Hello Cross Country Journey half way point!
Not geographically, but time wise. We just finished 32 of our 63 day trip!
Today was one of those perfect examples of “the joy is in the journey”.
What was supposed to be a 3 1/2 hour trip took nine!
Because on this trip, we have the freedom to stop whenever we want to stop, see whatever we want to see, and do whatever we want to do!
So I hit the coffee shop on the way out of Pinetop, AZ, and the girls hit the Cannoli shack. I’m not sure what the name of this cute little pick up window restaurant is, but they have cannolis, and that’s all that matters to Mimi, so we call it the Cannoli shack.
Our buddies we met yesterday told us to stop and see the Tonto Bridge on the way to Scottsdale, so we decided to do that.
Boy, were we I’m for a treat none of us had any idea about!
A stunning drive through the Tonto National Forest. Just breathtaking.
We got into a little town called Payson, AZ just before the bridge and couldn’t resist the Antique store that greeted us upon our arrival.
The girls found a couple of treasures and we had the owner of the shop to direct us the best local lunch spot.
She sent us to Mackey’s
It a was a gorgeous day for outdoor dining! 66 degrees and our first day without snow in over a month!
And their “famous chili” is noteworthy!
After a bit of a climb down to the State Park, we encountered the Bridge!!!
Never, have I ever had a hike like this!
We took the Pine Creek Trail despite the warnings.
Let me just say there are all sorts of reasons could not have done this trail 2 1/2 years ago!
It was covered in giant rocks of the most beautiful shades of purple!
Stream to cross in several places.
Caves and over hangs like we saw the cliff dwellers build under last week in Mesa Verde.
In the 1800’s a cowboy hid in these caves for two days while being hunted by Apache Indians.
Mimi says she could live here. Talk about playing hide and seek for days!
And a giant pool of water!
This natural bridge is spectacular!
I’m going to have to tell you that the next picture was taken by Mimi while I was doing the scariest thing I have ever done in my life!
Y’all… I am afraid of heights. Like deathly afraid!
And I had Nina (age 6) behind me!
We both had to either cross this bald, smooth rock on a cliff with a deep pool of water 50 feet below, or take the one mile hike over the boulders back the way we came.
We did it!!!!
I can’t even believe we did this!
The girls can’t believe I was so scared. They scooted over in about 2 minutes. It took me 30 minutes to go 10 feet! I was sweating the whole time!
I’m probably on some YouTube video tonight from a spectator standing on this spot watching, but I am so grateful we made it and are all alive!
The Tonto Natural Bridge is an experience I will never forget and glad I will live to remember.
We got back on Hwy 87 to Scottsdale
This is a beautiful drive.
And if we hadn’t already had the most amazing blessings today, very unexpectedly, the girls spied what they have been so anxious to see for our whole trip.
We drove through a whole forest of them! They were everywhere!!
We had to stop.
Some of them are huge!!!
The Suguaro tastes a bit bitter, but kind of like a Mexican green salsa.
But this guy, tastes delicious!
Kind of like Kiwi fruit without the seeds!
Oh, what a day it was! Dragging them out of the cactus forest took some negotiating.
We finally made it to Scottsdale and checked into our resort.
The birds singing in the orange tree and the fragrant smell of the orange blossoms is impressive.
We headed out to dinner for local cuisine at a Vietnamese restaurant visited by Guy Fieri, Slanted Rice
It was phenomenal
The Filet Mignon was amazing.
The girls tried the Clay pot rice and chicken dish.
Before bed, Nina had to show me our back yard.
I do believe we are going to enjoy our stay here very much!