Home Base

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June 12, 2019-

Tomorrow, I will head up for a few days in another of my heart homes – Dineh/Hopi.  Yes, there are many of those, and this Home Base is one.  The road will then curve eastward.

In the meantime, life goes on here in Prescott-with a vengeance.  Many of you may be taking journeys of your own, over the next few months, and I can say time spent in this area is well worth the drive, or flight (Ernest A. Love Regional Airport is expanding its own “wings”, with more destinations offered by its tenant carriers).  So, let me go all Chamber of Commerce on you.

I’d offer my own Home Base on Airbnb, but it’s a tiny place and the landlord would not be happy.  So, I recommend either of two hostels:  Prescott International, on McCormick Street. (https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g31323-d4309329-Reviews-Prescott_International_Travelers_Hostel-Prescott_Arizona.html) or House in the Pines Hostel, on Virginia Street, two blocks west of my place, actually(https://www.hiphostelaz.com/).  There are a couple of great boutique hotels:  The Grand Highland, right smack downtown, on Whiskey Row (https://www.grandhighlandhotel.com) and Hotel Vendome, one block south of downtown, on Cortez Street (https://www.vendomehotel.com/).  There are two grand hotels:  Hassayampa Inn, on the corner of Gurley and Marina, is a premier spot for jazz in the courtyard (https://www.hassayampainn.com/) and Hotel St. Michael, on the north end of Whiskey Row, at the corner of Montezuma and Gurley, is a prime meeting place for locals and visitors alike. (http://www.stmichaelhotel.com/).  The chains have fine reps here, as well:  Hampton Inn, Marriott and Spring Hill Suites are either downtown, or within a short drive.  An independent hotel, Forest Hills Suites, is near the Marriott, east of town.

Now, the entertainment part:  Nature calls, pretty loudly, here, if you’ve seen my earlier posts.  The man-made lakes- Goldwater, Lynx, Watson, Willow and Granite Basin are all great for fishing, kayaking, canoeing and picnicking.  Lynx Lake has a paddle boat concession, as well.  Each of these has good trail systems, so the hiker is bound to feel happy.  Speaking of which, mountain trails abound, at all levels of difficulty, from Peavine Trail (easy) to Granite Mountain and Mt. Union (strenuous).  In between, are Thumb Butte, Prescott’s signature landmark, west of downtown and Granite Dells, a warren of trails, north of town, and mostly on private land, but generously shared with the public.  I have enjoyed most of the trails available here, over the past eight years.

Indoors?  Lots of good stuff here, too.  We have Elks Theater, in a restored grand opera house and Prescott Center for the Arts, in a restored church.  Both are downtown.  The Courthouse Plaza has many evening concerts, during the warmer months and street festivals abound, particularly on weekends.  Yavapai College, on the east side of town, and Prescott College, slightly northwest of downtown, offer many artistic events, as well.  YC hosts Prescott Farmers Market, on Saturday mornings (7:30-12).  Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, 5 miles north of downtown, has an Observatory open to the public.  Sharlot Hall Museum is a must, for anyone seeking to understand Prescott’s history.

Now for the  brew.  I don’t imbibe alcohol, but there are more places to sit and hoist a few than this post has space.  A  few, for which I can vouch:  Matt’s, The Bird Cage, Rickety Cricket and Lil’s are all on Whiskey Row.  The Raven Cafe, one of my favourite restaurants and music venues, also has a full bar.  Brewery/Restaurants also are in no short supply:  Prescott Brewing Company, Granite Mountain Brewing, Coppertop Alehouse, Barley Hound-you get the picture.  Coffee is also in plethora:  Wild Iris, Ms. Natural’s (my absolute fave restaurant, as well), The Porch, Frannie’s (also has great frozen yogurt and pastries), Cupper’s, Firehouse Coffee, McQueen/Rustic Pie (also a  food fave), Method (on the north side of town) and Third Shot (in Gateway Mall, three miles east of town) are a few who come to mind.

Prescott’s Eats?- I mentioned Ms. Natural’s (The owner and a couple of the servers are personal friends and the name says it all, with regard to the fare).  Rustic Pie, Shannon’s Gourmet Deli, Dinner Bell Cafe, El Gato Azul, Rosati’s, Two Mamas Pizzeria, Chi’s Cuisine and Bill’s Pizza are all relatively small venues, but well worth a try.  So, too, are the larger places- Murphy’s, Gurley Street Grill, The Office, Rosa’s Pizzeria, Lone Spur, Bill’s Grill, Zeke’s Eatin’ Place (in Frontier Village, east of town), Park Plaza Liquor/Deli.  Other spots abound, so have fun exploring.

