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!

This Is The End…

Arizona Trip – THE END


Sage brush! Mile after mile,
Quiet in the sun, and shimmering;
Ever in the sun, ever shimmering!
The long low mountains
Seem to crouch beneath the heat,
And the earth, dried to a powder,
Is strewn with choked brown grass.
Ants burrow in the ground
And live on things that perish here.
Stream beds are dry, beaten paths
Of rabbits and sage coyotes
That for keen thirst run the full length
Of each ravine, and fall at last
As did one here whose bones lie scattered,
White as snow beneath the sun.
God, the waste! the quivering waste!
Where things grow up to die!

__P. Roy Brammell

Sunday morning I awoke early to get in one last run before the plane ride. My dad and I ran a different way this time…mostly the same path but jutting off through a different neighborhood before we reached the hill.

The weather was much changed Sunday morning. Instead of a lovely, balmy 60+ degrees in the morning it was about 45 degrees and crisp. I put on my only running shirt with sleeves (my Hood to Coast shirt) and we set out.

My fingers were cold as we warmed up. My legs were a little sore still from Thursday’s run and Saturday’s hike. I managed to do the whole 3 or so miles without walking though. I remained in my target heart rate range this time too–not spiking too much.

I felt a sadness in my stomach as the run came to an end. It marked the end of the sunshine, the end of the vacation, the return to the gloomy Northwest. I was slightly homesick, I missed my kitties, but I also didn’t want to leave Tucson. It was such a paradise. I wanted more time to read and write beside the pool. I wanted more time to hike the places we didn’t get to. I wanted to try trail running.

Alas, vacations must end. I stretched, ate, showered and packed.

Run Stats:

Time: 32 minutes

Calories Burned: 336

My parents drove us the 1.5 hours to Phoenix on an old highway instead of the freeway. It was miles and miles of nothing but desert. I tried not to be sad.

We arrived and Michael and I had a horrible lunch in the airport and then we flew home.

The flight was quick, uneventful and I finished Julie & Julia and started a third book. 🙂 I’d say that was a pretty good vacation!

We arrived in Portland to see green trees, gray clouds, cold weather and rain. Michael’s old roommate Shoe picked us up and we were home!

Some things I noticed about my time in Arizona…

Maybe because I was on vacation in an area popular with retired people, but I noticed just how slow the pace was in Tucson. So peaceful. My friend Christine said something similar too. She said that she’s so much happier here than she was in Seattle. The sunshine plays a huge part in it, but she said that the pace down here is much more relaxing.

Another thing: my skin was so dry. I used to go to the desert in Eastern Washington as a kid and I remembered what the desert was like but really…it’s hard to adjust. I felt like my body was sucked dry. My eyes were always dry, my contacts were uncomfortable, my sinuses were dry and yucky. My hair was so gross the entire time I was in Tucson–dry, limp, lifeless. Maybe it was the water? Who knows.

I also craved SALT. Like mad. I never ever crave salt. Ever. Michael craves things like tortilla chips and I crave chocolate. But once I was in Tucson I wanted to lick the salt off of everything. I craved it. My body wanted nothing but salty foods: Fritos and tortilla chips with lunch, crackers, anything! My guess was that since I was sweating out so much fluid it craved the sodium.

I don’t think I could ever live in Arizona. Which is funny because there was a time in my life where I almost moved to Tucson. How hilarious is that? And after a week here, I know I could not live here. The weather would be nice but everything looks the same. I missed the trees, the green, the water, the rivers, the snow-peaked mountains….It would be a hard adjustment to the brown-everything!

I think Michael and I both learned a good lesson in Arizona: test your body. Push it. Don’t get stuck in the “I’m Injured” cycle. I am SO glad that I ran in Tucson and saw how my body worked. All these months I’ve been afraid to push it, afraid to run outside for fear of immediate injury. Guess what? Nothing happened: I realized I was healed and I could run and hike and do anything I wanted. Same with Michael. He’s been suffering from back pain since December and he realized on this trip that golfing made his back feel better. It’s easy to get stuck in “whoa-is-me” mentality.

One thing I WILL miss for sure:


I have been ruined forever by swimming in that amazing pool. 😉

QUESTION: How do you get over the post-vacation blues?