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Experiencing Arizona by Car

Author: Shipmatesforlife (More Trip Reviews by Shipmatesforlife)
Date of Trip: October 2007

We located the gas station but the air hose was broken. Down the road a bit further we found another gas station with a working air hose but John had a heck of a time getting the air from the pump into the tire. Alas, he managed to squeeze enough air in to bring it up to "snuff". Now off we go! Our fun day began with our first stop at the Harley Davidson Shop to check out possible souvenirs for our friends who were Harley enthusiasts. Everything was priced out of our range but we did enjoy looking at their immense inventory. It is a "must" if you are a "Harley" fan.

From there we got directions to the Frank Lloyd Wright home - Taliesin West. It was a little tricky to find since it is tucked away in the landscape, which was Wright's intent. He was an architect who liked his structures to blend in with nature. We had no idea what to expect. In fact we didn't really know much about Frank but I felt we were soon to find out. We had to wait an hour for the 1:00 tour so we spent the time looking around the gift shop. Here again things were a bit pricey - nothing I couldn't live without. They finally called our group for the tour. They had umbrellas available for those who could not tolerate the intense sun. John chose a "smiley face" umbrella - imagine that!

Before the tour we were advised to consume a lot of water because of the arid weather. You can become dehydrated quickly. If you are thirsty you are already 25% dehydrated. So we followed orders and "drank".

frank lloyd wright house Taliesin West scottsdale arizonaThe tour lasted two hours. It was such a neat house. He certainly had his own style and a very unique color scheme. He liked red - lots of red. All the ceilings were low as was the seating arrangements. I surmised he was a short man and had a "thing" against tall people. Just my opinion!!! There were a lot of glassed-in wall areas that were originally open to the air. Huge stone fireplaces were in most rooms and they all looked like that has been used often over the years.

We took lots of pictures and hoped we would remember some of what we learned. We purchased three magazines with pictures and information about this home and other famous homes he designed, one in particular located in Pennsylvania, Falling Water. (We have since visited that home. It was fabulous.) I would highly recommend this tour.

After the tour we took the long way back (not our intent) to our hotel, stopping for ice cream at a little shopping center. (We have a thing for ice cream - ya think??) We went to the grocery store to buy a few things along with a case of water - 24 bottles - we wanted to have enough. We went back to the hotel to relax until it was time to get ready for our night on the town in Scottsdale. As I was putting on my makeup I realized I forgot to pack my mascara! Oh my!! I will have to buy one at our earliest convenience. John did not see the urgency at all - just like a man.

Linda picked us up at 5:30 for the Thursday Night Art Walk that Scottsdale presents during the summer and fall months. We parked the car near the Fashion Square and began our walk. We walked to the newest art display called The Doors by artist Donald Lipski located in front of P.F. Chang's China Bistro at the Scottsdale Waterfront. The dedication had just begun as we approached. The Doors consists of three 28ft doors standing upright, strategically placed together to form what looked like a tall tepee but actually it was a walk-in kaleidoscope. As you stepped inside your weight activated music. Then you look up to see the beautiful kaleidoscope at the point of the ceiling. We took lots of pictures. www.scottsdalepublicart.org

From there we walked and walked around the town - in and out of galleries. I must say, Scottsdale is an artsy community. Beautiful shops in the newer part of town but the "old town" held more interest for me. It was more common and down to earth. We ate at a little Mexican place and enjoyed every bite. It was crowded as were most of the restaurants. Many people enjoy the nightlife in this town. We left there around 9:00 and strolled back to the car.

We were exhausted but Linda had planned for us to return to her house. It was lovely and the dogs were incredible - she had four and was watching two others, so there were six dogs in all. She showed us two pictures my father (who died in 1988 at the age of 91) had given to her from his brief stint in the Army during WWI. She shared an interesting story my father had told her about one of the photos. "As the photographer was taking the picture of our large Army unit, he had to slowly pan from one end to the other to capture the entire group. A "clever" guy, who had been standing in the back row at the end of the group on the left, waited until he had been photographed, then he ducked and ran behind the last row of men to the other end and posed on the right end. So when the photographer's camera finally reached the other end of the group, he had captured the same guy in the picture twice." How innovative! Now we just do it with computers.

