I have left my RV behind, walking down the sidewalk with my luggage in tow. It is a warm afternoon and I am starting to sweat a bit with the exertion. My plan was to hit the Motel 6 at the first major intersection, about a 10 minute walk down the sidewalk back at the first major road.
Karin at Cruise America suggested I might want to go a little more upscale, as in the Motel 6 was kind of a dive. She suggested the “American Inn” across the street, only a few bucks more and much nicer. Walking down the street, I decide between the look of Motel 6 and me seeing the alternative just across the street, I would lug my stuff just a little further, and spend just a little more.
The US$85 a night is not too spendy for my budget, I think the Motel 6 would have been ten bucks less. I ask for a quiet room, my standard ask if I know nothing else about the place. I get my key and follow the map to my room. This is only a two story place, but sprawling like so many things in Phoenix. The courtyard is nice, it has a pool and palm trees. It’s not quite warm enough for a swim, but I hear some kids playing out by the water, they have no problem with the temperature.
I find my room and enter. It is nice and clean, and large – this is a suite that they would rent long term here as well. But I have gone back to the 1970s, the appliances, the decor all are of that era. But the mattress on the bed is good – obviously has been replaced since then! I marvel that they have been able to keep this stuff going this long. Goes to show you, they don’t build stuff this good these days!
It is still a little early to go hunting for dinner, so I head out for a little walk to scout around the area. Perhaps there will be some urban photography in the area. I tour the rest of the inn on the way out. The courtyard also has a little cascading pool, really this is quite nice for a budget place. About my only grip is there is only one elevator I can find, on the back side of the building – you really can be walking a long ways to your room if you are going to have to head for the elevator, then back the other way to your room.
I am not surprised that the area I explore is a paved over jungle of box retail box stores. The only thing of interest I see is the brightly lit car wash across the street from me. The cars come out from the super bright lighting, a testament to the priority cars are given in this urban environment. Walking about, I feel like a rebel, cutting across parking lots and access roads, barely a sidewalk to be seen.
My first direction is south, checking out the small retail complex. I’m not seeing much of interest. There is a Mexican restaurant in the complex, but it doesn’t look too appealing to me. I U-turn and head back north, checking out the larger complex that looks like a former small mall or big-box complex, former as in I can see a large area has been converted over to a business office of some sort. There isn’t much in terms of signage, so I’m not sure what I’m looking at, other than an obvious retail complex that has converted part of its space to business office owing to lack of retail demand. The Mexican fare is even more appalling here: Taco Bell. I’m amazed such a chain can survive down here, I’ll assume the power of habit and advertising keeps them going.
I decide to head back to my room and relax for a bit. I’ll do a little research on the googles as to which direction to go for supper. I catch up online and look at my options for dinner. I don’t want to walk south of the Superstition Freeway – not to mention the options don’t warrant the extra walking. Del Taco, Carl’s Jr, Waffle House – no thanks, there is enough of that closer if I end up at a chain restaurant. North of me is looking a little more promising, there is at least a “bar and grill” and another Mexican Restaurant I have not heard of before I can check out.
I walk into the large parking lot of the big-box retail center. It has some low end retail in it and the air of a struggling complex that will take any business it can get. I seem to have run across the end of the day for my mystery business, seeing many people coming out of building, talking among each other. From a bit of conversation I pick up, and the logos I see, I now know it’s a large call center. The staff is predominately young. This could be a sales or customer care type of call center. Lots of entry level positions that result in the McDonald’s and Taco Bell on the other end of the parking lot here getting a lot of business, because that is all these people can afford in dining. I feel I have encountered a microcosm of America here. You can get a job here, but what kind of a life are you looking forward to with low wages and minimal career advancement prospects?
I am still considering where to eat. I have picked up a new promising lead from an unusual source – my nose. There is a a wonderful smell of grilling meat coming from somewhere upwind of me – that would be north. I start walking, literally following my nose. Whatever smells this good has great promise for dining! I walk north across the parking lot, thinking the smell is coming from the bar and grill across the street, but I lose the scent. I cast about like a hound, trying to pick it up again, moving south and casting about east and west.
Coming to the north end of the struggling retail strip, I pick up the scent again and follow it past the K-Momo, to “Los Asaderos Mexican Grill” (Yelp reviews). Yes, this is definitely where the smell is coming from! It looks fairly low-end inside. I see a pick up counter and the bright sterile decor typical of fast food places. Not looking like they serve beer either, drat. But the smell is enough to draw me in and place a food order. I order the 2 soft taco plate, with steak – that is definitely the smell I was picking up on. The clerk at the order counter advises me that the sauces are available at the condiment counter to my right. The red sauce is the hot one, the green sauce is more flavorful. I grab some of each on my way to a table, and a few of the pickled onions.
My meal is amazing, that is some of the best grilled meat and did I mention the tacos are home made? I only wish I could wash it down with a beer, but will have to make do with a soda. The red sauce is pleasantly hot – it comes up slowly on you so you need to slowly add it on. The green sauce does have a nice flavor too, both together added a great flavor to my tacos. I almost order more, but decide on discretion, don’t need to be feeling upset for tomorrow’s plane ride home.
I head back to my hotel room in the dark, reminded by some of the wandering youth in the area that this isn’t the best neighborhood in town – time to march straight back without delay. But I’m not too far away, I stick to walking near the busy road. My flight tomorrow is not too early, but I decide to get a reasonably early start, traffic here is such I’d rather be at the airport extra early and not have to worry about that issue. Time to sleep, then leave the desert in the morning.