People of Lubbock, don't fear coming to Phoenix; it's way more similar than it is different. You can find people from both sides of the political aisle as well. As a guide, move towards downtown if more progressive; move towards the suburbs if more conservative.
This year was also the first year I volunteered at AZ GiveCamp, a place where developers and other techies donate a weekend of their time to local non-profits.
Then the first Friday of every month, there is PHX2600, a gathering of people primarily interested in computer security.
I don't recall anything like this available in Lubbock; and I really wish there had been. Granted, this is probably easier to setup these days due to the increased use of the Internet.
Some more local websites that highlight gatherings:
http://azgroups.com/ for meetings of local technology groups.
http://nextplex.com/phoenix-az for entrepreneurial resources and community.
http://assembleaz.com/ for entrepreneurial coworking space in North Phoenix.
http://gangplankhq.com/ collaborative coworking and event space in Avondale and Chandler
Online gathering places with a local emphasis:
Because of that, I've met so many people, and gotten involved with local stuff, and also, the lack of snow and ice, and not having to change my clocks for daylight savings time, have really made me like Phoenix (and Arizona), and it would take "something" to make me move out of here now.
If you happen upon this blog and want to come with me to one of the uniquely Phoenix places to eat when you move here, put in a comment with your email or twitter or phone # (and I'll not publish it, I approve all comments before they are posted).
I'll show you one of the places we have that I've not seen anywhere else.
IE: Heart Attack Grill, Chino Bandito, Lo Lo's Chicken and Waffles, not to mention some regional chains they don't have back in Lubbock, or other "regions that aren't here".
It's really quite an experience. If you happen to ever go, opt for the "Turf club" on the 3rd floor at $5 a seat. (Free refills on soda). Nice big windows so you can watch the track. They are only open during the "cooler" months of the year.
$4 to get in the door. We came to watch a friends horse race. You can get a program that gives you all sorts of stats about the horses and whether they had won or not.
I went ahead and put money on my friends horse, and they have their own lingo for what to bet on. Minimum bet of $2.
You can bet to "win" which means the horse will come in first.
You can bet to "place" which means you will win if the horse comes in "at least" second, or first.
You can bet to "show" which means you will win if the horse comes in "at least" third, second, or first.
I could probably cover this topic way more in depth, but I'm sure the website will explain it just as well:
I enjoyed being there, it wasn't so quite you were afraid to talk, and wasn't loud so you could easily here the people around you. And at 1 race every 30 minutes, if you just dropped $2 on every race, you could stay there for 2 hours and only gamble $8.
Oh, ask your waiter who could explain "claim" races to you. That's really interesting to show how it keeps the races fair.
Ensure you have your drivers license from whatever state you came from.
Bring your birth certificate, has to be an original, not a copy.
If you don't have both of those here is a list of acceptable documents (beware, it's PDF):
They open at 8am, so show up at 7AM here:
Phoenix Central 2739 E. Washington St. Phoenix 85034
My recommendation: From I-10 take the Jefferson/Washington St exit #148 and head East, right after 27th St you will have a big glass building to the South (on your right), after driving beside that building, turn South (right) on 28th st and then within 150 yards is a West (right) turn into a parking lot. Park anywhere there, and that glass building will have a big double door entrance on the North side of the parking lot.
If you show up at 7am, there will likely be a line already going beside the double door. Walk on up and audibly say something like "3rd in line!" and when the next person shows up, mention how they showed up 50 minutes before they open and they are 4th in line. (Now you have established your place).
Okay so now you wait till about 7:50 AM (there is nowhere to sit). And they will open the double doors, and make you form a line inside the building East to West. Then a helpful person will walk down the line asking you why you are there. If you have come to renew your drivers license and didn't bring any additional documentation, they will tell you to leave and come back with it. (A recent AZ law has people prove that they are US citizens when registering for a drivers license, since you don't have to prove you are a US citizen to get a TX drivers license, a TX license alone isn't good enough).
Okay, so after telling the helpful lady why you are there, she will give you a form to fill out (bring a pen), and she will give you a "Number/Letter Combination" on a slip of paper, something like B-3.
Sit down and fill out the form (relatively easy). There is also a spot for political affiliation, so you are allowed to register to vote at the same time.
Around 7:10 or 7:15, they will start "calling" the numbers. This pre-recorded mans' voice will say "B-3, go to station 15" and you will look around the room to these "stations" along the wall that the employees are at. The "B-3 to 15" will also be displayed on a digital board so you can know how soon your number is coming up.
I think I was 6th in line and didn't get called till around 7:20 AM. They had me take a vision test, poked a hole in my TX drivers license, took my picture (dress nice), created the license, and registered me to vote, and out the door at 9 AM.
That's how it's done. I'll pass along the Vehicle Registration Process as soon as it comes up.
The 5 day forecast said it should hit one hundred and one degrees later this week. They reported it was 96 degrees today. Sure didn’t feel the way I remember 96 degrees feeling, of course now I was driving around instead of picking vegetables.
I’m still not a Phoenician (MS Word had to help me with the spelling), the other day I introduced my team as “The crew from Lubbock” on accident. My co-worker turned to me and said “Lubbock?” and it still took a second before I realized I had made an error.
