The Guilty Party

Monday, May 2, 2011

Montezuma Well

Yesterday was roadtrip day. With our friends Jonathan and Ann, Andy and Rhonda, as well as their son Daniel, and our two kiddos TJ and Megan, we headed north a bit to check out Montezuma Well, which is just about an hour and a half drive from Phoenix. It was a beautiful, breezy, cool day and for those of us who live in the Valley of the Scorching Sun, it is good to experience as many days like that as possible before the summer heat really settles into place. Montezuma Well is just a bit north of what I believe is the more frequently visited Montezuma Castle, the site of one of the most extensive, well preserved cave dwellings to be found. Montezuma Well is described thusly on the official website:

Montezuma Well
Montezuma Well, a unit of Montezuma Castle, is located 11 miles from the park. Formed long ago by the collapse of a limestone cavern, over one million gallons of water a day flows continuously into the Well. This constant supply of warm, fresh water provides an aquatic habitat like no other in the world, and has served as an oasis for wildlife and humans for thousands of years.

You can hike down into the crater by means of a series of rough but quite serviceable steps and it is well worth the little bit of effort to do so.

The photographer always lags behind as he lingers over likely subjects. But al least my friends and family kept an eye on me and waited.

Once you get back up out of the crater, follow the path that leads to the spring that feeds into the well. Check out those lovely Golden Columbine.

I am not sure what this plant is called, but had to get a shot of the pretty flowers.

After Montezuma Well we paid a visit to the San Dominique Winery, just off I-17 on the southwest corner of the 169/Cherry Road exit. Bill, the owner, has a modest (well, okay, let's be more precise and call it slightly ramshackle) tasting room that is just as much about the many bottled and canned garlic related products as it is about the wine. We were greeted by a couple of high spirited Highland Terriers, who very nicely kept our daughter occupied whilst the adults sampled a bit of wine. Our first taste was not encouraging, I like my cabernets lush and this one was a bit on the thin and astringent side. But the next wine we tried, the Cuvee Rouge, was a nice surprise, quite unlike any red I have tasted before. Almost grassy, very easy on the palate and practically no aftertaste. Seemed to be a good choice for lighter pasta dishes. The red port (he has a white port too, which our friends Andy and Rhonda tried and purchased) is spicy and rich.
Lots of garlic based dressings, marinades, salsas, dips and such.

That's Bill, the owner, on the left. He very rightly reminded me that it is good manners to ask before taking pictures in someone's business establishment. He is a fairly brusque fellow, but not at all off-putting. He told me he learned the wine business at an establishment in Brooklyn (shame on me, I did not jot down the exact name) and had also spent time in Napa. He no longer grows his own grapes, and when we asked where his came from, he said "all over" and that seemed to settle that.
If you plan on visiting San Dominque, make sure you take cash in case you find something you want to take home. He has a sign up that says "No land line=No credit cards".
After leaving the winery, we headed to Prescott and wandered around downtown for a bit. Didn't take any photos, mostly shivered in the brisk wind and and about 60 degree temperature. We just weren't dressed for that. But we did resolve to come back when we could spend more time. It looks like there are a lot of restaurants to explore in that town.
Speaking of restaurants, on our way back to Phoenix we stopped at the Rock Springs Cafe, an establishment reportedly famous for their down home cooking and especially their pies.
There was a wait for a table, but that was okay. I followed the sound of a country band in the next room and enjoyed the sounds of Cecil and The Boys.

When we did get seated my first choice for dinner, Chicken and Biscuits, which is listed as one of the house specialties, was not available, so I went for the Honey Crusted Tilapia (spelled "Talapia" on the menu). It was okay, probably would have been better if served hot. The french fries were obviously of the shake 'em out of a freezer bag variety. Our daughter had the mac 'n cheese, which she declared "pretty good" and our son had the only thing on the menu a vegetarian could have, which was the Veggie Pizza. He liked it, although it was sized for at least two hungry people. My banana cream pie was okay. Andy seemed to be the most pleased with his pie selection, the Jack Daniels Pecan.

Happy Exploring, whether on the road or armchair.


Lexi said...

I enjoyed that virtual trip with you, Alan. Weren't you tempted to go for a swim in the lovely warm water?

Anna said...

A timely reminder to get out and about now that the weather is so much better (northern hemisphere anyway).

It is said that gratitude is one of the keys to happiness and your blog glows with it.

Alan Hutcheson said...

Lexi, that water may have been warm, but it didn't look like anything I would want to swim in. A bit thick with life, don't you know.

Anna, yes indeed it is a good thing to get out and about and create memories. One of the most significant things I got from reading "Moonwalking with Einstein", was the passage where the author, Joshua Foer, says that a long, healthy, careful life with little in the way of mileposts, or memories, can literally seem shorter and certainly less "lived" than one than may be literally shorter but is filled with Stuff You Did. I'm not exactly the world's most adventurous guy, but we have resolved to get out and be a part of our world as much as we possibly can. That's one reason why we are stretching the budget more than a little out of shape to get ourselves over to England next year.

And yes, I'm pretty good at finding things to be grateful for. It helps balance out an equal talent for being dissatisfied.

Anna said...

I am grateful to those who are dissatisfied because they are driven to create and progress and the world benefits.

I hope that England will provide lots of creative energy and many happy memories.

A Bit About Me

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I am a writer with a longtime interest in photography. I'm a dad, husband, photographer, and not very good guitarist. My first novel, Boomerang, is available in both paperback and ebook form at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and As a matter of fact, my second novel, The Baer Boys, can be found at exactly the same places.