Phoenix, AZ

We rolled into Phoenix just after sunset and made our way to the capitol building. Waiting to meet us was Katie, Jody and Scott. They were all following our progress and came down to get some capitol building jump shots. We got the shots, but there were no stairs so we needed to improvise. Improvisation came in the form of a good ole' fashioned human pyramid. It was Jody’s first experience at the top of a pyramid and she was overly excited about it for the next several hours. And for good reason.

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Jody’s friend Leslie invited us all to come to Alice Cooper’s restaurant, Cooperstown in downtown Phoenix for dinner. Another offer not to be passed by, so we said bye to John and Mike then went for dinner. On top of hooking everyone up with free food and drinks Leslie gave us a tour of ‘The Dungeon’, Alice Cooper’s private lounge underneath the restaurant.

Jody and Scott set us up with a place to stay in downtown Phoenix for the night, so we headed off with them. Leslie and Katerina, Jody’s intern came over with us to get down for the night. By get down, I mean rock out with the several instruments Jody and Scott own. We got down with the trumpet, accordion, piano and guitar while Jody sang. You may want to note, except for Jody, none of us can play any of these instruments.

Jody and Scott are such hospitable hosts and a lot of fun too. We were joking around, playing games and laughing the whole time in Phoenix. They didn't even get too upset when I invited a couple people from the street to come join our party, even though one of them was really sketchy. Sorry about that guys.

Jody recently quit her job and focused on being a singer. She is in the process of finalizing her album called Pivot, check out her web site here and have a listen. Or better yet, go see a movie anytime between now and the end of December, but go a few minutes before the show starts. Jody’s video for her new single “Hounds of Romance” is featured in all the Harkins’ movie theaters around the country before every film is shown. Scott is a furniture designer and manufacturer. Their home is beautifully decorated with the diverse and stylin’ pieces he makes. Both Jody and Scott’s creativity is abundant in everything they do, and makes hanging around with them just that much more interesting.

We hung out, laughed and watched Jody perform late into the night in their Phoenix home.

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Thanksgiving with the Gnants

We had originally planned to get an early start on Thursday and make it out of town, towards Las Vegas for Thanksgiving. However, by the time we were ready to get going it was mid-afternoon. So, this gave us perfect reason to stay in Phoenix and hang out with everyone there for another night. Plus, Richard and Carol Gnant, Jody’s parents invited us for an all American Thanksgiving dinner, which we couldn’t pass up.

Richard and Carol, like so many Arizona residents, are not from Arizona. They moved down from Wisconsin for the weather, and are lovin’ the desert lifestyle. We accompanied about 15 people from Jody's family for the harvest feast. All of them were overly welcoming and we were all thankful to be together. Richard even gave us a big shout out while saying grace.

After an amazing dinner prepared by many amazing cooks, the turkey caught up to us and we were down for the count. Jody’s mom kept us all going with her humor, some of which caught us off guard. Didn’t think many grandmas out there were as funny as her, and it has definitely rubbed off on the rest of the family. From young to old we all hung out around their house talking, laughing and of course eating for the night.

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Vegas baby, Vegas

Our original plans were to catch a ride with Jody to Flagstaff, then hitch to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas. This leg of the trip got a whole bunch easier and better after meeting Katerina, Jody’s intern in Phoenix. She was keen to go on a road trip and offered a ride to Las Vegas. Jody allowed her to take her final two days off work and we were on our way.

Katerina, a vegitarian, who is originally from Bulgaria, and has been in Arizona for about six years. She’s working to get two degrees in Tourism and Fine Arts at ASU in Phoenix. She’s been Jody’s intern for the past couple months working with her on developing and promoting Jody’s new album.

We cruised through the town of Sedona on the way to Flagstaff. Apparently the area is a gathering place for mystics who believe the earth's energy is concentrated into power spots some call vortices. This means the area is a giant energy vortex, which is good for healing purposes. Whether you believe that or not, the area is definitely worth a look and a popular tourist destination.

It was a good thing we took a sidetrack through Sedona because it became apparent we weren’t gonna make the Grand Canyon before dark, and it was fogged in. We needed to make the decision: roll the dice on seeing the Grand Canyon, thereby getting into Vegas late at night, or scratch the canyon and focus on one night in Vegas. We went with option number two and sped off to Vegas.

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On the way into Vegas we got in our first, and hopefully last car accident of the trip. But, don’t worry it was about as minor as an accident can be. Scotty was driving Katerina’s car coming into Vegas on the freeway when the cars in front slammed on their brakes. We went from about 70 MPH to 0 in about 100 feet, skidding, tires smoking, horn blaring to a stop in the middle of the freeway. The final stop came with the tap of the person’s bumper ahead of us. A very close call, no damage done, but a good story.

It was Thanksgiving weekend, so almost everything in Vegas was either booked or expensive, so we stayed at the lovely High Hat Regency, not to be confused with the Hyatt Regency. Welcoming us to our room were cigarette butts, mold and broken glass on the floor. We didn’t even want to think about what’s gone on in that room, so we hit the town.

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It was just one night in Vegas so we needed to get it all in. We toured the strip, checked out several casinos, met lots of people and only lost $50 in the process. I was told to put $50 on red so I did. When the wheel stopped it was on double zero.

How anti-climatic, hopefully not a sign of things to come...