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.

Huzzah! Arizona Renaissance Festival Time Means It’s Spring

Huzzah! In Spring, Arizona won’t turn the clocks to daylight savings time. The Phoenix area turns it back 450 years for the Renaissance Festival. Festival time in perfect Arizona spring weather Every February through April, it’s Arizona Renaissance Festival time. The event displaces the Sonoran Desert with an Elizabethan Village. In 2018 it turns 30-years-old. The fair takes place at a 17th century “village” east of Gold Canyon, Arizona. The time warp into the past is about a 45 minute-drive from most major Phoenix-Scottsdale resorts. The festival runs from the second weekend in February through the second weekend in April....

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Without this free add-on, GPS could kill you and your family

There is a crucial add-on needed for every GPS device used in vehicles or on phones. It’s being learned that without this add-on, GPS systems are potentially leading to serious emergencies and even death. The add-on is free. State departments of transportation are recommending that before leaving home with a trip programmed into GPS, the add-on be installed and driver and passengers learn to use it. It’s very simple, and it could save lives. This winter, emergency service crews have rescued dozens of stranded families whose dangerous brush with disaster was caused by using digital GPS mapping without a...

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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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