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1,000 miles in Arizona

Photo Credit: Maria & Jefferson Harkleroad

I know what you're thinking.... 1,000 miles is a lot!

But, I am here to tell you that it was some of the best 1,000 miles of my life. We broke this trip up into 6 days/4 stays. This was definitely a wanderlust type of trip. The reason my husband and I did this crazy road trip, is because we are both at a point in our life where a) we need to take charge of our life and figure out what we want, that is best for us as a couple and b) we are terrified to do another Wisconsin winter, and c) we both have never seen the national parks. You've got it, we were scoping out the area to live.

Since flights to AZ tend to be pretty expensive, and if we decided not to move there, I wanted to make the most out of one trip and cover all the territory WHILE experiencing new 1sts together (AKA Grand Canyon).

I had only been to the phoenix area once at the end of September, and I completely fell in love with the night air. I could not get over it for the past year. I had to take a trip back, with my husband, to see if it is a place we would want to live. People kept asking us while we were there why on earth we would come during the summer. We said,

"That is exactly why we did."

We knew we had to experience AZ at its worst to determine if it could be a place we could live. This is also going to be a great article to read if you're considering a round-trip road trip to the national parks in AZ from Phoenix. We did this trip over Labor Day weekend and just so happened to surpass all the bad crowds! Keep reading to find out where we went, how much it costed, what we thought, and if we made a decision.

DAY 1: Direct Flight from Milwaukee to Phoenix

We flew direct from Milwaukee - Phoenix August 30th (round trip for us both $647.20, yikes) and rented a car from Hertz. I booked our flights on American Airlines through Priceline, which then gave us a car rental deal ($215.15 + extra charge for filled gas tank). The first thing we did was head to Luci's at The Orchard for brunch. Luci's was soo cute! I honestly could see myself hanging out there all the time if I lived close by in the Phoenix area. They have an adorable outdoor seating area with tons of misters to keep us cool, a water fountain all the kids were playing in, canopy tent with string lights and an area that looks like they play music. On one side was a nice sit down restaurant and on the other was a building with everything from an ice cream shop, to an organic café and juicery, including a drive-through for coffee. They had something for everyone. Since we couldn't check in to our Airbnb (2 nights = $188.13) until 3pm we sat here for a good hour and looked up houses in Phoenix, Chandler, Tempe, and Gilbert that we may want to view. Our Airbnb host is a real estate agent, so she was going to show us around to houses we wanted to see. Long story short, it sort of wasted our time and never ended up working out. Had I known, we would have been much more productive with our first 2 days of our trip.

We proceeded to do some shopping because our first day turned into sunglass hunting. Not house hunting. Non-the-less we met two super nice girls at the sunglass store in Chandler Mall. The desk girl's name is Amy, so here's a shout out. They were telling us how much they love the area and I guess they weren't too bothered by the immense heat because they were proud to say they bake cookies in their car while they're at work so that when they get off work their car smells of fresh baked cookies and they have a post-work treat. The girl at the register referred us to 2 places. She highly recommended the restaurant/bar in Chandler called Sandbar. Here's the website link: The other thing she recommended was going out down town Chandler for nightlife or dinner. That sounded cool, but we knew we had an early morning so we landed at Sandbar ($50ish, ouch). It was a cool place with surfboard tables on their patio. It was a nice, hot night.

Day 2: Salt River, Mesa, Gilbert, Tempe and Scottsdale