Arizona Trip

Girls Gone Wild in Tucson

I mentioned earlier that I was going on vacation; I went to Tucson for a friend’s wedding.



Unfortunately Michael wasn’t able to go with me but my cousin Anna was up for a girl’s trip so that was good! We flew out of Portland early Friday morning for the holiday weekend and went up to Seattle (a quick 45 min flight), waited less than an hour for our flight from Seattle and then we were in sunny Tucson! The bummer? It was REALLY windy that day and the turbulence was truly awful. Nothing like feeling like you are dropping out the sky for 30 minutes to think “oh my god we’re going to die”…

We checked into our hotel, the Marriott right by the University–which I really recommend. It was a great location, right on the street car line (only cost $4 for a 24 hour ticket and the street car runs every 15 minutes), the hotel was pretty cool and our room was huge and had a balcony with a view. The interior of the hotel was also pretty cool looking:


Our food schedule was a little screwy because of traveling. It was Friday afternoon, too early for dinner, too late for lunch. We stopped into Gentle Ben’s Brewing because it was right by the hotel and had outdoor seating. It was decent pub food. We split a salad and the giant pretzel and we each got a glass of wine while we tried to shake off the turbulent travel jitters and just relax a little.




We had some time to kill before our evening plans so after that we walked around the University shops and did a little sightseeing.


Anna wanted to take a nap (she wasn’t feeling well) and so I went down to the hotel pool to do some swimming. The wind had scared everyone off so I had the pool to myself. It was a small pool but large enough to swim some laps. I did about a mile, maybe a little less, in 40 minutes. Then went back up to the room to shower and change for the evening.


My friend Christine was getting married to her fiance Jeremy and they were hosting a post-rehearsal dinner drink event at Reilly Craft. Anna and I ended up taking a cab there because we didn’t know the area well enough yet to risk exploring at night in heels.

Reilly was SO COOL. What an awesome place! If you’re ever in Tucson you have to check this place out. We wanted to go back later that weekend and really explore it but never got the chance. Dang it!


Okay so Reilly is in a building that was apparently an old mortuary. The place is huge. You walk in to a super modern restaurant with high ceilings and exposed beams and brick and a chic white marble bar. Then you walk outside to the alley way and there is a super cool space with picnic benches, fake grass on the walls and ground, exposed brick and romantic lights.


Then you walk to the beer garden, that is inside but completely open without walls. It had such an awesome vibe and I’m bummed we didn’t get a chance to explore the basement cocktail lounge!


Anna and I ordered something small for dinner. I got the Ninkasi Tricerahops beer (beer from home) and probably one of the best salads I’ve ever had. Delicious greens with chicken, cranberries, some kind of toffee brittle, chopped green apple and goat cheese. It was divine and it hit the spot. Anna got the meatballs (I had one). They were really good. This place was excellent and I highly recommend it!



We chatted with the bride and groom a bit and then decided to head back to the hotel.


This time we were able to figure out the street car (it was like 2 blocks away) and took that back. We ended up using it for most of our trip and it worked well.


Saturday we took it pretty easy. We had the wedding to go to in the evening. We slept in and then I went to the hotel gym for a workout. For some reason I just could not get my heart rate up (no idea why) but I was glad I got some exercise in!



We decided to check out a local place for breakfast and took the street car to downtown (about 10-15 min away) to go to Nook. The restaurant was super cute–very modern and chic. We ended up sitting outside because HELL YEAH. We’re not in Oregon anymore! I LOVED that most everywhere in Tucson had outdoor seating.


The outside patio was enchanting. It had Christmas lights, bistro tables with umbrellas (if you wanted them), big comfy outdoor couches, and there were a few hummingbirds flitting around the garden area.


I got the BLTE: bacon over medium egg, arugula, tomato jam in housemade crumpet. It came with cottage cheese and Anna and I split a side order of fruit. It was one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had. It was messy and gooey and the egg dripped on everything but it was to die for and I could have licked the plate it was so good! Their tropical iced tea was fantastic.


Anna got The Godfather Benedict: crumpet, prosciutto, arugula, poached egg, hollandaise, balsamic drizzle. I had a bite and holy cow was it amazing! She won at breakfast.


We spent the rest of the day walking around 4th Street. It was a trendy area with bars, shops and restaurants. I’ll write more about that later. We did stop in for a “lunch” beverage. 🙂 Vodka and pineapple juice at the Surly Wench.


Finally, back to the hotel where we spent the next three hours poolside lounging, reading, napping, relaxing in the sunshine!


Stay tuned for more!

I’m Cured! I Ran!

