Phoenix has been our destination many times, but the only sightseeing we’ve done there in the past was along the concourses of Sky Harbor International Airport. Phoenix is an intermediate step in hundreds of flights each day, and we’ve been among those temporary visitors on our way to various California destinations… until this year.
Making plans to attend the 2011 Fiesta Bowl on New Year’s Day, we mapped a drive along the northern route through Albuquerque and the southern route through El Paso. With weather reports for both routes sounding more and more questionable, at the last minute we decided to be wise and scheduled flights for the trip.
We had already made reservations at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort, so once we picked up our rental car, we drove the few miles to the resort. The all-suite resort was very nice, with numerous buildings, pools and hot tubs, children’s recreation area, and several restaurants and an outstanding spa (where we enjoyed wonderful massages). Of course, we were expecting warm temperatures of the desert, but were met with record lows. Sure glad we had brought our coats and not our swimsuits!
While the purpose of the trip was the Fiesta Bowl, we also wanted to spend a special New Year’s Eve. The resort concierge gave us several ideas for entertainment, including the Fiesta Bowl Block Party and the Fiesta Bowl Invitational. While these sounded like great events, we opted for a quieter venue for a superb dinner. McCormick & Schmick’s was all we were hoping for – and complimentary champagne was included.
On New Year’s Day we watched bowl games on TV and then made our preparations to go to the game. Decked out in our OU gear, we drove to the University of Arizona stadium in plenty of time to observe the tailgaters and attend “College Football’s Biggest Party” with thousands of other fans.
Our original plans for this trip included another couple who were unable to go at the last minute due to a health issue. We learned from this unfortunate fact that paying a premium price for bowl game tickets may not be necessary. Our friend sent his tickets with us to sell, but at the Fiesta Bowl ticket resales can only (legally) occur in a specified area. That means that all of the people who have tickets to sell, whether fans like us or professional ticket sellers, must congregate in one area and attempt to get the best price. We felt very lucky when we were able to get one-third the face value for our friend’s tickets. And what we learned is that next time, we may take our chances and wait until we get to the game to buy tickets!
Of course, the best part of the trip was the Fiesta Bowl – OU beating UConn 48-20!!