I got a comment on my blog about how Lubbock doesn’t spend money on public works the way Phoenix does. I 100% agree with that person, Lubbock does not spend money on painting flowers on overpass columns, or coming up with these bizarre birds surrounded by airplanes on the way to the airport (I’ll try to get pictures of these at some point). I would say that I’m glad Lubbock doesn’t spend money on those things in order to keep taxes low. I’m sure there are some other areas they could cut to fund some other projects.
Lubbock used to be flooded after just a small amount of rain, as I recall, ever since about 2002 or so, it got better, but still some problems in some areas. Phoenix isn’t that different. We had a good sized storm blow through, and leaks shut down a few stores in the mall close to where I lived. It had been 100+ days since the last rain, so I can see how stuff like that could fall into disrepair. I took a look out as I rode over a bridge, and it was quite the torrent of water, not something you could just walk through without any problems. Two days later when I next got out there, it was all back down to a trickle.
I’ll probably make one more post at the point I finally feel “Phoenicized”, probably need to look into getting registered to vote and a drivers license.
Phoenix, and by Phoenix I mean “The Valley” has it’s “main roads” Loop 101, I-17, US-51, I-10, Loop 202, Loop 143, separated by miles of surface streets, making a semi-reasonable grid pattern of 60 miles wide by 50 miles high, just 3000 square miles to worry about.
That’s kind of an exaggeration, if you were to take a look at a map of Phoenix you’ll see it’s not completely filled in rectangle, but its close. It is nice that most major street run North-South or East-West. Also if you are in “East Valley” and want to go to the closest In-N-Out burger, there is one within several miles, you don’t have to drive to “West Valley” for that. I would wager that if you made a list of all the things you purchased last year, you could find two shops for it in Phoenix, you then just go to the closer one.
My job has required I drive all over the valley, but each place is easy to get to, you start from wherever you are, you find out which surface street takes you to an interstate or US highway, you find out if you can stay on that major road, or merge or exit onto another one, then find out which surface street you want to exit onto, then where you turn after that, and you are there.
Anecdotally I was told two things today. First that there are people who live in Phoenix but never, under any circumstances, drive on the freeway; my co-worker tells me he knows a person who hasn't driven on the freeway in 15 years. Which I can understand, you don't have to use the interstates to get from a to b, you could take some of the surface street all over town, it would just take forever. Secondly I've also been told that right now during the "winter months", all the "Snow birds" are in town, just adding to the traffic congestion. "Snow birds" are affluent people, usually elderly, who live in sunnier climates during the winter months, and milder climates during the summer months. Obviously Phoenix makes a great selection for many elderly, what with their attractive golf courses and beautiful weather. I asked "why are they on the road in rush hour?" and was told that they wake up early, and drive to their doctors appointments.
Granted there is much more traffic in Phoenix on the interstates than you will ever find in Lubbock (even after a Tech game). There are occasionally times when an interstate can grind to a complete halt, for 20 minutes or more moving one car length every 1 minute, as your engine just gets hotter as you sit in idle. The worst times you will eventually pass the 2 car pileup that seems obvious to have stopped you in your tracks, other times it will be nothing, and traffic will just slowly thin out till you can again reach the speed limit.
After an unseasonably warm winter, it became fantastically cold in Lubbock right as we were loading the truck, but our movers still did a great job.
Since this is a blog aimed at people moving from Lubbock to Phoenix, here’s what I learned from the experience.
Budget rental trucks have a 10% coupon in the United States Postal Service change of address form. We got a rental truck from Budget Truck.com and it worked out great, they didn’t have the car carrier (the kind that completely lifts the car off the ground) available until 5:30 PM the day we picked up the truck. That was fine since we weren’t planning to leave until the next day, but that would be something I would double check first. My wife’s tiny car was so low to the ground that it didn’t clear the top of the side of the trailer when she opened the door, so we had to load it on the side and then get the door half open and climb halfway out the window then close the window from the outside.
A 15’ Budget Truck with a car carrier ended up being around $900+. It would have been $850+ but we were over our miles because of the route we took. Instead of taking the route I blogged about earlier, we decided to bypass the Guadalupe mountains by taking US 62 out to Odessa, then I 20, then I 10 to El Paso and spent the night at El Paso. This added probably 100 miles onto the trip. We hadn’t anticipated the increased fuel costs, time, and being over our mileage, but I would do it again if given the opportunity. There were some uphills that the truck had trouble getting up, but it was worth it to avoid those crazy mountains East of El Paso.
We had the company “Affordable Moving” out of Lubbock load our truck, a great company that I would recommend to anyone, they charge at least a two hour minimum and a 4% surcharge for credit cards, so the total was $144.02, we had the guys for two hours and they loaded everything we had into the truck, it just barely fit. If we had taken the washer and dryer with us we would have had to upgrade to the bigger truck. My tip, drop by the rental office and ask to see the inside of a truck sometime so you have an idea of what kind of space you can work with.
Taking “the Odessa route” with that big moving truck and a car being towed on the back changed our travel time from Lubbock to El Paso to about 9 hours, from El Paso to Phoenix with that truck (but the usual I 10 route) took about 8 hours. As always, I suggest the “spend the night in El Paso” option.
If you happen to drive your own rental truck, be very aware of the road at all times, continually check your mirrors, and watch out as semi trucks pass you (or you pass them) as the wind coming off their vehicles sometimes pushes you away or pulls you toward them. Try to turn on your turn signal, wait as you check and then double check your mirrors, then change lanes, those blind spots are trouble.