Finally, a few words about the periphery.  Prescott Valley, our sister town, is worthy of a day or two of exploration all its own.  It’s a lot of strip malls to take in, but they have a warm feel about them.  Rafter Eleven is a superb place for wine, coffee and dipping oils, located a block north of Highway 69, off Glassford Hill Road.  Backburner Cafe is on the north side of town, at the corner of Robert Road and Spouse.  Further east are:  Dewey-Humboldt, with Leff-T’s Steak House and Casa Perez Family Restaurant, plus a cute “Main Street”, at Humboldt; Mayer, with Flourstone Bakery and Arcosanti, a fascinating eco-architectural establishment.  Northwards is Chino Valley, with Danny B’s Seafood Cafe and the fascinating  Garchen Buddhist Institute, about seven miles east on Perkinsville Road (The access road is narrow, windy and steep in places).  Westward lie Kirkland, with its own steakhouse, replete with sawdust on the floor and bowls of unshelled peanuts on the table and Yarnell, with some interesting antique shops, Shrine of St. Joseph and, south of town, Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park, where one may hike five miles or so, to the site of the tragic 2013 fire, which claimed the lives of 19 Wildland Fire Fighters, paying respects along the way. Nichols West Restaurant, in Congress, at the base of Yarnell Hill, is a fine place to replenish oneself, after such an outing.  Finally, fifteen miles northeast, on Highway 89A, is the mountain town of Jerome, with Haunted Hamburger, Mile Hi Grill, Bobby D’s BBQ, Flatiron Coffee House, Jerome State Park and an inn that was once a brothel. The road, both east and west of town, is not for the faint of heart-yet the streets are routinely packed with visitors from Phoenix, Scottsdale and all over.  Get there early.

This is my longest post ever, I know, but Home Base is worth every word.

 

The Road to 65, Mile 129: Aftermath

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April 6, 2015, Prescott-  I am off work for a few days, mainly to complete the disposition of my old vehicle, which will be greatly missed, and to tend to things, like laundry, which are no longer a routine drive down the street.  Today’s retrieval of my camping gear and other items from the Kia, and a trip to MVD for a document, had to be coordinated with friends.  This will be a “new normal” for a few days.  I have to make time to visit a dealership on Sheldon Street, tomorrow, and price/select a vehicle which I can buy with cash, then get the cash, and hopefully be back in wheels by the weekend.

Not everyone is so lucky.  My person was not badly affected by Saturday’s accident.  I have the sturdy design of the Kia to thank for that.  My high school driving instructor, the late, great Len Wall, would have been aghast at my driving, at that short point in time.  He’d have railed at me, as he did, to my ultimate benefit, on a few occasions when I was under his tutelage.  The result of his passionate instruction was forty-eight years of safe driving, with only one previous accident, which was a slide on ice and did not result in any appreciable damage.  I am determined, I will resume that record.  An AARP safe driver class will supplement the court-ordered Traffic Safety class that I will take online, over the next few days.

I have to get to work again, and thanks to a few good friends, I won’t have to turn down work, after tomorrow.  Then, too, are the various meetings and gatherings, which may be easily taken for granted, as to accessibility.  It is good to be in touch with what so many have to face, each day, without a vehicle of their own.

One other thing:  As I was walking back from downtown, this evening, I greeted a street person who was sitting forlornly on a bench.  A well-dressed man approached and offered the man a room for the night, at the nearby Hassayampa Inn, a well-appointed establishment.  There are so many fine human beings in this world, and we do well to acknowledge them, as they appear.

An Eastward Homage, Day 1: A More Timely Departure

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This morning began as most days do:  Prayers, errands and reading the paper, over coffee.  The usual stuff took on more urgent tones, around 9:30, and there were bills paid for June and July, brief visits to a couple of friends and last-minute mailings of various items.

I made the walk to Hassayampa Inn, and a rendezvous with the airport shuttle, in plenty of time this afternoon.  This gave me an excuse to photograph the Hassaymapa’s lovely east courtyard garden.

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The shuttle ride was smooth and swift, and provided a chance to hear the insights of a local pastor/psychologist.  Like me, he is urgently concerned with the mental health and well-being of  the surviving Prescott Hotshot, and of the families of the men who were killed, nearly a year ago.

Sky Harbor Airport was crowded and bustling, at 6 PM.  I passed through security without fanfare, though a book I had just finished, “Touch the Top of the World”, by Erik Weihenmayer, got lost in an unguarded moment.  Whoever has it now is in for a treat.  Erik, a blind man, has successfully climbed peaks as disparate as Everest, Mt. McKinley, Aconcagua, El Capitan and Kilimanjaro, with various teams.   His story should prove inspiring to anyone, regardless of one’s personal challenges.

My new read is “Bunker Hill”, by Nathaniel Philbrick.  This will keep me enthralled, during several flights in the days ahead.  Sky Harbor at night is a different place.  As happens elsewhere after hours. those waiting for night flights gather as a sociable family, of sorts.  The insular crowds of the daylight hours have gone on, and the Redeye Crowd are pumped for their flights into the morning sunlight, or California midnight, as the case may be.

I whiled the waiting period away at Olive and Ivy Marketplace, a nice little deli and pizzeria.

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Well, kids, it’s time to put this computer away, and mosey on down to the gate.  The Queen City, Charlotte, NC, is next on the itinerary, then on to Newark, and a day or two in the familiar climes of the Garden State.

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