On the Road: Glendale
GLENDALE, Ariz. – I’d never thought of the desert as restorative.
Not until this past weekend at least.
There are reasons for this. Good reasons, in fact. See, Arizona has always been a playground of sorts for me. One of my roommates from the University of Washington lives in Phoenix, which means that any trip through town – or trip to spring training – for the past 10 years or so has become a de facto reunion that inevitably attracts other college classmates and becomes a headlong spring back toward the behavior of our early 20s.
Spring training was an annual destination, and our recipe was fairly simply: slather oneself in sunscreen, chase that with doses of Tecate and see what flinches first, your skin or your liver.
I’m 40 now so that’s changed. Usually. Last year, we held an eight-man brunch the day of Seattle’s Week 16 game at Arizona, and yes, that was absolutely as boringly mature as it sounds.
This trip was different, though. I was with my wife, Sharon, who just completed the first semester of the MBA program she’s enrolled in at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. And being the shamelessly whipped spouse that I am, I thought she could join me on this trip to the final Seattle regular-season game and relax.
We ate brunch at Chelsea’s Kitchen on Saturday. The green chile cornbread was delicious in spite of being gluten free and the baked eggs cooked with a slow-cooked pork in an individually sized cast-iron dish that were even better on Day 2.
Dinner was at Distrito, a restaurant from Iron Chef Jose Garces that serves Mexico City-style street food.
But what really made this trip was the desert. I’ve been here so many times, but I’ve never really seen it. I hiked on Tyner’s Trail near the hotel. I drove to Camelback Mountain to hike the Echo Canyon Trail, and as I sat down in the press box to cover Sunday’s football game between Arizona and Seattle I realized that I felt more rejuvenated than I have since training camp began back in August.
I first came to Arizona 20 years ago, and I’ve probably been in town no fewer than 30 times since then. I’ve been in a wedding here. I’ve been to spring training. I’ve celebrated New Year’s and oh yeah, there was a pretty important football game Seattle played here last February, too.
I’ve never had a trip like this, though. It was sunny, but not hot and up there against a mountain in Northern Scottsdale, it was absolutely, unbelievably peaceful.
Good thing, too. Because Seattle’s second season is about to begin. Giddy up.