Things took a turn for the worse once we got into Phoenix, the company I had arranged to unload consisted of two guys who showed up in a little car, one of them missing all his fingers but the thumb on his right hand and spoke no English. It was likely he was just a “day laborer” that had been picked up on the way over. I had specified on the phone that a dolly (hand truck) and furniture movers would be needed to transport our stuff from the truck to the new apartment, with no such tools at their disposal, it took 4 hours to unload as opposed to the 2 hours to load. A big thumbs down for Big Mountain Movers.
The wife gives the new apartment a 90 out of 100. We have spent our first few days in Phoenix together just going through all the boxes and making some general decisions about what goes where in our new apartment.
When I first moved into my new apartment in Lubbock, I used to get shocked every time I touched anything metal (a fresh shampoo of the carpets will do that, something weird with static). Over time I started to get shocked less and less, and after 2 years it doesn’t happen at all. It was only after getting to my new job in Phoenix and again getting shocked by every metal object there that I realized “Hey my old apartment doesn’t shock me anymore”.
I’m trying to draw a parallel here. When I was in Lubbock, and it rained, it was only an inconvenience to me. I’m no longer in the farming business, so I don’t need the water, I don’t have a lawn because I’m in an apartment so I don’t get to save money by having to water it less. The only thing the rain did for me was cause me to get wet, my car windows to get dirty (because the rain would turn the dust on the car to mud), the alley between me and the dumpster to be impassable for days, and having to drive slowly on the roads and avoid the big puddles. –I should note for those unfamiliar to Lubbock: Lubbock has a drainage problem in that it’s mainly the same elevation all around the county, so the rain doesn’t have much anywhere to go. This often results in a brief rain storm leaving rain in on the sides of the road for hours after it’s passed, and an extended rain storm to have foot deep puddles on the sides of the road that make the right hand lane unusable.
I had a running joke going with this guy who worked at a convenience store on my way to work that I was “the man who hates rain” after I told him that as a non-farmer rain was just an inconvenience.
What I’m trying to say here is that I regarded both the rain and the static shocks as just inconveniences, and when inconveniences that seem to just happen at random intervals occur less frequently, or stop all together, you don’t notice it until someone says “Hey it hasn’t rained in over 100 days!”
Now if it turned into “it hasn’t rained in 120 days and when you step in the shower it only comes out as a trickle because we are running out of water”, I would be very concerned that we hadn’t gotten any rainfall. Much like “Meatless Mondays” or “Wheatless Wednesdays” made every citizen realize that we were at war, the lack of them allows me to hurtle through life blissfully unaware.
That could be a government study, how cheap kitchen cabinets destroy a neighborhood.
My new apartment overlooks a golf course with a little lake in it. I noticed all the windows had screens on them, but where were the insects? I realize it’s “winter” here, but there hasn’t been snow on the ground in I don’t know how many years, so where are all the pests?
I was thinking of investing in one of those bug zappers so that I could sit out on the porch and say “yep” a lot, but I don’t really see any bugs.
Not that I’m complaining. That is definitely a point in Phoenix favor.
Coming to Phoenix I was under the impression that all the homeless people come to Phoenix because the weather is so good even during the winter that it’s not so very cold when you sleep on the streets.
That being said in November a homeless woman carried around the baby she delivered herself on the street and initial new reports mentioned that the baby “had turned blue from the cold” but it might have been blue since it wasn’t breathing. They mentioned that the homeless woman was “a known drug user and likely had a mental problems”.
I have a friend in Lubbock that did live in a homeless shelter in Phoenix, and he relayed that there were a lot of homeless in Phoenix as well. One of the local conservative radio talk show hosts was homeless at one time.
I’ve seen a few of them at intersections, stop lights and the like, but staying on the lane that’s not immediately beside the curb seems to work; but I haven’t had anyone yet come directly up to me and ask me for money. So that’s cool. I did take a trip to Tucson, and at the gas station a woman asked me for money and twice in November at a Jack in the Box by Indian School and 7th Avenue I was asked for money, but none since my time in January has started.
I think it’s that I’m starting to get a tad more cynical, and that I’m taking pains to avoid them. I was asked for money by people in Lubbock a few times, but I think that was just because of the exact area I lived in, and after awhile I was able to avoid them. I guess I’ve already gotten good at avoiding them here.
Phoenix is home to a few in the ranks of celebrity, and people you've heard of too:
Leslie Nielsen, Stevie Nicks, Alice Cooper, those are the ones that when I heard them I went "really, wow!", and was impressed.
What does Lubbock have? Well the last big thing I can remember was a rumor that the white guy from "The Fast and the Furious" was planning to buy "the big house on Slide where that fire was". ***Edit 2006-02-07: I went back to the guy I first heard this rumor from and he tells me that that particular house was not destined for that actor, but that either his wife (or if he isn't married, girlfriend) is from Lubbock TX.***
I'm not saying that makes Phoenix any better or worse, in a perfect world you would want your neighbors to attract as little attention as possible, but I figured I would illustrate the difference.
-Update 2006-02-01: A relative pointed out that Lubbock does have Bobby Night. He also mentioned "Marsha Sharp" but I'm guessing unless you are from Lubbock, you don't know who that is. Then there is Buddy Holly, but I say he doesn't count since you can't have a "Celebrity Sighting" of someone who is no longer alive.
After listening to podcaster after podcaster mention the area that they were from, InsomniaRadio.net (or Indie Feed) and they mentioned a band from this area, and I thought "wouldn't it be great to get some podcasts from Phoenix"?
