Following our Mohave stay, we returned to the greenery and spring flowers in Needles. Desert View RV Park divides its campsites with tall Oleander bushes, stunning! The property borders are defined with Royal Palms. We took a couple of down days there and visited the small western town of Oatman. The town, formerly thriving on Route 66, is famous for the donkeys that come down from the hills and hang around town to be fed by tourists. The town’s buildings and signs have been maintained on their exteriors to give the feel of an early century gold mining town. We did have an enjoyable lunch at the Oatman Hotel where thousands of dollar bills plaster the walls. The remainder of the buildings contained cheap souvenirs of Route 66 or chinsy western wear. One small gallery, the only shop worth entering, had a fine collection of sculpture and painting. We enjoyed the arrival of a bunch of “bikers” on their souped up trikes. The Oatman family was captured by Indians who tortured and killed the parents, nearly killed their son who managed to survive and escape and kept and tattooed their two daughters. If you watched the show “Hell on Wheels” one of the female stars bares the traditional tattoo on her chin. Successful goldmines may have made Oatman a thriving town “back in the day” but is a shabby shell of its former self now.
We headed up to North Ranch, an Escapees RV Park near Congress Arizona where we stayed a couple of years ago. The homes and gardens that are attached to the park are great but the park is run down. The appealing sites near the field were out of bounds due to power outages so we ended up being squeezed into a less desirable, dusty site. We did visit the fun Cowboy Town of Wickenburg and appreciated an authentic Mexican lunch. After two nights we left the park early and vowed not to return. The brightest part of our stay there was seeing the many beautiful landscaping rocks and cacti, particularly the spectacular huge white blossoms on the Easter Cactus!
Our good friends Darlene, a creative, self employed sign maker by trade and Les, a Toronto Firefighter Captain, creative spirit and builder of Motorcycles “Rogue Machines”; were meeting us in Phoenix. They were on holiday specifically to take part in the gigantic “Bike Week” that takes place in a number of venues around Scottsdale. Our drive into Arizona was beautiful with our return of the land of Saguaro Cacti and the greener landscape that resulted from frequent winter rains. We set up CC at the Pueblo El Mirage Resort and Golf Club. The RV park was huge and quite full with Spring Training (baseball) drawing spectators from all over the country. One of its best features was its huge swimming pool and spa where we swam for the five nights of our stay. In the late afternoon, there were only a couple of other swimmers in the pool and it was a great way to usher in the sunset and evening. The highways are beautifully landscaped in Phoenix and bright with spring growth. Many homes are built in the adobe-style and blend with the surrounding earth colours of the desert and mountains.
On our first outing with Les and Darlene, we spent a few hours at the “Arizona Fine Art EXPO” where a range of media could be enjoyed. Successful artists displayed their work and demonstrated their materials and processes, working on new pieces. The high quality work was inspiring and the artists friendly and enlightening. Stopping at a bar for lunch, Chris and I got a small taste of the upcoming motorcycle show. Babes, Beer and Bikes were everywhere! We headed back to the RV Park where we enjoyed beverages on the patio, a swim in the pool and a barbeque dinner and conversation outside. Darlene and Les were visiting from Toronto where they had experienced the coldest winter since 1932 so soaking up the desert warmth was a great way to begin their holiday.
Taliesin West was Frank Lloyd Wright’s summer home, workplace and architectural laboratory. Wright and his apprentices built Taliesin West from desert stone and concrete from the surrounding Sonoran Desert at the foot of the McDowell Mountains. Wright experimented with media and design ideas here, some which he applied to architectural projects. Today, the property is open for guided tours and is home to the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. As his philosophy extols, Wright designed his structures to become apart of their surroundings. His love of geometry and simplicity blend in interesting ways in his desert residence. Most of the buildings are original with the exception of many wooden supports and accents that did not survive the climate and have been replaced with metal. Taliesin certainly is different from the homes he built in the East!
We had lunch out and returned to the RV Park for our swim and lively conversation. Darlene and Les travelled to Tucson the next day and we had the motorhome washed and waxed, an annual event that maintains the exterior of our coach. We all met up for lunch to say goodbye as we headed up towards the Grand Canyon and our friends went off to explore the Motorcycle Show.
I love the triangular pool and the round garden gate
my favourite wall
The architecture school
Frank’s outdoor sculpture garden
Frank’s childhood blocks that his Mom bought him as she wanted him to become an architect
vase 1/2 inside 1/2 outside Phoenix street sign