 hour drive and you don't want them jumping off the grand canyon, go to Bearizona (Williams AZ half hour west of Flagstaff). Look it up.

 

If you want some lake time, Lake Havasu is 3.5 hours north west. Palm Springs Cali is 3.5 hours west. Las Vegas is 4.5 hours northwest, the Hoover dam is 3.5 hours northwest on the way to Las Vegas.

 

If you are in a sketchy looking area and see a Vienna Beef sign on a restaurant, that does not mean it is safe to eat there, or even stop your car there.

 

Shortcuts through downtown/south/west/east Phx are not a good idea unless you know what you are doing.

 

If you have kids and are staying near Camelback ranch, the World Wildlife Zoo in Litchfield Park (20 mins west of Camelback Ranch is a great zoo and aquarium. Whole day can be spent there and the restaurant there Dillon's has $2 onion rings.

 

Westgate Mall in Glendale is pretty fun and nice.

 

Stay away from Arizona Mills Mall in Tempe.

 

Ahwatukee might not be close to too many parks, but it is a very nice safe area.

 

Oh, and most importantly : Avoid Dodger fans, they are drunk, drugged out, gang/cartel members who will cause you problems if you give them attention.

Edited by rowand's rowdies

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I am working on a trip to Arizona for spring training. I have to sell it to the family as a family vacation. They do not want to spend more than a day or so at Sox camp. I am hoping they have fun and change their mind. Other than the Grand Canyon, any cool stuff to do for families? I have pre-teen daughters that are afraid of rattlesnakes so I can't do much desert hiking.

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103MPH Screwball - I covered a few in my other post, but I'll post this again in case any of you other poor souls have to entertain non baseball fans in AZ while here:

 

- World Wildlife Zoo - Litchfield Park (10 miles NW of Camelback Ranch)

- Phx Zoo - Phoenix (25 miles E of Camelback Ranch, 5 mins from PHX Sky Harbor Airport)

- Sedona - Hiking and Amazing Scenery, Great Day Trip from PHX area. 2.5 hours from Camelback Ranch, about 2 from PHX SkyHarbor

- Pools - These are everywhere, at every resort, at every hotel. Always a go to.

- Lake Havasu - 3 hours NW of Camelback Ranch, Original London Bridge is there plus lots of water activities.

- Canyon/Saguaro Lake - 1.5-2 hours E of Camelback Ranch. Beautiful lakes in the mountains.

- Butterfly Museum - Scottsdale - 1 hour E of Camelback Ranch - New

- Westgate Mall - Shopping, movie theatre, hockey, food. 15 mins from Camelback Ranch.

- Ditka's Restaurant - NEW - Not sure which casino, but one that isn't too far from Camelback Ranch.

- Paintball - Combat Paintball in Tempe, 45 mins E of Camelback Ranch.

- Laser Tag - World's largest laser tag place is in Mesa, 1 Hour # of Camelback Ranch

- Castles and Coasters - AZ's 6 Flags. N Phx, 45 mins from Camelback Ranch.

- Go Kart Racing - Phx - 30 mins from Camelback Ranch. Not sure of name of place but popular.

 

I don't have kids, so I had to think hard about what they might want to do. Anything past what I suggested above, youre the parent, you do the research.

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QUOTE (103 mph screwball @ Jan 21, 2014 -> 04:30 PM)
I am working on a trip to Arizona for spring training. I have to sell it to the family as a family vacation. They do not want to spend more than a day or so at Sox camp. I am hoping they have fun and change their mind. Other than the Grand Canyon, any cool stuff to do for families? I have pre-teen daughters that are afraid of rattlesnakes so I can't do much desert hiking.

 

Tell ya what...if you're willing to spend 5 hours in the car to go to the Grand Canyon (which actually bores me to tears...unless you plan on hiking down into it which is great)...you might as well spend another hour and just head west to San Diego. In my opinion you're better off. Sea World and the Zoo...not to mention a ton of great restaurants...and THE BEACH!!!! They've had ridiculously nice weather out there the entire fall/winter. It's still 75º out there (which is a summer temp).

 

 

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QUOTE (Wanne @ Jan 21, 2014 -> 05:48 PM)
Tell ya what...if you're willing to spend 5 hours in the car to go to the Grand Canyon (which actually bores me to tears...unless you plan on hiking down into it which is great)...you might as well spend another hour and just head west to San Diego. In my opinion you're better off. Sea World and the Zoo...not to mention a ton of great restaurants...and THE BEACH!!!! They've had ridiculously nice weather out there the entire fall/winter. It's still 75º out there (which is a summer temp).

