I had to move to a new campground for my second week in Phoenix. Most state/county parks only allow you to stay for fourteen consecutive nights and then you have to move on. In my case, I could only get one week at Usery Mountain and so had to move to McDowell Mountain Regional Park, which is closer to Scottsdale.
My first outing was to the Arizona Gay Rodeo Associations gay rodeo held in Phoenix. I didn’t know what to expect…I don’t think I’ve ever been to a rodeo let alone a gay rodeo. I arrived around midday and it was fairly quiet. The competition events were just getting started. First off was an event where the riders had to get the fastest time zigzagging through posts set in a straight line. They were penalized if they knocked down a post. I stuck around for two more events including one with cowboys in drag who had to capture, and then ride a steer across a line in the arena. Good fun…and the commentator was hilarious. I left around 3pm but the crowd was filling out and the place was becoming very lively.
Earlier in the day I was contacted by Numeriano (NR) and Carolyn whom I’d met at Alumafiesta. They were staying in an RV resort in Scottsdale and suggested we meet at a bistro nearby on a hill with great sunset views of the valley and mountain ranges. No worries…we met at the agreed upon time to find the restaurant closed on a Sunday. Carolyn quickly manned her smartphone to come up with Plan B. I asked Siri for help but she suggested the restaurant that was closed so when I asked her, “it’s closed Siri…now what?” she replied, “I can’t help you John”. B*tch Siri. Carolyn found a great Italian place with excellent pizza…authentic Italian pizza…it was great…we had a fun night catching up.
One of the “must sees” on my list of things to do in the US was to see Taliesin West, The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. FLW began trekking to AZ in 1933 and purchased land to set up his winter home and school in 1937. For quite awhile, they stayed in tents until structures, which evolved over time, were finally built. I won’t go into a lot of detail but it was great to see it and that it is still functioning as a graduate level school.
Linked to this visit was my visit to The Arizona Biltmore hotel which FLW consulted on. The grounds and building were stunning…and the style of the building was reminiscent of the Ennis House and Hollyhock House, both in LA, and both FLW textile block style buildings. On the flipside of this was The Valley Ho Hotel in Scottsdale…this was a very cool Mid-Century Modern hotel…I felt like I was back in Palm Springs.
Other places I visited were the kitsch Old Town Scottsdale, very much a tourist trap but a good wander. Nearby were the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and also the Performing Arts Center. Last but not least, the Heard Museum which focuses on native cultures not only for the Arizona region but also to a lesser extent, other parts of the US. The collection was extensive and there was a temporary exhibition of Georgia O’Keefe paintings.
From here making my way to the Grand Canyon via Flagstaff…off to the cold weather!