08 November 2008

Going, going, gone ...

They paved paradise and put up a parkin' lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique, and a swingin' hot spot
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you got till it's gone
They paved paradise and put up a parkin' lot

-- Joni Mitchell
I flew into Phoenix for a week's rest, and was unpleasantly confronted with America West USAir's 15 dollar baggage check flying in. Took the SuperShuttle up to Scottsdale, and had a driver on his third day on the job for them. We were seeing part of the Valley new to him, anyway.

He drove a route up Scottsdale past the site of the former Raw Hide Western Town and Steakhouse. It has been gone three years now. The old site was bull-dozed flat, but it looks as though the developer who started condo construction ran out of money half-way through the project.

Dinner early in the week up in Carefree was to be at Crazy Ed's 'Satisfied Frog' -- its menu has the old saw about how 'it is so popular, no-one goes there anymore'. Last time, we ate at 'The Horny Toad' (as I recall Ed lost the Toad in a divorce; his ex kept running the place). Drove in from the west after a visit to Fry's Electronics on Thunderbird. Gone -- an imposter with new signage in its place -- google says I missed the close by a month.

Drove up to Page AZ for a wonderful nature hike in a private 'slot canyon' with Overland Canyon Tours and photo session [highly recommended and well worth the premium price]; on the way back decided to stop in Sedona for a nice dinner, and found that the high end restaurant we dined at a year ago May had closed doors; at least there is a new bank branch in its place.

Oh yes -- and two traffic circles -- a new concept there; their City Engineer must have heard how great they are -- on State Route 89 inside the city limits, and another four or five on the way back toward I-17 south of town. As traffic circles are a foreign concept, each cardinal entry point had illuminated, gas generator powered signage explaining their use. The fumes and noise are only remporary, right?

Well, it's the last night in town, and so we decided to go to Pinnacle Peak Patio; the resturant may have opened to the public in 1957 (per its website last updated 2007), but their display cabinets show postcards and envelopes from WWII simply addressed to 'John Doe; Pinacle Peak; Phoenix'. The waitress, proud of her new leather belt, and 'new in town' still bearing a California accent, came to the table. Once we indicated we had been eating there for nearly 20 years, she blurted out that the place is 'to close next March, or mebbe a year later as the developer "gave an extension"' before it is to be knocked down for yet another 'resort community' near Troon. She had heard about those other places, 'though. Seeing my reaction, she offered that 'perhaps they'll rebuild inside the new facility, but it will probably look like all the other chain restaurants'. Yeah, probably.

Well, at least a pack of coyotes woke me up at 2 in the morning, midweek, delighting at the moon; the red rocks watched silently as they have forever, and with any luck will continue to do.