So I did a search of podcasts for Phoenix on iTunes. I had no idea how much podfading there was out there. Some really cool ones, some tech, some religion, some aimed at educators, maybe more than 20.I had also done a search for Lubbock podcasts. However none of them seemed interesting enough to try. 6 spirituality, 2 educational institutions, 1 weather.
For fun try checking it now, or check your own town.
It mentioned how Scottsdale (one of the towns in "The Valley") had gotten a visit from celebrities recently and how that will increase their notice and they couldn't be luckier.
I figured "Hey, I wonder if the national media reports on this story if they will say 'Celebrities sited in:
C. Phoenix Arizona
D. A suburb of Phoenix
E. Scottsdale, a suburb of Phoenix
F. Scottsdale Arizona
What do you vote? I was thinking 'B', they would just straight up ignore the exact location, or wouldn't know one Phoenix suburb from another and just lump them all together and call them 'Phoenix'.
Much to my surprise, they went with 'F', "Scottsdale Arizona", and when I say "they" I mean a search of "jennifer aniston vince vaughn arizona" on google, had 6 sites calling it "Scottsdale Arizona" off the 10 on the front page (I was unable to view the other 4 sites or they did not mention the couple in relation to their visit).
I had mentioned that there was FM 101.5 with pretty crass humor. I do listen to it in the car when I can’t listen to my podcasts, and one late night when turning it on, was Phil Hendrie, this hilarious DJ who does this comedy show with a “guest” who has a totally indefensible position that he or she will try to defend with the callers. It is hilarious. I also started listening to Adam Carolla’s radio show in the mornings. I had been disappointed by his Comedy Central TV show, but his radio show is great.
As a for instance, some Lubbock residents in a particular neighborhood (called Tech Terrace), had a law passed that a maximum of three unrelated residents can live in the same house. This was passed to specifically keep a bunch of college students from moving into the house next door “because you know that all those college students are loud and noisy and trash out the neighborhood”. I’m not sure when it got passed, but I guess they finally tried to evict 4 students from one of the houses, they responded by painting the house purple, and then painting big black polka dots over that. The whole ordeal ended in a fizzle when one of the students moved out and was replaced with a cousin of one of the residents, thus bringing them up to code; at least that’s the way I remember it.
So far I’ve only noticed that they have colleges in this town because some of the roommates I looked for were students; other than that I’ve hardly noticed. That might be since there are many colleges, not just one.
I do remember hearing that the Minute Men had patrolled the Arizona border for a month as a publicity event. But I’m unsure if that really proves the politics one way or another. One thing I have heard is that the population of Phoenix goes up by 120,000 every year, and I’m sure people bring their politics with them.
I hadn’t really had any political moments I’ve been confronted with. I did find the competing liberal and conservative talk radio stations to be a change, but the only real close attention I see politically is when a local host for either of the stations comes on. Really I guess it’s not any more political that Lubbock was.
Well now that I say that, I do recall two separate instances where American ex-soldiers mentioned their dislike of either the current or previous administrations. That was kind of odd. I wasn’t really involved in the conversation so much as I was standing within earshot, so I didn’t pipe up and say anything.
I should say that politics in Lubbock aren’t really that active either, only if you want them to be. You can get active, join an organization, read the paper, attend meetings; or you can just ignore the whole thing.
While discussing apartments with leasing agents, and discussing apartment searches with co-workers, I was made aware of some
First off, a light one, “$700 fine for non-leashed dogs” told to me by one of the leasing agents. I can understand why you would want all citizens to keep their dogs on a leash, but isn’t 700 dollars a pretty high fine for even the most dangerous of breeds?
Secondly, “All BBQ grills must be 10 feet from the wall of a building”, told to me by the same leasing agent. I’m not sure I get this one. I realize that you want to keep people from burning down their houses (or someone elses house), but if I am a home owner, what if that’s a risk I’m willing to take, shouldn’t I be allowed to take it?
Finally, the one that stood my hair on edge, “If you are in a lease at an apartment in
We (or maybe just I) have a perception of "moving up in the world" as you get older, more educated, more experienced, getting better, faster, stronger, smarter, living better, making improvement, finding new ways to do things, more ways to pursue your own interests.
I suppose for what the wife and I were making we could have moved into a nicer apartment in Lubbock, but for what I'm making now, it appears we will have to take a step down in some of the nicer parts of our apartment. For instance, our Lubbock apartment combined the kitchen with the "utility room" (where the washer/dryer hookups were) into one room. This gave the kitchen loads of counter space and a big area you could walk around in. Most every Phoenix apartment I've come across has the "not wide enough for two butts" hallway kind of kitchen. With all the appliances taking up most of the counter space. (Oh, a good idea would be to put a piece of wood over two of the burners on the stove whenever its off).
It's dissapointing when I'm earning more, but I'm going to pay a much higher percentage of what I was paying for something comparable, with a longer commute and a premium for a "nice" neighborhood.
On the flip side, I have noticed that food is just a hair cheaper. Hot pockets come down to $1 each (as opposed to $1.50 in Lubbock) and the Tall Boy energy drinks are only $1.50 (as opposed to $2 in Lubbock). Of course this is for the supermarkets. Convenience stores are a whole other story.
This morning in North Phoenix I happened to take the Bell Street exit off I-17. As mentioned before, you just drive down streets of shops and suddenly you find yourself in a new town.
