May 19, 2013

Arizona – I know about the Grand Canyon!



Rico Austin is my name, living and writing in Arizona is my game.  I was born and raised in Southwest Idaho, along the banks of the Snake River and couldn’t wait to find my own way and independence.   I have lived in California, Hawaii, South Carolina, the United Kingdom and in Lithuania for a short time; but, Arizona is where I felt comfortable, from the very first saguaro cactus of which my eyes savored, to the last scorpion I witnessed crossing my path this afternoon.  My very, first visit was through the entire state of Arizona in 1986, during a Spring Break trip gone heavily awry.  This trip on an old, school bus was the basis for the award winning, bestselling novel, “My Bad Tequila.”   My favorite line from the book is, “You’ll see the true reflection of me when the tequila bottle is empty,” I shouted out to the wind as I tossed the sad, angry, bottle-shaped mirror to the sea. 

“Arizona Is Where I Live,” is not only a statement of which I announce with pride, it is now a Children’s book that is a masterful, learning display of the Sonoran Desert, the mountains, the lakes, the Grand Canyon and of the animals that make Arizona one of the most unique and interesting states in the union.
Arizona has been touted as the state that has everything, except an ocean.  Whoa, there pardner!  We do have an ocean, the world’s smallest, which is located in Biosphere 2, which is a world-renowned environmental and ecological research site operated by the University of Arizona about 30 miles northwest of Tucson.  The Biosphere Ocean houses 676,000 gallons of seawater and has a coral reef.  Also, if a couple of early surveyors wouldn’t have been so lazy about 125 years ago, Arizona would border the northeast part of the Sea of Cortez; but, these surveyors figured Arizona was large enough, wanted to get home to their families and decided to cut through the territory leaving a bit extra for our amigos and amigas in Mexico, near the Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point) area.
 
There is more adventure and mystery in Arizona’s many towns and cities than in some countries combined.  When tourists and visitors arrive in our great Copper State, most congregate to either the Phoenix / Scottsdale area, Tucson or up north to Flagstaff, which all areas are great, fun, artistic destinations, with plenty of interesting things to keep them entertained.   

My advice is, if in Flagstaff, take time to head south about 30 miles to Sedona through Oak Creek Canyon on Highway 89, then continue south a bit farther to visit Jerome, the mining town of past, now an artist mecca, that is built on the side of a mountain.  Sedona, with it’s red rock mountains and majestic canyons is where Mr. Walt Disney would bring his illustrators to capture with their brushes, the many hues of reds, browns and oranges blended with the many shades of greens, blues and purples.
If, your vacation plans have your arrival into Tucson, then by all means visit Tombstone, “The town too tough to die,” and see firsthand, the OK Corral, made famous by the gunfight of lawmen Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and the Earp brothers, (the good guys) versus the (bad guys), outlaw cowboys, the Clanton Brothers, the McLaury Brothers, and Billy Claiborne.  Also, former mining towns, Bisbee and Douglas should receive your visited attention just north of the border.

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Now, in regards to relaxation and sun soaking in the Phoenix or Scottsdale area, the cowboy town of Cave Creek, just north of Scottsdale by 15 miles is a must visit.  It is here in this western town that I had the chance meeting of the legitimate, illegitimate son of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and have written his true story that intertwines with mine, “In the Shadow of ELVIS, Perils of a Ghostwriter.”  Some of the restaurants still have hitching posts to tie up the ponies as cowgirls and cowboys go in for a quick bite or to whet their whistle.  

Arizona is the Wild West; the wild west, where I dreamed of living when growing up, playing cowboys and Indians with my four younger brothers and numerous cousins.  I longed to live in a time and place where if you had a fast gun and a fast horse your chances of survival were greatly increased.  I am living the dream; where cowboys, horses, saloons and tequila abound. 
When my time on earth is no more, I want to be buried in my boots, six feet under, covered with Arizona soil.

Rico Austin is giving away (1) copy of each of his three books mentioned, based on comments made about Arizona at this blog.  Be sure to include your email with your post to be entered to win. 


or at any of these links: 


(Photos provided by author) 

19 comments:

Karen H in NC said...

Enjoyed reading your travelogue and history lesson of Arizona today. Sounds and looks like a beautiful place to visit, and live.

kareninnc at gmail dot com

Rico Austin said...

Gracias Amiga Karen! Saddle up Your Pony and head West for a visit to the Grand Canyon State. rico

Fran Orenstein said...

I lived in AZ for 3 years and I'm sorry I ever left. You brought tears to my eyes with the memories of Sedona, Bisbee, Jerome, and the diversity and beauty of the state. It is truly one of the more memorable places in this country, a place everyone should visit at least once. Driving north on the 17 from Phx to Flagstaff, there's an invisible line across the road and the terrain suddenly changes from Saguaro cactus to Ponderosa pines. Amazing experience. My son & grandkids live in Boise, so I've been to Idaho, too. (Hush, it's beauty is a well-kept secret). Did you ever raft down the Snake?

