Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Arizona Weekend

This morning Thor and I set out for Phoenix for another one of his world famous business trips. This one, however didn't require him to fly and so we were able to take a looong drive through the back roads of the California desert and on into Arizona. Lots of little towns (maybe 5?)! We drove through 29 Palms...very misleading, there are more than 29 palm trees. Home to the largest U.S. Marine Base, the town itself is actually quite small. All of the usual fast food restaurants, one very small market, two gas stations and odd shops and random curiosities. A couple of chain motels and you're right back on the road.

We stayed on highway 62 for the majority of our drive and veered off at Vicksburg to the I-10 east into Phoenix. Along the way we saw plenty of barren wind blown scenery. Some of the valleys were so vast and beautiful. The mountains that fell into hills then square off into mesas were interesting. The 'bad-lands' made me feel sorry for anyone who may have had to cross them in anything other than a comfortable car.

It surprises me, however, how many small homes are sprinkled out miles from the nearest town. We drove along side the rail road tracks almost the entire drive and cris crossed the aqueduct several times. At one point we noticed that the folks who passed this way often enough had taken some time to gather up the red, black, tan, and white stones from the rail way and write their slogans, names, tributes, or proclaimed their undying love for each other for all travelers to see on the railway berm. This advertising went on for about 5 or so miles. Some were quite elaborate with borders and fancy fonts, others spray painted in neon colours to stand out from the ordinary rocks, while still others had been there so long that time, wind, and other elements had scrambled the message a tad.

Trees and fences draped with shoes sprinkled here and there, 'lost soles' on the highway, and we found one very tall, very crowded pole with arrowed directionals for home towns from Tokyo to Oceanside, Boston to Chicago, and personal family homes....all such and such miles from that point. Some of the markers were accented with a sock, a shoe, or hat. Some of them had elaborate decorations, reflective dots, or paint; while one was hand carved and quite professional looking. At the base of the sign was a small box, weighted with a round stone. Inside the box, a photo of a young man, a few trinkets, and a paper note. Thor and I had found a marker in a GPS search game. Cool. The idea is that you go to a certain website, gather the GPS info and set out to find the marker. Find it and take a trinket while leaving one of your own for another player to exchange. We just got lucky, so we didn't exchange anything, just admired the adventure of others in the game.

We came upon Bouce. A small town -so much so that neither population nor elevation were posted. What they did post was a rather 'town-length' tribute to the soldiers of WW2 who trained there in tanks. A secret mission to prepare them for a trip to the shores of France and other operations that led to the success of the war. It was a nice memorial and impressive, especially given the locale and the size of both memorial and town.

We came across more "R.V. Park"s than you could shake a stick at. Seems anywhere the sand could be dragged clear of weed and stone you could post a sign and call it home.

I have to admit to never having been to Havasu or Parker in Arizona. Today was the perfect day to be there. The weather was warm and overcast as we are waiting for the storm to come in. I can only imagine this place during the heat of August. God bless those folks. There is the river (Colorado) that runs through town. On either side of the river banks there is growth, some weeds, small trees and a few feet of desert grasses. After that you have sand for miles, and miles, and miles more. This place was des-o-late! The folks there seem happy enough, however, to play and live along this great river and happier still that the tourists come around to enjoy it also. A small bustling town, full of people who love the desert life.

We drove past an interesting new 'plant' where many cows were eating peacefully under shaded canopies complete with over head fans to keep them comfy. I wondered why there would be a dairy so far out in the desert...well it's not a dairy, it's a plant for making energy out of recycled hay (if you get my drift). What will they think of next? Hello Ed Begley!

The surrounding area west of Phoenix has grown considerably since we drove through just a few years ago. Lots of new housing and industry! It's always a surprise for me when I see Phoenix on the horizon, a city out in the middle of vast land, POP! just sitting there like L.A.

We found our hotel in the downtown area and checked in. Construction is bustling around us and you can still hear it pounding away at 8 in the evening. But the city lights are pretty and our room is very large and unexpectedly nice. The large arched window frames other hotels and the downtown area, a parking area that is lit with giant white balls reminiscent of the 60's, and trees filled with white twinkle lights. It's pretty to see the cars going up and down the block and hear an occasional honking horn, and bus rumble by- stopping and hearing the "pecsssh" of the air brakes. We are obviously near an airport and we can see the planes as they fly by ready to land. Some of them are silent, while they others roar through the air between the buildings. I love the city and so all of the noise is music to my ears. There are trains here also, and we can here them call out a warning as they approach the intersection a mile or so off.

Tomorrow while Thor is in his meetings, I will wander through the city with camera in hand. The last visit here I spent considerable time at the Catholic Mission. Such pretty architecture I couldn't resist! This city is interesting in many ways. One of them is how there is a very modern building sitting cheek to jowl next to a hundred year old church, a high rise next to a small bakery, a commercial bank neighboring a condo. Never an empty lot, always construction. I come, you'd better smile.

add to sk*rt


Lisa M. said...

Oh what a trip, can't wait for the photo's.

Oh, the place's you'll go~!

melissa c said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE your new blog page! Blue is so soothing! I did my room in blues. Love it!

I love road trips too! It's the best way to see the world!

chronicler said...

wow you sure make a four hour drive through the barren waste of eastern california sound good! Next time I'm going with you. ;-)

Sarah said...

What a cool idea to have that GPS game! Can you get a picture of that tall crowded sign post you described on your trip back home?

s'mee said...

Lisa, photos coming...along with links after I talk with sis about this new "upgrade" hurumph!

Melissa, Thanks! My fav. colour is green, but I like the blue also! It's a good change.

Sis, anytime! The back seat is yours!

Sarah, I took a photo of the pole, plus lots of other stuff. I'll post them soon. The GPS thing is something you can google/Ask and find more info on. A GPS costs about $400 and so Thor and I won't be officially playing anytime soon! lol But there are different types of the game and groups and its a whole big deal! who knew?

Lisa M. said...


I haven't dared the new transistion.

I am a cling to the old ways, till you don't have a choice type girl.

Someday, I'll grow up.


(or not)