Touristy Tuesday: Prescott, AZ Edition

Yee-haw! It’s been one hell of a week in Prescott, Arizona! Prescott, pronounced “Press-Kit” by the locals, is home to the World’s Oldest Rodeo – the Prescott Frontier Days, which were going on while we were in town!

The week was kickstarted Monday night with dinner downtown at a great local place called The Raven Cafe.

With a ton of farm-to-table food (which I just adore) and an upstairs patio with views to kill for, this place was just what we needed to relax from a day on the road.

When we got to the hotel we immediately jumped into the hot tub, which definitely hit the spot after a nine hour drive day!

Our place in Cali didn’t have a pool or tub, so I’ve been taking full advantage of it the past week. While down at the hot tub, Abe and I made friends with a handful of other guests who were passing through! Let me tell you, the Rodeo brings in some fun people!

Typically, whenever we get to a new city we get two days off. We spent our first day off visiting the Grand Canyon.

Now THAT was a fun trip! When I was younger I had a National Park Passport that my grandma got for me, filled with stamps from the Rocky Mountain National Park. Starting this job, I knew I’d see a few more parks and purchased another one while visiting the Central High School site in Little Rock, AK. Now I’ve officially added another stamp!

Our second day we spent catching up on things. We washed the company car at the local firehouse, which was a blast.

That evening we decided to venture into Downtown Prescott and stumbled across the Prescott Cloggers! What an unexpected delight that was.

The next few days could be characterized by working in the hot hot Arizona sun, going home to the pool, and then hitting the town with the locals!

Passing out poolside after 6 hours in 100 degree temps!

Friday night we went to the Rodeo, which was Abe’s first. I wanted to get a run in and he wanted a nap, so we ended up getting there at 8:30, when it started at 7:30. While we may have missed the beginning, we ended up getting in free!

After we got our fill of bull riding and hog tying, we headed down to Whisky Row. With more than 15 bars in just a few blocks, Whisky Row had endless options. What I found really interesting though, is that you could be at the same bar and feel like you’re in three different ones. For example, one bar we walked into had live country music in front and in their back room had a hip-hop DJ. That was actually awesome!

I love living on the road because you really stop caring about what people think about you. I probably went dancing a handful of times in college, but I’ve easily gone dancing twice as much in the month since starting this job!

The next morning we drove the car in to see the Prescott Rodeo Parade. We didn’t stay for the whole thing though because it lasted four hours! The parade was fun, but when you’re too big to get candy tossed your way and you’re not registered to vote in Arizona to glad-hand with politicians it’s just not the same!

Saturday night we headed to the Rodeo Dance. We went Saturday night because it was supposed to be 21+ night. Being around families so much with our job, we were looking forward to a night out with people our age. That is, until we got to the dance. I looked at Abe and said, “Wait, is it 41+ night?!” Haha! Prescott really is a retirement town at heart, so there were plenty of older couples tearing it up on the dance floor.

The rodeo dance was fun, but short lived, and we headed back to Whisky Row. There was one bar that we hadn’t made it to yet, which had been recommended to us by every local we asked – Coyote Joe’s. Holding true to the Prescott bar scene, Coyote Joe’s had three different levels and they were all totally different. Country on the downstairs patio, billiards and a more mellow tone on the lower level, and dancing on the second floor and upstairs patio! Even better than the scene were the $2.00 margaritas!

Somewhere along the night I was christened a bridesmaid! I didn’t have the sash long, and instead passed it along to the next girl who seemed worthy of the title!

Overall, Saturday night was a rootin’ tooting’ good time! All that fun though and the next morning I was up at 6:30, lacing up the running shoes to run with the Prescott Mountain Milers running club at Groom Creek!

On our final day in Prescott I ended up going on a hike to Granite Basin. Abe and I had met two grad students at Embry-Riddle who were both pilots and I got the local scoop on this hike!

Before the hike, a carbo-load was much deserved and I had the chance to try Two Mamma’s Pizza, in downtown Prescott. Holy Cow. Best. Deep. Dish. Ever. What is this – Chicago?

The Margherita Pizza was phenomenal! (Can you tell I love anything Margarita? haha!) The hike was beautiful, especially because it was close to sunset!

I don’t think there was a single day in Prescott that wasn’t memorable! I had never even heard of the place, and now I would be excited to be back!

Running with the Locals

Prescott, AZ is such a gorgeous area and I wanted to take full advantage of being in such a beautiful place. However, after those first few hot and hilly runs through the desert, I knew it was time for a change of pace and scenery, and I reached out to the local Prescott running club – the Mountain Milers. I shot them a message saying I was in town with the Wienermobile and would love to meat up with anyone interested in a run, drink, or a meal.