Is the coast that close? I will have to check that out. Thanks for the suggestion! Thank you too rowand's rowdies!

 

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Went last year. Tons of fun. Stayed at the Phoenician which is a gorgeous place. Ran into Rodman at 8am. That guy's a trip. Went to two games. The dodgers vs sox night game that was previously discussed. Was a total s*** storm. Dodgers fans are the worst. Then went to the day game the next day which was much calmer. I'd suggest getting tickets in advance. Especially if you want to get autographs. I did that in advane and got front row tickets for that day game. Guys are pretty open to signing. Go to the Phoenician and just check out their cactus garden. It's pretty neat. Old town Scottsdale is petty neat too. Lots of unique stores and restaurants. A few years prior I went and checked out some road stadiums too. I'd suggest switching it up.

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I'll second what WANNE said, although I'm not a huge San Diego fan. It's 6 hours if you take the route that doesn't include 3 police check points and about 5.5 hours if you take the shady way. You can make it to the southern LA beaches in 5 hours or so, so yes the coast is almost as close driving time wise as the grand canyon.

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QUOTE (103 mph screwball @ Jan 21, 2014 -> 06:59 PM)
Is the coast that close? I will have to check that out. Thanks for the suggestion! Thank you too rowand's rowdies!

 

Dude...I've made that drive from SD to Phx in 5 hours! I'd usually figure 6 for stops and stuff...but I haul ass. Just take it moderately thru the Mtns between SD and El Centro...once you get past those...you're home free. People have a tendency to haul ass thru there...just take it easy...after that it's a long open stretch. Made it in 5 hours many times. I highly suggest it! Bet your girls would dig on the beach. Mission Beach is a little congested (probably not now)...but it's a ton of fun right there. Interstate 8 goes right into it... If you want (depending on your quiche)...you can go out on the fishing boat for half day also. I took my 3 kids on half day and it was about $225 or so (one day license and pole rental). Yellow Tail tuna season also I believe....

 

If you're interested IM me and I'll give the name of a place I love to stay up the beach on Mission. It's on the beach...very moderately price (cheap actually $90-100 a night if that this time of year) and next to a Joe's Crab Shack (which I love). My favorite hang out right there is a place called 710 Beach Club...it's a ridiculously fun Bears/Chicago sports bar. Pretty decent food too! Place is a zoo on sunday mornings during football season....TONS of fun! Blackhawk games are huge too. Down the boardwalk is a restaurant called World Famous. LOVE that place too. Right on the beach...great view and food.

 

I'll throw this out there too....take I-5 up and get off at La Jolla Pkwy...turns into Torrey Pines Rd and take it to Prospect (Scripps Park). It's downtown La Jolla (which many people call mini Beverly Hills/Rodeo Drive). They have the Sandstone Caves there (look that up...you can rent kayaks out there...and it's a cool place to snorkle). Bunch of Sea Lions hang out down there which is pretty cool...and find Coast Blvd Beach Park. You'll love it. And down by Scripps Park...a cool little place to eat...it's called Cody's. It's a little house turned into an eatery. Highly suggest the burger...or the French Toast!!!! La Jolla is really really nice...

 

Seriously...for people coming out to Phx from Chicago...if you've never been to San Diego...you're nuts for not going.

 

And there's no "Police" check points. There's BORDER PATROL points on the other side of the CA border on I-8 and one about 35 miles outside of SD...no biggie. LA is 5 hours away (I've made it in 4.5)...but it's a armpit IMO. I'd stick with SD (especially with kids)...way less stressful. Eff Disneyland!... If I could afford it...I'd live in San Diego in a heartbeat.

Edited by Wanne

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Things to watch for this ST-

1. The Battle For #5 (Rotation)

2. The Battle For The Bench

That's a real interesting one. We have Konerko as a lock. Then there's a battle between Phegley, Flowers, and Nieto. You also have De Aza vs JorDanks vs Viciedo- two stay, one goes. As for the infield, you've got L. Garcia vs Keppinger vs Gillaspie vs Elmore vs Sanchez vs Matt Davidson- all fighting for one (?) spot.

