7/29/2014 – ‘Bye CA; Hello, AZ

Joshua Tree Natl Park - Sunrise at Jumbo Rocks

Joshua Tree Natl Park – Sunrise at Jumbo Rocks


Collect early sunrise photos, then slowly meander via near-deserted roads which begin a slow descent toward I-10. Anyone heading downhill from plateau’s top toward this valley might well challenge “heat rises” findings of science: by the time bottom is reached, day has already become an inferno.







Desert Center - "Come to think on it, he DOES look like George C Scott"

Desert Center – “Come to think on it, he DOES look like George C Scott”



Must feel particularly martial, as am attracted to museum dedicated to WW II General George Patton. Nominally, this location has been chosen as, before invading northern Africa, Patton and his troops trained in these remote deserts.

Back on I-10, pass through sun-leached Blythe, and envy a bunch of swimmers in brownish Colorado River (doesn’t that brown water help tan the skin?); then continue into Arizona.




Quartzite is nearly unrecognizable: homes sprawl much more deeply into the desert since a pass-by some years back. Pass other towns, and realize more and more people are headed to a Sunbelt which, as jobs must be scarce, must offer retirement free from wintry cold (though whether a trade for summer heat is a bargain begs belief).

In Phoenix proper, am surprised at how easily, after some 20 years, am able to find Metcalfe Hostel. “Sweet Sue” our 1992 “den mother” is long gone, and a clipped Brit suggests they are “quite overfilled”. He advises an alternative and arrive at splendid Camelback Backpackers Hostel quickly and easily.

Camelback is a delight. Nestled at the edge of an upscale neighborhood bordering Encanto Park, “many somebodys” have made it attractive, inside and out. (It is also, in decent, non-summer weather, within comfortable walking distance of Phoenix Art Museum, Opera, and Heard Museum). Am greeted warmly (which is “cool”) by Phil, Ella and Janice, and quickly find late-teen Lisa (from a German town close to Mannheim [which, courtesy of US taxpayers was once my GI “home”], fresh from an au pair gig in NJ and eagerly scouring other US venues), and “just-20” Grady, from Paris, trying out for basketball scholarships at local colleges.

“Taco Tuesday” offers an extended opportunity to share stories, and no one spoils this mood by clamoring for a TV fix (even cellphones seem subdued in this milieu).

(SO… why no photo? Duh?)


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