Exploring America in Your Car – Arizona

Arizona is a beautiful state, filled with wondrous sights to see, but it’s not just all about the painted desert, roadrunners or the Grand Canyon. Obviously the Grand Canyon is a majestic site and I definitely recommend the hike down it and back with, ideally an overnight or twos stay at the bottom of the canyon before hiking back out. But if you are only going for the day, flying over is better than looking over the edge. But I digress, there is so much more to Arizona than what you know about it. There’s snowboarding/skiing backcountry and resort style, beautiful lakes that look like something out of an old Space 1999 episode, there’s arts, culture and history throughout.

You can take a drive in your car to Wyatt Earp’s Tombstone, Tucson’s El Día de los Muertos parade or visit a funky and free First Friday Art & Music event in downtown Phoenix, or class it up a bit and hit up one of the Scottsdale Contemporary Museum’s Smoca Nights Parties and try an elk steak and bottle of Bulgarian Wine at Cowboy Ciao beforehand. And while your in Scottsdale, you can hit up the Barrett Jackson Classic Car Auction and see some PGA golf or try the course for yourself at the TPC in Scottsdale.

Arizona is the perfect state to explore by car – the naturescapes are breathtaking. Whether you stay on the main roads or go on some of the old west trails, there is enough to see to spend an entire year of your life behind the wheel seeing all there is to offer. Of course, before you take any road trip be sure to give your car a tune up and make sure your car insurance coverage is up to date and covers everything you might find yourself doing in the grand canyon state, such as off roading or doing anything else more risque like that. You don’t want to end up in a jam and find  out you weren’t covered for what you were getting into, right?

There’s so much to tell about Arizona, I might just have to make this a continuing series to get it all in. There’s the quaint, independently owned House of Tricks restaurant in Tempe, tucked down a side street in an old house. Stop in for lunch and try the smoked ham and brie sandwich or the waldorf salad while neighborhood cats visit your table for cuddles and conversation. Hit up one of the longest running karaoke nights in America hosted by Stu Kazoo at the Sets in Tempe on Thursday nights(the weekly party started at the Vine tavern in the late ’80s), or drive north of Phoenix a ways and see the ancient cliff dwellings of the Montezuma peoples on your way to do some runs at Flagstaff’s Snowbowl ski resort.

And don’t sleep on the wide variety of more underground special events while you are driving around the southwest. Solstice Saturdays at Bar Smith in downtown Phoenix, Blunt Club Thursdays at the Yucca Tap Room in Tempe and Jen Deveroux’s Adult Swim parties at the Days Inn in downtown Phoenix – and don’t forget your AAA card so you can get a deal on a room.

Photo via Alaskan Dude

Mike Machina has written for 944 Magazine/944.com, Comcast, The Onion and Westword and has been a car enthusiast since he was first able to get behind the wheel of a truck on his friend’s farm in elementary school. He specializes in blogging about classic cars, everyday driving tips, maintenance, insurance and car humor.

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