Friday, January 23, 2009

Canyon Ranch Tucson Arizona January 2009

On the road again (pictures at bottom of post) just landed in Atlanta and getting ready to head to our next stop Dallas, 13 hours Cape Town South Africa to Atlanta Georgia. Every time I take one of these long flights I think why the hell did I move to Botswana? Then I look at my annual living expense of 52 U. S. Dollars a year and know it was the right choice for the life style I have chosen to live, a nomadic on-line poker player.

We met up with Larry in Dallas. I was right Larry and Eddie had a falling out. Here is the story Larry tells, he and Eddie were playing paddle ball and on the court next to them was a guy with a pair of real short shorts (see picture). The kind tennis players wore in the late 70's early 80's. From what Larry says, Eddie was making cat calls at the guy, this put Larry over the edge and that was that. Though Larry did hint he might reconcile with Eddie if he would just behave. The one odd thing was all weekend Larry kept doing some kind of mating dance.

I am glad Margarite is with me as it should help Larry and Eddie for that matter see I am off limits.

Larry's Mating Dance Video

I goofed up and booked a different flight then Larry. Actually the flight Larry was booked on was $25 more so I went for the later flight figuring Margarite and I could go stand by on Larry’s flight, I figured wrong so we are on a flight that is an hour behind Larry.

He claims there will be a ride for us at the airport. Flying over the Southwest United States that vast wide open landscape always overwhelms me. Every time I fly over New Mexico I see a solution to the Mideast conflict, just move all the stuff in Israel to New Mexico. Change the name of New Mexico to New Israel then have the Israelis move to New Israel. The terrain is very similar the Israelis took a desert and turned it into a great country I am sure they could do it again. If I lived in a neighborhood where my neighbors randomly fired rockets at me I think I would move. My guess is it would be cheaper for the United States to move every Israelite to New Israel, then stop giving aid to Israel, Jordan, and the other Middle East countries that the United States supports. Just a random thought from DUG as I fly over New Mexico / New Israel and see a very similar terrain as the Middle East.

Tucson airport is not much bigger them the Botswana International Airport. It seems to be new and well equipped.

Larry and Chephart Yosh were waiting for us when we arrived Chephart is Larry’s relative we are staying with, the relationship was never explain and we did not ask so we do not know how Larry and Chephart are related, brother sister, aunt nephew, uncle niece, mother son or maybe father daughter. Though the last two would be tough as Larry and Chephart seemed to be the same age.

The drive from the airport to Canyon Ranch was 40 minutes you go by all these airplane junk yards. They look just like car junk yards but with airplanes, miles and miles of them. We talked about current events, the Middle East conflict came up. Chephart said she had an idea to solve the issue, move Israel to New Mexico it was then that I realized I had started a movement to help create world peace.

Canyon Ranch is set at the base of the Catalina Mountains. Chephart's house is just breath taking with views of the Catalina Mountains. As the sun goes across the sky the mountains change color from a dark brown, to a deep red and finally a lush green. The house is a Frank Lloyd Wright  design. The house has a very practical design using the landscape and a lot of natural light. On the main floor are 2 guest bedrooms with private baths, a master suite, office, library, and laundry room. The basement has a complete apartment with a full kitchen.

The interior materials, walls and floors are all natural materials giving the interior and exterior a strong relationship with the desert area of Tucson. It is just a delightful and warm home.

After we got settled in Larry, Margarite and I went down to the health center to get a tour and sign up for a Saturday morning hike. Larry and I also used the hot tube, steam bath, and cold pool 50 degrees, that is COLD water, boy was there shrinkage.

The facilities were very nice a lot of staff, a complete high end health club and medical center. The staff went out of there way to make us feel welcome. With the United States in a depression the facilities were pretty much empty so we got a lot of attention from the staff. There is always a silver lining is every cloud.

On the walk back to the house Larry explained that most homeowners do not use their homes as the homes are second or third homes and not their permanent residents. Across the street from Chephart is Diana Ross's house she is never there.

We meet Teri Albertazzi who lives in Chephart’s basement apartment and is a professional tri-athlete.

We went out to dinner at the Flying V Bar and Grill.  On the way to dinner we picked up Davy who seemed to be a shady character I think his real name is Nicky. I was told he owns a restaurant, but I think that is how he launders his money from his real business. He spoke about his house on the coast of Mexico and his travels in and out of Mexico. I think he is a drug lord posing as a restaurant owner. After dinner we headed back to the house and hit the sack.

Saturday we got up early and went on a 7 mile hike (Agua Caliente Hill Trail) into the mountains we started at 2,500 feet and reached 4,000 feet. I have to tell you there was no complaining from Larry. If you remember all Larry did the first day of our Grand Teton hike was complain, not this hike, his was as happy as good be. The views were awesome the Cactus (plants) were very unique some only exist in this area. Our guides Dusty and Jeff did a very nice job of educating us on the area much better then our guide Brad Armstrong in the Grand Teton Mountains.

After the hike we had lunch at one of the Canyon Ranch Restaurants. All the menus show calories, fat, protein in grams of the foods they serve, so if you want you can eat healthy.

After lunch we did some weight training. Margarite is training for the Boston Marathon so she wanted to really work out. After the weights we did a bosu class then Margarite did a yoga class while Larry I did a whirlpool and steam bath.

The facilities and instructors are all very nice and knowledgeable, top notch. I think if you lived at Canyon Ranch it would be hard not to be, in awesome shape. They have all types of exercise classes and equipment.

