Our two days rest in Scottsdale, north of Phoenix, was slightly better than marvellous. In our lovely Airbnb apartment we relaxed, binged on Netflix, drank Bourbon and Susan even consented to watching Saturday College football in a sports bar – she’s still trying to get on my good side after all those early mornings.
On our second day we considered continuing our relaxation therapy in downtown Phoenix but as we like to pretend we’re a cultural couple we went to Taliesin West instead. That gives me the opportunity to be write a pretentious paragraph or two in this blog. I love being pretentious.
In case you’re wondering exactly what the definition of pretentious is please let me save you looking it up – ‘attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture, etc than is actually possessed’ . Spot on!
So, Taliesin West, if you didn’t already know like me 🤠 is the one time winter home of Frank Loyd Wright and location of his renowned School of Architecture. Taliesin West was built and maintained by his apprentices, making it the most personal of his creations.
Born in 1867 and living 92 years, Frank Lloyd Wright is recognised as the greatest American architect of all time and one of the top world architects of all time. Yes, I know Americans’ can be prone to exaggeration but Frank actually was the real deal.
His visionary creations were strongly influenced by the natural world and he believed in larger, fewer rooms which flowed more easily, his antithesis to the rigid Victorian era architecture of the time. His ideas and designs were light years ahead and, now, almost all of modern construction puts to use the ideals he thought were important.
He said ‘no house should ever be on a hill or on anything. It should be of the hill. Belonging to it. Hill and house should live together each the happier for the other‘.
Incidentally, Taliesin West is built of local stone and all the walls are at an angle of 30 degrees – just like the mountain it lives with.
Just a couple of photos of Frank’s place. The lounge has entertained almost every famous person you can think of including American presidents. Not impressed? Well Elvis and Marilyn Munro visited, too. Now I’ve got you!
We left Scottsdale the way we arrived – along cycle paths and routes. What a great city Phoenix is for the bicycle – miles and miles of cycle routes through linked parkland got us to our abode and miles of canal cycle paths and quiet streets with cycle lanes got us out. A great cycling city.
We saw more people cycling in Phoenix area than the rest of the country put together. Actually, its the most Americans I’ve seen in my life taking some exercise. 🤠 Sorry American people 🤠 I love you really!
On the way out of Phoenix we met two other ‘bikers’. Great guys!
Three bikers and three bikes. I’m really sorry about the yellow flag sticking out the ear of my fellow biker! – my personal photographer was probably annoyed at something I had probably done.
From Scottsdale, we cycled 62 miles to Wickenburg and then 53 miles to Salome where we stayed in a motel on the edge of town. Our motel was the only option in town and not one where you would take someone to impress.
However, every cloud has a silver lining and this one was solid silver – it was an Avengers themed room! Yup, right out in the middle of the desert – I was sleeping with the Avengers! Sweet.
Now you’re probably thinking that an out of the way cheap motel doesn’t get much better than this but really it does – it had a bar and it was karaoke night!
Susan and I visited the bar and a nice sunset set the scene.
Now you can pay thousands of dollars for expensive holidays but you can’t buy holiday ‘gold’ like this. I wouldn’t swap it for anywhere.
Cowboys and cowgirls from all over flocked in for karaoke night in a bar in the middle of nowhere. Well to be honest it was just a load of old local people who had nowhere else to go.
The compare was a ringer for Kenny Rodgers and he gave us a great start with a Johnny Cash number. For a couple of hours we were treated to all the sad country songs you’ve ever heard. A woman sang about still carrying someone’s high school medal. Another sang and lamented ‘you never really loved me’ whilst the the guys sang about being lonely on the ranch. The guys crooned and the women wailed and the audience lapped it up. It was obvious only country songs were on the agenda and quite right too! We were in Arizona.
In came a ‘cowboy’ with his neckerchief back to front, leather gloves hanging out his back pocket and jeans in his boots in that casual ‘I’m a trendy cowboy’ kind of way. After one beer it was obvious he was ‘trouble later on’.
Behind us sat the pizza magicians – a couple made a fully loaded 20 inch pizza disappear – I’m absolutely sure there was a trapdoor somewhere.
To the side was a couple of guys with stetson hats discussing building a wall. ‘Wall builder guy’ described in detail the construction techniques and the other guy was appreciative and responded repeatedly ‘cool wall’. I was absolutely aching to join the conversation as all guys would, of course. ‘Cool wall’ guy then got up and sang a Patsy Cline song. I was amazed as he seamlessly moved from walls to Patsy.
The barmaid was nice and incredibly sassy. Now, I don’t really know what ‘sassy’ means but I’ve heard it in Western movies and it kind of seems appropriate. As she danced around the room serving beer ‘trouble later on’ guy, who was the only one dancing, tried to ‘do the bump’ with her.
You know what I mean, the ‘bump’ like they did to that Ike and Tina song. It didn’t really work with songs about loneliness on the ranch but that didn’t stop him – I told you he was going to be ‘trouble later on’! She brushed him off in a professional ‘sassy’ way.
Then there was this couple sitting on some stools who looked completely out of place. ‘Bud light’ guy was drinking a succession of beers in ice cold glasses. After a few beers he wanted to sing ‘Jolene’. His dear wife said in an endearing and sympathetic tone ‘but you cant sing’.
‘I know’ he replied ‘but I can do it in the style of Kenny Rodgers and get away with it’.
And what about the line ‘I’m begging of you please don’t take my man’, are you going to sing that in a bar full of cowboys and ‘trouble later on’ guy?.
She was right of course, so I took the extra Bud Light she offered and realised I’d had a narrow escape.
The following morning Sgt Major Sunrise had us up before the crack of dawn. The breakfast place didn’t open until 7am but that was too late so we were on the road again – breakfastless!
Ten miles later it was banana and muffins standing at the side of the road. At least we caught a nice sunrise. Yes, yes you read right – 10 miles and then the sun comes up! Please feel sorry for me!
And right bedside the nice sunrise there was an election poster. You just know you’re in the Wild West when this is the guy on the ballot paper! You would just have to vote for him. Don’t think there would be any crime. Who would dare!
62 miles cycling from Salome we reached Blythe and in doing so crossed crossed the border of California.
Hey, y’all that’s us in the last State – California ‘The Golden State”.