So my man Mike D lived in Phoenix for something like 7 or 8 years and even though he'd been to Philly a couple times, I'd never been to visit him. And since he was planning a move to Seattle in March of 2005 to live with his future wife, I thought it wise to finally take advantage of him and go out West. So I did. I flew out to Arizona for 4 days in early February and had a blast, but it's hard not to when it's 70 degrees in winter! We did some serious mountaing climbing, mountain biking, tennis playing, music listening, food eating, sightseeing, zoo walking, bullshitting, fresh orange picking, car selling, house buying, arrest-in-progress picture taking, unintentional Alice Cooper spotting, Intel security guard bothering and Super Bowl watching. I took loads of photos. He literally bought a house he'd never seen on one day and sold his car the next (I got to drive it - a convertible - to the sale!). An appraiser came to look at his house that same morning. It was crazy and Mike had loads going on, but we still managed to have a pretty damn good time and do lots of cool stuff. Even my flights weren't all that bad.
After I arrived in early evening, we went back to his house before going out to a pub to listen to a cover band called Furious George and play some bar games. Before we left, I took some shots of his soon-to-be-former-house. Nice backyard, eh?
His yard was one of the lucky few that actually had some grass - almost everybody's "yard" consisted of a layer of that pinkish gravelly stuff that surrounds those plants in the pictures. Weird.
There are orange trees in every other yard, it was freaking me out. Just so unusual to me, but quite common out there. This one was right over the wall in the neighbor's yard, but you can pick 'em anytime ya want! Score.
Our first real activity the next day was tackling this awesome little mountain, Camelback. (Doesn't it look like a camel lying down, head on the left, two humps on the right?) It's right in town, you see it driving to/fro the airport. Very popular locally. It was really dry/rocky and not quite as easy as I thought it might be, but not difficult. It was even a bit cool and overcast that day, but some of the pictures of the surrounding mountains turned out great.
This and the next two pictures are all pretty much the same except for the height at which it was taken. I'm pretty sure those are the Sierra Estrella mountains.
This is the summit, on the way up. It's good to have a goal. Notice the rockiness.
On the opposite side of the mountain (the one we didn't climb up) there's a small road that goes up a little ways, with this really cool house/castle thing built right in the mountain. It looks pretty sweet - too bad we didn't walk down that way and get a closer look. I think it was for sale, though!
Phoenix, from high above, at various angles...
Just across from Camelback is another nice little climb, Squaw Peak (on the left). Mike said they actually have steps carved into the rock for that one. One was enough, though. A closer look is below.
Once we made the peak, we got buzzed by a plane. I got the photo, because I'm quick like that.
Mike took this and the next of me at the highest point, 1600 feet above the ground. Hell yeah.
Great view. Nice legs.
We took a ride around town (didn't take long!) and I spied this cool Mexican-style house randomly on some city street, so I took this - at about 30 mph. Not so centered, but not bad on the fly.
This is the Phoenix metropolis. Hard to believe this city is about to overtake Philadelphia in population. There ain't squat downtown.
This poor guy was getting cuffed, so just in case he got roughed up, I took this picture for his police brutality lawsuit. He didn't call me.
Arizona Diamondbacks ballpark.
America West Arena (which I think already has a different name - where the Suns play).
Just over in Tempe lies Arizona State University and here is their stadium - Sun Devil Stadium. Also the Fiesta Bowl.
I love this silly photo of an ASU sign taken from the passenger seat of Mike's jeep.
Slightly nicer photo of a nicer sign of ASU.
Another orange tree, this time in the front yard of Mike's mother-in-law's house. I picked a few of these babies. And they weren't that good.
A random street in Phoenix - actually I think it's in Chandler, but who cares. It's his mother-in-law's street. Lotsa palm trees and even some grass here and there.
On the way home, umpteen thousand feet above the sky and riding the clouds...