Past Straubsgivings have been held in Wyoming and Colorado, so we needed another state. Joe is stationed near Phoenix, so we hopped a flight to Arizona. Lucy took this photo from about 20,000 feet:
We landed just in time for a late lunch. We found a really good taco place, and sampled every kind of meat they made, including beef cheek and pig intestines (tripas). Will asked for seconds of the tripas.
We chose our rental car (which we nicknamed the “baby beluga”), and found our humble abode for the week, and got settled in.
The next day we headed out to the biggest zoo in town!
We made sure to feed the parakeets (along with seemingly everyone else in the park). These little guys love apples so much they’ll get over their fear of tiny humans.
There were lots of creepy crawlies, too. Becky hates squirmy things in the most hilarious way.
The rest of the Straubs met us there, and we wandered around together for a time. Here are most of the cousins having an albino alligator party.
This place has a full-on petting zoo, too:
…complete with giant tortoises!
There were monkeys of all kinds.
There was a giraffe-feeding platform, but you had to reach pretty far. Luckily, the giraffes can reach back.
The next day was Thanksgiving day, but not till the afternoon. We managed to find a not-too-crowded hike in the desert, and had a good time discovering all the flora and fauna.
Our rental house came with a pool, and we had time for a quick dip before heading to Joe’s house for cooking and eating. Unfortunately, the pool heater wasn’t working. You might be thinking, “how bad can it be? You’re in the middle of the desert!” But you’d be wrong: the water was right around 65 degrees. We challenged the kids to a polar bear plunge, and they screwed up their courage and dived in:
10 seconds in that water was enough for me. We dried and warmed ourselves in what sun there was (it was maybe 75 there).
Just one more thing before the feast: a big family portrait! We scouted a park near Joe’s house, and the kids were super excited to pose for the test shots.
And, thanks to their help, it turned out fabulous!
Many calories were thenceforth consumed, and there were marshmallow guns enough for all the kids to shoot each other. Joe and Ashley broke out their finest china and most advanced cooking techniques, both to great effect.
Then we went home, slept, packed, ate, and headed for the airport. For our return trip, we were offered the chance to upgrade all four of us to first class for only $50, so we took it. The kids were agog. There was a “free” salad, served with real silverware! Drinks were served in glasses made out of glass! Lucy’s feet couldn’t reach the seat in front of her! Hot towels! Of course, now that they’ve flown this way, they won’t want to go back to coach, but that’s life.
The end, at least until next Straubsgiving!