Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hell is round the corner, hot like a sauna

One of the few places I have not written about yet is Phoenix.
Phoenix is not for everyone. It's hot. All the time. There's not a lot of greenery. There is a lot of brownery and sandery.

But Phoenix, and the whole Southwest in general, gives you a feeling of wanting to explore and a feeling of wanting to just get in a car and drive. Yes, Phoenix is a major city and it has its share of traffic problems, but in very little time you can be out in the desert and it will be just, 500 cactuses, and miles of road ahead of you. In a way, it's peaceful.

Enough touchy-feely stuff. Let's talk places and food. That's what this blog is about right?
The last time I was in Phoenix was 2004 in October. To be specific, I actually stayed in Scottsdale, a suburb of Phoenix that within 25 years will just be absorbed into the metropolis of Phoenix probably. It was a cool 90 degrees the first weekend of that month. While there, I asked a shop owner, "What do you do in the summer when it's 110 degrees?" He said, " leave your air conditioned house, get in your air conditioned car, go to your air conditioned job and then at the end of the day, you do all that in reverse. And maybe, at 11 pm, you can get in your pool when it's 90 degrees outside."

I went to the last Diamondbacks game of the year, which was the year that the D-Backs went something like 51-111. But there were a lot of people at Bank One Ballpark (now it is Chase Field) that day. One of the people along the 3rd base line, sitting across the aisle from me, was a real culture vulture that had a tattoo of a naked lady (absolutely anatomically accurate) running up his entire leg from ankle to knee. It was a sight to behold. If I had my phone that I have today back then in 2004, that picture would be up here. I can't imagine how someone could go out in public, around all kinds of kids, and think that's a good idea.

Bank One Ballpark/Chase Field kind of sucks. First, unbeknownst to me, on any hot sunny day apparently they close the roof. I was all lathered up with sunscreen and felt like a dolt with the roof closed. Second, with the roof closed the ballpark kind of looks like a giant airplane hangar. I was looking around for the Spruce Goose or a stray dirigible. Third, the pool in RF is trashy. Any party of people can rent it and on this day a group of kids were using it as their personal bathtub.

I ate at some great places, but the one I wanted to highlight was Pinnacle Peak's. It's an old fashioned cowboy BBQ place waaaayyyy outside of town. I think they semi-delight in being difficult to find. The steaks are not like at Morton's or Hyde Park....they're chewy and slightly overcooked, just like the cowboys probably liked them. The sides are baked beans, potatoes, and vegetables. Nothing fancy. If you wear a tie, they cut it off and hang it on the ceiling, which has led to people wearing all sorts of ugly ties on purpose.

If you're into architecture like I am, Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West is outside Phoenix. It was his home near the end of his life where he escaped to recharge himself. It is now home to one of his academies of architecture.

There is plenty to do in Phoenix and the surrounding area. It is just a totally different mindset than what we are used to on the East Coast, that's all.

PS -- We're going to Deep Creek, MD this weekend and one of the things we're doing is going to be whitewater rafting at Wisp. If I survive, that will be the next blog post. Good Luck, DBS and DB~!


  1. We need the luck! I'm already nervous! ~

  2. Oh, forgot to mention that I won't tell my dad your opinion on Bank One...he managed his company's project there when it was built! :) ~