Friday, August 27, 2010

McKellips West of Lindsay

And east of Almond Grove. Which, by the way, is not a through street.

I'm thinking this must have at one time been home to a fruit stand. Lots of tree stumps and the building looks like it would have been the place of commerce once upon a time. Now it's just kind of, well, sitting and waiting for really good wind to knock it over.

Art of Tuscany sells all manner of stone stuff with which to do stone stuff things. But just in case anyone should see the name and think they are anything but All-American, the feather flag should convince them otherwise!

Art of Tuscany shares this sign space with ATF Transmission Shop, Martin's Auto Repair, Joe's Auto AC and Herlehy's Auto Repair. Another sign for Herlehy's just to the left of this collection assures one that the place is under new ownership and lower prices are in effect.

This is a sidewalk view into the Conquistador Mobile Home Park. Nicely landscaped.

Across the street is the somewhat more modestly attired Sunset Mobile Park.

And then there is the Rio del Oro park. Are you getting the idea that this stretch of McKellips has a lot of mobile homes? True enough.

But it also has apartments.

And over at Almond Grove, you have some larger abodes.

Although the primary election has passed, you can't go very far without seeing a whole bunch of campaign signs. Some just get the candidates' names out there, maybe give a qualification or two.

Some think it important to include innocent women and children in their advertisements. One AZ candidate in another congressional district tried this sort of thing posing with his nieces. Or perhaps they were professional models. Or local children promised a pass on the AIMS test if they cooperated. In any case, they weren't his daughters. The candidate's name? It escapes me at the moment but I remember it had both a bird and a spelling challenged vice-president association.

These two gentlemen desperately wish to lead the crime fighting struggle in our great state. I trust they have a good grasp of what is legal. Ethical, I'm not so sure.

Moon Valley Nurseries has a nice big presence on the south side of McKellips.

East Valley Mustang

And this part of Mesa also has a prominent water feature.....

No, wait a sec, that's Oceanside, CA.

There we go.

There aren't too many places you can go in Mesa without seeing an LDS spire.

One more mobile home park shot. Trust me, you're getting off easy.

So long from Mesa!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

August 26, Dana Park

Traveling south on Val Vista Rd. between Southern and Baseline, just past the entrance to the freeway, you can't miss this tower at the northeast corner of Dana Park. Shops and restaurants dominate this commercial property, although I did see a few other businesses such as a chiropractor, an orthodontist and a couple of offices I wasn't sure what sort of business was being transacted there.

When the weather is reasonable, which is most of the year around here, there is a whole lot more foot traffic at Dana Park than, say, downtown Mesa. Folks going to restaurants, window shopping the stores, sitting out in front of A.J.'s Fine Foods and dining al fresco at any of the wide variety of restaurants. There are quite a few empty store fronts here, but the overall impression is upbeat and more than a little upscale.

The nice, big Barnes and Noble store is one of our favorite places at Dana Park.

Most of the empty storefronts have posters reminding you of what can be found in either direction.

Lots of fountains and potted plants. I like the patterned drive.

Shakespeare's Pub and Restaurant is the second British Isles tenant for this location. For the life of me I can't remember the name of the original place, but it was of the UK variety also. Believe I had a shepherd's pie there once. I hope Shakespeare's fare is tastier.

I didn't find much in the way of hometown Mesa shops. I guess that should be no surprise. Here is Anthropologie. Never been inside one myself and they weren't open yet when I took these photos (gotta get out before it gets too toasty!). Place looked pretty interesting from the outside. I expect it's a bit beyond my budget, though.
I can't resist shots with parked bikes, so there was no way I was passing this one by. Sweet Age is the shop. I'm not sure if they are local or not.

The European Wax Center is offering a special for first time guests, but from what I understand of the Brazilian procedure they are advertising, you'd think they would pay a person more than $19.50 to subject themselves to it. Of course I could be misunderstanding the sign. They could mean that the special price applies to Brazilian customers only. I'm thinking that might be a limited clientele base here in Mesa.

Pei Wei is one of our go-to restaurants. Good food, usually quite quick, and non-scary prices.

Girly Girlz has a sign in one of the unoccupied windows at the other end of the center indicating they are "around the corner". It was actually quite a hike.

Dana Park has these public service Anti-Drug signs distributed liberally around the property, although I thought the slogan was "Speed Kills". In any case, Sauce is another restaurant we have tried. I like their prosciutto and melon pizza.
Storables came and went in pretty short order. The place was a knock-off of my beneficent day (and sometimes night) job employer.

As is the case with most of these centers, the perimeter has a fair sprinkling of eating establishments. We tried Five Guys once a while ago. It was good. Not what you'd call health food, but good.

