Thursday, May 20, 2010

day five... Jerome, AZ

     Many years ago when I was 15 yrs old I took my first 500 mile bike ride.  It was with American Youth Hostels and we rode from the rim of the Grand Canyon to Wickenburg AZ via HWY 89a.  It took us a week and the second to the last night we stayed in what was then a ghost town, complete with a haunted 'hotel'.  That is the first I'd ever heard of Jerome and I have had the fondest of memories ever since.  So now, 40 years later I had to go back.
   These days Jerome is a thriving tourist town, complete with overpriced shops and lots of things to spend your money on.  I went into several shops one of which was the Jerome Artist Coop. I talked at length with a 60ish woman who was a fiber artist.  There were several interesting pieces to photograph but I limited myself to just a few.  First is a painter...I really liked his work but I sent the card to someone without remembering to write down his name. 
     The next few pieces are assemblages, Jerome least I got the name of the artist in the shot....

    I found the subject matter of the next painting, the Sunset Motel, on the road back to California... I wonder now just how many Sunset Motels there are in the US? 
    Here's the picture I took a few days later of a very old 'Sunset Motel' sign in a tiny town that I swear didn't have a name.. (more on that story later)...

    I am pretty sure this was the bldg we stayed in.  At the time it was vacant, no beds, no hotel, just a place to sleep.  We, all 15 of us, including myself (the youngest) and a 71 yr old guy (the oldest) put our sleeping bags out on the old wooden floor and we all slept together in the same big and supposedly haunted room. 

     My how things have changed.  It is now the Jerome Hotel and a spendy (over $100/night) place to stay.  After I figured out I could not afford to stay the night in Jerome I left a few hours later.  But on the way out I captured a few images that were of the old Jerome, the one I wanted to see.  I love whatever this stuff is lining the sidewalk.  Something about big rusty parts gets me every time..
       And here is a front yard on the way out of town with lots of very weird yard art... That's an old piano holding up a taller aspen branch playing a blue plastic guitar.  His girlfriend (or band mate) is a little more developed being plaster applied to a wire mesh figure and pretty close to looking like a woman (although weathered and somewhat deteriorated).
     Right up my alley.  And despite the tourist flavor of the strange contraption below I still thought it was pretty cool. 
    I left town via HWY89A and thought I would stop in Clarksdale and/or Cottonwood, but when I got there nothing perked my interest enough to stop.  Also after talking to a 60ish woman in the artist coop (who happened to be a fiber artist and who also told me about this great technique she was doing) I decided against going to Sedona because it would be even more touristy than Jerome.  So I turned off HWY 89a onto an even more remote road and that meant I had several opportunities to take photos as I drove down the mountain.  I still love driving steep mountain roads with hairpin turns every few miles just like the ones I used to seek out on my motorcycle.
    It also meant I got to Arcosanti in time for the 3pm tour.  I am going to post more about Arcosanti tomorrow but I will say what a fricken awesome place.  Here's a few teaser photos...
      Good nite you all and thanks for reading.  I LOVE to hear your comments as it keeps me connected to you and lets me know your reading.  If your really into it you can google Arcosanti and get an idea of what I am so excited about.


  1. I LOVE your blog posts about your trip. I've been enjoying all of them. I've been to lots of these places, but not Jerome or Arcosanti. I'm going to look the later up.

    Have fun!

  2. Wow, Arcosanti looks so cool! Get yourself a bell to bring home to remember it by!

  3. the bells are quite pricey jen, and are 90% of their income... on the other hand i may just do that..

  4. O dear don't tell me you've discovered a community of folks who've been living underground for two decades making bells and eating mold...

  5. no alice... you really must google arcosanti.... it's fucking amazing.... even though it's not getting done in his lifetime....