The Dog Doesn’t Die

Book reviews & random thoughts

NM/AZ 2009 Vacation: Phoenix

As usual, we stayed at La Posada in Winslow, Arizona in order to break up the long drive between Santa Fe and Phoenix, dining once again in The Turquoise Room, where I had a magnificent churro lamb sampler. Then it was over the Mogollon Rim, past the Mazatzal Mountains, into greater Phoenix.

Phoenix is sprawling and lacks the kind of urban neighborhoods I prefer. I just go there because that’s where Dave’s baseball seminar takes place, and since the seminar anchors the vacation, I go there once a year. But there were some pleasant surprises this time. First, we discovered a delightful and affordable French restaurant, Petite Maison, where we had a lovely meal  on Thursday, then went back on Sunday because we liked it so much. This is a place to rediscover escargot, dessert souffles, and basic French entrees. It’s all good, and we hope to go back next time we’re in Phoenix.

The next night, I caught some pictures of the setting sun off of the hotel outdoor walkway:

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And on Saturday night, we  went to the all-star game of the Arizona Fall League, which is a developmental league for promising young players who are expected to make the major league. I used this as an occasion to play with the stop-action feature on my camera, which was fun. Here are a few shots, first of batters, then of a pitcher in slo-mo. It was fun! 



And these only include every other shot, so I actually had a much finer level of stop-action photography.

So that’s it for the vacation. In a few days, I’ll resume the book reviews.

November 23, 2009 Posted by | travel | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vacation Chronicle – Winslow, AZ (Days 6-8)

Let’s say you’re planning a car trip from Santa Fe to Phoenix. And let’s say that you and your partner are neither one big on driving for hours and hours and hours. And let’s say that you examine the various routes to uncover a decent place to stay the night, where you can also get a good meal. Then you very well might find yourself in the dusty small town of Winslow, Arizona. Yes, there’s that Eagles song, which is mildly amusing. There’s even a statue, as you can see below. (All pictures in this post can be enlarged by clicking on them.)

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But the real reason to stay in Winslow is La Posada. What is La Posada, you ask? Read on.

Where we stayed. You’ve probably never heard of Allan Affeldt, who is a genius/historic preservationist. I think he should receive a MacArthur Genius Award, quite frankly. In 1997, Affeldt purchased a decrepit hotel located both in the middle of nowhere and about 20 yards from the Santa Fe railway. The railway folks had been using the place for storage and office space, but Affeldt learned that it had once been an elegant hotel, designed for the Fred Harvey Company in 1929 by renowned architect Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter. So Affeldt set about raising funds to restore the place. And that is La Posada . This was our second time staying there, and we loved it! Once again, we had a Jacuzzi room with a king bed, probably the most comfortable bed we had during the entire trip. The air circulation system muffles the train noise, by the way. La Posada’s revitalized beauty is an endorsement of the entire concept of historic preservation. Affeldt’s wife, artist Tina Mion, has displayed her work throughout the hotel. I love some of her paintings, although not all of them. Overall, her work adds to the charm, though here I’m going to pitch the designs of our friend Chris Shea , an artist whose medium is various metals. I would love to see what he’d do at La Posada. 

Where we ate. We had two breakfasts and two dinners at The Turquoise Room  at La Posada. The food was excellent, absolutely splendid, and the service was friendly and attentive without being obtrusive. On Wednesday, driving through Holbrook, AZ, we stumbled across a small Mexican restaurant called Romo’s , where we each ordered a single, unadorned beef enchilada. This was a find, a small gem of a restaurant that we almost didn’t enter. There are times when, on the road, swinging into a fast food place in order to refuel and get going again makes sense. There are other times when that constitutes a missed opportunity. If in Holbrook, skip the fast food and hit the little Mexican places. Seriously. And we had similar luck at La Sierra, in Payson.

How we entertained ourselves. On our previous trip to Winslow, we saw a nearby meteor crater and part of the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert National Park . This time, we visited the nearby Little Painted Desert County Park, which is part of the Navajo nation and has no website.

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We also returned to the Painted Desert/Petrified Forest National Park.

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 I think the biggest surprise, however, was the Homolovi Ruins State Park , which was much more interesting and had more to look at than we expected. One thing I particularly liked was that they allowed us to pick up and examine pottery shards on the provision that we put them back.

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When we left the area the next day, we took Route 87 down to Phoenix, which gave us a great view of the mountains as we dropped down from the Mogollon Rim into the hills of the southern portion of the state. It always feels weird to me to visit Arizona without going to the Grand Canyon or Sedona, where we’ve spend quite a bit of time, but we truly enjoyed ourselves in Winslow.

Next up: Phoenix, Arizona.

November 14, 2008 Posted by | food, travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment