It seems like just yesterday that my mom was talking about buying a second home in Payson, AZ. I can’t believe a year has already gone by! Payson is only about 1.5 hours north of the greater Phoenix valley, so it’s the perfect place to have a home to escape the heat and desert. Payson is extremely different from the desert – the mountains still exist but they are filled with greenery and pine trees instead of dirt and cactus. The temperatures run much cooler than Phoenix. During the winter the temps can drop as low as 20 degrees or so, but normally they stick around 30-40 degrees. They will get snow, but most likely a light dusting. It’s truly wonderful because you can enjoy the winter season without freezing to death and shoveling snow for hours.
I knew Matt was going to be out of town this weekend so I decided it’d be the perfect time to take Wynston and Khloee up to my mom’s house! My mom and I decided we’d make a road trip out of it and relax while we were there rather than my mom busting her bum on the home’s remodel (which is turning out beautifully and almost done!). On Saturday I packed up the kids, headed to mom’s house (here in the valley) and we jumped in her SUV to begin our little journey “up the hill.”
It was going to be a hot weekend in the valley – temperatures in the mid 90s. Not exactly ideal October weather. I was really looking forward to a change in scenery and weather that we could actually enjoy. The four of us arrived in Payson around 11am on Saturday morning. We got settled in as Wynston and Khloee ran around the big yard exploring all of the sights and smells. This was Khloee’s first time at the house. It was VERY exciting for her…and me of course 🙂
After relaxing on the patio and enjoying the sounds and smells of the pine trees drifting in the wind, we decided to grab a bite to eat with Wyn and Khloee. One of the many things I love about Payson is that most of the restaurants are locally owned and operated. The food is amazing everywhere and so far every restaurant we’ve been to allows dogs on the patio! We drove about 20 minutes from Payson to Pine, AZ so mom could show me a new area. While Payson is a small town, Pine is even smaller. When we arrived, we noticed there were a ton of cars lining each side of the street. We had no idea what was going on until we saw a sign for the October Art Festival. Much to our dismay, the restaurant we wanted to eat at, The Randall House, was completely full. Even the patio was packed, complete with dogs. We moseyed on down the road and found another local eatery (there are tons considering it’s such a small town) so we took a seat and ordered a bite. Maverick’s was the name of the restaurant and the food was delicious! I had a grilled chicken salad and mom had a burger, which they are famous for. Khloee and Wyn enjoyed resting on the patio and watching all of the people and dogs walk by. They may have had a bite of chicken and burger because they were so well behaved 😉
As we were enjoying our lunch, I saw a man walk by with a dog…on a prong collar. I just about had a heart attack. I was so very sad for that dog. I found that Pine and Payson are behind on the times when it comes to the treatment of animals. I even saw trucks advertising breeding. THEN I saw a man driving with a dog in the bed of his truck. Like…really?!
After I got over the prong collar situation, we headed back to the car to go check out a trail head. I originally wanted to hit up the art festival but it looked like very close quarters and I don’t think the dogs would have appreciated it. Instead we drove about 10 minutes to the national trail only to see a sign that the parking lot was full. Well, we figured it’d be a pretty drive into the canyon, so we drove for three miles and saw a line to get into the parking lot. We waited because we knew it’d be worth it. While we were waiting, I said to my mom “I wonder if they are dog friendly. Some parks like this are and some aren’t.” Sure enough the security guard told us that dogs are only allowed in the parking and picnic areas. BOO! That’s no fun. At least we got to see a gorgeous pine filled canyon…
Our crew retreated to the house and we all took a lovely afternoon nap. It was so nice to have the windows open and sleep with fresh air coming in! That evening mom and I put some real clothes on and headed to Native for a couple beers and appetizers. The MLB playoffs are going on so I wanted to catch some of the game. My friend is the manager of the restaurant. I’ve actually known him since middle school but hadn’t seen him in years, so it was awesome to catch up with him! We spent a couple hours taking in the exciting atmosphere before going back to the house for pajama and hot tea time.
Another thing I love about Payson – the stars. I made some hot tea and we sat out on the back patio. When we looked up, all we could see were the silhouettes of pine trees and the Milky Way galaxy. It was incredible, and it was so quiet! I was in heaven. A day of excitement called for an early bed time so off to sleepy land we went.
Fast forward to 2am. Khloee was pawing at me so I figured she needed to go out and go potty. I stumbled across the house, half asleep, and out to the backyard. It was pitch black outside. I mean literally pitch black. The motion censored light didn’t turn on right away. So what happened when I walked outside? I saw nothing. I heard nothing…except coyotes howling. And they sounded SUPER close. Now, I’m not scared of coyotes because typically they stay away from houses and humans (one ran right passed Wynston and I when we were out walking once and it ignored us). However, it was really creepy! I’m so used to seeing house and neighborhood lights, but all I saw were stars and all I could hear were coyotes. Thinking back to it, it was a really cool moment. It felt so serene. Khloee did her business and we went back to sleep without any dangerous coyote action 🙂
On Sunday we took in the beautiful, brisk morning with some more hot tea as mom and I shuffled around the newspaper. Khloee and Wynston were having a jolly time romping around the yard, when all of a sudden I heard…nothing again. I looked up and said “Where are the kids?” I jumped up and walked around the corner of the house because they had been hanging out over there, but I didn’t see them. I ran into the house and yelled for them. Nothing. Mom and I ran out to the front of the house and started yelling for them. Sure as heck, as soon as I yelled “Khloeeeeeee. Wyyyyyynston!!!!!” they came running from the neighbor’s yard. Those brats slithered their way under a fence! Luckily they have good recall and they ran right back to me. They also had their collars on. I thanked God so many times for bringing my babies back to me. Mom and I secured the iffy fence areas after that but I never let them out of my sight.
So after my kids decided to almost give me another heart attack, mom and I headed to breakfast. This time we went to Miss Fitz 260 Cafe. Another locally owned and operated eatery, the food was to die for and the service was amazing! They don’t, however, allow dogs on their patio because it opens into the restaurant.
A lovely, filling breakfast lead my mom and I to spend about an hour driving around and looking at house properties. Matt and I are in the market for a home so we figured it’d be fun to see everything we could possibly buy in Payson. Because who doesn’t need a third home?!
Our time was winding down and we relaxed on the patio one more time before hitting the road home. We left around 1:30pm and made it back to Phoenix by 3pm. Over all, it was an extremely enjoyable, tranquil weekend. My mom has been very busy and she’s always working super hard, so I was relieved that she had a weekend to sit back and unwind. I have some super exhausted pups now and we can’t wait to head back up to Payson soon!
Do you like to take your dogs on trips to new, fun places? Where do you go?