We'll end this tour with a shot of AJ's Purveyors of Fine Foods. This is the quite definitely upscale part of the Bashas' grocery store empire. Bashas' has been having a tough time lately, going into Chapter 11 and subsequently trimming its workforce substantially and still having its struggles with certain creditors. We'll see how it all shakes out. In the meantime, if you want a decadent pastry to take home, I like their bakery.

So long from Mesa.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Early morning, August 25

Sorry about the power lines, but today's photo op was when I went out to get the newspaper. In the east a lovely sunrise. And to the west, a full moon and evidence of one of those powerful storms that blow into town this time of year. Our neighbor's saguaro went boom.

Not exactly "Moonrise Over Hernandez", but still, I think you get the idea.

I'm off to work. I hope you have a wonderful day!

So long from Mesa!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Yes, Dear Reader, There Really Is A...

...Grace United Methodist Church.

As those of you who have Boomerang know, much of the action takes place in my stomping grounds here in the East Valley, which is simply the eastern part of the Greater Phoenix Metro Area, also known as The Valley of the Sun. Lots of sun. Way too much sun I sometimes think.

Anyway, the story takes us from Australia to Martha's Vineyard to Washington D.C. and San Francisco, but most of the last half of the book, including all of the finale, happens in several places in the East Valley, including the El Chiquito Motor Lodge, The Burger Works restaurant, and Seaspray Dr. None of those places really exist, although they all have their basis in real places or a collection of such. But one place that plays a rather important role in the story really does exist. I thought perhaps you would like to see evidence. Grace United Methodist Church does sit on the north-east corner of Gilbert Rd. and University Dr. in what used to be close to the eastern border of Mesa. Nowadays it is geographically west of center. This was the church of my childhood and teenage years, where I played guitar for the Youth Choir. As a matter of fact, our choir director, Joe Lloyd very nicely did not object when I gave his last name to the fictional pastor of this very real church. That may have something to do with the fact that Mr. Lloyd most likely has no idea my book exists, but I will accept this permission by ignorance and call it square.
So long from Mesa, AZ. See you later!
(still working on that sign-off!)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Main Street, Between Hobson and Horne

Okay, I know I'm playing a bit of a hopscotch game on Main, with the last entry being just a bit east of here. Never said I was going to do this in a logical, orderly fashion, now did I?

Not a lot of time, so at least for now I'm not attaching any links to the businesses pictured here. Honestly, I have a feeling a lot of them don't have websites anyway. So here are your images of Mesa on a hot (95 degrees) and slightly muggy Thursday morning (between 9:30 and 10).
And here comes the reason I jumped back to this block. I remembered that one of my old classmates asked for a photo of the DQ. So here it is....

From Mesa, Arizona, so long and see you later.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Arizona Museum for Youth

Today the forecast high was one-hundred-fourteen degrees. It was hot. So, armed with some of the Mesa Bucks I mentioned in an earlier entry, we went to the Arizona Museum for Youth located in what used to be the first Bashas' grocery store at 35 N. Robson in downtown Mesa. As a matter of fact they have an architect's rendering of the Bashas' kind of tucked away by an emergency exit, hung right above where they apparently like to keep their recycle bin. I left the recycle bin out of the photo out of respect. Plus it just didn't come out that great.

The real reason we went to the AZ MfY (that doesn't look very good, does it?) is because they currently have an exhibit called Jump into Japan and our daughter and her friends are interested in popular Japanese culture. There are big fuzzy representations of anime characters like Totoro and Catbus.
The place wasn't exactly crowded, but there were kids playing and exploring and parents patiently looking on or having fun themselves. None of the exhibits is what you could call in depth, but in a relatively small space they manage to touch on traditional as well as current Japanese culture, have places where you can try your hand at things like stop-action animation, a neat alphabet computer program that turns English words and names into what look very much like Japanese symbols, and various places where you can engage in less high tech art projects.

I don't think that this next thing was part of the Jump Into Japan exhibit, but it was right next to it. A kind of spooky double camera set-up with a delay action projection thingie that allows you to see what is on the other side of a wall while also inserting your own "x-ray" image onto the the screen. My son and I had some fun with it.

I'm the old guy on the right.

There is also currently an exhibition called "Play Ball" all about the history of the major league baseball spring training in Arizona. Evidently the New York (later San Francisco) Giants team made it a practice to visit the Buckhorn Baths in east Mesa at the beginning of spring training to get their muscles loosened up and their attitudes adjusted. I took this shot before I saw the sign requesting no photos. It's not a very good shot, so I don't think it counts. Right?

Something I thought was kind of interesting in a "Really? I Woulda Never Thought" kind of way is a section devoted to the late artist Keith Haring. Interesting choice. Especially for Mesa. Just goes to show that sometimes this town can surprise a person.

So there you go. That's how we entertained ourselves on this hot, hot August day in Mesa.