Talk about an overwhelming response of welcoming! It could be because having a 27″ long hot dog is pretty enticing, but the people of Prescott proved to be some of the most hospitable people I’ve met! Positively Midwestern!

Marlyn, a Mountain Miler, quickly got back to me with invitations to an early morning hike, girls night at the bar and movies, and the Saturday morning 10k run! My email was forwarded to the club list-serve and within the day I was also invited on the Sunday morning run. Talk about a friendly group!

Of course, I said sign me right up! 6:30 a.m. on a Friday for a 5 mile hike? Let’s do it!

Friday morning I hiked with Marlyn, Steve, and Gabby up Mingus Mountain on the Rick Tank Trail. To be honest, I didn’t even realize how close the mountains were to Prescott, but all of the sudden I was driving the company car up this absolutely gorgeous scenic route!

The hike was beautiful. It was a fur-children friendly route, and they all brought their dogs (I brought the BIG dog). It was great to be around new people and meet the locals! It was also nice to be around dogs – living in hotels you kind of miss having pets around!

When we stopped to take a break (it’s for the dogs!) Steve realized he was low on water. Maryln offered him some, and jokingly told him she’d only charge him the regular price this time. “Normally,” she said, “the higher up the mountain you go the steeper the fee!” Haha – I thought that was just too funny!

Abe and I were off to the rodeo Friday night so I wasn’t able to make girls night, and because of the rodeo Friday night, a Saturday morning 10k just wasn’t looking like a good idea. Even the rodeo dance though couldn’t keep me from the Sunday morning run in Groom Creek!

Running on about 4 hours of sleep, Sunday morning I grabbed the keys and maneuvered the company car through the winding dirt roads up to Groom Creek. If I was tired when I woke up, by the time I got to the meet-up I was bursting with excitement. The hills and views reminded me of when I lived in Colorado and was so glad I didn’t pass up this opportunity! Running with the locals, you get to experience new paths you never would have found on your own.

There were seven of us that morning and talk about a charming crowd! I love the running community because they are just cool people that constantly keep you inspired! And, they’re just plain nice! I ran with Cactus Jon, Noel, Tom, Margaret, Dina, Len, and Josh.

Having never run with a group before I didn’t know what to expect. What I found was that they push you harder and keep you motivated. When the people next to you are running 50 milers and working on double digit marathons, you can’t help but be impressed! They kept me going on those uphills (the entire first mile and a half I should mention! They didn’t warn me about that in the email! haha!) and walked with me when I took a short break.

I absolutely LOVED the run with the Mountain Milers! I couldn’t have asked for a better time. Brilliant company (smart, funny as hell, and inspiring) and unbelievable scenery!

I think I’ve landed on a new tradition – doing runs with the local running clubs in each city I’m in. Up next: Lake Havasu Hustlers.

Where I Ran Wednesday: Prescott Valley, AZ

Went for my first Arizona run this morning and learned three things:

1. Check the weather. Hello eighty degrees at 7 a.m.
2. Check the altitude. What? Prescott, AZ is considered to be a Mile High city?? Didn’t figure that out until I was gasping for breath 10 miles later.
3. Check the map. Wrong turns suck and usually turn out to be more boring than adventurous.

I am doing my long runs for my marathon training (more on that in a post to come) mid-week because of my work schedule. Today I did a 10-miler and it was brutal.

I ran on the Iron King Trail, which really takes some iron willpower. It is HILLY and HOT. Let’s also say that the run last week on the Santa Ana River Trail was more exciting than this one. Not too much to look at other than the sun beating down on you.

This is a terrible photo, but really captures what I remember seeing for most of this run. The ground and the blinding sun! :)

I didn’t realize what I was getting myself into when I walked out the hotel doors. I literally had no idea how high the elevation was. The run started great but I took a wrong turn and it made my mind wander. Consequently, I also didn’t realize that I was running consistently on the downhill. That made for a rough return!

At mile 9 I tapped out and walked the remaining way back to the hotel to finish the last mile on the treadmill. (That still counts as a 10 mile day, right?)

Lesson learned: don’t go in blind and just decide to wing it – especially when you’re running in the freaking desert.

Of course, I’ll be back out there tomorrow. Thinking of doing the Prescott Peavine National Recreation Trail then! I also touched base with the Mountain Milers, Prescott’s running club and Abe and I might hit up the trails with them while we’re in town!