Onwards through Arizona

We see many different small towns, but I’m always surprised that one can be dying, the next will be healthy, and the third will be hyper-gentrified. I’ve been reading a lot about urban planning lately. First was the classic Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs. Phoenix exemplified what she calls a “smeared” city. Phoenix, and its many suburbs, form a gigantic, low density continuum. It took us three and a half days of riding to clear the subdivisions before we re-entered undeveloped desert. The copy-pasted repetitiveness of Phoenix made it exhausting to ride through.

In a magnificent coincidence, my aunt and uncle were visiting Phoenix on business. We took two days off to visit with them, including a day trip up to Sedona, where we saw the famous red rock region. It was nice to take a break and be chauffeured for a change. On our last night together, we ended up eating at Grimaldi’s. There was a funny circularity to it: they had always said to try it in Brooklyn, but somehow we end up¬†¬†together at a sublicensed “Grimaldi’s” across the country.

Well fed and rested, for the last few days we’ve been on a tear across the remainder of Arizona. We spent a night in Aguila with Phyllis and Randy, generous Warmshowers hosts whose lifestyle was an interesting rebuttal to the golf-centric 55+ communities of Phoenix. They lived in a community for retired pilots, where every house had a hangar and the main street is a runway. Jim and I both were mesmerized hearing about the technicalities and thrills of glider piloting.

Otherwise, the southwest is beautiful, but I’m bored of staring at creosote and sand. Tomorrow we’ll enter California. I’m looking forward to seeing the Mojave dunes and, of course, the Pacific.

One Reply to “Onwards through Arizona”

  1. Ahh Phoenix, as you said, like a crude repeating videogame backdrop. It does not seem at all conducive to forming communities as jane jacobs would no doubt say. A community of retired pilots! How interesting! Very exciting to hear you are making it to California soon!

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