Robin and I ordered tickets ahead of time for the first time we have went to Spring Training in Phoenix. Robin had reserved a room for us at the Ramada Plaza at the price of $63 a night, but when we checked in, they had no record of our reservation and we could not find the confirmation number. It was late Sunday and we just wanted to get checked in. After a frantic search we found the number and it was verified by their people. Why our names did not show up as reserved was disturbing, but we got in. The motel cost us $118 a night last year, and it has went down hill fast. Used to have full breakfast, now in Continental. The bar is closed and the pool is not heated. The motel was nearly empty. The good side was that Robin and I had the pool area to ourselves!
Our first day, we saw the A's at the Mariners facility in Peoria. Nice park and the A's played well and won. Ichiro for the Mariners looked good. A crowd of around 7,000 left many holes in the crowd. The second day we were at Camelback Ranch and Robin was proud of her ticket score. Unfortunately, her husband asked for directions to the seat and misunderstood the host explanation. We ended up in the middle of the scouts seating and we were the only ones without a score sheet, radar stuff and notes. We were in the middle of the scouting section behind home plate! It was neat hearing their banter with one another, but after looking into what section we were supposed to be in, we were actually only 4 rows from the front, so we moved. Matt Cain was phenomenal and the Giants did not give up an earned run and Pablo Sandavol and Bengie Molina had 2 doubles each. There were only about 4,000 so we were witnessing a huge drop in attendance from the last year we were here and sat in record crowds. We watched the Red and Giants at Goodyear Wednesday and there was barely 4,000 people at this brand new facility. The Reds beat the Giants late, but not until Jonathan Sanchez went nearly 7 innings.
Today, Thursday, Robin and I walked for hours and many miles through the Phoenix Zoo. Around 80 degrees and many families and school tours. The Phoenix Zoo is privately owned non-profit that charges $16 per person and they have many huge corporate sponsors. They have a walk through monkey house (Think bird aviary) that you are actually encountering monkeys that have actually stolen cell phones from people. We were in the middle of the monkeys having a scuffle and it was crazy with monkeys flying around us! We later that night went to the A's against Giants at Scottsdale. This time it was packed house! Great crowd, and who did I run into? Deer Valley winter resident Ernie Ghesetti and retired Pulp Mill employee. He said this winter has been cold there compared to years past. (He is still golfing away in the Sonora Valley.)
Places ate at on the road and ratings out of 5:
1. Bob's Big Boy at Cabazon- 3.5 Had a great burger and onion rings. Salad was just blah.
2. Del Taco at Indian Wells- 2.5 But there was plenty of it!
3. Popeye's in Blythe- 1.5 Robin will not let me go here again. She had Cole slaw that was warm. I had popcorn shrimp.
4. Mimi's Cafe in Phoenix- 2.5 What is with the spice type muffins for breakfast? Just all right. Barely.
5. Lone Star in Glendale- 3.0 I love some of the meat BBQ stuff, but the salad was brutal and the bread loaf sucked.
6. IHOP in Peoria- 4.0 They have a smothered potatoes breakfast menu that is not to be noted by my doctor. Very eatable.
7. Stacker's near the Metro Center- 4.5 Local bar that is across the street from hotel. Everything is good. As near a 5 as a place can get.
8. Sweet Tomato- 4.0 Very good salad, soup and dessert bar. All fresh. And a Dryers Dark Chocolate yogurt bar?
Reality sinks in tomorrow. We head back over the desert valley toward home. Hopefully we are home by Sunday night.
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