Courageous Travels: Phoenix, AZ Trip

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5

Day 1

Good evening,

This afternoon Melissa and I began the pickup process for the Phoenix. Melissa picked up travelers in Coralville, Jonathan M., Charles L. and volunteer Shannon Sullivan-Channon, and in Marion, Chris J., Matthew H., Eric N., and  volunteer, Mike Sacora . I picked up travelers in Dubuque, Katie S., and Charles C., and in Davenport Marla A. We both arrived back between 6:45-7pm. We then checked in three more travelers, Mitchell M., Jeff Guilford, and Mathew D. and we all settled into Pitlik cabin.

The traveler’s and volunteers are all ready for bed, meds passed out and now we are resting. We will be up early to begin our drive to Des Moines to catch our flight to Phoenix.

Have a great night and we will talk again tomorrow.


Courageous Travels

Day 2

Good Evening Courageous Travelers,

What a busy day we had!! It was full of traveling and baseball!

We woke up extra early to leave Camp around 7am. We left 10 minutes early!! The traveler’s were up and ready to go! Even before 6am. Thank you to Melissa for staying overnight, caring for Katie and Marla and cleaning up after us!

We hit the road and didn’t stop until we reached the Des Moines Airport. What a great drive. The traveler’s either listened for the radio or fell back to sleep. The music drowned the snoring!

When we arrived at true airport, I dropped off everyone at the allegiant door and parked the bus. Once I parked the bus, the shuttle was waiting for me and dropped me off next to the door of allegiant Airlines.

We arrived extra early, so we could check in early, but with this airline they don’t open until 2 hours before the flight. So needless to say, we could have slept in a little. But oh well, we made it to Des Moines any-who.

Once they opened checkin, we had a really nice lady named Maggie who helped checkin. She was super positive, respectful, and patient. After she checked everyone in, we made our way through security. I really enjoy flying out of Des Moines. TSA agents are very polite and patient.

Once the whole group was through, we made it to our gate, I bought everyone lunch and waited to load the plane.

Before we knew it, we were on the plane and waited patiently for take off. We took off and flew 3 hours to Phoenix. It was a pretty smooth flight, a little bumps but nothing to bad.

The 3 hours flew by and we were descending. We landed and everyone cheered! Hurrah for warm weather!!!

We unloaded and made our way to baggage claim. This airport is exactly like Des Moines. Small and friendly. We walked a short distance to retrieve our baggage and our shuttles were waiting for us outside.

Super shuttle took the three ladies, since we needed a handicap vehicle, and the rest of the group loaded a bigger vehicle. We then made our way to our hotel. The Holiday Inn Express.

When we arrived, former Camp counselor and travel volunteer Kristina Aldrich met us at the hotel. Kristina lives in California and was spending last week in Phoenix, so she volunteered to stay another week to volunteer with our group! Thanks Kristina, it is great to see her and Katie was so we excited too!

After settling down and relaxing at the hotel it was time to head to our first baseball game of the week!

It’s the final week of spring training, so how exciting it is to witness the baseball teams getting ready for the season to start. Very exciting, according to traveler Charles L.

The game we watched today was the Arizona Diamondbacks against the Cleveland Indians at Chase Field. Usually the spring season games are held at another stadium in Arizona, but the last two games are at the Diamondbacks home stadium. Our hotel is only a few blocks away from Chase field, so it is perfect that we can walk. Especially because it is so nice out!

When we got to the stadium, we took a lot of pictures, went in drew up some signs that say Go Diamondbacks, and found our seats. We had some great seats out in the home run area.

The traveler’s were already cheering on the Diamondbacks! While they were cheering, counselors Mike, Shannon, and Kristina went out to get food for their groups. I followed once they returned.

The groups got Pizza, hotdogs and burgers! After dinner some of the travelers got peanuts, pretzels, popcorn, and a stick that had bananas and strawberries on it with a chocolate swirl. I had to try that one myself 😝.

The game began and the Diamondbacks were dominating the entire game. The final score, Arizona Diamondbacks 7 and the Cleveland Indians 0!! Yay for Arizona!! The traveler’s cheered loud from this awesome victory.

We yelled, cheered, clapped, and sang to the beloved and classic “Take Me Out To The Ball Game!” The traveler’s cheered loud for that one.

When the game was over, we cheered once more for the Diamondbacks victory. What a great game. We are now back at the hotel resting from a long but fun day!

Tomorrow is another adventure!!


Courageous Travels

Day 3

Good Evening Courageous Travelers,

What an amazing day we had in Phoenix. It was such a beautiful day and the group was ready to explore.

After our delicious breakfast, we made our way to our first shopping excursion. The Arizona Center. I was under the impression that this mall had all the shops ready to go but the mall was actually one month shy of opening the rest of the stores. Which was a bummer, but we need find one of the stores that open and what our group was looking for. A sports store.

