Needing to get Porkchop to the mechanics again, this time purely for a thorough check over before heading into Mexico, after a bit of research we came across Wayne and Co. at Canyon Automotive Repair & Service. We’ve found that finding a good reliable mechanic that won’t bend you over is hard to come by. A few ideas is to use yelp.com, ask the RV parks or head to a franchise like Goodyear or Bridgestone. The latter two may not be able to perform the required works, though more times than not will know a good mechanic to send you to.
Porkchop up in the air we left it (remember Porkchop has no, gender it just is), making our way to the thrift stores along the 89A whilst duly noting that the Oak Creek Brewery just ‘happened’ to be across the road. If you’re around this area make sure to stop by Sedona’s McDonalds. This is the only McDonalds in the entire world with blue (though somewhat faded and now looking green) arches. The town was so desperate to keep it’s unique redrock vibe they refused to put up the yellow ones. Sedona 1 – McDonalds 0. Needing to boost the energy and, of course, the blog, The Heart of Sedona made for a good stop with great coffee and WiFi to boot.
Hoping there wasn’t much wrong with the van we happily waltzed into the mechanics to find that the news we’d hoped for wasn’t forthcoming. Porkchop needed some new rear brake drums. Well what does one do in a situation like this? Yep, you betcha, the brewery. This was now becoming a reoccurring theme with mechanics in the vicinity of a brewery!
Oak Creek Brewery has two locations, one is the pub and restaurant in Tlaquepaque (expensive for beer and it’s for the tourists), the other in the West end of town where the locals hang out and is the brewery proper. Perched in the quaint patio area out the back and blowing the froth of a deliciously buttery Hefeweizen (by far the best in the States from the places we visited), an Amber Ale and a few of their Pale Ales, we were cordially approached by a man, who shall go by the name ‘McFarlane’, and engaged in a somewhat weird conversation.
Noticing that he had recently received stitches and staples for injuries on his forearm, and portraying a nervous demeanor, he talked about his current aspirations to use his art projects to fund his passion for travelling. Basically these were Spirograph drawings that he’d have printed onto T-shirts. Trying to show some interest though they were not our cup of tea, McFarlane picked up on this and gave us our space.
Ten minutes later the 5-0 (police) roll in and, for reasons unknown to us, came straight for Matt (as usual) and asked if he was McFarlane. Not being McFarlane (obviously), Matt said no as he was looking across the patio at the man that was. Being the only person asked out of 20 people the cop (must have been a rookie) left. After this McFarlane promptly made a round of the tables, handing out his artwork and proclaiming that he was most likely going away for a long time. Ten minutes later the rest of the squad car, along with two others full of police, arrive and comb the brewery asking everyone to produce ID, and if we refused (State Law dictates that you are under no obligation to) they arrests us all. In the meantime McFarlane had managed to sneak off into the toilets. Matt being the first person asked again, he flicked them his ID so as to get them off our back as they were encroaching on our drinking time.
Finally done with everyone, one of the cops decides to check the toilet. McFarlane, the games up. He comes out to the throng of officers and they have a small heated ‘discussion’ in which McFarlane asks to be talked to and treated like a human being. Well this didn’t work and out came the Taser gun. Explaining that he had a heart condition and the Taser was unnecessary, they took it upon themselves to give him a blast. POP.
‘You tasered me, you f&^king tasered me! I told you I had a heart condition.’
POP. Not only was this done once but twice they did it. This kind of amazed us as there were three of these guys and only a scrawny opponent. Cuffed and stuffed into the back of a squad car, we resumed our evening, later finding out he’d jumped the fence of the local police impound lot (hence the staples to the forearms) to break out his motorbike …why is anyone’s guess.
‘So are you sticking around for the drum circle?’ we were asked after the commotion had surpassed. What the? Every Tuesday night at 8pm the Sedona Drum Circle occupies the brewery’s taproom, something to be seen (and heard) to be believed. It happened to be the most fun we’d had in any brewery, ever. 30-40 people all with instruments, some of which we’d never even seen or heard of before and some completely made up devices, all of which move along rhythmically in one almighty jam session well into the night. Picking up random instruments that had been placed on the bar we joined in. Admittedly it was a tambourine and a triangle.
Meeting more new and interesting people the Oak Creek Brewery goes down as a unique experience that should not be missed if you chance to be in town on a Tuesday. We actually implore you to do so. Meeting Kool Keith, one of the local lads, he took pity on our plight, refusing to allow us to sleep another night out the front of a mechanics, so more than slightly inebriated we all took to our bicycles and zigzagged through the backstreets to his place. After a few games of pool and some more beers in the man cave, we crashed out for a good night son sleep on Keith’s huge fold out sofa bed. Once again, we love the hospitality of Americans.
Next day started trying to zigzag our way back to the mechanics, and whilst Wayne was finishing up we decided to take Pedro and Jesus (the bikes) for a spin to check out the airport vortex. ADVICE: Don’t ride this as it’s a narrow, winding, uphill road with no shoulder. Feeling nothing vortexy in the slightest, we rolled back down hill and collected Porkchop.
Heading out on the 89 we passed through the town of Cottonwood, a nice day trip out of Sedona, which has a great mix of cafes, galleries, wine tasting rooms and antique stores. Perched high up on a hill is the old mining town of Jerome, which is classified as a ‘ghost town’ though it is now a tourist destination. The road in is a long gradual climb that slowly increase in pitch, making it hard work in the heat of the Arizonian summer for Porkchop. Not wanting to push the limits again we turned it around and headed out to the I-17 and on to Tuscon.
In love with the States varied National Parks it was time to say farewell to them with one last visit to Saguaro National Park. Sleeping, for the last time, in a Walmart 20 mins from the park we drove into the park in the early hours to capture the giant cacti towering in their morning glory. Again this park is up there with all of the other 19 visited on our trip, and the sight and size leaves you in awe. What also left us in awe was some more talkback radio, letting us know that Sweden had just released their new font ‘Sweden Sans’, the countries official font. Of the countries in all the world, Sweden, with it’s love of everything aesthetically pleasing, would be the obvious choice to create their own font.
Unfortunately we had organisation needs before entering into Mexico, so pulling into the nondescript Western Inn, just off the I-10 on the outskirts of town, we met a retired veteran named Nate who was riding a motorbike from Alaska to Patagonia. The hotel, whilst conveniently located is a little shabby, cheap and fills up fast of a night time. Shitty WIFI made organisation difficult, and the padlocked outdoor pool took away any opportunity for some respite from the heat, whilst also giving you the feeling you were in some dodgy movie hotel hiding from the bad guys, not to mention the soaking wet floor next to the bed.
Following advice from the Mechanics in Sedona, we purchased two new front tyres (something you should do on the State side as the cost and quality increase/decrease respectively once over the border) along with a Solid State Hard Drive and scoring it for only $80 USD. We also scored about 100 pages of photocopying for free when the guy at the local library took a liking to us and refused to let us pay. He even did all the copying for us, legend!
Whilst grabbing coffee at the McDonald’s across the road the next morning, Sarah bumped into a local native in the toilets that was obviously a ‘lady of the night’, cursing her pimp out loud before trying to bump a ride. Obviously we left her in the Macca’s toilet. Coasting towards the Mexican border, documents in hand and only one day left on the visa, we wish that we could have had the time to check out what looks like a cool city.
For more photos on Arizona here’s the link to our Flickr Album.