Driving to the Arizona Grand Resort

Stan R. August 21, 2010 No Comments

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Day 1 of our Arizona Grand Resort vacation 

Driving to ArizonaIt’s August 21st and we’ve kicked off our next family vacation just 1 week after returning from Hawaii.   Our new destination?  The Arizona Grand Resort in Phoenix! My brother-in-law Todd is the motivating force behind this new excursion.  He came through with this great vacation spot after once again tapping his proven repository of Internet resources.  He has an impeccable track record in selecting “kid-friendly” vacation destinations, and we owe him a great debt of gratitude.  I brought along our favorite Perdomo cigars to share with him for the occasion! 

One major consideration when choosing this next resort was that it had to be driving distance from our home in Redondo Beach California.  We weren’t in the mood to fly so this was mainly for our benefit.  We have a 10 month old baby boy and we didn’t want to worry about packing light. Of course, the number one consideration is always that the resort itself should cater to, and be geared towards children.  Todd and my sister have two children 6 and 8 years of age, so this is sure to be a big treat for them. 

Arizona Grand Resort Villa Entrance

Entrance into our Arizona Grand Resort Villa

We finally got on the road this afternoon around 1:20pm.  We got a late start because my wife was busy all morning showing properties to a client in Long Beach.  She’s a real estate broker, and with the depressed state of the economy and housing market, she cannot afford to skip town without first taking care of business!   I took advantage during her absence and made all the necessary preparations for our trip.  It was a juggling act trying to pack our belongings and entertain our son at the same time, but I managed. 

My parents were already one hour outside Phoenix by the time we hit the road.  I was driving, and my wife sat in the back seat with our son in order to keep him company.  We couldn’t have timed it any better because he was just past due for a nap and fell asleep about 15 minutes after our departure.  My sister and her family flew in to the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.  Their flight arrived at 1:30pm, and by 2pm they were already checked in to their Villa at the Arizona Grand Resort.  

Master Bedroom Arizona Grand Resort

Master bedroom at the Arizona Grand Resort

Traffic wasn’t bad until after we merged onto the 605 freeway.  Everyone was coasting along at about 60 miles per/hour and all of a sudden we saw several cars up ahead slamming their brakes and bringing their vehicles to a grinding halt.  I felt a sudden rush of adrenaline coursing through me as I witnessed an accident happen just 200 feet ahead of us.   It was one lane over and the driver didn’t have enough time to stop before rear-ending the car in front of him.  Cars were swerving around them to avoid further collisions.  The smell of burnt rubber and brake pads permeated the air.  It was a scary experience and it took me a while to calm down after that scene.  

We were driving by Palm Desert when Christian finally woke up.  He had been asleep for about 2 hours. He was a bit fussy after the long slumber, but my wife fed him along the way and it helped to calm him down.  He remained content all the way through until we reached Blyth.  This was the midpoint of our drive, so we stopped at a Texaco station just after we crossed the Arizona border to stretch our legs and have a bathroom break.  We were back on the road shortly after, filling up with gas and changing Christian’s diaper. 

Arizona Grand Resort Villa BathroomAs we approached Phoenix I saw lightning storms in the distance.  They were mostly flashes of light throughout the dark looming clouds in the South East Sky, but I also saw big bolts of thick lighting.  It was an awesome display!  I didn’t hear any thunder so I figured the storm was too far away.  The sunset behind us was astonishing.   Our trunk was packed to the hilt, so my wife did not have a rear view of the brilliant display in which to snap a photo, but I could see it in my side view mirrors and it looked like the sky was on fire. I would have pulled over, but we were in the carpool lane and there were absolutely no breaks in the divider for over 30 miles!  I finally had to cross the solid white line of the carpool lane about 1 mile away from our exit.  There were other people making the same lane changes so I’m not sure whether or not it was illegal. 

Thankfully Christian was very well behaved and seemed to enjoy the ride.  My wife was singing to him and playing peek-a-boo, a game that makes him laugh uncontrollably!   She did a great job keeping him entertained.   We arrived about 7:45 pm just as Christian was starting to get fussy.  We call this the bewitching hour which is just before his bedtime. 

Villa Kitchen Arizona Grand ResortWe are now checked in to our Villa at the Grand Resort.  We followed our bell hop to a parking spot just outside our Villa where he helped unpack the heavy items.  The Villa is absolutely stunning!  We walked in to a fully updated kitchen with granite counter tops, all new stainless steel appliances including refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher and range oven.  The kitchen cabinets are all made out of a beautiful rustic wood, and it looks like everything is brand new!  The living room is decorated with very comfortable desert colored furniture with different shades of olive, beige and brown.  The bathroom is giant, with a large shower, separate spa tub, granite counter tops with double sinks, and ceramic tile all around.  We have a very spacious Master bedroom with a large walk-in closet the size of a small bedroom! 

I am especially thrilled that everything appears to be very baby friendly!  The wall corners are all rounded as are all of the furnishings throughout the Villa.  We turned Christian loose and he crawled around exploring every nook and cranny of the place.  I scanned the area and there was really nothing dangerous other than maybe two door stops that have those small white covers.  Apparently toddlers have been known to pull these off and can potentially choke on them so we need to be vigilant.  I have to say the place was more baby friendly than our own home!  We brought the super yard on this trip but it now appears we have no use for it! 

My parents came by our Villa to say hello shortly after we arrived.  They had not seen little Christian in almost 3 weeks so they couldn’t wait to say hello to their Grandson and give him a big hug! 

Foundations Pack and Play

Foundations Pack-and-Play supplied by Grand Resort

The hotel provided a pack and play which we first set up in the living room, but after having an epiphany, I moved it into the walk in closet in our bedroom.  This closet is more like a small bedroom which was the perfect place for his crib!  It has a door which we can close at night so he can get some uninterrupted sleep while we are still up. Tonight we plan to leave the door slightly open to let some light in.  It’s too dark in there right now, but tomorrow I plan to buy a night light which we can plug into the outlet conveniently located inside.  We can now hang out in our bedroom and living room while he sleeps and not have to tip toe around.  

Tonight we ordered room service after Christian fell asleep, and by the time the waiter arrived with our dinner it was pouring rain outside.  It wasn’t just a light drizzle, it was a downpour complete with loud window vibrating thunder!  I seem to recall that August is monsoon season here in Arizona and I love it!

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Stan is the proud father of three young children. He and his wife love to travel frequently to places near and far with their extended family.

Tags: Reviews, Travel Excursions

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