The sports store had all the Arizona teams shirts, jerseys, and hats. They also had other teams as well, but the majority of the group was lookin for Arizona teams. We stayed in this shop for awhile since the traveler’s were carefully picking their gifts.

I asked the gentlemen if there were anymore stores available in the area, so he generously told me about a couple of stores, so we went to one of them right across the street at the Sheridan hotel. It was a big gift shop that had more Arizona souvenirs.

Since it was getting closer to game time, we decided to make our way to Chase Field.

On our way to the field, we spotted St Mary Basilica and since it had a hide garden and some neat statues, we decided to enter the church. It was big and beautiful and paid our respects by turning off flash’s on our camera and keeping talking to a minimum. The group did excellent. After walking around that Basilica we stepped outside and took a group picture.

As we finished, we continued our walk to Chase Field. It was a short distance away. It is so nice that the stadiums are so close to the hotel. When we arrived at the stadium we took a group picture. It was needed and everyone loves taking pictures. Especially when I put them on the travel Facebook page.

We entered Chase Field and our seats were not to far from the entrance. We learned how close our exit was from yesterday’s game, so it was nice not to walk the entire field. Did I mention that yesterday, oops.

We arrived at our seats and got ready to watch the Arizona Diamondbacks face the Cleveland Indians. One last time during the last game of spring season. It was game time!!

Once the game started the volunteer staff helped take food orders, ordered the food, and brought them back to the group. They were happy and content watching baseball and eating their favorite food.

The game was a little different this time around. The Diamondbacks weren’t shutting the Indians out like last night, when the Diamondbacks won 7-0. But that’s okay, it was a close game. The Indians went ahead 3-1 and kept this score until the bottom of the 9th. Arizona had its last time batting and they made sure not to lose this game. So after a couple of hits and two scores later, the Diamondbacks tied the game!

Wow what a game!! The crowd was small but loud. Our guys were dancing and cheering and loved every bit of this series. After 3 outs the game was over. Spring Training games hardly go into overtime, so once it was over it was over and the teams tied 3-3.

It was an exciting finish and the traveler’s are super pumped for the game opener on Thursday against the Colorado Rockies.

Since this game was a day game, we had the rest of the afternoon to hang out! We walked back to the hotel and got ready for the outdoor pool! It was swim time!!

The sun was hot and the water was warm. It was ready for the Courageous Travelers to jump in. It was a nice afternoon of swimming! While we were out at the pool, we had a special guest show up. My cousin Ana Boyd. Her and her husband live in Phoenix. I haven’t seen Ana in years so it was great to have her come out and see us! She loved hanging with the group and got to know most of them.

After swimming, the majority of the travelers took showers and got ready for their picnic dinner. Jimmy Johns! They got subs, Chips, pop, and a cookie! Yummy! Ana joined us for this as well.

After dinner we said our goodnight and everyone made their way back to the rooms. I gave my cousin a big hug and said my goodbyes!

Now the groups are resting and gearing up for another fun day in Phoenix!

Have a great night! And remember you can check out pictures on the blog, but you can also check them on our new travel Facebook page, Courageous Travels.


Courageous Travels




Day 4

Good Evening Courageous Travelers,

WOW! Just WOW!! I hope you all are following us on our Courageous Travels page, we have really experienced a lot of great things today! Here is all we did…

We left our hotel a little earlier today so we could make it to our first activity. The Phoenix Rising Trolley Tour. One of the best tours I have ever experienced with Courageous. Jill Johnson, the tour guide but also owner of the company gave our group the grand tour. She was accompanied by Lisa our driver and Nikki are second tour guide, both wonderful! We toured the all of downtown and beyond. Phoenix is so big we couldn’t cover it all, but they made sure we learned a lot about the history of Phoenix and what it means to live in this growing city.

We learned on our tour that 40% of the residents are actually from Arizona. 1.5 million people live in the city, and less then 50 historic structures are left in the city! The government keeps tearing down historic buildings instead of remodeling and using their creative talents to use the buildings in different ways. It’s unfortunate, but the people keep thriving! Jill talked about the heat of Phoenix, especially in the summer. She put it like baking cookies. You open the oven and feel the heat hit your face! That’s how it feels in the summer when you walk outside! This time of year is actually perfect to visit!

There were some great periods that changed the face of Phoenix. The hohokam tribe created canals, and Jack Swilling found the canals and rebuilt the city naming it Phoenix, are just a few Items named.

On our tour we made a couple of stops. One was to the state capital building, with the dome made out of copper and the other was right outside of the Arizona Science Center. Here we also tried some Cactus Candy! Yummy! It was great to stop at these places and look around. We took tons of pictures, especially group pictures. The traveler’s really like the stops and asked some great questions. The tour started at 10 and we were done at 12pm. It felt shorter but it’s because we still wanted to hang out with Jill and her crew.

