November 18, 2015 – Sun, 65 degrees
Miles Today: 39
Miles to Date: 10,142
States to Date: 26
My hosts, Janice and Stew, are long time Scottsdale residents who suggested I visit Pablo Soleri’s studio, only a few miles away from their home. Soleri was an architectural darling back when I was in graduate school. His writings about ecological architecture and constructing Arcosanti, a self-sustaining city in the desert north of Phoenix, were visionary.
Unfortunately, they still are. Soleri is now best known for his beautiful bells and wind chimes, which craftsmen devotees still create by hand at his Pleasant Valley Studio. As I strolled through the fascinating but weird place, I couldn’t help but think about my question. Soleri had great insights and ideas, but he dealt in the future, promoting ideas untethered to contemporary reality. Forty years on, his devotees are still hawking bells to finance construction of a conceptual city. I’ve always been more interested in tomorrow, which is always a direct outgrowth of today and starts from where we are.
I left Soleri’s fantasy world to grapple with a hard reality that all tour cyclists fear – motorhomes. I’d sent an interview request to Camper World, one of the largest dealers along Mesa’s RV mile. But sales people and managers hot pototoed me until I stopped bothering trying to get any perspective on the RV industry and just enjoyed touring the models. Van conversions are nifty but feel like camping. Small motor homes, in the $100,000 range, have plastic laminate partitions and dingy showers. If you want top of the line, with extensions to make your ride twelve feet ride when parked, luxury leather sofas, and a full French door refrigerator, the list price is $405,000. From now on, when these behemoths storm me down the road, at least I’ll know I’m being unbalanced by a whole lot of dough.
Since today was my last riding day for some time I indulged in Golden Corral Buffet, two hours of pretty good food that, cumulatively, constituted a pig-out. When I couldn’t delay any longer, I rode my bike to Landis Cyclery, checked Surly in for a major overhaul, changed into street clothes, caught one bus, then another, transferred to light rail, and got to the airport.
Everything was smooth until I reached security. The TSA agent analyzed my bike lock and decided I couldn’t carry it on. At $25 each way, it was hardly worth checking. I considered locking it to an airport bike rack, hoping it wouldn’t get hacksawed off in my absence, until an Information agent offered to deliver it to the bike store for me. Glenda and I became fast friends. I learned all about her grandkids, her daughter-in-laws spending habits and growing up in Pennsylvania. Even though I was separated from my trusty Surly, Glenda proved to be yet another bicycle Samaritan. At least I hope so. I won’t know for sure until I return to Phoenix and see if my lock found my bike.
A misplaced bike lock is the lame cliffhanger to this chapter of my journey, a journey that will never grace the silver screen because my mishaps are dramatically trivial compared to the goodness and light I have experience everywhere.
This is my last Trip Log until I return to Phoenix in January. I hope readers will continue to enjoy profiles and responses. And if you haven’t contributed your thoughts to my question, make that your end-of year resolution. How will we live tomorrow?
That is beautiful terazzo in that airport. That must be an intimating bike lock. Looking forward to seeing you over the holidays.
Phoenix airport had gorgeous terrazzo everywhere. They hired locals artists to create the patterns. I am looking forward to seeing you as well.
Hope to see you Paul
Sent from my iPhone
Do you plan to end your trip in San Jose, California, as your map indicates, even though you appear to have deviated it quite a bit by being in Arizona?
My map shows where I’ve been, and only gets updated every 6-8 weeks, so it doesn’t show the progress from the Bay Area through LA, San Diego and to Phoenix. I will add that update soon. I left San Jose in mid-October and left CA in early November. I spent 50 days in CA but don;t plan to return on this trip. From Phoenix, I will head east through the deep south in the winter.
Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas to you, friend!
All I can say is, WOW!! I think it is an awesome achievement.
I have enjoyed each day. Thank you Paul.
Hey thanks, Tim. It has been great fun,and I anticipate the second half will be just as enjoyable.