Destination – The Surface of the Sun

Photo by voxtropolis

My husband travels quite a bit for business.  We coordinated our schedule to go with him on his most recent trip.  As mentioned in a previous article, I did plan our activities for this excursion.  However, it’s always good to keep your expectations in check, especially when you are going to the hottest place on earth…

Phoenix in July.

We arranged our departure flight around our two year-old daughter’s naptime, which worked well.  She fell asleep at take-off and slept for an hour and a half of the four-hour flight.

Travel Tip:  Plan your flights around your child’s sleep schedule.  The best flights are when they sleep during the flight.

Travel Tip:  At all costs, avoid planning your flights arrival with the start of your child’s sleep time.  The worst flights are when you’ve spent the majority of the flight entertaining your little one; get them to sleep just before descent, only to jostle them awake as you deplane.  Caveat:  The very worst flights are when they cry the entire time!

We did have bulkhead seating.  Here is a quick review of bulkhead seats versus regular seats in case you are wondering which might work better for you.

  Bulkhead Seat Regular Seat
Leg Room There is more knee space for the taller set. There is more space to stretch your legs out fully, given you’ve moved your bags from under the seat in front of you.
Seat Width Many of the armrests are stationary…you can’t move them.  This limits your space and you may have trouble fitting certain car seats. Arm rests go up giving you more space for toys, bodies, and car seats.
Bag Storage You cannot have any bags with you during take-off and landing.  This means you must have anything and everything you need prior, which takes some forethought before stowing your bags. Your bags are at your feet if you need something.  
Seat Backs There are no seats in front of you to recline into your personal space.  You also don’t have to worry about your little one kicking the seat of the person in front of you. Seats in front of you can recline, limiting your legroom and making it difficult to move.
Seat Location Seating is in the front of the plane, which makes for quicker deplaning. Seating is anywhere so you take your chances for quick exit routes.

My recommendation:  Bulkhead Seating.

Most of the areas equal out but it is awful to have someone fully recline their seat into your lap and sleep (or worse yet sit up while they continue to recline their seat) while you try to manage a baby or toddler with little to no space.  It’s been done to me and my head almost exploded (I’m not joking!).

Our newest toy, the iPad, proved great entertainment on the flight.  Why an iPad?  Click here to find out!  Leah watched her videos and the boys played games (okay, I played games too).  It was great fun.

We arrived at the Phoenix Airport.  I’m giving big kudos to them for having a bank of elevators down to the baggage/ground transportation area.  Yes, a whole bank, six big elevators.  It’s a far cry from the one small, dark, dank elevator you get at the majority of airports.

As we exited the airport with our bags, we strolled through those glass doors directly into an…oven!  OMG, it was 114 degrees!  The only thing hotter was walking past the idling rental car buses.  The Phoenix Airport also handles renting cars well.  There is one bus that takes you to the rental car location, no matter which company you are using.  However, walking past these waiting buses turned the nice oven into a broiler.  I felt my internal organs cooking!

Luckily, we quickly got on the bus, to the rental counter, and to our rental car without experiencing any heat related injuries.

Travel Tip:  Note the time it takes to get from the airport to the car rental location.  This will be helpful in determining how much time you’ll need when returning.

As we began our drive to the hotel the GPS was taking some time to “acquire satellites.”  Since I follow my own tips we had printed directions to the hotel and followed those until the GPS felt like cooperating.

We checked in The Arizona Grand and were off to Aunt Chilada’s  for dinner.  Unfortunately, Leah wasn’t feeling well and threw up while we waited for our table.  Yes, you read it right…not pretty.  I changed her outfit in the ladies room.  I commend the staff there for the quickest clean up ever.  Needless to say, we didn’t stay and I’m pretty confident everyone there was glad we left.

Travel Tip:  Always have one (or two) extra outfits for your little one.  If you know you’re child isn’t feeling well, it’s also a good idea to have an extra shirt (or outfit) for you too.

My husband went back to the room with the baby while the boys and I went grocery shopping.  We had a kitchen in our room so we picked up dinner and some other food for our stay.  One of my previous tips is to sign up for the savings card at the grocery store.  We did and saved $11.

So, my plan was already unraveling but it was okay, really!  We had fun with our frozen dinners.  I just wish the clean up crew from Aunt Chilada’s had come back to the room with us because Leah didn’t have a good night.  Although through it all she did sleep and woke happily at 7 am.  We’d worked on prepping her schedule to handle the three-hour time change and it seemed that plan had paid off well for us.

Travel Tip:  If you are changing time zones, before you go work on adjusting your toddler’s schedule.  I’ve tried it both ways and prepping before the trip is the clear winner.

Travel Tip:  You should always leave some type of tip for your maid.  It’s especially important to give them a bit extra when someone sick has been in the room. 

The hotel had a full water park just a few feet from our room.  The boys enjoyed it but Leah and I stayed back so she could continue to recover, which she was doing nicely.  Since we weren’t surveying every Phoenix restaurant to determine the quickest clean up crews, we decided to stay in for dinner.  We ordered from the restaurant we had planned to visit.  My husband brought the food back to the room and we all enjoyed it while watching the MLB Home Run Derby without interruption.  Almost to the plan but I think my boys may have even liked it better than the real plan!

The next morning everyone slept well (i.e. no one threw up).  My older son slept in while my younger son, daughter, and I went to the water park.  We loved the lazy river and wave pool.  Although I didn’t do the slides, they looked awesome and the boys liked them.

We visited a friend of mine for lunch and then made our way to the Hall of Flame.  This is a museum dedicated to fire fighting with lots of old fire trucks.  The place could use some updating but it was fun and for under $20 how can I complain?

We ventured out to a local sports bar, CK Grill, for dinner.  This is a great place for families and for watching the MLB All-Star Game.  We had a lot of fun.  After dinner and the next morning, I was feeling ill.  Leah had passed her bug onto me.  The next day was a repeat of our first day, Leah and I stay in the room while the boys hung out at the water park. 

Leah and I spent a lot of time in that hotel room and we didn’t have many toys but still had fun.  You don’t need to bring too many toys for them.  We used a folded towel as a bed for the two dolls we brought.  That entertained for quite some time.  First, she folded it, then I folded it, then we put the babies in it, then we woke them up, then we moved it around the room, then on and on and on.

Travel Tip:  Take a few toys out of playing rotation a week or so before the trip and bring those with you.

By the afternoon, my guilt overpowered my upset stomach.  We got back on plan and took the scenic drive of South Mountain.  You should definitely check this out if you’re in Phoenix.  The views are awesome.  We then drove to Enchanted Island, which looked really cool.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t cool enough outside for us to attempt the kiddie amusement park.

We had dinner with my husband’s business associate and her family.  It’s unfair of me to comment on the location because I ate nothing.  I just wanted to be lying down at the hotel, which is what I finally got to do.

We left the next morning after a great trip.  It didn’t go according to plan but we shared a lot of laughs and experiences as a family.  This is the reason I love to travel and this is the reason I loved the trip!

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3 thoughts on “Destination – The Surface of the Sun

  1. haha…114 in Phoenix…welcome to our world in Texas where we also enjoy the heat effect…although being near the Gulf coast makes it more of a sauna than a broiler! PS: Happy BDay, Leah!!! PEP

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