50 Shades of Red–A Valentine’s Day Adventure

Valentine’s Day is a special time when you hope to spend the day with the love of your life. There is always a commercial connection since retailers sure hope you break out the pocketbook and spend your way to happiness. Of course being known as frugal most might think I would be a total cheapskate, but I do spend some money on my Carolyn but I am hoping that she knows I love her each and every day.

This Valentine’s Day is no different but the special way of spending it might be somewhat different. There will be no “50 Shades of Grey” watching on this day for Carolyn and I, after all it is a beautiful spring like day and we sure are not about to sit in a darkened theater when we can enjoy this day of redness on an adventurous hike. That is what these two lovebirds enjoy.

Now I have to digress for a moment as I will admit that I bought the book 50 Shades of Grey at a yard sale–actually all three of the books for a total of $1.00–just thinking that this would be an interesting read. After three weeks I hadn’t made it halfway through the first in the series as I just couldn’t understand what the hoopla was all about. Really? Having some older guy controlling a young female with whips and chains and then having his way with her seemed quite odd. I mean, seriously? Women like this stuff? This stuff is romantic? So I donated the books to the Senior Center thinking maybe some of them older ladies could fantasize on my dime. At my age I’m thinking I’m too old to consider bondage and other control mechanisms as ways to enjoy the company of my wife. I can see it now: “Honey, I’m home and I brought the whips and the chains and some leather straps.” If I brought that stuff home my wife would just whoop me (I’m not talking just a spanking) tie me up,and leave me somewhere–like in the middle of the desert for the coyotes to devour. (Ok maybe not) So no “50 Shades of Grey” today; I’m staying with my Valentine color of choice–red. (Digression over)

On Friday, we had traveled to Scottsdale so I could go to my skin specialist Dr. Cummings http://swskin.net and she could laser away some of the 50 Shades of Red that has overcome my face from years of sun abuse. 350+ laser shots later (they hurt) we head back to Payson and Carolyn is determined to get us on the trail come Saturday morning. (This is a great place for skin care.) I’m a bit beat up but ready to roll Saturday morning. I am sick with a cold and sneezing and coughing has overcome me. Breathing is labored but I’m game for this adventure. After all it is Valentine’s Day and I am determined to spend it with my love.

To make the day extra special, our ASU daughter, Jordyn, has decided to join us on our grand adventure planned by Carolyn. I actually get to be with two of my loves and added bonus. Carolyn has picked out the Flat Iron trail in Lost Dutchman state park 5929-888888_1200816757-11as what we are going to do. We meet up with Jordyn at the Mesa Riverview Chick-Fil-A for coffee. Why? It is free due to free coffee February at all Chick-Fil-A restaurants and you don’t have to purchase anything to get a free small hot coffee or a medium iced coffee. Got to love it! Jordyn has picked up our subs from http://www.silverminesubs.com with a BOGO coupon provide by the Entertainment book. Great subs.

We travel to Lost Dutchman http://azstateparks.com/Parks/LODU/ only to find out the park is full and it is suggested that we go to the Water Road and find some place to park and come back in. We find a place and walk back about a half mile to the entrance and we are allowed in for the $7 fee charged for cars instead of the $3 a person fee as in walk-ins.LODU_Park_Map

I’m already tired due to being sick but I just suck it up and off we go another half mile or so to the trailhead. We have been told that this is a six hour hike but we’re tough so on we IMG_1919go. We are going from 2,000 feet to about 5,000 feet and supposedly a 2,000 foot gain in less then a mile–meaning we are headed straight up at some point. We make it to the Basin and I’m now a full 50 Shades of Red due to the exertion and my lack of breathing power. I can’t go on so I figure I can hang out, eat my sub, and check out the views from 3,100 feet. Spectacular! Carolyn and Jordyn decide to move on up to a point where Jordyn have traveled before. We know that today will not be the day to get to the top of Flat Iron.

10974288_10204724291760222_1982465102294178068_oThe girls come back and join me for lunch and we decide to make our way back down the trail and we take Jacob’s Crosscut Trail as a possible short cut to the Water Road. We enjoy this time together just having fun talking and laughing about various life activities like upcoming weddings. Next time I hope to have the GoPro up and running.

Eventually we end up at our vehicle and it has been decided that we are going to check out a couple craft breweries in the East Valley and I’m not going to let this cold stop me from enjoying a cold one.

Downtown Mesa is our destination as we head to the Desert Eagle Brewing Company http://www.deserteaglebrewing.com/#!home/cb47 located right by the soon to be light rail coming through to Mesa. Very cool place and good brews. Carolyn has a pomegranate wheat and I go with the Baja Pilsner. They have a nice outdoor seating area and we enjoy some popcorn and company. So we get to just sit with Jordyn as she sips her water and discuss college, grades, jobs, and whatever else comes up. A very nice time is had and it was even Happy Hour which was a pleasant surprise, but it is time to move on to our next stop, the award winning Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company in Gilbert. After all we were in the Wilderness so this seems like an appropriate place to go. Carolyn has some sort of “blonde” stout and I have the regular stout. Both mighty fine brews. We order some food and Jordyn gets the chicken sandwich but Carolyn and I go for some concoction of pulled pork and french fries. It was delightful! Another spot for meaningful conversation sipping our brews-Jordyn her water.  Eventually we head back to Chick-Fil-A where Jordyn’s car is parked.

You guessed it, back in for some more free coffee. While at Chick-Fil-A, my friend Max Foster calls and I tell him he is interrupting my Valentine Dinner at Chick-Fil-A and he just thinks that is funny. I try to convince him that isn’t so but he sure got a kick out of that one. (As Max would tell me in reference to “50 Shades of Grey” we would have to tie up our wives so they can’t leave, but again I digress.)

Home at last, as this sick guy crawls into bed, putting on Netflix, ready to at least watch a nice romantic movie with Carolyn before drifting off into the land of restless, cough-filled sleep. Nice try, we binge watch four episodes of “The Killing” to finish off season 1.  http://www.amctv.com/shows/the-killing The detectives Sara Linden and Stephen Holder have great chemistry. We just love the show. Dark and dreary Seattle. Great acting. The Killing (Season 1)What’s not to like? “50 Shades of Grey” takes place in Seattle and this show is much better and thank goodness nobody had to get tied to the ceiling. What a great Valentine’s Day! A beautiful time with my beautiful valentine–Carolyn.

Just so you know we did exchange gifts and I won’t go into details but I did receive something with an Aaron Rodgers theme but that is a story for another day.

P.S. Just writing this stuff has turned me “50 Shades of Red”.

About timfruth

Longtime public educator who recently retired from public education. Messed around in politics as a town councilor and vice mayor. I am a father and a husband who currently works in a new active career in Human Resources. Love the outdoors and rapidly adjusting to a new me.
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