Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Cycling Through Old Town Cottonwood, AZ

They don't make signs like that one any more

Stuffed full of stuff, lots of multi-purpose gear with bicycle applications

Congratulations Arizona Stronghold winery for being named the Official wine of the Arizona Centennial

A small downtown in the process of revitalization is great to see on a bicycle

With restaurants like Nic's, and wineries like Arizona Stronghold, Old Town Cottonwood has really turned the corner. I received the DVD of Blood into Wine, the story of Maynard James Keenan and Eric Glomski's quest to grow grapes in Arizona to produce wine, as a gift, and I found it inspiring. Not only because I'm a Tool/Perfect Circle/Puscifer fan, and in spite of not being a wine drinker, but because it's shot outdoors in rural Arizona, where I love to be on foot or on my bike, and because you can sense the honest passion of two people who are willing to put a lot on the line in order to try, fail, and try again, to work out how make something that takes art, skill, and luck. Also, because the film talks about Jerome, which whatever its faults is one of the best places on the planet that I have visited so far. Stuff that is grown, made, cooked, and metamorphosed in this locale has a character that fills a need for me. It makes me want to ride up to Jerome and back down to Old Town several times in wordless celebration of the area, in summer's heat in search of athletic intoxication I suppose, to be honest. It makes me want to grab a sleeping bag and a hunting knife and cruise around Mingus for a week sleeping during the day and slinking through the woods at night looking up at clear dark skies and listening to the wind.The Caduceus winery in Jerome is well-represented by its web site.

Wine-making in Arizona seems like a parallel to riding a bicycle to work every day in Phoenix: few people even try, success is far from guaranteed, people who do it in other more amenable places will think you're crazy for even trying, and even if you are successful, your reward will mostly be recognizing in yourself that you did what you set out to do. OK, making wine out of grapes grown in a place with freaky unpredictable weather may be trickier, but dancing with the cars every day in this summer heat has its own unique challenges and rewards. And Stronghold was named the official wine of the upcoming Arizona Centennial without really seeking the honor, which is cool. There are several other wineries trying and failing and trying again in the area, too, listed here.

Anyway, back to Old Town. I didn't see many bikes out and about, a few kids and one hardy soul pedaling west out of town, but I did pass Zoomer's Bike and Gear right near Old Town, a sharp-looking shop which made me want to stop in and say "HI THERE!" but I couldn't think of a reason at all since everything on my bike seemed to be in top working condition even after bouncing through the gulches so I rode on. I guess if I had stopped and mentioned where I was going they could have given me trail advise but I didn't think of that, being more of a "go in blind and ignorant" kind of crazy unguided let's see where this trail goes make my own mistakes get lost three times find the boundaries fall on my face in the sand on my own kind of rider. Anyway, after my first ride around Dead Horse, I will probably go back with my bike that has a shock and fatter tires, and stop by Zoomer's to get their thoughts on the Thumper trail.

I saw some fascinating people strolling around Old Town, but it's such an up-close-and-personal scale that I didn't feel right snapping photos of them. It wasn't crowded, and it was pretty hot out there still, so I admired their drive and opted to let them be, unphotographed-wise.

I have spent time shopping, strolling, and dining in Old Town in the past, but not this time, I was just passing through on my way to Dead Horse Ranch State Park, which I will write about tomorrow.


  1. That town looks squared away.

  2. Are we really to believe you didn't sneak off to Route 66 for those photos?

  3. DAN in a lot of ways it is, and I imagine they'd be pleased that you said so.

    Steve, sneaking off to Route 66 sounds like a great idea, thx.

    limom, there's several art/crafts shops around here that you might find interesting, I need to visit them next time, too.


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