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Arizona and Nevada

Visits to Phoenix, Flagstaff, Grand Canyon National Park, Las Vegas and Mesquite

Arizona Sign October 7-11, 1994


My first Arizona photo was taken at the state line on U.S. Highway 70 near Duncan, Arizona.

17 years later, I would come through this road in the opposite direction during my 2011 bike across America ride.

Picketpost Mountain AZ The drive from Safford to the east side of Phoenix was scenic. I remember stopping to photograph the stunning view of Picketpost Mountain outside of Superior.

I'm proud to say that 18 years later, I would hike to the summit of Picketpost Mountain.

Matt Throughout the drive, I had Matt from Boston with me. He was staying at the Truth or Consequences hostel and asked for a ride to the Phoenix hostel. I considered staying there, and the hostel looked like an interesting place (at least from the outside), but I didn't like the neighborhood. I was scared about what might happen to my car. Thus, I dropped off Matt, snapped a picture of him and went on my way.

On my first night in Phoenix, I stayed with my second cousin in his dorm room at Arizona State University.

Piestewa Peak View

On my first full day, I searched for a park where I could relax and read my books.

After some driving, I ended up at the Phoenix Mountain Preserve in north Phoenix. There is a popular hiking trail that leads to Piestewa Peak. In 1994, the mountain was known as "Squaw Peak," but in the following decade, it was named after the first Native American woman to die in combat in the U.S. military.

It was a 1.2 mile trail to the summit. The trail kicked my butt, but this time I made it.

Interstingly, Phil Ladden would take me for a hike on Piestewa Peak in 2012.



Jessica Scheitlin

I also met friends of friends. Carol Scheitlin, a friend at my church in New Jersey, had family who lived in Phoenix. I went to her brother Brian's church, and then I had lunch with her parents, Paul and Irene, and their granddaughter, Jessica.

We had a meaningful connection and I briefly visited their home in Phoenix. I loved that large cactus on their property. In my journal, I wrote that Jessica (age 8) was "so cute and friendly." Adjacent is a photo of her in a tree. :)

Grand Canyon, AZ I spent one night at a hostel in a historic building in Flagstaff that was located above a bar and pool hall. For some dumb reason, I didn't take pictures of the hostel or anything in Flagstaff.

The next morning, I drove to Grand Canyon National Park. Although it's a magnificent natural wonder, I've got to admit that after spending 20 to 30 minutes at overlooks, I became bored ...

Interstate 40 Arizona

Desert Mountain Scenery

... and so I got back on the road en route to Las Vegas, Nevada.

As I traveled on I-40, I considered entering California and perhaps visiting the Pacific Ocean, but I opted not to. I didn't know of any good hostels and I had no contacts. I didn't want to spend money on pricey lodging either. In retrospect, I probably should have visited, but with the opportunity to see people I knew in Las Vegas, I turned off at Kingman, AZ.

TOP: Beautiful scenery on Interstate 40 in Arizona.

SECOND: Unknown mountain. (not sure where)

THIRD: Wonderful desert and mountain scenery. (not sure where)

If you know the names of those mountains and/or their location, post on my Facebook page and I'll update this page. Thanks.


I didn't take any pictures in Nevada. What I did: I visited Las Vegas for the afternoon. Seeing either of my friends didn't pan out -- one was out of town; the other, when I called, was cold and didn't invite me over -- and so I opted to keep driving.

I arrived in Mesquite, where I stayed at a hotel and casino. For one night, I played craps and had a nice conversation with a guy who called himself a professional gambler.

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