Well Glendale Arizona doesn’t want you to just speed through their town and not notice it. So they have large signs placed around the city limits that read:
“It’s our town, SLOW down.”
Making Glendale sound like it’s full of old cantankerous people. Then on my way out at the protected left at Bell St and 75th Ave they had this smart-aleky sign “Use your head, stop on red.”
Thanks Glendale, for the condescending traffic reminders.
Not that Lubbock really has what I would call “suburbs”, but Houston has places like Spring where you have to take a ride a good distance out on an interstate, and the Dallas / Ft Worth area has places like Plano, where you actually can have some fields or at least big swatches of grass and trees in between towns.
Not so with Phoenix, if you check it out on any of the online mapping tools you’ll notice that the grid of cross streets just keeps going even though the name of the area changes. The example I keep using to explain it, and it just happened today wouldn’t you know, is that you can often be driving down a street, and if you turn left is west Yorkshire road in Peoria, and on the right is west Utopia road in Phoenix. So most of the town just run side by side. So far I haven’t found any huge differences.
One thing that is definitely worth mentioning, the stop lights go from straight green, to straight yellow, to straight red and protected left green, and protected left yellow while still straight red, then red for everyone. In Lubbock it would be protected left green and straight red, protected left yellow and straight red, straight green, straight yellow, all red.
I’m told it’s the protected left first in some of the suburbs, but I’ve just started to really pay attention at lights instead of trying to remember and second guess.
Oh one more thing and this may be because I was driving a company vehicle with a big logo on the side, but I have noticed that repeatedly when I’m trying to turn in with traffic from a parking lot that’s near a stop light, people will stop to let me in. Thanks fellow Phoenicians.
Just this morning I happened to run across this article as to how to be accepted as a Phoenician. Apparently this town gets in 120,000 people a year, and I’ve run into three people in Lubbock who used to live in Phoenix. So “new comers” and “people who leave Phoenix” happens a lot.
I guess this wasn’t really “surprising”. It’s been one of the universal truths that higher population leads to more widely defined permissible behavior. Why that is, I couldn’t say. You would almost expect that if there are fewer people to get angry, you could get away with more, perhaps it’s the anonymity of not having to know or ever interact with your neighbors.
Speaking of, I’ve driven or walked by my immediate neighbors every day the past week, and haven’t said word one to them yet. Actually that’s not that different from Lubbock. In Lubbock all I would say to my neighbors is “Howdy neighbor” as I walked by.
I guess what really surprised me was that I was under the impression that the shock jock had left because they were afraid of being fined by the FCC, well what do they replace him with? A format from Los Angeles called “Free FM” that’s just one crass shock jock after another. I eventually had to search for a music station because I didn’t want people to walk by my cube and hear the constant barrage of sex talk.
Phoenix is also one of the carriers of the liberal radio station. We don’t happen to have that in Lubbock either. I’m not sure the exact number of radio stations, but I tried to do a quick scan and preset setup, but ran out of my 8 presets on FM and AM pretty quickly. I’ve not sat down to determine for sure, but there even seems to be more TV broadcast channels than just the big 5.
Something I’ll have to do soon is do a search for Phoenix podcasts versus Lubbock podcasts.
It was stop and go, and 20 minutes later I made it to the first exit two miles down the road. I took the surface streets until I could make it to the 101 loop. It wasn’t crowded for whatever reason. All in all a 30 minute trip took about a 1 hour.
It wasn’t the first, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. I’ve been in traffic jams in every other big city I’ve driven in as well, but I just figured I’d point it out to anyone moving from Lubbock.
8245 N 27th Ave Phoenix AZ 85051
I'm not sure if this was the intention, but the main gate was wide open as I drove in. It was on an awfully lonely stretch of road. I've become used to seeing people on every street corner and on every sidewalk, but I want to say that at the time I drove by, this street happened to be empty, which was odd. It might be because I-17 happens to run really close to it, and if you had to get on, or around I-17, you would take a different route unless you already lived on that road. So that's a point in it's favor.
When I parked another guy happened to pull up beside me, when he got out I asked him if I had taken his spot (this was a gated community after all) and he politely said no. So I would also chalk up random kindness from a stranger as a point.
The buildings were all two story, and I believe they all had 8 rooms per level. This would mean you share one wall and staircase with one neighbor, another wall with another neighbor, and a floor/ceiling with another neighbor, three neighbors in all. The actual part of the staircase you would share is probably only 8 steps and a landing.
Something that this apt had that I thought was really cool, was that as you came to the top of the stair, there would be a 4x4 porch with a door that had a deadbolt. After entering that door, would be a 4x16 porch that was kinda like outdoor storage. All the ground floor places had some sort of screen that went floor to ceiling so you couldn't just hop over the fence and make off with someones stuff.
The porch area looked really nice, kinda like a place where you could let a dog bounce around in.
This was all I saw from the outside, the grounds were clean and they had an additional locked entrance to their pool.
After turning the corner and driving a few miles down the road, I did come notice several youths hanging out at a convenience store.
4221 W Dunlap Ave Phoenix AZ 85051
I rolled up to Villa Serna that had a Dairy Queen right beside it. There was what I assume a high school age girl working there. I asked her if she felt safe in the neighborhood and she said yes. I asked her what she thought about the Villa Serna and she said that one of the people who worked there lived there. So that's a point in their favor.
I didn't see a pool at the Villa Serna, that's unfortunate.
Again, gated community with the main gate left wide open.
