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Scottsdale, AZ for Some Nice R&R

by NATE GARTRELL 2 comments

When I close my eyes and try to picture the perfect vacation, my mind always travels back to that one spring of 2007, when I got to experience two lovely weeks in Arizona, with my parents and best friend, watching baseball games and enjoying all that Scottsdale had to offer.

The trip was my dad’s idea, and I admit, I was against it at first. But after I got a chance to taste Scottsdale’s unique cuisine, feel its soothing heat against my back, and enjoy the many fun tourist activities that Scottsdale offers, my opinion changed drastically and I fell in love.

I will now suggest to you, dear reader, various ways to enjoy a day in Scottsdale. I shall do this by recounting to you what my family did on a day-to-day basis.

I first realized how much fun the trip was going to be during the plane ride. I got to sit next to a 300 pound man with sweaty armpits who watched Family Guy on his laptop and spent the entire two-hour flight laughing out loud. By the time we touched down in Phoenix airport, I was so excited to have arrived; I almost didn’t mind spending another 2 hours waiting in line for a rental car. In fact, the juxtaposition of having to sit for two hours, followed by having to stand up for two hours was kind of therapeutic.

When we finally got our car, a dashing 90’s model Mazda with lousy AC and no CD player, we headed out to our new home for the next two weeks: the Scottsdale Best Western, which was ingeniously located between a car dealership and a shopping center. I believe the temperature was a comfortable 105 in the shade, which is where it stayed for the duration of our trip. For those of you who are sensitive to high heat, fret not. It cools down to 80 around two in the morning.

The day after we flew in, my friend and I decided to try out the local restaurants. And boy, were we impressed. A mere two blocks away from our hotel, we found the only restaurant within miles that wasn’t a fast-food chain: an all-you-can-eat buffet place, tastefully advertised by a huge neon sign. Inside, patrons can chose between the exquisite watery egg and raw meat selection, and afterwards opt for a nice week-old Caesar salad complete with mushy tomatoes and too much dressing. And the best part was by the time we were ready for dinner, our stomach aches had almost entirely gone away. By the way, it was around this time that I learned how fun it is to share a room with someone who’s having diarrhea.

That night, the four of us went looking for a good place to eat dinner. We all felt like Mexican food, but were unable to find a place that wasn’t totally tacky-looking. Luckily, though, we found a decent restaurant a mere hour or so after we left the hotel. There, per my family’s recommendation, I opted to try some local cuisine: an ostrich burger with Swiss cheese. And boy, did I make the right call.

Not only did it taste terrible, but I got to enjoy the next two days sick in bed with uncontrollable diarrhea and vomiting. That was really fun for me, and even more fun for my roommate, especially when I soiled my bed.

Once I was over my food poisoning, my friend and I did some sightseeing around Scottsdale, and got to know the town well. Anyone who likes chain businesses and fast food restaurants will love the Scottsdale experience, because with the exception of a local porno shop and tobacconist, there simply isn’t anything else around. McDonalds, Ross, Burger King, Autozone… they’re all there. And as far as we could tell, these were the only tourist attractions available in Scottsdale, except for its famous Spring Training baseball games.

We went to several baseball games during our stay, and they were amazing. Spring Training baseball is about the same as regular season baseball, except that the winning team puts all its second-string players in the later innings and inevitably blows the game. The thing that makes Spring Training in Scottsdale extra fun, though, in addition to watching your favorite teams get killed, is the fact that the geniuses who built all the ballparks apparently forgot how hot Arizona is, and decided to build all their seats with absolutely no shade whatsoever. So before going to the ballpark, make sure to load up on sun tan, bottled water, fans, hats, umbrellas, and aloe Vera for afterward when you end up with a bad burn despite these precautions.

That was Scottsdale in a nutshell; a barren desert filled with chain businesses and 150 degree weather, lousy rental cars and endless, sunburn-included baseball. Some might look at my vacation and call it a mistake, but let me assure you that my parents wholeheartedly disagree. Why else would they drag me out there for the next two years in a row to repeat the exact same vacation over and over?

So please, dear viewer, forget about Hawaii, Yosemite, Yellowstone, New York City, or any of the conventional tourist spots that exist within the United States and Canada, and come to Scottsdale, AZ for some nice R&R. I guarantee that you will find it at least as enjoyable as I did.
Nate Gartrell

-Locations in Story- The following are businesses I mentioned in the article, along with contact information, ordered chronologically as they appeared in the article.

Phoenix Airport
3400 E. Sky Harbor Blvd., Suite 3000
Phoenix, AZ 85034
www.phoenix.gov/AVIATION/
602-273-3300

Best Western Papago Inn
7017 E McDowell Road, Scottsdale, Arizona, 85257-3313, US
Phone: 480/947-7335 Fax: 480/994-0692
www.bestwesternarizona.com

King Buffet
7101 E Mcdowell Rd
Scottsdale, AZ 85257
480-425-9525

Scottsdale Baseball Stadium
www.azcentral.com

Writer Bio: Nate Gartrell is a student at San Francisco State University, where he’s majoring in Journalism. In the past, Gartrell has written for the New York Times Magazine, the Contra Costa Times, and the Benicia Herald. He lives in Benicia, California. 

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  • Catherine

    Nate, it’s Catherine. Your dad sent us the link. You forgot to mention Bird Cages 4 Less! (although I think you may have been in a sick delirium by the time we drove by there). Oh and all the bait car signs at the hotel. I had a mostly fun time, though. Nice article.

  • Shannon

    Great article Nate