AZ Open – Road Trip!

A couple weeks ago Nixon and I road tripped down to beautiful Buckeye, Arizona to watch Cooper race in the AZ Open. It isn’t very often that I get to spend a big chunk of alone time with Nixon so this was a special treat. He was super excited about it too!

I rented a cute little Nissan Sentra from Enterprise. It worked out so well! This car got amazing gas mileage and was the perfect size for Nixon and me. I had it for whole week and I saved money over what I would have spent if I had taken my truck. I forgot how much I enjoy driving zippy little cars!

It was gloomy and cold when we left home. We had planned on leaving the following day but there was a big snow storm coming in. We ended up being able to stay ahead of it. It was a glorious 60 degrees when we reached Las Vegas to stay the night.

Nixon and I enjoyed dinner at Ihop along with a few games of Uno. I keep a deck of Uno cards in my purse for when we are eating out or traveling. The boys love to play and it beats the heck out of them having their heads buried in their phones.

We spent the night at The Holiday Inn Express in Henderson, NV. It worked out perfectly. Ihop was right across the street so we didn’t even have to get back in the car. The hotel was clean and the staff was great. I had requested extra pillows when I made my reservation. When we got to our room there were no less then 6 fluffy pillows on our bed! It was perfect! Breakfast the next morning included Cinnabon cupcakes.

We woke up early the next morning to a perfect sunshiny day and hit the road for Buckeye! We were pretty anxious to be there already.

The drive from Las Vegas to Buckeye was beautiful. I forget how beautiful the desert is. I grew in the Mojave Desert in California. I hated it! It was so so hot. Now that I live in a place that sees lows of -20 in the winter I miss the desert like crazy.

We got there just in time to see Cooper race one of his first motos.

For those of you who are not familiar with Motocross this is how it works. Each rider signs up for classes. There are different classes based on the size of your bike (50, 65, 85 etc), your age, your experience level and whether your bike has been modified or not. Each class races “motos”. There are different types of events. Some are one day events where each classes races 2 motos. They run through all the motos once, take an intermission, then run through them a second time. Some weekend events run through all of the motos once each day. At some events riders have to qualify for the Main Event in qualifying motos. This is how Supercross is run. I don’t claim to be an expert but you get the general idea.

This particular event had a practice day on Wednesday. On Thursday they practiced in the morning then start with moto 1 in the after noon. They raced as many motos as they could that afternoon then picked up where they left off on Friday. They continued this way for Saturday and ended on Sunday.

The track was a mud pit Friday morning after getting some rain the previous night. The little bikes had a hack of a time getting through it! The track dried out over the rest of the weekend and there was some pretty good racing!

In truth there is a lot of hurry-up and wait at these races. We spend a lot of time hanging out in the pits and at the start gate.

 

Cooper’s dad, Adam, spends a TON of time keeping Cooper’s bikes in tip top shape. He washes them after each race, he changes the oil, checks tire pressure, switches out sprockets etc. He is also constantly pushing Cooper and coaching him to be better. They both work really hard for their shared passion.

After our long days at the track we needed food and rest. We stayed at Holiday Inn Express & Suites Phoenix West – Buckeye. This hotel was perfectly located right off the freeway. It was very clean and welcoming. The breakfast they provided was really good. They also had those Cinnabon Cupcakes! There were several restaurants including a Fire House Subs, Frederico’s Mexican Food and Denny’s right in the same shopping center so we could grab food without getting back in the car. The boys even got to enjoy the outdoor pool and hot tub. Check out my Instagram Stories for some awesome videos of them in the pool. We did have an awful experience at a restaurant the first night we were there (they are not mentioned in this article) but we don’t have to talk about that…

All in all it was a great trip. It has only been in the last few months that Cooper’s dad and I have been getting along well enough for me to attend these races. I really enjoy them but it’s hard. These are his people. The motocross community at this level is pretty small. They are a family. It is a really special thing for my boys to be  part of. As the ex-wife, I don’t exactly get a warm welcome. My ex-husband and I also parent very differently. We try to get along for our boys but at this particular race we both lost our cool on the third day and ended up yelling at each other in the pits. I’m pretty ashamed of it. Co-parenting is super hard but so incredibly worth it. Even after our epic failures Cooper was very happy to have us both there. That is all that matters.

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Cooper ended up finishing 6th Overall in his 50 class. This was his last race on his 50 so it was bitter sweet. He has been racing 50s since he was 4! Look at that cute grin!

We ended up making the very long drive home after racing was over on Sunday. We started the day in 65 degrees and sunny Arizona and came home to snow and temperatures in the teens. We had In & Out on the way home though so that made it feel a little better.

It was a fantastic trip. The only things missing were Houston and Roman. I was so glad to come home to them! We definitely need to move to a warmer climate though 😉

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