At these apts you did share a few steps and a landing with one neighbor, you would also share a wall with them, then another neighbor on the other side, and some other neighbor would share the whole backside of the apt. Of course if you lived on the corner of the building, this would limit you to two neighbors.
They did have an outside grill which I though was interesting, and they looked like rather nice walkways between the buildings.
These apts would also an enclosed porch area, a room (I assume living room) would have a sliding glass door leading to the enclosed porch area, perfect to let dogs run out and play in. if you were direcly at ground level, it would instead be a row of shrubs. This place did have a "sense of cheapness to it". I know that sounds hard to describe, I'm not sure if it was the occasional baby cry, the music I could hear faintly in the background, or just the look of the tenants, but something told me I would want a discount to live there.
Driving to the South side of town. Right along I-10, about halfway between the loop and I-17.
5335 W McDowell Rd Phoenix AZ 85035
Not to much to say about this place. I walked throught it and just didn't feel safe, not to mention that there was trash. Not completedly covering everything, but enough that you would say "huh... there's trash here".
After "the most pregnant teenager I ever saw" and the group of men chatting and laughing and just all the dirt and grime on the roads there. I decided against it and left.
Villa del Sol
Oddly I had some picks of this place. I think I started to check it out, and wasn’t as frightened of it as I was of Lynnwood, but I do think I ran into some more trash, and a pack of children just running around screaming, and eventually left. I want to say I saw a pool.
6161 W McDowell Rd Phoenix AZ 85035
McDowell appeared to be a pretty busy street that wasn’t really sidewalk friendly. So while there was a lot of cars driving back and forth, I didn’t really see a lot of people at the street entrance.
Now this was a gated community that seemed to take itself seriously, as though they were trying to keep the people in Lynnwood out. However they did have a gate on the sidewalk that a person could walk through, and it was propped open. The car gate required a code or something similar before it would open to allow you to drive through.
I walked around, saw a really big pool that some kids were playing in, that was pretty far separated from the apartments (I assume to help reduce noise). The buildings here were 2 floors with 4 apts per floor, so one neighbor shares your porch and a wall, another shares a wall, and another the floor/ceiling. Instead of just a few steps, you would share the entire staircase and half of a porch that ran from their door all the way to yours. It also came with a sliding glass door exit to an enclosed porch area. Perfect for the dogs to run and play in.
This place thoroughly impressed me with it’s cleanliness and sharpness. If that was a big concern, this was definitely a place to check out.
Did you ever wonder if someone would think it odd that no one would accost a person walking around with a camera? One guy did pull back the curtains to give me an odd look, I just waved, and to my amazement he waved back. Kindness to strangers, that’s a point in it’s favor.
Now we head just South of I-10.
101 N 91st Ave Tolleson AZ 85353
Well lookee there, someone doesn’t want to be Phoenix, instead they are “Tolleson”. Of the 5 weeks I’ve spent in this town I can’t remember seeing that at any other time. And I printed out directions to this place 2 months ago. I’m just playing with the citizens of Tolleson, I’m just making light that the rest of the country just knows everything in sun valley as “Phoenix”.
Copper Cove was actually the one gated community that I had a hard time getting into. I had to scope it out, check all the entrances, and there was a tenant playing with her kids right beside the car gate (that required a code to get in), so I figured she would likely rat me out if she saw me tailgating in or just walking in. I eventually found a sidewalk gate for people to walk through that was just barely latched. Even then it required a little finesse and pen to push the latch in enough to open the gate. That’s a point in their favor for protecting the grounds that well.
There were some kids out playing in the parking lot, but they looked clean cut, although I’d say watch out for them since they were pushing one kid along on a big wheel.
Copper Cove had two story buildings with 4 apts per floor, but I think you would just share stairs and a landing with one neighbor, another neighbor sharing a wall, and another neighbor on the floor/ceiling. So really only two neighbors you might have to deal with.
Copper Cove also impressed me with it’s cleanliness and sharpness.
Thus my trip from El Paso to Phoenix went from 12 to 7:30 pm, for a total of seven and a half hours. Yes I did get a late start, but that allowed me to sleep in. Besides I had nothing to do when I got here, so I didn’t really see a point in getting up early.
Something else that really got to me, more after I crossed into New Mexico and while in Arizona, was that it seemed like the two lane interstate (I-10 West the whole way) was really crowded. I always had lots of cars in front or behind me. And we kept doing this “shuffle”, when the speed limit was 75 miles per hour, I and a couple of cars would be doing 75 in the right lane while the speeders would whip by in the left hand lane, and all was right with the world. The “shuffling problem” would happen when we’d come up on a car in the right hand lane that was going below the speed limit. It would be going really under the speed limit like 55, but as if it was doing 65 or 70. Well eventually we’d all start slowing down to that speed, and the last car in line would pass everyone, and then get back in the right lane, then the next car would pass, and get up front, and so on. Then we’d again proceed until we came upon another slow car. It wasn’t an exact car for car replacement, but I know me and 3 other trucks repeatedly would pass each other. My question though, is why in the world would you be going under the speed limit? It’s just miles and miles of nothing, there were some hills but a great deal of it was flat.
That being said, right before mile marker 203 in Arizona I did see a woman lying in the street around a lot of parked cars. A man was bent over her very closely, and some other men were standing around. This was at an entrance ramp in a pretty desolate patch of road. I called 911 and the operator told me there were already police in route, someone else had called to report she got hit by a car. I wonder how she got hit, or where she was walking from and to, we weren’t exactly in the middle of nowhere, but it was close.
