Eric Jay Toll

Eric is a reporter for the Phoenix Business Journal covering Economic Development. In free time, he covers the West--and other journeys along the way. Eric has been journaling about travel for more than 10 years. He is a traveler, camper, and accomplished chef--or fancy food dabbler, as the case may be. He lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Fresh Eggs and Ancient Farms in Southwest Colorado

County Road G is a rural road southwest of Cortez, but it’s the heart of an adventure deep in the land of the ancients and the beautiful scenery that makes up southwestern Colorado. Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch Her long dark hair drifting over her shoulder, petite Ming Adams strokes the feathers on a plump quietly clucking hen with one hand and reaches under with the other withdrawing a brown egg. Gently placing it the basket resting on the fresh sawdust floor, she nestles the basket into the crook of one arms, smiles and holds up one of...

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Get your kicks standin’ on the corner of Route 66 in Winslow, Arizona

C’mon! You know the words, “…standin’ on the corner in Winslow, Arizona, what a fine sight to see…” They pop into mind just seeing the “Winslow, 1 mile” sign on I-40. At least the Eagles’ song will divert music memories from “get your kicks on Route 66” or humming “da-di-da-di-di, da-di-da-di-di.” “Take It Easy,” by the Eagles, “(Get Your Kicks) On Route 66,” from Nat King Cole, and Nelson Riddle’s theme for the “Route 66” TV show are three memory-wracking songs touting road trips on the “mother road” between Chicago and Los Angeles. Though no longer an actual U.S....

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One Amazing Family Day at Chaco Culture National Park

It’s possible to plan an educational and memorable experience for one day at Chaco Culture National Historical Park, near Nageezi, New Mexico. This is possibly the first major conference and convention center in world history. Despite the thousands of rooms between the pueblos, archeologists and anthropologists estimate the full-time population was around 2,000 people. Chaco Culture National Historical Park is one of those places that stir a different family experience. It shows that contrary to popular media, there were extraordinary and sophisticated cultures living in the U.S. before Europeans arrived. The Chacoans were the ancestors of today’s Pueblo Indians....

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Seven Arizona Drive-to Must-Sees Phoenix to Grand Canyon

  One quarter of all Americans think that the Grand Canyon is near Las Vegas, and not in Arizona, making the mistake of adding hours and boredom in getting to one of the most beautiful places on earth. Flying into the Grand Canyon State makes it possible to see any of seven different national monuments on the road from PHX to the Grand Canyon National Park. Agua Fria National Monument, Black Canyon City, Arizona Agua Fria National Monument. 45 minutes north of Phoenix, I-17 exits 256, 259 or Cordes Junction. More set up for sight-doing, Agua Fria is a...

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Take a hike: Bryce Canyon Queen’s Loop is family-friendly

National Parks are often places families get out of the car and just walk to an overlook. Bryce Canyon National Park has a variety of trails that are family-friendly. The easiest and most beautiful is the Queen’s Garden Complex that mixes family-friendly with something a little more challenging for those sojourning further. People talk often of Zion National Park, but the more beautiful of the two southeastern Utah national parks is Bryce Canyon National Park. Zion is beautiful and its nickname as “the Yosemite of Utah” is well-deserved. Its less-crowded back country is breathtaking, the towering canyon walls and...

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Mamas, Come West and Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys (and Cowgirls)

The air is still while the billowing cumulus clouds contrast white against an azure sky over the Tucson Mountains. The quiet is broken with the distant sound of children giggling and shouting, horses snorting, and the readying clump of horses into the soft Sonoran Desert sand. At the far end of the arena, some longhorn cattle are clustered together watched over by a professional wrangler. The music blares, the announcer roars enthusiastically, and a young rider heads into the arena to cut a  cow from the herd and move it into a corral. It’s the last day of a...

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Skip the Crowds and Head for Carlsbad on San Diego Coast

Carlsbad, California is a quiet beach resort town located north of San Diego and away from the crowds. Home to Legoland, it offers much more as a base for a family trip to the golden California Coast. The waves are lapping quietly against the beach as we ready to push our kayaks into a salt water lagoon. The water is mirror smooth, and it reflects the clouds building against a blue California sky. It’s mid-morning and a paddle past the buoys away from host Carlsbad Lagoon, and the only sound is the rhythm of paddles dipping into Agua Hedionda...

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Utah Slot Canyons: Little Wild Horse has family-friendly start

“Hurry up, there are a lot of people behind us,” said the mother while shepherding her children through the slot in Little Wild Horse Canyon, Utah. “Let’s go! Don’t step in the puddles.” One group of exhausted Girl Scouts had just come through the slot heading downhill, the Boy Scout troop was anxious to head up the canyon opening just wide enough for a single file line. Everyone was ready to get moving up or down canyon. Little Wild Horse is one of the few family-friendly slot canyons in southern Utah. It’s accessible by a paved road, highly unusual...

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Grand Canyon (Arizona) below the rim: Ooh-Ah Point is a family-friendly hike

“They look like birds,” giggled my daughter as we rounded a rock outcropping and looked down on our destination another thousand feet down the South Kaibab Trail. This is as easy hike with the kids. Wide and smooth on the decline to the first breath-taking overlook, this popular Grand Canyon National Park hike takes us well below the rim and far out onto a deep-canyon overlook. Like a colorful flock sunning on the sun-bright orange rocks, hikers sit on the Canyon’s natural sand¬stone slab benches taking in the view at Ooh-Ah Point just above Cedar Ridge. The less than...

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