I spent this past weekend with my three sons. It was especially nice because it was also Father’s day weekend. In the past I have taken them to theme parks, the mountains, and even the beach in Southern California. This year however I decided on the less time-consuming and more affordable option of the “Staycation”. Staycation is a method of vacationing where instead of leaving town one simply takes advantage of the local amenities and attractions near home. This of course helps to keep your vacation less complicated and less expensive.
We awoke Saturday morning to temperatures already creeping towards the triple digit mark. It was going to be a hot day and where better to spend it than on the Parker Strip. Ken & Denise Stelle operate the Harbour Inn which is located just a couple miles south of Parker Dam on AZ-95. I have always been impressed with the attention to detail that has gone into the property. Not only does Harbour Inn score big on its curb appeal, but one step into our two-bedroom bungalow and it was obvious that the attention to detail had been continued inside as well. Granite counter tops, stone-cut tiles, full kitchen, beautiful linens, open air walk-in shower…the list of impressive features goes on. I instantly felt comfortable and honestly didn’t want to leave such a pleasant space, but our day was only beginning.
After generously applying sunscreen to my children we hopped back into the car and proceeded to Buckskin Mountain State Park where we had planned to meet up with my parents and friends, including Ken & Denise from Harbour Inn. Admission to the park for day use was $10 a vehicle and it was well worth the fee. The beautiful beach and designated swim area was particularly nice. Watching my boys splash and play in the river took me back to when my parents would take my siblings and I as children. Four generations of my family have played in the waters of the Colorado River. That’s a tradition that I am proud to have continued with my family. Boats, Jet skis, and countless towables sped past us creating waves that crashed onto the beach knocking down our meticulously built, yet extremely fragile sandcastles. My youngest son found this to be both disheartening and entertaining. A milestone was achieved by my oldest son: He rode a wave runner for the first time. I took him out for a 3 minute ride downstream past Roadrunner. We rode under the hanging feet from a pair of young women parasailing. Yes, it was a great time. When we arrived back to our beach we began prepping for a cookout. In true Dad fashion he brought steak, chicken, burgers, and hot dogs. We were covered when it came to meat. There’s something mesmerizing about the sight and smell of flames dancing from lit charcoal. The sound of marinated meats being placed on a heated grill surface filled the air as bags of potato chips were tore open and a carefully chosen watermelon was sliced in half.
The sun always seems a bit bigger and brighter in Parker. Temperatures shot past 110 degrees and we were running out of cold drinks. As it has for generations in my family, the combination of river fun, heat, and devoured meats sent us all into a coma-like state. In the shade of a large mesquite tree we sat enjoying the final moments of our day on the Parker Strip. I began thinking back on my life here in Parker, Arizona. The fact that thousands of people choose my home as a playground every summer reaffirms that I live in a very special place. I’ve been lucky to have lived in paradise for a majority of my life. I’m going to enjoy days like these as long as I can.
Staycation 2015 was a success.