Tag Archives: road trip

166118236

Four Peaks Brewery Bringing Local Life to Tempe Oktoberfest

image001Tempe’s own Four Peaks Brewery takes front stage as title sponsor of the 41st Annual Oktoberfest October 11-13. Four Peaks Brewery and their award-winning beers and ales will help the Tempe Sister Cities organization to attract record crowds to Tempe Beach Park where music, food and great beer make for an event that you won’t want to miss.

Oktoberfest is a signature event in the city of Tempe that draws more than 150,000 attendees each year.

Look for Four Peaks Brewery to debut their new Oktoberfest Lager, a German influenced full-flavor lager that will pair well with the traditional Oktoberfest foods such as bratwurst, schnitzel and pretzels. On Friday, October 11 Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell will kick off the festivities by ceremoniously tapping the first cask of Four Peaks Oktoberfest Lager.

In addition to the Oktoberfest Lager, Four Peaks Brewery will also serve the rest of their award winning lineup, including their Bavarian Hefeweizen as well as their crowd-pleasing Sunbru, 8th Street Ale, Kilt Lifter, Hop Knot, Peach Ale and Oatmeal Stout.

“Four Peaks is excited to support Tempe Sister Cities and one of the longest standing events in all of Arizona,” states co-owner Jim Scussel. “Our focus remains on Arizona, our customers and events which benefit worthy causes. We’re very excited about the partnership and potential it offers for both Four Peaks and our hometown.”

Oktoberfest attracts a wide range of attendees thanks to the great weather and many varied events. Children’s activities, live bands and a 5K fun run help to draw people from around the valley. Four Peaks Brewery will bring a true local flavor to the many beer tents while patrons celebrate the annual Bavarian ritual on the shores of Tempe Town Lake.

Admission to Oktoberfest is free. For more information go to tempeoktoberfest.com 

About Four Peaks Brewery
 
Four Peaks is an award-winning local brewing company that has been crafting a quality selection of staple and seasonal beers since 1996. They have received acknowledgement and praise for not only their ales, but also for their perfectly paired pub food offerings. There are 3 valley locations, and their craft beer can also be found at select establishments and supermarkets throughout the state of Arizona.
 
For more information, contact Greg Ross at greg@fourpeaks.com or visit www.fourpeaks.com

road trip

Tips To Keep Highways Safe & Clean During Your Summer Road Trip

Summer is the season when the wide open highway calls to many Arizonans, beckoning them to a road trip adventure. It is also when the state’s roadways take an extra beating from the paper litter, cigarette butts and blown-out tire treads that can accumulate when motorists don’t take time to plan ahead, according to the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), the organization behind the powerful “No Cups, Cans or Butts – Don’t Trash Arizona” initiative.

This summer, drivers can ensure a safe and litter-free road trip by following some advance-planning strategies:

  • Carry extra plastic bags (recycled grocery shopping bags) in the car for use when discarding trash, or visit www.DontTrashArizona.com to receive a free, reusable, recyclable trash bag to keep in your vehicle. Although research finds that about 60 percent of litter is intentional, typically occurring in places where debris has already accumulated, it’s important to note that ALL litter is preventable. Littering—whether accidental or intentional—is a class three misdemeanor, punishable by up to $500 in fines.
  • Keep a portable ashtray in the car for getting rid of cigarette butts. For newer vehicles that don’t have an ashtray, drivers can use an empty soda can instead. By discarding cigarette butts properly, drivers help keep the roadway clean, prevent toxic chemicals from contaminating the water system, and help reduce the incidence of wildfires started from sparks igniting dry brush that is commonly found along desert highways.
  • Properly maintain vehicle tires. The summer heat wreaks havoc on rubber, causing it to dry out and crack. To help avoid a tire blowout, drivers should examine the tread. AAA Arizona recommends checking tire tread by placing a quarter upside down in the tread grooves on several spots on the tire. If the top of Washington’s head is exposed at any point, it’s time to replace that tire. Blowouts can cause serious traffic accidents. Tire tread along Arizona highways also greatly contributes to roadway debris, creating a safety hazard for other motorists.

“We’re asking summer travelers to recognize litter is ugly, unhealthy, and unsafe,” said Tempe Mayor and MAG Chair Hugh Hallman. “Motorists who toss or lose trash on the roadway contribute to the 1.6 million tons of litter that must be removed from Valley freeways each year. A little advanced planning is all it takes to help put trash in its proper place.”

For more information about how to keep our highways clean and safe on your next road trip, visit Maricopa Association of Governments’ website at azmag.gov

sedona-az

Road Trip to Sedona

In 2009, my eight brothers and sisters wanted to do something fun for my father who was turning 63 years old that year. We chose to spend the weekend in Sedona because we always did things that were active, like going to Magic Mountain.

The day we were to leave, we loaded up six Tahoe’s of luggage and people, jumped on the highway and headed to our destination. The wind blew through my hair as the sound of a whistle crept in from the window.

