Pictures from our visit to Phoenix, Arizona

Erynn and I flew down to Phoenix to visit our friends Jerod and Mylynn. The four of us went to Case Western Reserve University as undergrads, and still travel together regularly (most notably to Ireland and Minnesota). They just bought a ranch in North Dakota and it's more than likely that this would be our last chance to visit them in Arizona.

We flew in on Friday and left on Sunday. We mostly hung out on Friday, but then went to Taliesin West outside of Scottsdale on Saturday. It was pretty rainy that day, but we had a great time. I've been a huge fan of Frank Lloyd Wright for some time, and I relished the opportunity to see where he did a large amount of work. I even go to a business school that is right across the street from a Frank Lloyd Wright designed home: the Robie House.

The picture on the left is of the Taliesin West sign, which is difficult to make out. On the right is the view of the gift shop from the car park.

Our tour guide, Myrna, was very helpful and happy to have us there. Behind Myrna as she was giving us her introduction to Taliesin West was this slightly broken Chinese tile. Apparently Frank Lloyd Wright found them in the basement of a department store in San Francisco and was enamored. They were broken, but he didn't care and incorporated a bunch of them (I think 8) into the architecture. They are tiles that were used along the roof lines of buildings. I took pictures of most of them, but I won't bore you with the rest.

The first stop on the tour was Frank Lloyd Wright's Office. The picture on the left shows the rear of the building. The picture on the right shows us in the office. Myrna is telling us all about it with Jerod in the foreground.

Frank Lloyd Wright is famous for using cantilevers in everything. In his office he cantilevered his fireplace. Erynn loved the idea and promptly stated that she wanted one for our house whenever get a real place.

The next stop on the tour was along the path the bordered the desert. The wall and gravel path provided a fire break for the complex, and the triangular pool could be used as a source of water to combat a fire. Behind the pool in the left picture is the drafting room office annex. The picture on the right shows the Guest Deck to the right of the office annex.

Frank Lloyd Wright was fond of saying that Taliesin West was a ship floating through the desert, and that the triangular path in front of the complex was the ship's prow. Here's a picture of one side of the path leading to a point with Erynn standing on the point. When you stand there all you can see is a great expanse of cacti and Scottsdale in the distance.

Here's one of the courtyards next to the living quarters and dining room. I also made Erynn and Jerod pose for a picture there.

Our next stop was the Kiva Theater. Here is the outside of the building on the left. To the right is the complex's water tower with a small pool beneath.

The next couple stops on the tour were interesting in terms of knowledge, but not in terms of photography. On the left is the inside of the Music Pavilion and the right shows the inside of the Cabaret. Frank Lloyd Wright was apparently a master of acoustics and tried to instill culture into his apprentices. To accommodate both interests, he built himself a few theaters.

The picture on the left shows the rear of the Drafting Room with the dinner bell tower in the middle. The right picture shows a close-up of the bell tower. In case you were wondering, there is one of those Chinese roof tiles in the foreground.

And here are photos of the two couples.

When we were back at the house after Taliesin, Erynn and I started playing with Jerod's black labs, Sebastian & Jackson. The dogs are nuts! Anyway, Erynn and I had fun throwing balls into the pool for the dogs to fetch. The excitement lasted for nearly an hour and Erynn snapped a couple photos.

No, the back yard doesn't have dandruff. Shortly after we got done playing with the dogs, the area was hit by a massive thunderstorm. The white coating you see are hail stones that fell for almost half an hour. The picture on the right shows a bunch of hail stones that collected in the flower bed after the gutters overflowed.

On the next day we went back to Scottsdale to see the Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction. The auction specializes in one-of-kind automobiles that go for insane prices. This year's auction set a new sales record of over $60.4 million for 873 cars. The picture on the left shows the stage where the cars are auctioned. On the right shows one of the rows of cars outside. It was controlled chaos. There were a lot of bidder, but like us, many just came to look at the cool cars.

I love Mustangs. My dad bought me a 1966 Mustang Coupe when I was still in high school, and I aspire to own a 1965-66 fastback someday. I counted about 10 of my "dream cars" up for auction. Sadly I'll need to save my pennies for a few more years. I can buy the Lotus on credit, but I think I'd need the full nut at the auction.

And here is Jerod in front of his current favorite car (Dodge Magnum) and his "old school" favorite (Plymouth Road Runner).

Here is our favorite dream car. You can read all about it here.

Fans of American Hot Rod on the Discovery Channel will recognize this beauty. If I remember the plot line correctly, one of Boyd Coddington's best customers wanted a Mustang for his wife. The usual drama ensues to get the vehicle done in time. Of course, the team pulls it together and the wife is able to drive the car around the race track. Then the car is sold at the 2005 Barrett-Jackson auction in Arizona for $156,600. That's true love. I didn't get a picture of it, but the famous "Alumatub" also sold at the auction for $167,400. So much for sentiment when a quick buck can be made off the notoriety of the vehicle.

And here I am with Jerod in front of the TufTT.

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