Well I came into Phoenix after dark. My tiny studio apartment’s neighborhood looks a lot scarier. Of course I needed to use the bathroom (as it seems I always do when I buy a 44 ounce Dr Pepper every 2 hours), so I stopped at a 7-11 just down the street. No public restroom. I did notice a homeless person hanging around outside, counting the change in his hand over and over, and figured that was why. There happened to be a Burger King on the opposite corner, so I stopped in there, ordered a meal, and asked where the bathroom was. On my way out, the guy who had been working the register was stopping a homeless guy from entering the bathroom. I’m pretty sure that was what he was doing, all I heard him say was “I’m sorry, they don’t want people to get used to it, I’m sorry”. So I do have to commend Burger King for having a restroom available to customers. However it gave me serious pause about where I was living.
So far the apartment meets with my approval. I have to give 30 days notice if I want the security and key deposit returned to me, so it looks like I’ll start looking for a new apartment pronto.
I’m planning on recording the property on video camera, then converting that to digital and mailing it back to the wife to help her decide which apt we will choose. I do still need to buy a box to convert it with, but I guess I’ll do that now.
Up to this point, I didn’t believe this was happening.
Yes, I realize that sounds strange.
I had gone to visit it twice, and have an apartment picked out and everything else, but up to this point I really hadn’t made any moves that I couldn’t have said “No, I’ve changed my mind, I’m not going to do this”, and gone back to a fairly normal day to day experience.
Even while packing, I almost felt as though I was just cleaning and organizing my stuff that I needed to do anyway, not actually packing for a trip two states away.
Saturday my back left tire got really low, I filled it back up. Checked it again Saturday evening, it had gone down a little in pressure (thought it didn’t really look lower), so likely a slow leak. By now it was 6PM, New Years Eve, and a Saturday, likely no places open to get it fixed up. The next day was Sunday, also unlikely to get it fixed since it would be New Years Day, and I wasn’t sure I’d have time to take it in, get it fixed, pick it back up, and do all my errands, and load the car.
So I checked the spare. Made sure it was in good condition. I just figured “I’ll get on down the road, it will go flat, and I’ll come back on the spare, I’ll have to wait till Wednesday to get it fixed because of the New Years holiday, and then I’ll leave.
A high wind advisory goes into effect for most of the Texas Panhandle on Sunday. Thirty to forty mile an hour winds with gusts up to sixty. The wind was coming from the south-west so I’d be driving straight into it. No way would I be able to drive through that.
I’m needed in Lubbock. There are people who depend on me. I’ll get outside of town and they will call me and tell me to come back, right?
I say goodbye to the wife (she’ll tell me to stay), I top off the tank (I’ll run out of gas and have to hitch back), I tune into 88.1 (I won’t make it out of transmitting range), I take off the antenna and hook the fm transmitter to the mp3 player (if I do get out of transmitting range I’ll need something to listen to as I drive back), I grab a burger and drink (I’ll need food while I’m waiting for my family to pick me up after my car overheats and breaks down and the engine seizes up), I recheck the low tire and fill it up (it will explore 5 miles out), I reserve a hotel room (I can cancel before 6PM) and, with everything to stop me, I point the car down US 82 West toward Brownfield.
It’s amazing how much ground you can cover when you just press down on the accelerator and keep fuel in the car.
The wind is bad, really bad, I’m not exaggerating. Visibility is limited worse than a lot of fog I’ve seen. I don’t see any objects being blown across the road. But it’s not stopping me.
The tire does look like it’s sagging around Carlsbad, I put some more air in it, I must have checked it 10 times the whole day, and I do put some more air in it. But it’s not stopping me.
I get emails, I get phone calls, I get text (SMS) messages, none of them tell me I have to come back though, they all wish me well and that they will miss me. But it’s not stopping me.
Seven hours later I am in El Paso. How did I get here? Wasn’t I supposed to have been stopped? I was supposed to have turned back, I wasn’t supposed to have made it.
I guess this is real. I really am going to Phoenix.
When I mentioned this to another friend who has family in El Paso and had just made the trip, he referred me to a different El Paso route that he recently took that shaved off two and a half hours for him.
So the route I took was to head out 82 West, through Brownfield, when you reach the first stop light in Seminole (with the box clock hanging off the building to your left), take a right onto 180 West. Travel all the way to Carlsbad New Mexico, at the second light you’ll see signs diverting trucks to turn left to continue on to 62 West, take that if you don’t need to stop, otherwise continue to the third light on S Canal St where you can see the McDonalds on the left. You’ll drive through a couple more stop lights and what not, and pass my favorite childhood convenience store Allsups, then Wal-Mart, and eventually meet back up with 62 West.
Carlsbad is a good place to stop and use the bathroom and refuel the car since it is a desolate stretch of road from here to El Paso, mountainous too. (Edit from 1/8/2006: I forgot to mention, that while driving through the mountains, and even when driving straight into the wind; it felt like something was pushing the car. I'd keep my foot off the gas for what seemed like a long time, and the car would stay at over 65 miles per hour.)
Once you reach El Paso you’ll have to go through an almost countless number of stop lights (the first convenience store you see after coming out of the mountains does not have a bathroom, and that’s a nasty surprise after you refuel the car and buy the obligatory fountain drink, so remember to just skip the first one and continue on), until eventually getting to Lee Trevino with a 7-11 on the left hand side (it’s the next light after the Valero Corner Store, my new favorite convenience store, on your left).