Arizona Trip – Day Two

After two days in the desert sun
My skin began to turn red
After three days in the desert fun
I was looking at a river bed
And the story it told of a river that flowed
Made me sad to think it was dead

You see I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert you can remember your name
‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain
La, la …

This post I am particularly excited to write about. In fact, I had happy tears of joy in my eyes as I wrote this…Thursday I woke up early to go for a run with my Dad. My dad’s been down here in Tucson for almost a month now and he’s mapped out a 3.4 mile run from the house.

I hadn’t run outside since September. My last “run” was a week after Hood to Coast when I realized I was injured in a serious way. 2 months of no running + rehabbing + physical therapy + DREADMILL = a very sad Lisa.

I had a million thoughts in my head:

“Could I even run outside?”

“Have I lost all of my running stamina because of my injury?”

“Have I lost all of my running stamina because I’ve been stuck on the treadmill for months?”

“Will this be a big mistake?”

“Will I regret running and ruin my whole vacation on Day Two?”

F*** it!! I’m sick of this injury holding me back! I got geared up, took my Prednisone and packed my inhaler in my shorts pocket and we set out. I told my Dad that it was okay to leave me behind if it turned out I was slow or too injured to keep up.


We jogged out of the house development and onto the main street.


The roads here in Tucson are amazing. So nice and new. Plus it’s a huge cycling town. I saw SUPER SERIOUS cyclists everywhere. That means there’s humongous bike lanes everywhere. There were so many cyclists–and triathloners! My dad and I ran in the bike lane.


So far I was doing well. I could keep up with my dad, I didn’t feel like my heart was exploding, I wasn’t out of breath, my knee and my leg felt good. I suddenly had a burst of confidence and happiness! Apparently all the working out I’ve been doing this winter has paid off! I have NOT lost any of my running conditioning!


Then I saw it!

Oh my GOD! A SNAKE! I saw it mid-stride, let out a yelp and said “Snake!” And jumped over it –never faltering in my run. Luckily it was dead. It sure didn’t look like it at first!

We kept running. The road started going uphill and my dad said that if I couldn’t make it up the hill he’d wait for me at the top. I said I would probably have to walk the hill. I wasn’t sure if tackling a big hill on my first run was a wise idea.


But my competitive spirit kicked in and I just couldn’t walk after having such a good run so far. I was HIGH. I had that runner’s high AGAIN! YAY! I kept running. I didn’t walk at all! We got to the top of the hill, turned around, headed back to the house. I ran the ENTIRE WAY with no walking, no resting and most of all NO PAIN!!!!




Time: 36 minutes

Distance: 3.4 miles

Calories Burned: 440

I was so excited. I knew I should take it easy and not get too ahead of myself but this is amazing progress in my book. You cannot imagine how STOKED I was the rest of the trip. I freakin’ RAN!

Check out that sweat. I was GLISTENING HAPPINESS! We got back, I stretched a lot, showered and then we drove up the road to see Biosphere2!


I visited Biodome. Nope, Pauly Shore was NOT there. 😉

The original plan was to see the Kartchner Caverns — living caves! It sounded so cool but I guess everyone’s on Spring Break because it was booked up until we were leaving. No Caverns. Boo.

Biosphere was a very cool alternative. It took a few hours for the tour and we had a great time. I’ve always been interested in environmental sciences and the idea of being locked in the Biodome for 2 years was absolutely fascinating to me.

The tour was a lot of fun. Apparently in 1991-1993 when the first group was locked in Biosphere they were eating 1200 calories a day. They ate mostly a vegetarian diet except for once a week they got to eat meat. But they had to slaughter the animal and prepare the meat themselves. Basically they were living on whatever was in the Biosphere and what they could grow.

After the tour of the whole Biodome–the Lung, the Desert, Rainforest, etc. we got to see the living quarters a bit.

It was a very cool way to spend the afternoon. Because we were there late we missed lunch so we stopped at the local grocery store to pick up some stuff for dinner.

I immediately looked for a local beer. Guess what? It was all PORTLAND BEERS! Are you kidding me? I laughed out loud at the fact that we could not find a local beer but instead we found the usual: Deschutes, Mirror Pond, Widmer. Ironic.

I finally found an Arizona beer– Nimbus. I bought a 6 pack and we went back to the house for an early dinner. Michael grilled up steaks outside while I lounged next to the pool with my beer, a good book and a cool breeze. It was absolute heaven. I could not have been happier. It was exactly what was needed!

After dinner Michael and I went for a walk around the neighborhood together.

It was a nice stroll, we got to see the Super Moon, played in the park and then saw the sunset over the hills. It was an amazing sunset.

It was a great day!

QUESTION: Are you afraid of snakes? Ever run in the desert?