Kristy McCaffrey said...

As an Arizona native I concur with all you've said. Wonderful state!!

kristymccaffrey at juno dot com

Rico Austin said...

Gracias Fran & Kristy for your great comments about Arizona. Yes, I did raft down the Snake River and tubed down it as well. One year many ago, I placed 3rd in the Annual Tube Race down the Snake River. Great memories of Idaho and Arizona. If I didn't live in Arizona, I'd be back in Idaho. ;-) amigo, rico

Mindy said...

Thanks for the awesome travelogue & pictures (The sunset is fantastic) Rico, It makes me want even more to visit Arizona.
Still waiting for retirment ( 1 year to go 8D) then I'll be free to travel.

Mindy :)
Birdsooong@comcast.net

Fiona McGier said...

Husband and I argue regularly about if we ever do get to retire, where we'll go. I'm pushing for up north, in the pine forests near Canada. He's pushing for out west. Maybe we'll just buy a house on wheels and live part-time in hot states like Arizona, then head up north for the summer. That is, if we ever get to retire.
Thanks for a great view of a state I've never been to, but obviously should plan on someday.

jrlindermuth said...

Came close to living in Arizona once.Plan was stymied by a politician who screwed up the job opportunity and a wife who balked at moving so far away. The wife later (after we separated)moved to California.

Rico Austin said...

Amigas Mindy & Fiona, ARIZONA is definitely one of the places to retire to for at least 6 - 8 months a year; low taxes, warm weather, incredible amigos & amigas, cacti in abundance and coyotes howling at the moon in the cool nights! Gracias for the comments & Come out to Arizona! rico

Rico Austin said...

Amigo JR, You know what I say about politicians - Poli = Many; Tics = Blooding sucking parasite; California Exes should be in Texas as far away as possible! ARIZONA awaits YOUR visit & possible move! take care, rico

Cara Marsi said...

I love, love, love Arizona. Like you, the first time I saw the Southwest desert many years ago when I was 13, I knew that's where I belonged. Alas, many years later I'm still on the East Coast. My husband and I are retired now, and I'm trying desperately to get him to move to AZ. My cousin lives in Chandler, a good friend lives in Cave Creek, and my stepsister lives in Scottsdale. I like Fountain Hills. I've been to Tombstone, Phoenix, Flagstaff, Tuscon, Bixby. I've been to AZ about 7 times in the past 8 years. Just can't get hubs to make the move. Thanks for the great trip to AZ.

Carolyn4books@aol.com

Mary Preston said...

"Arizona is the Wild West" that right there is why it fascinates.

marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Rico Austin said...

Amiga Cara, YES, it does sound as if Your heart is in Arizona even though your body be elsewhere. Sounds as if You already have a great many connections in the area so a move for retirement does make sense. We'd all love to have you as a neighbor! C U soon! rico ;-)

Rico Austin said...

Amiga Mary, YES, the Wild West is where I belong. Wish I'd know Wyatt Earp, Tom Mix, Roy Rodgers, Dale Evans, Gene Autry & John Wayne, Calamity Jane and all the other characters whether true cowgirls and cowboys or actors and actresses - they each made the Wild West seem untameable! I Love ARIZONA & am Thankful that GOD made it possible to be my home! I write this with a mist forming near my eyes. rico ;-)

Karen H in NC said...

Did Rico ever pull winners for his giveaway offered in this blog?

Annette Snyder said...

Karen--Rico did-3 winners...posted in the sidebar to the right. Fran, Fiona and Cari.. thanks

Sherri Moorer said...

Great blog! I had a conference in Scottsdale in March. Actually came early, rented a car, and drive to Williams to ride the Grand Canyon Railway. It was an amazing experience and I loved Arizona! We must visit again someday!

Rico Austin said...

Amiga Karen, I'll throw in one more winner - You'll be getting a copy of "My Bad Tequila." You'll be receiving an email from me along with the other 3 winners, Cari, Fiona & Fran asking for mailing addresses! Enjoy Amigas! http://blog.mybadtequila.com

Rico Austin said...

Amiga Sherri, Gracias for visiting Arizona and more importantly enjoying the Northern part of the state. In the winter, the train is dressed up and is called the Northpole or Polar Express where parents and grandparents take their children on a wonderful Santa Claus induced train ride to the North Pole. I have friends from San Clemente, CA that have brought their 2 young children twice to ride the Polar Express; I believe the ages were about 4 & 6 on their latest excursion. Come out and visit again! ;-) rico