personal reflections

On the Road to Phoenix for the Freddies

On the Road to the Phoenix 2008 Freddies Awards Ceremony.

“I mean everyone has got to take a road trip, at least once in their lives.

Just you and some music.”

Claire Colburn in the Cameron Crowe movie Elizabethtown

Arizona welcome sign

The absence of posting to my blog this past week was a 1,700 mile desert road trip journey to hotel resorts in Palm Springs, Phoenix and Scottsdale, and Las Vegas. The last time I road tripped across the desert southwest was 1996. This was actually my first extended solo road trip through the desert.

Memories of desert life flooded back into my head over the days driving in my car. Memories resurfaced of a child riding in the backseat of the family car, counting the miles to the next cheap motel swimming pool as we annually traveled to or from my grandparents home in Southern California to or from another military base in Virginia or Oklahoma or New Mexico. I recall childhood curiosity of the pleasures one must experience if able to afford a hotel stay at the fancy Ramada Inns.

My desert memories include youthful hikes in the valleys and mountains of New Mexico where I lived for a year at the White Sands Missile Range while my father served his third tour of duty in Vietnam. The barren, jagged desert peaks of Arizona brought back memories of sleeping in cave-like crevices on the boulder rock outcrops of Pyramid Lake, Nevada in my teenage years.

There has always been a feeling deep inside my soul that I associate with the southwestern US desert. Joshua trees, Saguaro cacti, and the ability to see objects across vast distances of land along with an inability to quickly extinguish the desert phantoms of sun lighted mirages. The starry nights of hot air and days of clarity where reality is too picture perfect for the eyes to believe.

April desert flowers were prevalent on the cacti and the sounds of song birds were omnipresent throughout this roadtrip.

“All the mountains, all the deserts, go for miles and miles around.

We have driven for years now, baby

Just to get back to a place we had already found.”

‘The Wildest Times of the World’ – Vonda Shepard

Flowering cactus at Fairmont Princess resort, Scottsdale.