As we drove, the beautiful, deep canyons and high mountains surrounded us. Once we reached our final location we pulled into the parking area only to see a huge, two-story log cabin with greenery surrounding it. No one wanted to unpack until they saw the inside.

As we opened the door and walked in it felt like we were transformed to another world. The furniture was rustic, western and outdated, but there was a homey feeling to it. The rooms were large; the patio had leaves on it from the large trees that were wrapped around the house, and the smell of whicker filled the air.

Everyone loved it. As the men got the bags out of the trucks, the ladies got down to business making dinner, lighting the fireplace, getting games out for the kids to play and talking about how excited we were to finally take a peaceful family trip.

My sisters Terri and Dina wanted to explore, so we went outside and walked around the wooded area. It was about 8 p.m., and we have all seen the movies where someone was taken from the woods, but we were excited and ready for whatever lurked in the darkness. We walked down a dirt pathway and found a small area with hammocks in a grassy area. We ran and jumped on them, laying out looking at the glowing pearl in the sky. It seemed like only a minute went by when we heard our oldest sister Sakina yelling, “Come eat you guys.” We raced each other back to the cabin.

Everyone stayed up talking, drinking hot chocolate or drinking strawberry daiquiris and enjoying the family moment that we never had a chance to do before.

The next morning all the girls got up, made breakfast and took the kids to Slide Rock. The water was cold, the sun was shining, and we spent the whole morning enjoying time as a family. The guys stayed behind playing cards, listening to music and talking about sports.

Once we all got back together, we wanted to do something fun for our last night there so we stayed up until 3 a.m. playing games that the younger generation didn’t know about like charades — a game in which somebody provides a visual or acted clue for a word or phrase, often the title of a book, play or movie, for others to guess. We also played hangman, a game in which one player has to guess the letters of a word before the other player has drawn a person being hanged, with one line being added to the figure for every wrong guess.

The next morning we ate our last breakfast together in the cabin, packed our things, loaded the trucks and headed back to the busy, hustle-and-bustle lives we all had in Phoenix.

Photo Credit: Meagan Carlton

Grand Canyon: Witnessing Two Memorable Wonders

Whenever out-of-state relatives visited, my family would always take them on a weekend trip to give them a chance to see a different part of Arizona other than the valley. It would be an adventurous activity up north, in an attempt to prove to them that Arizona isn’t all saguaros and dirt like most perceive it to be. One year, we took a friend on the must-see Pink Jeep Tour where we went deep into red-rock country for some bumpy four-wheeling fun. Another time we took our grandparents on the Verde Canyon Railroad, which is known as the longest-running nature show in the state. The train weaves through a valley at 12 mph, allowing passengers to see the flora and fauna in between Clarkdale and Perkinsville. All the trips are filled with gorgeous sights and  long-lasting memories.

However, the number one most memorable moment was during a trip to the Grand Canyon with our aunt, uncle and cousins who were visiting from Indiana.We made the drive in two cars via the Flagstaff route. Once we reached the park, we settled into our two cabins before going to see one of the world’s wonders. The best part of taking friends or family that have never been to the Grand Canyon is watching their face when they finally see it. Their eyes grow twice their normal size as if trying to take in the entire vastness of the canyon, and their mouths drop open saying “wow” in a non-verbal way. After the initial shock-and-awe wore off, we took them down the Bright Angel trail a bit. We walked down the trail that was no wider than arm’s length, hugging the side of the canyon wall and moving out of the way of the donkeys. When we felt we had gone far enough, we turned around to make the tiring hike back up.

We went to bed early because we were all tired, but also because we planned to catch the sunrise the next morning. You cannot visit the Grand Canyon and not watch the sunset or sunrise. It let’s you see the shadows slip away and the shades of red painting the walls and valleys. We drove to the lookout where a bundled-up crowd had slowly started growing. Right before the sun began to crest, we saw a light in the distance grow brighter and brighter. You could hear surprised gasps escape the mouths of everyone around you once they realized what the light was that they were seeing. It was a meteorite falling into the earth’s atmosphere right over the Grand Canyon. The flaming fireball zoomed right at us and many ran to hide while other tourists began snapping pictures. I clung to my father, as I watched my life flash before my eyes – literally. However, we were lucky that day. The meteorite disintegrated as it flew through the atmosphere and disappeared right over the forest behind us.

A quiet had enveloped the crowd. Everyone was looking at each other with large eyes and open mouths wondering if they had really witnessed what they just had. The sun rose over the horizon in a silence, as all the minds were still replaying that morning’s site that was now burned into memory.


Photo Credit: Meagan Carlton


Oil Rigs supply our addiction to oil

Eating Organic, Kicking Our Oil Addiction, Solar Forestation And More

With so much going on in the green industry it’s hard to focus on just one topic. I’ve gathered stories about eating organic, kicking our oil addiction, solar forestation and more.

