They built a new LDS Temple in Gilbert, Arizona. It sounded like a fun winter getaway that wouldn't require taking any time off work. The planned guests changed, but the experience was still great! I ended up going with a female teenage friend. We left early Saturday morning and enjoyed driving through small towns in Utah while having girl talk and asking ridiculous "would you rather" questions.
We were tired by the time we got to our hotel and had barely eaten all day, but we quickly changed into church clothes and drove to the open house. It was the very last day and there was a crowd. We parked in a dusty field and hoofed it over, making our shoes filthy. The weather was delightfully in the high 80s! We had to run the A/C in the car!
You aren't allowed to take pictures inside, but it was so gorgeous! I loved the color scheme and we whispered oohs and ahhs all the way through. There were a lot of stairs and low blood sugar started to hit me. I was hanging on to the railing by the last few sets of stairs, hoping not to fall over. There are normally cookies in the open house, but maybe they ran out by the time we got there.
As soon as we finished taking pictures, we programmed the Mesa LDS Temple into the GPS and headed over there. We thought it would be cool to visit two temples while we were there. We had planned to grab a snack along the way, but suddenly the quality of the neighborhood went downhill and distracted us. We survived a little longer without food. It was too dark to get good pictures, but it was a lovely temple. Very different from the normal design with spires, but the palm trees were a welcome sight. We went inside to do some temple work. We both got a little lost inside but managed to find each other outside at the end.
I had located a restaurant that was on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, so we headed there next. There was quite a line, but we were starving and decided that meant the food was good. If you're ever in Gilbert, go to Joe's Farm Grill! I got a Southwest Burger and garlic fries. The Grilled PB and Banana Split sandwich sounded intriguing, but I wanted some solid meat. They grow their own veggies on-site.
We took the food back to our respective rooms. I immediately changed into jammies and started wolfing food. The fries had a garlic parmesan topping that left your mouth with a garlic aftertaste, but didn't leave you feeling the next morning like something had died in your mouth. The burger...oh man...it was one of the best burgers I have ever had. It was pink and juicy, and the toppings were packed with flavor. I had gotten coleslaw but wasn't given a fork. I didn't care. I started eating it by the handful. I was a mess by the time I was full. Absolutely worth it. I had plenty left to eat on our Sunday drive home. The fridge in my room was adjusted too cold and froze my leftovers overnight, which was okay because then it stayed cool longer on the drive.
I had made the drive on very little sleep, so I slept well and struggled to get up for 8am church. We attended sacrament meeting in a humongous local ward (we really grew to understand how many LDS Church members there are in the area!), which was one of four wards meeting in the same building. After free breakfast, we hit the road again. We took a different route back, through Vegas, hoping for different scenery to make us forget that we were making the long drive again, already. I saw new towns and gorgeous scenery, but there is a whole lot of nothing in Arizona and I much prefer the drive to SoCal. We managed not to buy food on Sunday, eating our leftovers and a yogurt from breakfast.
Great experience. Never want to drive there again. So blessed that it was possible!