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by Ron
What's so Special About Arizona?
Next Tuesday is the magic day. For various reasons April 1st will find many snowbirds heading north. There will be long lines of RVs heading out along the major freeways and this weekend there will lots of hugs and tearful good-byes. And next weekend there will be a lot of empty pews in the churches and it won't be hard to find a chaise lounge around the pool. We won't even have to wait for a table at Applebees. Those who elect to stay another month or two here in Arizona will be rewarded with perfect weather and beautiful scenes in the desert as the cacti and wild flowers display brilliant colors. 

Full-timers and snowbirds all have favorite places to spend the winter in the sunbelt. With their mobile lifestyle full-timers probably have explored more of the southern states and some opt for variety in their selection of a winter nesting. Barb and I have alternated between Florida, Texas, California, and Arizona. Since we have now established ourselves in Arizona you can guess that it turned out to be a favorite place although we certainly have enjoyed ourselves in other areas.

We are expecting a son and his family who will arrive from Michigan this evening. Those of you who know Barb, know that she is a planner and loves to organize things. As I have listened and watched her plan the last few weeks, I have reaffirmed what I knew all along. The Mesa/Phoenix area of Arizona has a lot to offer the short term vacationer or the winter visitor. The Chamber of Commerce is not paying me to write this, but after reviewing Barb's itinerary I wanted to write about the area. Beautiful mountain scenery, desert landscapes, many lush golf courses, outstanding shopping, movie theaters with stadium seating, excellent restaurants, baseball spring training camps, wonderful weather, lack of strong winds, no bugs and many wonderful RV resorts draw many to what they call the valley. 

Barb's itinerary includes a ride to Tortilla Flats (old gold mining town) and a short drive beyond in the mountains where the scenery is fantastic along the many reservoirs leading to the Roosevelt Dam. Another day will take us to Tonto National Monument where we will see ancient Indian cliff dwellings. On the way back we will stop at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum to view magnificent scenery and plant life as we take a walk. A visit to Scottsdale is included where we will shop and dine at the Borgata (a collection of shops, galleries and restaurants in an open-air setting) while we listen to jazz music. It's a two hour drive to the beautiful red rock area of Sedona, but that is a must on the list of things to see. While in the Sedona area we will of course visit another favorite place Jerome. 

Only a few miles away from our house is Apache Land where they have filmed many western movies. They have maintained it as a western town along with a wonderful restaurant. We will dine there Saturday night in a wild west setting while they grill our entrees outside. Before dinner we will explore this western town and may even have a drink at the long wooden bar. Goldfield is another western town and since it is close by we will work that in when we have time. Our visitors may want to go downtown Tempe near the campus and if they do we will certainly have to stop at the Mongolian Grill (it's one of our favorites).  And even after doing all of these things we will have only scratched the surface on the delights in this area. We have written about all of these places on our web site. To find the articles go to our Arizona page in the Places section.

Since we don't want to wear our visitors out we will work in some pool time and lounging on the back patio in the sun. Yes, golf and hiking is on the list. It's our hope that these traditional Florida visitors will love Arizona as we do and come back often.

Some of our readers may also want to consider this sunny area for a winter stay or at least a visit. 

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