Cross-country road trip to conserve water
In an effort to educate the public about water conservancy, the Environmental Protection Agency is launching an educational cross-country road trip called “We’re for Water”.  The trip kicked off Wednesday, July 14, in Los Angeles and will end in New York on August 3.  National monuments including the world’s largest toilet are on the itinerary and contestants will be Tweeting and posting on Facebook their experiences along the way.

Is “solar forestation” the new trend in green living?
Mounting solar panels to the roofs of parking lot stalls in order to take advantage of the sun seems like an easy and productive idea.  However, much more planning goes into the carrying out of this idea than most people think.  One idea is to have solar panels that rotate to capture the sun’s rays or panels that are angled a certain direction.  An architect calls this “solar forestation”.

Kick your oil addiction
This blog, which comes in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, details several ways the average person can kick their oil addiction.  But it’s not as easy as the patch or the gum.  Our oil addiction is engrained into our everyday lives in a way that’s going to be tough to kick.  Some of the solutions are no-brainers like walk and bike more, another solution is buying local.  Either way, if we want to kick our addiction to oil, it starts with us.

Easy way to eat organic, join an organic food club
This article is one piece in a 52-part series about ways for Arizonans to go green.  The list of organic food clubs is a little lacking but the idea is good.  Here’s another resource for finding organic food near you. www.organicstorelocator.com/all-arizona

The new superhero – No Impact Man
In a United States where oil seems to be on everyone’s mind, Colin Beavan – who usually goes by his alias No Impact Man – blogs about his choice to live greener and in an op-ed piece for the New York Daily News explains why all Americans are part of the problem.  However, Beavan has a tiny problem with the way the Daily News portrayed his opinions.  This post and the Daily News article will show you why Beavan thinks we’re all in this together.

foreground desert tray with coffee press and cup out of focus in background

Regions Bistro & Bar Highlights Recipes From Around The Country

With a brand new location in Scottsdale, Regions Bistro & Bar is serving American comfort food in style. In fact, it’s serving the type of homestyle cooking that would make Mom proud. Every month, one page in the menu changes to represent food from a different region (get it?) of the United States — from New England to the Pacific Northwest and everything in between.

Part of the menu remains constant, but this twist on cuisine and cocktails keeps things interesting and customers coming back each month. In case you don’t see your favorite region’s culinary dishes, the restaurant takes suggestions for future menus.

The ever-changing menu isn’t the only thing that hooks patrons. I was intrigued by the modern, sophisticated atmosphere from the moment I walked inside. Regions truly has something for everyone. The lounge, complete with a bar and televisions, is a great place for socializing and enjoying the happy hour specials. Meanwhile, intimate dinner seating, along with private dining areas, provide a cozier experience. The restaurant’s impressive happy hour specials with half-price drinks and small plates every day from 3-7 p.m., make it even more appealing.

The cocktails provide tasty enjoyment and amusement with creative names such as the Tree Hugger, the Flirtini and the Face Lift.

After checking out the lounge, our party moved into the dining area and began to examine the menu. It does indeed feature traditional American comfort food, but we could tell it was going to be a step up from what we were used to. For appetizers, we decided to sample steamed Oregon mussels from the regular menu and fried green tomatoes and okra from the monthly regional menu, which featured Mississippi soul food. The mussels, which were steamed in pinot gris, garlic, shallots, butter and cream, were impressive even to those of us who had never tried them before.

Next, of course, were the salads. While the traditional Caesar salad and American chop salad were exquisite, the table favorite was the wilted baby spinach salad, complete with toasted almonds, couscous, feta cheese and, the star of the salad, bacon vinaigrette dressing. It was a unique flavor that gave a tangy punch to the taste buds.

Finally, it was time for the main course. The overwhelming favorite was, not surprisingly, the epitome of comfort food: mac and cheese. But this was no Easy Mac. The pasta was mixed in a creamy sauce and topped with lump crab and more cheese, creating the most grown-up, sophisticated mac and cheese any of us had ever tasted. If crab isn’t your thing, it can also be prepared with shrimp or chicken, and no matter what, it’s sure to be a winner.
A close second for our table was the grilled wild Alaskan king salmon with corn relish and lemon butter sauce. It was perfectly grilled, tender and full of delicious flavor.

Although it was difficult to imagine being able to eat anything else, we knew we couldn’t leave without sampling dessert. After much discussion, we decided on three desserts: fresh fruit creme brulee, New World trifle and the regional dessert of the month, Mississippi mud pie. All three were absolute perfection and we left the restaurant feeling satisfied.

So the next time you’re craving some good old-fashioned comfort food, consider feasting on American comfort food with a twist. No matter how many times you visit Regions Bistro & Bar, there will always be something new to try!

If You Go:
Regions Bistro & Bar
9343 E. Shea Blvd., Suite 100, Scottsdale
480-657-2600
www.regionsbistro.com