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Friday, January 20, 2017

Sultry Scottsdale

In a way, it's sad that the Valley of the Sun can't learn from the mistakes of the giant to the west. Every time we come here, vast tracts that used to be empty desert are now covered with houses and shopping centers. I'd love to say the area has stopped expanding but that's not happening anytime soon.

Still, it's nice to come to Scottsdale for a getaway now and then.

The first time we came here a quarter century ago, the spot we're at now was a saguaro covered desert with the occasional millionaire's mansion or ranch. A dirt road would have been the rule rather than the exception. Now, the 101 Loop Freeway features daily traffic jams leading to thousands of homes and dozens of shopping centers.

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A ways beyond the north end of the Scottsdale airport runway is our hotel for this trip, Marriott's McDowell Mountains Resort, located on the TPC Champions Golf Course. The room is a 2-room suite with a roll-in shower, dual flat screen TVs, a fridge, wet bar, and one robe...Letty will get to use that.

Outside is a pool and spa, both with lifts, and the previously mentioned golf course. It's pretty much all wheelchair accessible but, unless you use the valet, the parking is a bit of a walk. A restaurant, bar, and mini-store complete the lobby. There are complementary PCs and free wifi in the lobby but you'll pay $12.95 a day in your room to use it...we got around this by using my iPhone as a hot spot.

After unpacking, we retreat to the large balcony by a fireplace and enjoy a drink overlooking the golf course and pools before retiring to our room for the night.

The Good Egg is a local chain of restaurants in the Phoenix area. I think you can guess what their specialty is.

We had a delicious breakfast, saw a beautiful Rolls Royce parked outside the window by our table, and found out from the owner that this was the second car built at the factory in 1961.

"I can't even get the Rolls Royce dealer here in town to maintain it," he lamented.

Seems like he might be good with a wrench, though.

A few miles away, though still in the same town, we take a stroll through Old Scottsdale...the center of town and maintained like it was when the city was more of a village.

A volunteer asks if he can show me where I might find something but I know where we're headed, so instead he shows us his perfectly restored 1951 Dodge truck. It is a beauty.

Carrying on, we come to the destination...very popular here in the extreme summer temperatures...the Sugar Bowl.

Scottsdale's classic ice cream parlor, painted up in pink and white, makes a great place to cool off with an icy dessert.

You can also peruse the custom "Family Circle" cartoons that loyal customer Bil Keane drew for them. This was where he'd take his family for a treat.

After some cookies 'n cream covered with caramel, we hit the road to rest and relax at the hotel until dinnertime.

The temperature, at around 70 degrees, tempts us to go into the pool and try those lifts, but we decide to wait a day for that. Tonight, instead, we're heading north thirty minutes past Carefree to Cave Creek where the residents truly seem to live a care free life.

We want to have a cowboy steak. It's an increasingly rare thing to find. You can pay an arm and a leg to go to Rawhide, a western themed amusement park which does make a darn good steak; go to Pinnacle Peak, which we have back home; or find someplace else. We look hard and some places that are called "cowboy steakhouses" must figure burgers are steaks because that's the only thing they sell.

Cave Creek, still a dusty cowboy town (a recent tied election was settled with a flip of a coin), fits the bill tonight. We're going to Harold's Corral, a very large dining room with the steaks we came for.

While Letty goes for the prime rib special, I have the ribeye with a selection of beer tasters. It is very good, very savory, and satisfies our need for this special "out west" style of dinner for us.

Tummies sated, it's time to hit the hay and we'll continue this tomorrow as we head out for a hike.

Copyright 2014 - Darryl Musick
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