Thursday, April 03, 2008


The Book: Pam Hait, DAY TRIPS FROM PHOENIX, TUCSON & FLAGSTAFF: Getaways less than 2 Hours Away, 4th Edition. Globe Pequot trade paperback, 1996. Very good condition; spine is rubbed, front left corner has a small chip missing.
First read: 1996
First owned: 1996

I've moved three times since I bought this book, and can't figure out why this one survived all the culling when so many didn't.

Even boosters of Phoenix will admit that it is not the most aesthetically pleasing city in the United States. Scottsdale is lovely; Sedona is magical; Tucson is one of my favorite places in the country to visit. Phoenix is flat and monochromatic, and even the good meals I've had there haven't been in the city itself.

But the elected chairman of the organization I worked for was from Phoenix, so we needed to have meetings there, and it was cheaper to fly across the country if I stayed over a Saturday. I bought this book with the idea of driving to Sedona one weekend, although I never got there on a work-related trip. Maybe that's why I kept the book, with the idea that I'd go back.

The area's grown so much that this book is probably quite out of date, and that -- paradoxically -- is one more reason to hang onto it. If I had room to collect books seriously, I might well collect old travel guides. They're time machines; like old museums, they show us what people thought was important at the time.

It's been much too long since I visited the Sonora Desert, and I hope I get a chance to go back sometime soon.

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