Chephart is cooking dinner for us tonight Larry said she is a great cook. Steve Bennett and his wife, friends of Chephart’s stop by for drinks before dinner. It ended up by pure coincidence I knew Steve from when I was in the software business Steve was the president of Bay Advanced Technology a customer of the company I worked for. It was nice to catch up with Steve.

Mickey and Andy came over for dinner. Mickey is Chephart’s son. Dinner was great Chephart made this vegetable dish Brussels Sprout and Tomatoes the taste was great. The main course was a steak which Mickey grilled to perfection.

Sunday morning we got up and went to Sabino Canyon  Chephart and Larry walked while Margarite and I ran. The canyon was awesome to run through 3.7 miles end to end. We started at 6:30 so the only light was from the stars, as we ran the sun came up, the sun created all kinds of colors on the canyon walls. The run out was all up hill with the last 3/4 of a mile at a 10% grade. So the return was an easy 3.7 mile down hill. I was just glad it was not reversed.

After the run, we did some swimming then an abs class this class would give a fat guy like me a 6 pack if he did the class everyday. The temperatures are rather mild for this time of year, lows in the 50’s at night and highs in the high 70’s to low 80’s during the day.

Chephart had bought us show tickets to see, A Raisin in the Sun, by the Arizona Theatre Company  at The State Theater the story line was great and actors and actresses were just magical. Larry did have a problem with end of the story line. He felt the family would have been better off swallowing their pride and taking the white folks for all they had. After some philosophical discussion I think we all agreed with Larry. You will need to now go to the show and see for yourself.

We had dinner at El Charro Cafe - Tastes and Traditions of Tucson  which is a local authentic Mexican restaurant. I ordered the house special which is made with this steak that is dried in this dryer that hangs outside the restaurant. It is world famous but I did not feel it deserved to be.

At 8:00 pm we headed for the sack we were all beat.

Monday morning a very historic week stated today in the United States, today is Martin Luther King Day and tomorrow Barack Obama becomes the first president with ancestors (father) from Africa. There are a lot of positive emotions going in this country that relative to it’s past is in pretty bad shape. Though living in Botswana I am insulated from the negative issues affecting the United States, I enjoy following them as most are caused by greed.

After watching the news and having some breakfast, which we were allowed to prepare ourselves (more on that later) we headed to the Health club for another abs class and bosu class, then some relaxation in the hot tub, steam room and showers. I am starting to get use to Larry looking at me like I am piece of meat.

At Canyon Ranch they have demonstration kitchens where the chef will cook a meal and explain ways to make them healthy. Our chef Butch knew Larry may have even been an old boy friend of his. Butch made crab cakes that had to be the lightest crab cakes I ever had. I need to mention I do not have crab cakes that often because the crab causes me to have gout attacks, what I am trying to say is I am not an expert on crab cakes.

After lunch Margarite and I hung at the pool while Larry took a nap. At 4:00 we took a self pleasuring class which was very interesting and relaxing. Then a nice whirlpool, steam bath and shower with Larry. We had planned to go to Davy's restaurant for dinner but it was not open it seems it is never open, but why open if you goal is to launder money and not make money instead Chephart made a nice salad and we added some left over’s. I had some lasagna that Davy had made for a party it was out of this world.

At dinner we talked about Eddie, boy Larry bashed him, when we were hiking the Grand Teton Mountains, Larry had told Eddie he was invited sometime to Canyon Ranch. I would doubt Chephart would allow him in her house after the way Larry spoke about him. Some of what Larry said was true and some was NOT!

After dinner we packed up for our travels home.

Tuesday we got up early to go for a run. I am going to run the Philadelphia Broad Street 10 Miler with the Full Moon Running Club, the same group I ran the Philadelphia Marathon with. My training started today with 4, 1 mile intervals at a 7:30 pace. After the run we did a foot class where you massage your foot by standing on a hard ball and then a softer ball with rubber spikes. It really relaxed my feet especially after a hard run.

Then the normal whirlpool, steam bath and shower with Larry. Our flights were at 12:00 so we had to keep moving. We did have time to watch Obama's speech which he delivered very well. Humble but powerful. He clearly told the American people they needed to take responsibility to help fix the mess they are in. He went on to tell the world we are your friend just don't cross us.

Chephart was a great host and there is no way I will be able to thank her for her great hospitality, once we learned the kitchen rules, she made us feel so welcome and part of the family. Here are the rules, in order to use Chephart’s kitchen you have to be certified. As far as my knowledge goes only Mickey (her son) is certified. There are two exceptions, breakfast and getting your self a drink. Other then that you may NOT use the kitchen, Chephart will prepare any other meals for you. If you do use the kitchen for breakfast you get points that go toward your certification. Not going in the kitchen included cleaning up. This took me some getting use to. I felt so funny making my breakfast and then just leaving the dishes for Chephart to clean, but these are Chephart’s rules and I learned very fast you DO NOT break Chephart’s rules.

To get home Margarite and I back track the same itinerary we flew out on. It will take us close to 24 hours in real hours to get home. I had suggested we keep flying west to get home stop in New Zealand and Australia but Margarite could not be away from the orphans that long.

So that is my Canyon Ranch trip




Chephart Yosh said...

I am enchanted. Come back soon. xo Chephart

Anonymous said...

Great story - I too have been to visit Chephart - and am still working on my certification.

Chephart Yosh said...

Elegant wines from Botswana! Who knew? I am delighted! Thank you so much, Dug and Margarite.

Do plan to come back soon.

xo Chephart