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Friday, October 13, 2017


We hear “Only in Scottsdale” usually from those suffering from “Scottsdale Envy.” If you live here, you know they are actually saying “Gosh, I sure wish I lived in Scottsdale!”  Where else is there a city that preserves its classy individuality along with the ability to laugh at itself?

Do you remember the “Tuesday Night Book Club,” a CBS “reality” show that ran for two episodes in 2006? Calling it “reality” would be stretching the truth.

The premise was for some Scottsdale ladies to meet weekly to discuss recent books they had read. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much book talk but plenty said about sex and gossip. Besides, only a couple of the ladies were from Scottsdale and while the meeting place was supposed to be the home of one of the ladies, it was actually a rental used only for the show. CBS did well getting through two episodes before the inevitable cancellation.

In 2009 Scottsdale decided that with the population explosion and heavier traffic to the north it would make sense to widen two lane Pima Road north of Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard.

In 2010, the $16 million widening project at the Pima-Pinnacle Peak intersection caused continuous traffic jams. Barricades were changed regularly to accommodate the project so every day was a new adventure for drivers. Fortunately, it was worth the hassle although retailers complained that it cost them a lot of business during construction. Unfortunately, sometimes that is the cost of progress. Today, Pima runs smoothly north and south with thriving businesses registering zero complaints.

Can anyone name another city with public art displayed on its freeway walls? Scottsdale has it plus when they received complaints years ago about the new 101 road surface making an annoying sound from car tires, they applied a rubber surface that quickly ended  those complaints. I doubt if many cities would have been so accommodating.

Which city was the first to use the one armed garbage collection trucks we see today? If you said “Scottsdale” you may go to the head of the class. When compared with art covered freeway walls, garbage collection doesn’t seem very romantic but having the “Godzilla” truck come by weekly to empty two large containers on wheels sure beats dragging several cans to the curb on garbage day.

Unfortunately, into every life some rain must fall; even in Scottsdale. With the economy foundering a few years ago, the city had to announce some cutbacks in city services. The City Council at that time was looking for some viable method to increase revenue and one suggestion was to sell advertising space on city owned property. They may have actually done that but the first thing I thought of was the possibility of a large billboard on the edge of town reading “Welcome to Scottsdale, brought to you by Wal-Mart!” Luckily, that didn’t happen!

As far as rain actually falling rather than metaphorically, one of the pastimes in Scottsdale before a bridge was built was to visit the Indian Bend Wash between Hayden and Scottsdale Roads during a heavy rainfall to watch some people try to navigate their cars through the rushing water.  It was an expensive proposition for them to pay the towing charge plus a fine from the city for acting a few levels below what most would consider normal intelligence.

I remember a guy who had a new Lexus practically destroyed by attempting the crossing. He was an older distinguished looking gentleman who looked like he was successful in spite of not having much common sense.  After he was pulled from the water he said that the next time it rained he would try again. In his case “Only in Scottsdale” seemed appropriate.

The Indian Bend Wash​ during a monsoon. What is it about "DO NOT ENTER WHEN 
FLOODED" that some people don't understand? (Brandon Wilderness)

Pima and Pinnacle Peak Roads during 2010 
improvements. (Achen-Gardner​)

Pima and Pinnacle Peak​ after widening project. Smooth sailing three lanes each 
way. (Achen-Gardner)

Pima Road south of Pinnacle Peak Road 
after improvements. (Achen-Gradner)


Glo, Semi-Retired Sorta Kinda said...

Hi Jim. Nothing wrong with Scottsdale any more than there is in Carefree. A place is what it is and what you make of it. During 2008 when I was looking for my retirement home (before I bought this one in Carefree) I was looking in the Greyhawk area. One turn-off for me was that you had to pay an "entrance" fee to live in the Grayhawk area. Excuse the heck out of me, but no way even if I loved the house. North Scottsdale has some wonderful homes off the east-west roads between Scottsdale Road and Pima.

I never saw the 2010 Pinnacle Peak/Pima mess, but several months ago there was the Pinnacle Peak/Scottsdale Road horror that never seemed to end. It was brutal trying to pass that intersection. I had a standing Friday morning doctor appt at Cactus and Hayden, and had to reroute myself to cut off to Pima from Jomax and then follow it down to the 101. Nice change of pace and I enjoyed seeing homes that I never knew were there.

Also - ZERO sympathy for the dolts that get caught in rushing flash flood water in the area you mentioned. Can you spell m-o-r-o-n?

PS I am doing well. Don't think I mentioned it but I was laid off (fifth time) at the end of March unexpectedly. I think they're trying to tell me something ... I applied for unemployment while I was looking for a new job. Guess what? After working my curvaceous tush off for 41 years, my total unemployment bucket was one month of pay. One month for 4 decades. I was collecting each week a pittance, and then I went overseas on vacation in early September (Spain, Portugal, and Morocco). What happened when I got back? Letters and delays and having to start the administrative process all over again. Heavy sigh. I'm using my down time to write (2/3 done with my 9th manuscript), clean the house, and enjoy semi-retirement. Maybe someday it'll turn into true retirement. :)

Jim McAllister said...

