GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Over the years, I’ve gotten the Sarasota vs. Goodyear question a lot. People wanted to know which spring training site I preferred.
The answer was always the same: Goodyear.
It doesn’t match up with Sarasota culturally. And there’s no beach. But once the games start, Goodyear is so much easier to deal with. A long road trip is a half hour. That’s the shortest trip in the Florida. Plus, you have the “road” games with the Indians at Goodyear.
So from a work standpoint, spring training in Arizona is so much better.
But getting to Arizona isn’t. When people asked if you could drive it, my answer was always the same: Oh, God, no. In my previous springs in Goodyear, the only variable was if I got a direct flight or not.
But now that I’m semi-retired and freelancing, I decided if I was going to do spring training I was going to drive it. I’m typing this in the Reds press room, so I’m living proof you can drive it.
But the caveat here is I would advise against trying to get here in a hurry. I took the scenic, four-day route. It was longer, but more pleasant than the direct shot.
I went through Denver. It helps that I have a sister there, so I could spend the night. I did the straight shot over I-70 to Denver. It took me roughly 18 hours, a couple of 5-Hour Energy drinks and a lot of iced tea. If I do it again next year, I’ll probably stop at Truman and/or Eisenhower libraries. Both are fairly close to 70.
From Denver, I continued on 70. I skied a day at Aprahoe Basin. From there, I drove onto Grand Junction and spent the night. I went from Grand Junction to Arches National Park in Utah. I spent most of Sunday hiking. Arches is one of the smaller, but more spectacular parks. My only complaint: It was a cloudy day, not ideal for pictures.
From Arches, I drove through Monument Vally in Utah. The scenery was awesome. I hadn’t gone that way before. It’s like driving through the set of old Western with all the grand vistas.
I spent the night in Flagstaff on Sunday. Then spent yesterday at the Grand Canyon. It’s a great time to go. It’s not crowded. The weather was great, in the 60s and sunny. I walked the Rim Trail. One note: The shuttle doesn’t go west beyond the park center until March 1. I discovered that when I was about three miles west of the park center.
The good news is I hit 25,000 steps on the Fitbit.
All in all, it was a pretty good trip. I stayed in inexpensive hotels along the way. Unpaid plug: Hotels Tonight is a great app for this kind of travel.
I’m going to be covering the Reds for the next 18 days for wcpo.com. I just spent some time in the clubhouse. A ton of players already are here. I even recognized a few.