Eventually after a few twists it crosses I-10 West, and you can take it from there all the way to South Phoenix.
My hotel happens to be on Mesa at exit 11, not exit 19, which apparently I-10 crosses twice.
I chose to spend the night ($55 before tax) at a hotel in El Paso instead of pressing on all the way to Phoenix in one day. Though if you do go this route and choose to stay at the BayMont Inn and Suites, be sure to test the wireless internet access before it gets to late. Apparently they can’t fix a broken access point after a certain time at night because the entry to the access point is in one of the rooms. Their alternative was to go down to the lobby. I thought that if the access point needed to be rebooted we could cut the power to that room for 60 seconds, but I did not offer this solution since it seemed unlikely to be followed.
It took me from 4PM – 11PM (10PM local time) in total. Of course I had quite a few detours, and had to drive 5 miles slower due to it being at night for most of the trip, and drove into a 40 miles an hour wind while in Texas, calm weather in New Mexico, then high cross winds right after crossing the state line into Texas again that caused me to slow to 50 in some places.
Not to mention the mountains required a few speed reductions down to 40 mph.
On a recent visit to El Paso Texas while shopping around for a job I coined the phrase that I was "Under whelmed by the differences" between Lubbock and El Paso. I know it sounds odd, but at age 25 it was the first time I had ever ridden in a plane by myself.
For whatever reason I kept expecting to be driving in El Paso, take a left turn and then suddenly the street would be made out of bananas. Obviously this isn't the case but for some reason I expected something bizarre to happen, and when it didn't. I stated to wonder why I had even thought it would have been so different.
The same thing happened when I went to Phoenix. From the inside it's just another building, from the outside it's a consistent background traffic noise from whatever thoroughfare is closest, not really loud, just a constant Doppler Shift of passing cars. Asphalt, concrete, and billboards surround you at all times. Once you get into a rural area it gets quieter. Rows of houses tightly packed together with neighbors who don't know each others names. You can hit the big chain fast food places within a 15 minute drive. Bus stops with people who look really depressed or asleep.
Clear skies but you can only see up and not out. There are mountains in the distance in El Paso and Phoenix, which is something they don't have in Lubbock. I've still not found a use for them though, much like the canyons in West Texas. Near as I can tell they are just impediments to development, which makes them handy for camping trips anyway. I do like the idea of keeping some land "set aside" and free from development, or even human interaction, of any kind, it just always seems that wilderness turns into prime real estate. Back to the issue at hand, the weather in both places seems to be pretty dry, which causes lots of dust and dead grass. Lubbock gets the occasional high winds, with strong winds being a frequent occurrence, I didn't notice that in Phoenix, I'll have to pay closer attention.
One morning in Phoenix when I had to get up really early. At 6:30 AM I saw a light frost on the top of my car. I wondered if the Phoenicians see much frost at all. That same week one of the morning shows commented that Boston had some icy roads and put up a clip filmed that morning of two cars skid and then collide. The news caster commented that must be why so many people move to Phoenix.
Phoenix is really created out of something like 10 town immediately surrounding it. And when I say immediately, I mean it, you can be traveling down a road for 5 miles that if you turn left you are in Phoenix, if you turn right you are in Scottsdale. I'm sure there will be "little things" that I'll start to notice that's different about each town that makes it unique, but for right now it's just that food isn't taxed in Phoenix while it is in Scottsdale. Off the top of my head it's Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Glendale, Tempe, Paradise Valley, again I'm sure I can name the rest after I spend more time there.
Something I did notice was that Phoenix has a few phrases unique to them (much like Lubbock). In Lubbock you often hear it referred to as "The Hub City", on the thinking that it's the center of a big rural area that people come into for their shopping needs. I guess it's for their shopping needs, I'm not sure why they are driving in otherwise. Phoenix and it's surrounding towns are collectively called "The Valley" since it has mountains around it, there are a few inside of it as well.
I don't know if I just notice it more, or if it really is there more, but some of the people in the service industry, or who work a register, have been down right rude to me. I consider myself nothing but nice to everyone else so I'm taken aback when I'll ask a question about a product they sell and they will respond without any help or any offer to find out. If I catch more of that, I'll let you know.
The apartments there costs more, I don't think that was a surprise to anyone. The very nice 1100 square foot 2 bed, 2 bath, no bill paid apartment in Lubbock runs at $525. A 300 square foot studio no bed 1 bath, utilities (minus phone/tv/internet) paid in almost downtown Phoenix runs at $480. I won't be living here permanently; I'll soon look for a two bedroom apt that allows pets when the wife comes over. I'm sure she will have a comment I can pass along to you.
Something everyone keeps warning me about is the heat. Thank god for air conditioning. In the time I was there I think once it got up to around 80 degrees and actually be hot. Mostly hovering around 70 or 65 degrees fahrenheit. I'll let you know more as the summer approaches.
West Texas; My home since 1982.
Goodbye. I'll miss you.
Hello Phoenix Arizona; my new home due to a new job.
Thus far I've visited Phoenix twice in two 12 day trips. Staying at hotels and meeting my coworkers. This Sunday, January 1st, I'll be making the drive and will chronicle the changes I find and the differences I see. If you are also a recent West Texas to Phoenix pilgrim, I'd love to hear your perceptions about the change as well.