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I'm in Tempe Wanne not Glendale. You've got almost an hour on me heading west.

 

If you do take his advice, make sure to go to Coronado Island and the Hotel Del Coranado Beaches.

His La Jolla advice is also spot on.

 

DO NOT GO TO LUCHA LIBRE'S Burritos (on d/d/d on food tv). Horrible.

DO NOT Stay in National City (city south of San Diego).

The SD Zoo is pretty cool.

So is the ghost tour in old town San Diego.

The Gaslamp district is blocks and blocks of awesome bars that are unique and cool places to drink.

But Coronado Hotel Del Beaches are the #1 SD Spot.

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I did Spring Training a couple of years ago. Did the whole thing from start to finish and went to every game home and away except the one in Tucson. Honest to god, it was the best month of my life. I loved the Phoenix area, pretty into hiking and there's several great spots to hike in the area. Knuckles, if you want to see the Grand Canyon DO IT. It's a mindblower when you actually see it for the first time! Also, pretty cool to see and not all that far away from Phoenix was the meteor crater near Winslow.

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No offense Big Ed, but if 2 big holes in the ground and 30 meaningless baseball games made up your best month ever, you need a new best month ever.

Fun and beautiful, yes, but personally I can only take so much preseason baseball.

 

I suggest highly to anyone coming down for Spring Training, unless you are here less than 5 days, try to hit a game every other day or so. My work schedule allows me to go to around 10-15 games in March, and I go to 5-8 every year, mostly involving our White Sox. That's plenty of preseason action for even the biggest diehard fan. There are countless things to do and the weather will be beautiful 25-31 days in March, so make sure to diversify your trip.

 

I've had multiple times in my 5 spring trainings out here where the White Sox put up 0 runs in consecutive games. One time I saw 3 games in a row without a run, then 10 in one inning the next game. Sitting in the beautiful weather in March watching baseball is special, but the novelty runs out quick when you see a bunch of 0s being put up by our "stellar" prospects on offense.

 

Also, the DBacks and Dodgers will be going to Australia for some real games around march 23-26, so don't count on seeing them starting around march 20th.

Edited by rowand's rowdies

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QUOTE (rowand's rowdies @ Jan 22, 2014 -> 08:28 AM)
No offense Big Ed, but if 2 big holes in the ground and 30 meaningless baseball games made up your best month ever, you need a new best month ever.

Fun and beautiful, yes, but personally I can only take so much preseason baseball.

Well, let me elaborate a bit. I made the trip with my oldest daughter who's like 31. We drove down the coast from Seattle to Los Angeles. That in itself was a blast. We took our time and stopped and walked on beaches and saw lighthouses and what not. Took our time again through the Big Sur and walked around amongst the giant Sequioas. Then we spent an afternoon in San Francisco. Being the old hippie type I had to see the Haight Ashbury area. We spent a little time at Malibu, drove through LA and went to Joshua Tree National Park, where we spent the day. I loved that area! Then, it was finally off to Arizona where I had never been before. I had never even seen a f***ing cactus.

We stayed at a Best Western where we had a kitchen and we lived there for a month. It was better than having to eat out every day which would have cost a bundle. Basically we just went to the ballgames every day which I'm sorry I thought it was a blast. I've always thought spring training would be great if only to see the prospects that you otherwise mostly just read about. Plus, you're seeing your favorite team in a small ballpark setting. It's like seeing the Rolling Stones in a small club. My daughter got a ton of autographs and had her picture taken with some of her favorite players. To top it off, we're doing this while the rest of our family is still dealing with cold and snow (we came home unbelievably tan). A couple of days we went hiking in the mountain area which was a lot of fun and remember, all this with my daughter....it was father/daughter time.

After spring training, we went to see as I said the Grand Canyon which neither of us had ever seen and also went to the Meteor Crater, El Morro National Monument, Petroglyph N'tl Mon., the Painted Desert, the Petrified Forest, Zion, Bryce Canyon and the Arches. We hiked a lot at most of these places and really had a lot of fun. Then it was up to the Salt Lake area where we stayed for several days with one of my sons who I hadn't seen in about a year and if we hadn't had enough baseball we went to a AAA game in Salt Lake. Finally it was back to Seattle. By the time we got home, we had been gone nearly two months. So it was probably the best TWO months of my life. I wish I could afford to do it every year. :D

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QUOTE (BigEdWalsh @ Jan 22, 2014 -> 01:12 PM)
Well, let me elaborate a bit. I made the trip with my oldest daughter who's like 31. We drove down the coast from Seattle to Los Angeles. That in itself was a blast. We took our time and stopped and walked on beaches and saw lighthouses and what not. Took our time again through the Big Sur and walked around amongst the giant Sequioas. Then we spent an afternoon in San Francisco. Being the old hippie type I had to see the Haight Ashbury area. We spent a little time at Malibu, drove through LA and went to Joshua Tree National Park, where we spent the day. I loved that area! Then, it was finally off to Arizona where I had never been before. I had never even seen a f***ing cactus.