Since it was time to head back and the trolley was about to drop us off. Jill recited a great poem that she came up with and it was amazing! So if you have Facebook you will be able to see the poem she recited to the group. It was awesome!! Thank you for a great tour Jill and the Phoenix Rising tour company, she also gave us a generous discount for the group, so thank you so much!!

We had such a great time! So after we thanked the ladies and gave them big hugs it was time for lunch. Everyone was hungry!

So we ate lunch at a restaurant just a block away from the trolley tour.

After lunch, we walked a few blocks back to the Arizona science center. Here we had a chance to learn and explore. There was a ton of hands on exhibits, so after we went shopping we made our way to all the exhibits that the center had to offer. The best thing about this, the center donated these tickets to our group!! So that was incredible! Thank you Science Center.

We explored the science center by visiting many exhibits. Some of these exhibits were: “all about me,” body depot, many hands, get charged up, the digital world, and many more. Traveler Mitch had a great time figuring out the mind games.

After a couple of hours of exploring it was time to head to Talking Stick Resort Arena! Where we will cheer on the Phoenix Suns! We showed up early, because their was a big surprise waiting for us. Jaime the group sales coordinator set up a VIP warm up game showing! A couple of hours before the crowd comes in, our group had front row seats watching the basketball teams warm up. The Phoenix suns were facing the L.A Clippers.

Jaime thank you so much an awesome experience! Traveler Katie sat up even closer to the guys. It was amazing!

When we got done watching the warm up, we knew it was time for dinner. So we ate a quick meal at Carly’s JR at the stadium.

After dinner we shopped and then found our seats. There was no bad seats in the arena, so thank you again Jaime for giving us a great rate for our group and donating personal game tickets to our staff. Thank you!!

As the game began, The traveler’s were cheering, Laughing, and/or standing up to dance.

We stayed the whole game, but the Suns did not win. The L.A Clippers won 111 to 99. So close but yet so far. It was a great game either way! Towards the end of the third quarter, Jaime came back to the group, brought us all Suns backpacks! It was great! Thank you Jaime and the Suns for a great time!!

After the game we made our way back to the hotel and now we are resting for one last day in Phoenix!

Stay tuned to how much we are going to have on our last day!


Courageous Travels

Day 5

Good Evening Courageous Travelers,

It was a lot warmer today. Today we realized, we are in the middle of a desert. Yes, we are in a city, but it’s all desert! We have to double our water intake! I drink tons of water and I’ve felt like I’ve drank double! But we have kept everyone pretty hydrated, especially today.

We spent the good part of the day at the zoo. The city bus drives right to the front gate of the zoo and this bus stop was not to0 far from our hotel.

We hopped on and minutes later we were exploring the zoo. The travel groups spilt up and explored every part of the zoo before lunch. We saw lions, tigers, Galapagos turtles and animals native to Arizona!

There was this cool exhibit that you could walk through to see 13 little monkeys climbing in the trees!! It was pretty neat! I don’t think we saw all the monkeys, but the ones we did see were pretty cute.

After exploring most of the zoo, we all met up for lunch at the Savanah grill. It had some delicious food. Once we were done, we walked over to the gift shop and bought some nice souvenirs.

When we were done, we made our way back to the number 3 bus to take us back to the area of our hotel. When we arrived, we made our way to our hotel and packed up for Friday. We also laid down for awhile and rested before our night game!

During our rest Charles C. had a surprise visitor come by. His younger brother Steven came by and surprised Charles! Charles talked about him all week and his wish came true!! One thing we value at Courageous Travels is family! When one of our travelers wants to meet up with family, they will get their wish!! Steven and Charlie then went out for dinner and met us later at the baseball game.

Before we knew it, it was time for the Arizona Diamondbacks Home Opener!! When we walked down to the park it was a different feel! The fans came from all over the place to pack Chase field!! Close to 45,000 baseball fans were in the stands!

When we arrived, we went straight in and received our free D-backs towels and magnets. We found our seats right away and ordered our dinners.

The game started with an awesome national anthem with fireworks and jets flying by! They also had a huge American flag displayed on the field. “Play Ball!!” was announced right after and the game began!

It had been an awesome performance by the D-Backs. They have kept the lead and the travelers went crazy for every successful play the D-Backs made!!

We sang, cheered, and stomped!! With all this the D-Backs won their home opener!! The final score was Arizona Diamondbacks 8 and the Colorado Rockies 2! Way to go D-Backs!

After the loud cheers of victory! We walked back to the hotel to get a little rest before our early flight!

If all goes right, our flight leaves at 7:30am and arriving in Iowa at 12:15pm. Have a quick lunch from Casey’s, and have drop offs in Coralville, Marion, Davenport, Dubuque, and back to Camp by 5:15pm.

Have a great night everyone!!

Courageous Travels