When we found out this spring that Amanda's side of the family was having a family reunion in Arizona, it took us about 2.5 seconds to realize this might be the perfect excuse to check a few things off our bucket list.
So, we crossed 10 days off our calendars, packed our bags, and started our trip in Texas. We flew into El Paso, the west Texas border city that Amanda called home for the first 14 years of her life. For those of you who haven't been to El Paso, it is quite literally on the Mexican border. In the second landscape photo below you'll notice a red "X" sculpture off in the distance. That, and everything behind it, is in Mexico.
We were joined by her brother + dad and promptly set off to visit friends + family, a few of her old stomping grounds, and the family's favorite Mexican restaurants (because you just cannot find a real enchilada in Seattle).
From there, the four of us drove west through southern New Mexico to the middle of nowhere, Arizona. (No offense to the lovely residents of Sierra Vista). We had three lovely days with approximately 50 members of Amanda's extended family. On Saturday, a troupe of us went into Bisbee, Arizona to explore and go antique shopping.
Meet Dick. He was hanging out Bisbee's town museum. It was a stunning space that had many of the newspaper pages, maps, and town memorabilia that you see above. 92 years old. Quite a character, that one.
Our three days in Arizona were packed with long conversations with cousins at the bonfire, stuffing our faces with handmade tamales, and holding one of the 7 babies who were under the age of 1. It was really an amazing time.
From there, Brandon and I said goodbye to the family and jumped a solo flight to Los Angeles. We stayed with some of our dear friends in Long Beach and used their house as our launching point to explore Orange County. We explored some restaurants in North Hollywood, toured the Warner Brothers and Universal Studios backlots, and spent two days in Disneyland riding Star Tours over and over and over again.
All in all, a fantastic trip. Stunning scenery, wonderful people, roller coasters, and delicious meals. It was exactly what we needed.
Inevitably though, we added a few new items to our bucket lists. More roller coasters, visiting the Grand Canyon + Santa Monica beach, and shooting a wedding in that perfect Arizona light. Just sayin'.