Trip Log – Day 196 –Scottsdale, AZ

to PhoenixNovember 17, 2015 – Sun, 60 degrees

Miles Today: 26

Miles to Date: 10,103

States to Date: 26

Lifestyles of the rich and famous! I loitered all morning at my hosts’ house, overlooking the pool and golf course in the backyard. Madeline was gracious to let me stay so that I could take my radio interview on Nature Bat’s Last from her house instead of having to find a quiet place for my call-in on the streets.

IMG_5302Afterward, I took off to explore Arizona’s tony neighborhoods and was not disappointed. San Francisco, New York, LA, even Seattle may have higher real estate prices, but they can’t match the pizzazz that Scottsdale’s and Pleasant Valley’s immense lots and sprawling homes deliver. True, some houses are ill proportioned; you can’t make a successful 10,000 square foot statement by just pumping up a 2,000 square model and adding a string of garages. But many of the residences are architecturally striking; with corrugated metal, weathered steel and crisp stucco that fits the desert well. Although the scale of these low-lying mansions is conspicuous beyond reason, I appreciate that most people in Phoenix don’t succumb to the California penchant to grow lawns where they don’t belong. The gravel, sand, and native plant landscaping is terrific.

IMG_5309 IMG_5321 IMG_5310

IMG_5312I wound my way to the Arizona Biltmore, the lavish 1920’s resort for which Frank Lloyd Wright was consulting architect. Everything about it is classy. The staff was very accommodating to a guy who clearly wasn’t registering for a room; the valet kept a personal eye on my bike. The Biltmore turned out to be one of my favorite Wright buildings, beautifully conceived and exquisitely executed. It may be the best example of his two dominant aesthetic ideas, as it was built toward the end of his Prairie / Usonian work and at the beginning of his larger scale, surface ornamented work.

IMG_5313The Biltmore plan and massing grow out of the Prairie tradition, albeit with a Southwest sensibility, while the wonderful use of decorative modular block precursors his work at Marin County and the Guggenheim. In addition to the great architecture, there are cool photos of Clark Gable, Rita Hayworth, Bob Hope, and other glitterati to cement Biltmore’s cultural status. Every President since Herbert Hoover has stayed there.


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IMG_5301On the way to my second Scottsdale host, I stopped at the Barry Goldwater Memorial. Though he doesn’t merit a Presidential Library, the affluent citizens on this area have erected an elaborate memorial to their favorite son, which includes two marble paths with inlaid bronze letters. Problem is, the quote about the natural beauty of the West is banal, while the one about preserving our nation’s security is fearfully bellicose. Like all of us, Goldwater reflected his origins. In his case, individualism and emphasis on private property led to a logical preoccupation with security. I am glad to be rolling along with everything I need and little that anyone else wants.

About paulefallon

Greetings reader. I am a writer, architect, cyclist and father from Cambridge, MA. My primary blog, is an archive of all my published writing. The title refers to a sequence of three yoga positions that increase focus and build strength by shifting the body’s center of gravity. The objective is balance without stability. My writing addresses opposing tension in our world, and my attempt to find balance through understanding that opposition. During 2015-2106 I am cycling through all 48 mainland United States and asking the question "How will we live tomorrow?" That journey is chronicled in a dedicated blog,, that includes personal writing related to my adventure as well as others' responses to my question. Thank you for visiting.
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