Life on the Ranch-Canyon Ranch, Tucson

I live in Hawaii so it’s realllllyyy hard to leave to go on vacation,  As a former military brat, I travelled for the first 26 years of my life, so I don’t feel a strong urge to pack up my stuff and go anywhere that’s not on my wish list of St Petersburg to see the Kirov Ballet. Or take a short jaunt to see Alonso King or Complexions, or maybe travel to a city where a favorite band is performing.

So, kicking and screaming I went to Canyon Ranch in Tucson, AZ.

For weeks preceding my departure I made snarky remarks about going to the fat farm or rehab, because when you look at their online brochure, the ranch is all about metaphysical blah blahs, 12 steps, and health.

Ick. So not my cup of tea. Been there done that 20 years ago when it was in style to spout off, “me in relation to the universe” speak.

From my point of view, I have room to cut down on my glass of wine, chips, chocolate or candy-if I really wanted to, but I wouldn’t feel any desire to take myself to a locale where I would never have a desire to visit anyway.

Add to that the bf’s preference to take the 630AM flight.

I hate that because unless I’m going to a neighbor island, with the time difference, flying the AM flight takes up an entire day of my life just going to LA or SFO.

The 3 hour layover was actually a bright spot. Had a nice beet salad and last man’s meal at Wolfgang Puck’s airport location.

The glasses of wine helped me sleep the entire flight from LA to downtown Tucson. It was a night flight so we saw nothing.(The flight back my seatmate was a larger person and he leaned into the window while we flew over the scenics).

Tucson is a land of cactus and dryness as far as the eye can see. Imagine those cowboy westerns with Clint Eastwood in his poncho and flinty eyed gaze, as he squints into the horizon and takes a sip from a dried up leather water pouch.

That’s how I felt.

No humidity whatsoever. I had to carry around a water bottle and take a sip every 50 feet or so.

Checking in was pleasant enough. I’m sure reception is used to dealing with people who have a chip on their shoulder from facing the impending desert of less food and less drink, and more exercise. In the desert.

I admit, I was one of those people. The first morning we walked down to have our health assessment (aka opportunity to sell more spa services and special paid classes) I was grouchy.  At the same time I checked in and got my locker.

One thing I will say about CR is the staff is ginormous. Attendants in the locker room constantly put out fresh towels and neaten up the place after people shower, picking up bath mats and replenishing the towels at each station. There are icy towels by the steam/sauna room, and fruit waters by the jacuzzi in about 4 flavors. The goody drawer is stocked full of toothpaste, tooth brushes, razors, aspirin, bandaids, dental floss, ear plugs, reading glasses–all meant to be taken freely.

Heck even the shaving cream was a brand name.

I was issued a spa robe and slippers- I think I might have gotten some athlete’s foot, as after CR my foot is a little itchy. The lockers are digital. I’m not sure if the locker I received was on the bottom level cuz the attendant thought I was an old fart and it would be better if I sat to access my locker or not. CR was about 70% capacity, yet many of us were squished into the same area-so if someone was changing or getting into their locker there was a traffic jam.

The next day I had a portioned breakfast of 1/2 cup of granola, 1/2 cup of greek yogurt (the real unsweetened version) and a scrambled egg. Everything on the menu has calorie and fat counts. At CR you can eat as much as you want, all day every day. But everything is portioned out in what is the real suggested serving. For example, the pumpkin cheesecake, and peanut butter chocolate cake were about the size of a 2.5 stacked oreo cookie serving.

The point is, you can sit there and eat the entire menu ten times over if you want to.

While I was there I tried to take classes I would normally not do at HonClub. My first class was a core conditioning class which because I have no cardio stamina any more was challenging because it was fast. I also got a little nauseous from the smell of some sunscreen I tried. We used a “Vyper” apparatus while standing on a Bosu. Kind of fun. I like balance challenges anyway.

I also took a world beat dance class which turned out to be fun. A tall woman who I will always describe as a biker chick from a biker bar walked in with a scarf tied on her head at first. Seriously I was surprised she did not have any visible tats.

But the class was quite wonderful.  Looking at her she was not the picture of health but she could shake all her parts. The class turned out to be afro cuban with a live percussion trio.

I also tried the drum class where one of the trio taught us how to pound out beats using an African drum-very good instruction.

Boxing was fun-but I don’t think I want to try taking the class here where a guy teaches a small group at HC. I also tried aerial yoga-I liked it but the laundry detergent they used made me nauseous.

I only took one class with the bf (who fully utilized the facility. He meditated, breathed, sat out at the pool, stretched, rolled and steamed). The class was Tai Chi Sword-which I thought might be a style of tai chi. In fact, it was interesting in that the instructor taught us how a wood pole could be used to fend off attackers and how the tai chi “choreography” related to those defense moves. He brought out a large axe on a long pole for all of us to try. Everyone tried except me-there’s something about martial arts classes that stirs my aggression juices-so I thought it would be better to not take the axe out for a spin.

A couple of days in, I realized that people first arrive at CR kind of in a grouchy state of mind like myself. At first I just thought they were unfriendly, grouchy. But I realized that after a few days of the CR culture, you either gave in or didn’t. Some people that I would pass by on the walkways day after day, like myself loosened up. Others did not.

I did do some spa services. The most beneficial was the Connective Tissue “massage”. It was really a treatment where the attendant used a device to gently palpate my muscles and fascia. He theorized that all of my left side issues with my knee, foot, shoulder were related to a car accident where I was hit from the right side(driver on the right in Japan). That the 30 years since, my left over compensated. The gentle treatment eased the stiffness in my neck, as well as untwisted my torso which usually pulls to the left.

I also had an oxygen facial which highly moisturized my skin. CR uses top flight products from Switzerland and other skincare meccas (interesting not from Japan or Korea).

Our room was really nice-though housekeeping came while I was there so, the stories are true about whether the glasses are washed or not. Frankly I prefer to use a paper cup.

So, would I go again? I guess so.

k