The Play Journal revisits Arizona. Some places I’ve seen.
Yes! We made it to the top of Cathedral Rock in Sedona! It doesn’t look like much from the photo, but it is. There is plenty of freestyle rock climbing involved to get to the top. Very nice, and at 8:30 a.m., there were only 6 or so more people at the top when we arrived. We were even able to find parking at the trailhead.
After hiking to the top of that rock, we went to look at a hole in the ground (read: Meteor Crater) and stand on a corner (in Winslow, Arizona). A local drove past in an old pick-up truck and screamed at the tourists: “Eagles suck!” It was so awesome. They pipe out very loud music on this corner, and I don’t blame the guy at all.
The real gem in Winslow is the La Posada Hotel with the Turquoise Room’s signature soup, and co-owner Tina Mion’s art galleries. La Posada is a former Harvey House Hotel designed by Mary Coulter and opened in 1930. For a second I thought I had stepped into the Hotel California.
Amtrak’s Southwest Chief still stops at the hotel. Is it haunted? I don’t know, but I could certainly sense the past there, and it was an electrical past reminiscent of the feelings I got when I would visit the Jerome Grand Hotel in Jerome, Arizona. If history/place memory is a synonym for a haunting, then yes, to me it is haunting. In the most peaceful, comforting way imaginable. There was a Twilight Zone type of feeling (Next stop, Willoughby?).
I wish I could have spent some more time here. Certainly I would have traded my nights in Sedona for nights here. Old America is the feel. A taste of a simpler time, maybe. Maybe I long for something that never was, but I had the sense that I could find something here that I needed. A moment in time that was essentially timeless. I could have been in 1930, 1954, or 2017. But I was there. I lived there for a time.
Tina’s description of Mionland brought tears to my eyes. It involves the death of her grandmother. I knew it was about death the second I saw it, because the senior lady is standing up beside her wheelchair with her cane propped against the back, clutching her purse. She got called up. She’s waiting to transfer stations. I instantly “got” Tina’s work, and it was a powerful experience wondering through the public areas of La Posada, studying her paintings, and then reading her placards. What an unexpected treat!
The guest list at the New Year’s Party includes: Sid Vicious; Jimi Hendrix; Sylvia Plath; Judy Garland; Ernest Hemingway; Marilyn Monroe; and Kurt Cobain, just to name a few. The most fascinating mystery to me is who is the young boy at the back of the photo – standing in the doorway?
Favorite hike in Mesa: Pass Mountain at Usery Mountain Park.
Most beautiful drive: Prescott National Forest to Scottsdale, passing Wickenburg.
Sedona Love = Tableside guacamole at the Mesa Grill at the airport. Morning hikes. Red rocks.
Sedona Hate = poor wi-fi at Oak Creek Terrace and strange spiral stairs in room, with the shower located downstairs, and the half-bath located upstairs in the master suite. Never again! Who builds a layout like that?! Word to your mother – do not book Room 16. Terrible holiday traffic trying to get through town! So bad, we went to Scottsdale one day early to escape the traffic!
Travel. Write. Index. Buy Stealth Journals. Repeat — Jamie Whitmer
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