Our day in Sedona.
Our Arizona-California vacation with Gramma and Grampa was a big success. Kudos to Jill for planning and organizing everything and driving us safety through Phoenix and Los Angeles traffic.
And let me say how special it was for me to see my godfather and kindred spirit Tom K for a few days. Keep the faith, Thomacide!
Sunday, Aug. 6: Flew to Phoenix and arrived at Tom and Beth and Zoe’s house around 10 p.m. Received a pleasant welcome from the humans and the dogs of the home — particularly Freddie the Ambassador, the most gentle dog I’ve ever met.
Monday, Aug. 7: Up early to drive to Sedona, one of the most visually breathtaking areas of the United States. Visited the Holy Cross Church on the Hill as well as Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village. Had an excellent lunch at Secret Garden. Drove back to Phoenix in time for the cocktail hour and a tremendous lasagna dinner prepared by Beth. More companionship from Freddie the Ambassador.
Tuesday, Aug. 8: Tom and I drove to Glendale to see the Dodgers’ spring training facility, Camelback Ranch. Also drove past the Cardinals’ massive indoor football stadium before meeting the whole group in Tempe for lunch at California Pizza Kitchen. Then it was on to the Arizona State campus bookstore to buy pitchfork logo merchandise (for our Diablas softball games). We drove over to Mesa so that Maisa could check out the city that inspired her first name. Took some pictures in front of the Cubs’ spring training stadium.
G and G in the top deck at Dodger Stadium.
Tuesday night we all attended the Dodgers’ game at Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. We enjoyed the experience very much even though the Dodgers lost.
Wednesday, Aug. 9: Coffee on Tom’s cozy back patio, then a quick sprint to the airport for our midday flight to Los Angeles. Drove to our Buena Park hotel in Orange County, then over to King’s Fish in the city of Orange for some California seafood. Saw Angel Stadium (“The Big A”) on the way to the restaurant. Maisa swam in the hotel pool and then it was bedtime.
Thursday, Aug. 10: This day was all about Knott’s Berry Farm amusement park. Jill and Maisa enjoyed the rides, and G/G and I enjoyed the shops and other entertainment.
Friday, Aug. 11:
We had a blast speaking with El Compadre restaurant owner Mario.
Clarence wanted to buy a Clayton Kershaw Dodgers T-shirt, so where better to find one than the Dodger Stadium gift shop? We arrived there around noon and all of us bought a few things, then we took a quick tour of the most beautiful stadium setting in the Major League Baseball. The hills, the mountains, the palm trees, the flowers, the shrubs, and the glorious baseball field at Chavez Ravine.
We ate lunch at El Compadre in the Chavez Ravine neighborhood. Everyone in the place (heck, everyone in the whole neighborhood) was a Dodger fan. The Dodgers’ TV station was on the big screen, there were Dodger photos all over the walls, and restaurant owner Mario told us about all the Dodgers who have eaten there over the years. Tommy Lasorda used to be a regular. Sandy Koufax once signed a contract in one of the booths. I felt right at home in that place! A genuine highlight of the trip for me!
- A selfie from Mulholland Drive, high above the city of L.A.
From there we drove up to Mulholland Drive, which takes you up into the Hollywood Hills and offers amazing views of the city of Los Angeles. Most Midwesterners don’t realize how much natural beauty L.A. possesses.
Then we checked into our B&B in the Glendale area, which is located very close to Dodger Stadium. We stayed in the guest house of a singer/songwriter named Tom and his wife Heidi. We had plenty of space in the cozy little house and patio in a quiet neighborhood.
We had great seats for Friday night’s game at Dodger Stadium. We had a blast despite another Dodger loss.
Saturday, Aug. 12: We drove down to Malibu’s Zuma Beach for some ocean time. This was one of Maisa’s favorite parts of the trip. She laughed the entire time as the waves crashed into her body and brought more shells onto the sand (Maisa quickly snatched them up to take back to Iowa).
Traffic was thick heading back to L.A., but it afforded us the opportunity to enjoy the phenomenal views of the ocean, hills and mountains. My God, what a place for a Saturday drive. If you’ve never been on the Pacific Coast Highway (ocean on one side, mountains on the other side), make sure you put it on your bucket list.
Jill and Clarence in Malibu.
We didn’t have any Saturday night plans, so Jill suggested that, what the heck, let’s go to another Dodgers game. I was skeptical at first, worrying that they would lose a third game on my watch. But the Ankeny Kramers are baseball junkies and can’t help themselves, so we dropped G/G at the house for some needed rest, and off we went to the Stadium.
The Dodgers rewarded us with a victory, and we all enjoyed singing “I Love L.A.” after the game with the rest of the 53,000 fans in attendance. (Friday’s game drew 52,000).
A great trip, and one that we won’t forget.
The Ankeny Kramers firmly believe that it’s always time for Dodger baseball.