Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Part II. The trip to Prescott. Part III is next.
The trail we took out of Arcosanti reminded me of the Old West. A dirt road. Navigating the bumpy, windy road on bad shocks meant we never took speeds better than 15 mph.
I was dehydrated so the jostling and sliding over the road delivered no undue pressure to my bladder. It took 20 minutes to drive the 3 miles back to the freeway.
Back on the highway we maneuvered the car towards Prescott. The road to Prescott is no longer a desert scenic highway. Instead the area is dotted with Indian food restaurants, condominiums and hotels that get sculpted into the hillsides.
We passed many of those markers of progress on our way to Prescott. Only one of those symbols, a local Walmart, had the decency to be built in a valley low spot. Conspicuously hidden, it suggested to us the cost of urbanization. Walmart understood the resentment that locals would harbor for a corporation who chose to destroy this landscape. Walmart chose to hide.
Prescott is hilly.
You have to walk up and down hills to get anywhere. Though I was out of shape, I enjoyed the strangeness of my environment. The Valley is completely flat. I never think about the side walks in Phoenix. In Prescott I walk up a hill and my attention gets directed to the ground.
The Peace Fair in the center of the town had hippies dancing to a very bad band. Three members of the band played the bongo drums. None of the band members wore shoes. Each had dirty black feet. A hippie girl with no bra danced by herself. Her arms were outstretched and her feet pointed in two different directions.
Card Shark watched the girl dance. He wanted to join her. He thought dancing with her with was his best opportunity to "hit" on her. This offended the Married Guy. Married Guy lived on a commune as child. His parents were former hippies who now voted for Clinton. Married Guy wanted to defend the hippies against Shark's advances, because he knew Shark's opinion of hippies.
The hippies gave away free food. I tried a metal container labeled Tea, but found only hot water inside it. The hippies also made homemade jam and bagels which they stacked down a long buffet table.
Most of the people at the festival gathered around the buffet table. Few of the festival goers were interested in any other stands. Those stands were covered in literature about peace, Darfur, and the War in Iraq.
The only exception to the general lack of interest in booths that contained no food was a "free bicycle repair" stand. Hippies from all over Northern Arizona patched their tubes and tires there. I wondered how so many hippies could pedal to Prescott on bald tires and ungreased axles.
We finally left the fair when I got tired of searching for something decent to eat from the hippies free food buffet. We made out way over to the ice cream shop featured in the Billy Jack movies.
In the movie the children of a local American Indian community and a group kids from a progressive hippy school are denied service at the ice cream shop. In one scene flour is poured over some of the children and the owner refuses to sell them ice cream cones. Eventually Billy Jack steps in to defend the kids. He fights a whole gang full of the local bad guys using his karate techniques.
I was a bit worried that my friends and I wouldn't be sold ice cream or cheeseburgers either. But the staff at the shop was very friendly. They were eager to tell anecdotes of the real "Billy Jack" visits. And they cooked up burgers and fries for us all.
We were surprised that the shop contained no actual memorabilia from the movie and that the owner of the ice cream shop instead chose the decor of a 1950's diner.
We set sight next on Jerome, Arizona. The adventure climaxes there. Part III is meeting 4 cougars. Your patience may be rewarded when I finally recount our story from Jerome. If you have come this far, I hope that Part III does not disappoint.