Hi Glo,

Good to hear from you.

That funny about Grayhawk and their "entrance fee." Some of these areas around here take themselves wayyyyy too serious. I would never have paid it either; too many other good areas with a lot less ego.

Hard to believe that you have been laid off again. I know it has happened before; must be a seasonal thing as they always seem to bring you back. At least it gives you an opportunity to see the world as now you can add Spain, Portugal, and Morocco to your list. Barb and I went to Portugal in the early 80s and had a great time. I even got hot at one of their casinos and won $900!

I'm impressed with your 9 manuscripts! I've written a lot of columns and magazine stories but never something as overwhelming as a manuscript. Congrats! You have an ability of which I am not familiar! LOL

Take care and stay in touch. Barb says "Hello."

She Who is Unemployed said...

N one's bangin' on my door to rehire me this time, so I'm taking that as a sign, LOL! My financial advisor wants me to retire, and maybe after 41 years I deserve to. Lots of stories still whirling around in my had, waiting to be put on paper. Lots more countries to see. Hey to Barb!

Jim McAllister said...


I would highly consider retiring if you feel OK physically and financially. You are a prolific writer as your 9 novels show. I feel fortunate to have a signed copy from you of "Fireheart" that you autographed to me in Nov 2007. I treasure your comment calling me your "favorite blogger."

Take care and keep me up to date on what you are up to.

Jim McAllister said...

Gregory Bartnicki
5:00 PM (3 hours ago)

to Audrey, Kristy, me, Barb
As always, an enjoyable read Jim! Look forward to seeing you and Barb over Thanksgiving!!

Go Cubs!!

PS That was an incredible game last night! Everyone was a bit tired this morning

Jim McAllister said...

Thanks, Greg.

I would love to see the Cubs repeat. Kind of weird that Chapman will be playing for the Yanks after being with the Cubs World Series winner last year. It's baseball in the world of free agency.

Best to Audrey.

Jim McAllister said...

Hi Jim,

How do you really feel? LOL I must admit you make a good point but those characters are everywhere these days.

Jim McAllister said...

Yes, Scottsdale is unique and that is why I do not choose to live there. I did work there for a while and found the city to be full of scum bag salesmen and phonies.

Chandler is much more genteel and friendly.

Jim Johnson

Jim McAllister said...

ken honeyman
8:32 AM (1 hour ago)

to me
i bet the IDIOTS that try to drive thru the rain washes are from florida!!! i have never seen worse driving in adverse weather in my life down here.

Jim McAllister said...


Amazing, isn't it? There are always those dummies who think they can make it through the water. The guy from Scottsdale is a perfect example. The fist thing he says after he is rescued is that he would try it again. I'm sure he was disappointed wqhen the solved the flooding problem. I guess he liked dump challenges.

Mike Slater said...

Hi Jim ,

Great article as usual. When I was working I spent a lot of time in North Scottsdale back in the 70's when it wasn't so built up. Scottsdale Road from Bell to Cave Creek was a two lane road that had a lot of ups and downs that would flood. Cave Creek Rd. road North to Cave Creek was the same.

I could never understand why people would try to cross a flooded wash. It reminds me of people that go hiking in the summer and have to be recued. As the old saying goes you can't fix stupid.

Jim McAllister said...

Thanks, Mike.

I agree on people trying to cross flooded washes. It never ends with them. Every time we get a big storm we can count on some fools trying to cross rushing water.

Even in the short time I have been here since 1987, the area has really grown. At that time some guy once told me that the intersection at Shea and Pima was the most dangerous in the state. It was nothing but a simple intersection of two narrow roads with one traffic light. The 101 was still a blueprint. Today Shea is an wide overpass over the 101 and that area is high traffic all the time in both directions.

Pima was just a country 2 lane road when we moved north. Now it is 4 lane all the way to Dynamite. I remember when Dynamite was just a stop sign on Pima.

Good to hear from you. Take care.

Rick Kepple said...

Wow, excellent blog as usual, but this time you outdid yourself. For those of you who would like to celebrate this occasion, of Jim's great blog and my return, here's a golf cheering track. You need to leave that and play it after each paragraph to add to the atmosphere of Scottsdale.

I envy Scottsdale. I've gone to therapy for it. Took pills. When I see SN on YouTube, I am reminded of Scottsdale. Sniff. (enter cheering)and laugh track.

Oh, I have the computer back. Apparently I forgot about some insurance I purchased for such things. Mailed off, back in less than 10 days with a new motherboard, everything. Nice. Oh, calls for more cheering! Thank you. Good job, Jimmy.

Jim McAllister said...


I appreciate the nice words.

Good stuff!