She took us home around 10:30. We were absolutely drained. Another full day in Arizona!

Fri. Oct. 19 Scottsdale/Flagstaff/Williams: We started the morning with another wonderful complimentary continental breakfast. We checked out and left this beautiful city around 8:15am for our trip to the Grand Canyon. Since we didn't want to waste the yogurt and half bottle of wine we had left, we stopped at the Wal-mart near the 101 to buy a Styrofoam cooler and a much needed mascara. We filled the cooler with ice and then we were off - Northward on 101.

The landscaping along the highway was so picturesque. The plants and flowering bushes were so neatly maintained in a distinct pattern and the road appeared to be clear of litter. It did have "Big Brother" watching though. TV cameras were mounted at various intervals to monitor the traffic flow. If you were caught speeding you would receive your ticket in the mail! Not what we wanted so we observed all speed limits. At 9:22 we were on 17N to Flagstaff, AZ, our planned lunch stop.

Now we are seeing more vegetation and trees and fewer cacti. We stopped at Sunset Point Rest Area at 10:00 and experienced the beautiful view - awesome rock formations, leaves changing colors and smoke in the distance over the mountains from managed burns or mismanaged burns. We were now 90 miles from Flagstaff. Back on the road at 10:15 and on to our destination. As we arrived in Flagstaff around 12:00 we noticed the elevation had gone from 1,257 in Scottsdale to 6,900ft. We were just driving up and up without realizing it. The center of this little town appeared to be the railroad station on one side and shops/restaurants on the other. Not much of a town. I'm not sure what we expected but here we were and we were hungry!! We had a difficult time finding a place to park but finally found a 2 hour parking spot on the street several blocks from the center of town. We walked around a little and found the place that had been recommended on the internet, The Flagstaff Brewery. Even though the weather was getting a little chilly we chose to eat outside on the patio. We had a nice lunch along with a very large beer. We walked around a little more then decided there was nothing else we really wanted to see so we left town around 1:45pm and got gas outside Flagstaff for $2.69/gal.

Now, we are headed for our next destination, Williams, AZ. This is where we will spend the night before we board the train for the Grand Canyon. After a bit of a drive we found the City of Williams without any trouble. We followed the signs and drove right up to the train depot to check in (as directed by AAA). Welllll, they had a ticket for everything: hotel stay at Williams for two nights (one night before the train ride and one night when we return from the canyon), two breakfasts and two dinners at Williams, train ride to canyon, one night's lodging at the canyon, train ride back to Williams and a $20 voucher for each of us at their gift shop.

After we got all our tickets put away we went over to the hotel, which was quite impressive with immense paintings of the canyon on the walls. The check in process was a pleasant one and included luggage tags for the bags we were taking with us to the Canyon. Since we were only staying one night at the Canyon, we planned to take two small suitcases with us and leave the large suitcase in the trunk of our rental car. We had a very nice room on the second floor.

It was still early in the afternoon so we decided to check out the down town area until it was time for dinner. It was a very short drive and easy to find a parking spot. We walked into many little shops and bought a few things for the grandkids. When we arrived back at the hotel we realized we still had time to relax before dinner. I guess we didn't shop as long as we thought we would but we definitely walked long enough to make my feet sore. So, a little wine from our handy-dandy cooler made me feel a lot better.

We went to dinner around 5:30. We had a choice of two places to eat: a bar/restaurant in the hotel building or Max and Thelma's, a large restaurant right across the parking lot. We chose Max and Thelma's. The food was good and the dessert even better. Oh yes!!! I had their bread pudding with caramel whiskey sauce - two helpings - along with raspberry cobbler. My stomach hurts just thinking about it.

We looked around the shop in the train depot to see what we wanted to buy with our $40. We decided to wait until we returned to spend our money. As we walked back to the hotel we felt a definite change in temperature. It was getting very cold and windy. The temperature had to be in the 40's. Back in our room we played cards then to bed. My stomach was not too happy with me.

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