This is a blog post that I really don’t want to write as it pretty much reminds me that my boys are growing up way too fast and that thought nearly brings tears to my eyes.
Josh is currently a Sophomore in high school, just finished his first semester for this year. We all know 4 years at high school seems to drag on and in trying to keep that boredom away from Josh and get him excited for what’s next we decided to take him to Arizona to tour some colleges as all 3 of my boys had a 4 day weekend for President’s Day!
San Diego has had an unseasonably cold winter, so the thought of going to a warmer Arizona really intrigued me.
And so we left on Thursday evening missing sports, church, etc to go tour colleges. Since this whole thing was last minute, most of the college tours were full with the exception of Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University (ASU) and University of Arizona (UA).
We toured ASU first and I picked this because Josh loves sports, watching not so much playing! And this is a great school for that. He’ll have years of watching his school play all over the country.
We toured the Barrett Honors College at ASU as I said before because it was still open for tours when I was booking them last minute. I really like the honors college for several reasons. Their dorms are newer and they require you to live in them for the first 2 years of college but allow you to all 4 years if that’s what you want. Their food is much better and only slightly pricier. But the biggest thing I liked is that their freshman class size is 1800 compared to the tens of thousands of students at the school. He’d get to be a part of a much smaller class at the college and would take all core classes in the honors college and the student to facility ratio is much smaller.
U of A on the other hand was very different. Their campus was all in one location, and was made up of grass, rocks, cactus, and beautiful old brick buildings. Josh was not a fan of this campus and described it as old. I liked that the whole area was a college town. We even found a restaurant that shares a name with Ben just outside of the school where there were several restaurants and bars!
After this tour we struggled to find a campground, we know that many snowbirds like to go to Arizona and Florida during the winter to stay warm, but did not realize that they all like to camp. The campground we found off the freeway between Tucson and Phoenix, that didn’t require a full month or full week of rent. This campground we found allowed us to stay one night! However when we pulled up, we saw a sign that said 55+ community, so we checked in and left the kids in the Sprinter so that we wouldn’t be asked to leave. They gave us name tags to wear daily, they were required and every resident. Half of the park was permanent trailer structures and the other half was half full of motor homes. And that’s where we camped the first night! That night we went into the community Jacuzzi and our boys swam some in the pool. It was so refreshing to have such warm weather as San Diego had a cold front that week, which was honestly my main reason for going college shopping in a warmer area, I’m no dummy!
While at the campground, we listened to the Seniors, most of whom came from Canada, telling all about their adventures in Pickle Ball. When we woke in the morning we woke to the sounds of Pickle Ball and saw a tournament playing near our Sprinter van conversion. As we stepped out a gentleman approached us asking if we’d like to watch their Volleyball tournament. Then I walked to the bathroom to shower and on my way out I saw a huge gathering around the shuffleboard courts playing a tournament. When I get old, I want to live somewhere like this! It was so awesome,
And just as the photo says, “we love BLM land camping” (aka-Bureau of Land Management)! Here we were able to stay overnight and hike in the most beautiful desert.
And just as the name says there really were “painted rocks” and although we couldn’t climb on rocks, we were able to hike around before dinner!
The wide open Desert of Arizona is beautiful as was the sunset! We absolutely love camping on BLM land. Usually it’s free, but this one was semi maintained and we had to pay $8 for a quiet night in wide open spaces with no one anywhere close to us!
One thing we love to do is check things out off of the beaten path. So on our way home when we saw this crazy looking look out off the side of the freeway, we couldn’t help but stop to look! Here are the photos we took at this look out. Inside was a gift shop full of junk, so we didn’t stay long, just long enough to check it out and get back on the road.
What a wonderful President’s weekend we had! And boy does time fly by, I can’t believe we are already planning college for Josh when if feels like he was just a tiny baby yesterday!