Allegiant Air finally figured out how to cram an extra 34 rows in their flying sarcophaguses of fun by eliminating every spare inch of leg room between the non-reclining seats. I was actually grateful they didn’t recline, because I would have had to get on my knees sideways on the seat if they did. And as always, only inconsiderate dicks recline their seats when flying coach, so don’t be a dick, suffer in quiet desperation with the rest of the unwashed masses when flying the cheap seats and keep your goddamned seat up. The miserable wretch behind you will appreciate it.
Alabama and I hit the ground running in when we landed in Phoenix. I was fueled by a $37 double G&T I had on the plane and the promise of several more once we got the rental car. I think Alabama was just happy to see the sun and wear a pair of shorts. Either way, it’s damn nice weather here in Cave Creek, Arizona so the trip was worth it.
Side note: Never ever rent a Hyundai Elantra, regardless the savings, all the locals will point and laugh at you, and for good reason. What a piece of shit.
Alabama wouldn’t stop at a windowless van parked in the middle of the desert advertising $2 lobster tails with hand painted signs from a Little Rascals episode, but at my hysterical urging, she did throw me a bone and stopped at an RV dealer on the way to the hotel. The G&T’s made it seem like a good idea at the time.
It was at the buy here/sell here RV Trader we found our dream trailer. You know you’ve utterly given up and are resolved to live a life of angry sub-mediocrity when the term “dream trailer” is a part of your vernacular. The sales guy didn’t know the square footage, axel width, amenities, or the price, but he had a wall in his office covered with salesman of the year awards so he must know his product, right?
So our first encounter with an Arizonan was not as satisfying as I’d hoped. But we managed to get checked into the Care Free Resort without incident and the wait staff was absolutely top notch; friendly, helpful, and accommodating. The bartender set us up with things to do in town and after a couple more cocktails, we ventured into Cave Creek.
We hit a huge shin dig at a country bar called Harold’s. Live bull riding (no shit!), all you can eat BBQ or fish, drunken cowboys, and some big pop country band like Sawyer Brown but not as old. After dinner it got to be too much, so we found a quiet little bar called Cody’s that featured a gal named Mary Hoffman who sang like an angle; kinda like Alison Krause but younger. She worked the crowd, talked to everyone from stage, and took the time to meet every table on breaks. Hope she makes it big, she has the talent and the looks.
We wound up back at the room after closing time with a peck sack full of microwavable junk food and no microwave. For some reason, even after an all you can eat dinner, I was still hungry. For future reference, it takes 45 minutes to heat a burrito with a hotel hair dryer.
I awoke to a shirtless 98 year-old geezer stretching out front of our room. The last thing I wanna see first thing in the morning is some gumming codger showing me his saggy man tits covered with white pubic hair. That’s just plain gross man.
While I’m on the subject, I have never seen more desperate 40 & 50 something women pouring their tired old asses in skin tight teen jeans, sporting 9 inch stiletto heels, and wearing clever glitter enhanced tee-shirts with catchy phrases like “Hot Mama” and “Sexy Single.” The concept of age appropriate attire has completely escaped these women. Ladies, if you are 48 years-old and you are wearing your teen-aged daughter’s clothes in public, you are not sexy; you’re fucking pathetic.
Alabama and I got looks of disgust from many of these middle-aged teens, I assume because we’re fat and seemingly unhip. Of course, I gave the same looks right back with plenty of “you make me sick” attitude. If a person is willing to have their face torn off and stitched back on, their breasts stuffed with saline, and their lips pumped full of collagen, it probably means they just don’t have anything to offer society other than looks, and an occasional blow job.
I had no idea there were so many shallow stupid people in this country. I constantly overestimate the average American’s quality of character.
Anyhoo, we hit it early the first morning and drove to Jerome, Arizona, a cool old mining town perched on a steep mountain ridge high above the Verde valley. We hung out at the Caduceus Cellars wine tasting room. There is a back story to Caduceus and the Merkin vineyard. Rock legend and musical genius Maynard Keenan (Tool, A Perfect Circle, Puscifier) started this outfit about 10 years as a serious endeavor to make world class wine in Arizona, something no vineyard had done before. A documentary was made about his adventures called Blood into Wine which helped skyrocket his wines to national popularity.
We saw the movie last fall, thought it was really cool that someone had such a unique vision, and then forgot all about it. So it was a fluke we went today, but we sure are glad we did.
We got the straight scoop on the whole operation from Tony, a great guy who poured for us at Caduceus. Tony gave us directions to the other two affiliated tasting rooms down in the valley, explained how to cook peacock, shared his experiences as a chicken rancher, and speculated on the possibility of a duck and a chicken successfully mating. Oh, he knew all about the wines we tasted too.
Dicken? Chuck? What would you call the damn thing?
Tony set us on a quest for a free tee-shirt that took us on a 100 mile loop through some of the most beautiful country I’ve ever seen. If we bought a bottle at all three outlets, we got the coveted Arizona Stronghold Vineyards tee for free! We met many knowledgeable and friendly folks along the way, hung out in out of the way burgs like Cottonwood and Cornville, ate some great food, and tasted some fantastic wines. Of course the free tee-shirts wound up costing $400, but we have the wine to take home.
Finally, we hit Sedona, the capital of new age weird. After several tastings and several glasses I was ready to rent Segways and ride through the desert in search of vortexes and magical healing crystals. Alabama was acting as DD and felt it would be an extremely bad idea for me to get on a Segway. In fact, she thought it would be a better idea if I would just shut the hell up and take a nap while she dove the 90 miles back to the hotel.
Guess which way that went.