This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California

Using the concept of a McGuffin


If you're a movie fan, especially old Alfred Hitchcock movies, you know what a McGuffin is. You may or may not have heard of the term, but you know that it's something in a movie that gets all of the characters moving, and tends to be very unimportant in and of itself. And I have been using McGuffins in real life as long as I can remember.

My history adventuring has a lot of McGuffins. I may be looking for a particular building, or an historical site. And if I find it, great, I'll take a photo. If I don't, then I still get to adventure. I still get to see Arizona and California. I get to travel around, and eat Fritos. If I'm in Gila Bend, I get to have lunch at the Space Age Restaurant. So my McGuffin for going to Gila Bend was to get the coffee cup that you see there.


Most people won't admit to McGuffins. It really is kind'a silly, to have what you're doing come down to something like searching for gold in the Superstition Mountains. Over the years I've done a lot of searching for gold in the Superstition Mountains, although it's mostly just relaxing on the patio at a friend's house in Apache Junction. I haven't found any gold yet, but I have enjoyed the adventuring!


When I'm history adventuring, it's good for me to be with someone who is more responsible than me. Left to my own, I will just wander around, looking at stuff. Yes, I'm the guy who once drove from Los Angeles to Phoenix in four days. I was alone, and in no particular hurry, so I stopped in Palm Springs to ride up to the top of the San Jacinto Mountain (just to see it), and various other things that entertained me as I drove across the desert. To this day I always stop in El Centro, and climb on the train, and just, well, wander around. It's kind of a miracle that I actually am able to get anywhere.

I once drove a friend's truck up to Flagstaff for him while he drove his mobile home, which he parked there every summer. His ten-year-old son rode along with me, and I stopped at every single rest stop between Phoenix and Flagstaff. Every. Single. One. At first the kid thought it was amusing, but after a while even he was wondering *why?*

My question has always been the opposite. Why the hurry? Why is getting from point A to point B in the fastest possible time the most important thing to the vast majority of people? The McGuffins in our lives are, for the most part, pretty dull. We need to go somewhere, we need to go home. It's the adventure that's interesting. Still, I understand that I've always been weird, so when people ask me how long it takes for me to get from Los Angeles to Phoenix, I always say *six hours*. Once they get to know me, I will say four days.