I had seen a magazine called Arizona Highways years ago and saw beautiful pictures of Arizona. But, pictures are nothing like being there. It is absolutely beautiful! The terrain is beautiful. The way that the homes blend into the surroundings is beautiful and I believe what my friend says about the energy of the area being different somehow is so very true. Maybe it’s the sunshine, maybe it’s the mountains? I cannot wait to go back. A week was simply not long enough.
The drive from Los Angeles, CA to Mesa, Arizona was one that prompted many stops for photos. That’s when I began to think again of the magazine I had seen years ago. It was a little scary when I stopped at rest stops. They had signs that said, “Poisonous snakes and insects in this area. They had a special area for people to take their dogs. I don’t know what made that certain area safe for dogs and the rest of the area not safe. I made lots of stops along the road and jumped out of my car to take pictures leaving my car running and my door hanging open and never saw any snakes or insects.
I stayed with a friend in Mesa and we went into downtown Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale, Jerome and Sedona. It was interesting to see how each area was different. Arizona is one of the states with the highest foreclosure rates, so the arts were definitely affected there, but it wasn’t all grim. While there weren’t too many galleries in Mesa, there was a fantastic Arts Center which had well attended classes and events. IN Tempe’s Center for the Arts, they also have a very nice store and a selection of classes available. They weren’t too far away from each other, there is a much larger population in these areas than you realize just driving around.
If you look at a map and you are from an area like I am from, you cannot picture the way that Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa blend together. Even Scottsdale is part of that blending at this point. I am sure there was a time when they were more separated, but today it is one big interconnected area. The sights and shops are endless. Even when you get to the outer edges, like Apache Junction, the views just get better.
And as far as Apache Junction goes, I highly recommend a little place called The Hitching Post. We enjoyed a few evenings there. I danced with a real Apache Indian in Apache Junction. Actually, I stepped on his toes because I don’t know the 2 step. It is something anybody traveling in the West should know! I guess I’ll have to learn for next time. They also made the news because they put a big chicken on their roof without a permit, but they were good sports about it and quite a friendly gang!