Exploring the history of Phoenix, Arizona, just for fun. Advertising-free, supported by my patrons on Patreon. Thank you!

Behind the scenes of my upcoming trip from Phoenix to Los Angeles

Since I'm not really a "traveling man" - not in the way that most people do it, I rarely talk about how I like to travel. And that's because it really just puzzles most people, and they wonder if I'm kidding. And since it's Friday, just three days away from my big journey from Phoenix to Los Angeles, I thought that I'd try to explain to you about my preparations.

Of course, most people want to know the details of the trip, what freeways I'll take, or my flight number, what airline, all of those "left brained things" that I've never been good at. Yes, I have it written down, and I can refer to my notes if someone asks, but it really doesn't matter to me. On Monday I'll be going west, and when I return I'll be going east. And when I've said that, most people have just stared at me and wondered if I'm kidding. But the pilot knows the way, and I don't need to show him (or her) how to get there. And the nice shuttle driver knows where the airport is, where I live, and where I'll be staying. I have other interests. If the shuttle driver wants to tell me the mileage he (or she) gets on their vehicle, or how long their tires have lasted, I'll show interest, but I'm hoping that they won't. If they want me to look at a map when I'm looking out of the window at the mountains, I'll smile politely and say "no thank you".

The Ehrenberg Ferry Boar on the Colorado River in 1908, between Blythe and Quartzite.

My first preparation for the trip was to do some research on how people historically traveled between Phoenix and LA. And of course the answer is: they took the train. There were two main routes, the first one being from the south, through Tucson, and the second one being from the north, near Flagstaff. And of course before the trains, people rode stagecoaches, or walked. The biggest challenge was crossing the Colorado River. And so when I fly out on Monday I'll be sure to be looking out of the window of the plane especially as we cross the river, where the three main crossings were Yuma, Ehrenberg, and Parker. When cars became popular, they were ferried across the river until the automotive bridges were built, decades later.

I've talked to a lot of people who have traveled a lot, and their conversations seem to mostly revolve around waiting in line in airports (and complaining about it), and car rentals (where you can get a discount), and restaurants (and the type of food they like). To me, they may as well have stayed home as they could have spent that time just standing in line at their local airport, or wherever, and renting a car to drive to a restaurant. Most of these people proudly speak of how quickly they got from point A to point B, and that's just as interesting to me as standing in an elevator. I want to go look at stuff. I'll be packing two pairs of shoes.

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