May 13, 2013 at 5:20 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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It was supposed to be a week in Mexico, but airfare from Anchorage was prohibitively expensive.  So, Michele traded it for a week in Scottsdale, Arizona.  I had never been to AZ at all, so it was a new experience.

driving Mingus Mountain

The first place we went was Jerome.  We headed north on Route 17, got stuck in standstill traffic a couple hours… finally got moving again.  Turning west on Route 69, through more desert [and Prescott] and then climbed up through the trees to the mighty Mingus Mountain!  Something like 200 turns in 12 miles.  Here is Michele negotiating a blind curve in our rented VW Beetle.

jerome street

Jerome is a funky little town that was a 19th century mining town, then later was nearly abandoned.  Today it’s a mix of full time residents and accommodations for tourists [B&Bs, wine bars, shops and galleries].  Steep switchback streets and buildings clinging to steep rock cliffs.  Totally charming.

We went back on our last day.  Next trip, maybe we’ll just stay here [Scottsdale was nice, but it’s a little rich for my blood].

sedona rock form

A rock formation near Sedona.

hammond B-3 at MIM

One of the newer museums in the area is the MIM [Musical Instrument Museum] in Scottsdale.  We were overwhelmed by it.  Lots to see — too much, really.  Built by the former CEO of Target, it is a first class facility.  It’s organized by continents, and runs through a musical history of the world with displays and accompanying video clips.  Here is a Hammond B-3 organ.  You’ve heard this in a lot of popular songs, even if [like me] you didn’t know what it looks like.

turntable mixing board

Custom turntable and mixer from the Hip-Hop section of the MIM.



taliesin west tour start

The beginning of a 90 minute tour of Taliesin West.  This was my trip highlight.  It was all I’d imagined and more.  I really appreciated the perspective our tour guide gave to Frank Lloyd Wright’s life, work and character.  All the anecdotes and stories — priceless!  He was, and continues to be an outsider — designing against the current and the European tradition.

FLW's fire breathing dragon

Most of Wright’s art collection isn’t on site anymore, but there is this dragon.  I almost wanted to come back for the evening tour so I could see it spit flame!  It was funny to think of the old man and some Hollywood actors hunkered down watching movies in one of the theaters there in the 1940s.

taliesin west bldg


first day of indian school

We went to the Heard Museum in downtown Phoenix.  An amazing place.  Loved how they have integrated modern galleries without changing the classic exterior.  There was a whole world of native artifacts and some contemporary exhibits too.  This shot is from an installation about Indian boarding schools, in all their ghastly horror!


shade tree

The development pattern in the greater Phoenix west valley is kind of shocking — a low scale pattern of strip retail, large lot residential and high speed arterials spreads out for miles and is still under construction.  But I noticed that in 50 to 75 ft deep buffer zones along the arterial roads there is still a functioning desert environment with all kinds of plant and animal life.

cactus flower


michele cameraman glasses

Michele at the Desert Botanical Garden.  I like this photo for the atmosphere, even if it isn’t the greatest portrait and has a blown highlight.

a real tree

There’s nothing like getting out of Alaska once in awhile!  I always stop and marvel at large trees, because in Southcentral we really don’t have any.

cosanti and michele

Another highlight was Cosanti, the home of architect Paolo Soleri and the place where wind chime bells and other handcrafted art pieces are produced.  This was really worth seeing!  Next trip, I will go to Arcosanti!


My old co-worker, friend and real estate guru Peggy tipped me off about Cosanti.  I had a nice lunch with her and caught up.  And she gave us some great tips on restaurants.  We had a grilled artichoke and I had a ‘Macho Salad’ at Bandera in Old Town Scottsdale.  Man, was that good!  Wow.

AZ route 69

So long, AZ!  I had a great time and will be back!


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