Touring Iconic Monument Valley

Deep Within Monument Valley

Deep Within Monument Valley

We’ve delighted in exceptionally warm and sunny weather these past five to six weeks here in Colorado. And the colors have been glorious. A cold front blew in over the weekend, however, and now most of the trees are bare. It’s been raining a lot these past twenty-four hours and although the peaks are capped in white, our mountain landscapes appear ready for a big snowstorm. Let’s hope the fluffy white stuff starts piling up from here on out and that we have a great ski season in Telluride and the rest of Colorado.

Until that happens though, many Coloradans will be heading to the desert; it’s not far for most of us and it’s a great way to extend summer. Plus, the crowds of tourists have dispersed, which makes experiencing these wondrous places of nature more enjoyable. I’ve taken some of my best trips to Utah, Arizona and New Mexico during the fall and spring and I’m sure I’ll hit the road to one of my favorite Southwestern destinations within the next few weeks as well.

Monument Valley Is Calling Me

Monument Valley Is Calling Me

Touring Monument Valley with Goulding's

Touring Monument Valley with Goulding’s

Less than a four-hour drive from southwest Colorado, Monument Valley, one of America’s most spectacular sites, is one of my top choices. Situated both in Arizona and Utah, the panoply of sun-baked reds, russets, ochres and golds of the monuments appears even more magical beneath the burnished glow of autumn. In Touring the Southwest with My Parents, you can read about a trip I took to this part of the West with my parents during fall a while back. My parents loved it although I think they might have thought I was a little crazy with all my oohing and aahing. But at least I didn’t let my commentaries interfere with the solitude one feels at such an awe-inspiring place.

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A Scintillating Sanctuary in Phoenix

Sultry Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa

Sultry Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa

Elements:  Where the Quality of the Views Rival the Food

Elements: Where the Quality of the Views Rival the Food

It has been cold, rainy, snowy and windy here in Telluride, Colorado all week. I don’t mind because we always need moisture in the West and it’s also good catch-up-at-my-desk weather. But still, I can’t help daydreaming about more sunny, hot-as-a-baked-potato-fresh-out-of-the-oven environs.

I’m letting my thoughts drift to the desert, the Sonoran Desert to be exact, which I’m sure is in glorious bloom right now. Heating up nicely, too. I enjoyed a terrific visit there–within greater Phoenix/Scottsdale/Carefree–last summer with my mom, my fourth trip to that part of Arizona since I was young. And each time, I love it even more. Yes, we went last summer. It was a sunbaked sojourn and we reveled in it. (You just have to make sure you’re not basking in the sun during the heat of the day.)

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Road Tripping in the Great American West

Mt. Crested Butte

Mt. Crested Butte

Monument Valley

Monument Valley

There’s nothing like a good, old fashioned road trip to give you a terrific sense of freedom. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that you go under your own steam–that you’re not reliant on a plane, train, bus or boat to get you to your destination. The fact that you’re the captain of your ship means that you can leave when you want, go where you want and stop at whatever strikes your fancy along the way. Maybe it’s liberating because if you take your own vehicle, it’s like bringing your personal living room on the road. Whatever the reason, road tripping is so damned much fun. And there’s no doubt that it’s even better in the great American West.

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Making Memories at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix

Inside the Musical Instrument Museum

Inside the Musical Instrument Museum

It has been almost a week that I returned from a wonderful nine-day trip with my mother to the Phoenix/Scottsdale/Carefree, Arizona area. We visited many fine establishments, so expect to see posts on this glorious, sun-drenched part of the United States in the upcoming months.

We shared such a special mother/daughter time that I’ve, of course, been missing her. Thankfully I have many photos, mementos and music to remind me of the times we had together. Yes, some fabulous music that I discovered has taken me right back there with mom.

Are you familiar with French gypsy music? I’m talking about swinging gypsy jazz, moody boleros and tangos à la Django Reinhart. It’s the music of Paris from 1910 through the mid 1920s. You hear it and you imagine a smoky nightclub scene in the City of Light as you tap your foot and swing to the zippy beat. We heard this music performed by Zazu, a local French orchestra of Phoenix, during the Bastille Day celebration concert at the Musical Instrument Museum. Quelle découverte! Experiencing this music and this stunning museum was one of the highlights of our trip.

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My Mom: A True Original

My Mom:  Mary Ellen Trigger Rogers Clemente

My Mom: Mary Ellen Trigger Rogers Clemente

“I was great for telling stories,” my mom, née Mary Ellen Rogers, told me as we sipped frosty beers and munched on chips and salsa in an old cowboy bar in Scottsdale, Arizona. “When I was a  young girl, my neighbor had a beautiful horse called Suntan,” she continued. “I dreamed of having a horse, so I started telling the story that Roy Rogers was my uncle. It was a plausible story, since my father was from Wyoming and, of course, my last name was Rogers.”

As I listened to my mom recount this tale—one that I had heard before but was relishing even more beneath the sweltering summer heat of Arizona here in this beloved watering hole where so many had come before–I sensed that she had lived this story so much that she almost believed it to be true. “When I was in the sixth grade, I had a leather belt with letters that hung down, spelling out TRIG. You know, as in Trigger, Roy Rogers’s horse. I was tall with long, bushy, blond hair, so I did sort of look like a horse.”

“I remember people calling you Trig,” I said.

“Yes, a few people—those that are still alive—still do,” my mom added as she scooped up the chunky salsa with her tortilla chip.

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    This blog is a personal blog written and edited by Maribeth Clemente. This blog sometimes accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content. The owner of this blog is sometimes compensated to provide opinion on products, services, Web sites and various other topics. Even though the owner of this blog receives compensation for certain posts or advertisements, she always gives her honest opinions, findings, beliefs or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blogger's own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question. This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.
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