We stayed at a Best Western where we had a kitchen and we lived there for a month. It was better than having to eat out every day which would have cost a bundle. Basically we just went to the ballgames every day which I'm sorry I thought it was a blast. I've always thought spring training would be great if only to see the prospects that you otherwise mostly just read about. Plus, you're seeing your favorite team in a small ballpark setting. It's like seeing the Rolling Stones in a small club. My daughter got a ton of autographs and had her picture taken with some of her favorite players. To top it off, we're doing this while the rest of our family is still dealing with cold and snow (we came home unbelievably tan). A couple of days we went hiking in the mountain area which was a lot of fun and remember, all this with my daughter....it was father/daughter time.

After spring training, we went to see as I said the Grand Canyon which neither of us had ever seen and also went to the Meteor Crater, El Morro National Monument, Petroglyph N'tl Mon., the Painted Desert, the Petrified Forest, Zion, Bryce Canyon and the Arches. We hiked a lot at most of these places and really had a lot of fun. Then it was up to the Salt Lake area where we stayed for several days with one of my sons who I hadn't seen in about a year and if we hadn't had enough baseball we went to a AAA game in Salt Lake. Finally it was back to Seattle. By the time we got home, we had been gone nearly two months. So it was probably the best TWO months of my life. I wish I could afford to do it every year. :D

 

Sounds freaking awesome to me! That's the kind of stuff I do if I ever win the lottery.

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The West Gate area has some good hotels. I would book early because hotel rooms are hard to find if you do not book early.

 

I went last year and had a blast, not sure if we will head out there this year or not, might just wait and watch some games early in North Carolina!

 

If you go, you will have a great time. Camelback Ranch is laid out pretty nicely.

 

 

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QUOTE (BigEdWalsh @ Jan 22, 2014 -> 01:12 PM)
Well, let me elaborate a bit. I made the trip with my oldest daughter who's like 31. We drove down the coast from Seattle to Los Angeles. That in itself was a blast. We took our time and stopped and walked on beaches and saw lighthouses and what not. Took our time again through the Big Sur and walked around amongst the giant Sequioas. Then we spent an afternoon in San Francisco. Being the old hippie type I had to see the Haight Ashbury area. We spent a little time at Malibu, drove through LA and went to Joshua Tree National Park, where we spent the day. I loved that area! Then, it was finally off to Arizona where I had never been before. I had never even seen a f***ing cactus.

We stayed at a Best Western where we had a kitchen and we lived there for a month. It was better than having to eat out every day which would have cost a bundle. Basically we just went to the ballgames every day which I'm sorry I thought it was a blast. I've always thought spring training would be great if only to see the prospects that you otherwise mostly just read about. Plus, you're seeing your favorite team in a small ballpark setting. It's like seeing the Rolling Stones in a small club. My daughter got a ton of autographs and had her picture taken with some of her favorite players. To top it off, we're doing this while the rest of our family is still dealing with cold and snow (we came home unbelievably tan). A couple of days we went hiking in the mountain area which was a lot of fun and remember, all this with my daughter....it was father/daughter time.

After spring training, we went to see as I said the Grand Canyon which neither of us had ever seen and also went to the Meteor Crater, El Morro National Monument, Petroglyph N'tl Mon., the Painted Desert, the Petrified Forest, Zion, Bryce Canyon and the Arches. We hiked a lot at most of these places and really had a lot of fun. Then it was up to the Salt Lake area where we stayed for several days with one of my sons who I hadn't seen in about a year and if we hadn't had enough baseball we went to a AAA game in Salt Lake. Finally it was back to Seattle. By the time we got home, we had been gone nearly two months. So it was probably the best TWO months of my life. I wish I could afford to do it every year. :D

 

 

Can you be my dad?

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