Thursday, September 27, 2007

Urban Fishing

So - you live in the desert. Guess you'll have to travel a bit to fish, right? Wrong! Fishing is a popular sport in Arizona, and you don't even have to travel very far to enjoy it!
There are 81 lakes in Arizona (according to, and 20 of them are smack in the middle of 11 of the state's cities. Here in the Valley of the Sun, there are 15 lakes in 8 valley cities.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department runs an Urban Fishing program. Their philosophy is : "...if people can't get out of town to fish, we will bring fish into town for the people." The department issues special Urban Fishing licenses, which you can even buy online at It only costs $18.50 for the year, for anyone over 14 years of age.
These urban lakes are regularly stocked with fish like trout, catfish, and sunfish at two-week intervals. They do this year-round, except between July 10 and September 10, when it's just too hot for the health of the fish to transport them.
If you go to any of these urban lakes, like the one in Encanto Park in central Phoenix, or Red Mountain Park in east Mesa, or Surprise Park behind the central library in Surprise, you'll see people of all ages testing their angling skills. They say the fishing is great!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Hobo Joe

Recently we decided to drive south from our corner of the valley to check out the towns of Ajo and Wye. Our route took us through downtown Buckeye, where we spotted this 40-foot fiberglass structure just off the main road. We couldn't just pass it by without stopping to investigate.
It's in front of what appears to be an abandoned business of some sort. A short investigatory dip into Google suggests it might be a defunct lumber yard or old meatpacking plant. I did discover that the plaque under this figure is a little misleading. Years ago there was a chain of Hobo Joe restaurants in Arizona (partially owned by Barry Goldwater's brother Robert). One was in downtown Scottsdale. Another may still be operating in Cottonwood, Arizona.
A sculptor named Jim Casey created this character. Three sizes of Hobo Joes were produced, the largest of which we saw in Buckeye. There's a life-size one in the Arizona Railroad Museum, apparently. Should you ever find yourself in Buckeye, go to the corner of Monroe and Cemetary Roads and pay Hobo Joe a visit.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Free Movies at the Drive-In

Wow! I just found out that we have not one, but TWO drive-In Movie theaters here in the valley. In Scottsdale, at 8101 E. McKellips, there are 6 screens showing first-run movies. In Glendale, at 5650 N. 55th Avenue, there are 9 screens. Admission is $6.00 for people over 12 years of age. These theaters have been here since the late 1970s!

So, what is free? This coming Thursday, September 20th, both sites are offering a choice of 3 double features for free. Here are the combinations: ET and Grease, Grease and Wayne's World, or Wayne's World and ET. Gates open at 6:45 PM, and the shows start at 7:45 PM. What a great way to relive "the good ol' days" or take the little ones to a movie where the whole family can relax!

Find Out What's Happening

Want to know what's going on here in the Valley of the Sun? There's a superb web site,, that will answer all your questions! Here are the categories it covers: Theater, Music, Dance, Visual Arts, Festivals, Kids and Families, Film and Video, Poetry and Literature, "Unique AZ," Museums, Special Events, and Free Events.

Find out all you need to know and order your tickets online, easily! You can sign up for emails to let you in on last-minute bargains and special offers, too. Check it out!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Kathy Reichs in Scottsdale

No matter what author or celebrity you're interested in, chances are really good that he or she will visit the valley at some point within a year. Since we're interested in books and authors, we enjoy going to book readings from time to time.

This past Thursday we headed for Scottsdale's Poisoned Pen Bookstore ( to hear Kathy Reichs talk about her books, including the latest - Bones to Ashes. Since this is her tenth book, store owner Barbara Peters turned this visit into a celebration, complete with rum cake for everyone! Dr. Reichs discussed each of her previous books and talked about how each plot was suggested by something she encountered in her work as a forensic anthropologist. She also shared some insights into the television series Bones, which is inspired by Dr. Reichs.

Poisoned Pen Bookstore is the largest mystery bookstore in North America, and hosts several authors each month. When we arrived in the valley three years ago, one of the first things we did was attend a reading by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, who talked about their new children's book, Peter and the Starcatchers. I got to see one of my favorite humorists and stand dumbstruck before him in the booksigning line (I could barely tell him my name). We also were introduced to a mystery writer we had not ever read. Now my husband, my younger daughter, and I count Ridley Pearson among our favorite mystery writers.

Poisoned Pen also runs its own publishing company, Poisoned Pen Press (, which I discovered while wandering the shelves of a local library. I picked up a copy of Desert Wives by Betty Webb and was hooked. I learned a lot about the polygamist sects living on the Arizona strip between Arizona and Utah, and was thoroughly entertained. At the Kathy Reichs reading, Barbara Peters mentioned that there'll be a new Betty Webb book coming out soon, on yet another controversial topic. I can hardly wait!