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U.S. Travel help!!! deanophotos Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 167 W: 12 N: 396] (2646)::2007-04-08 21:07
Hi

In June i'm escaping the wife and kids for a week in phoenix, Arizona.
i've been planning a trip to the States for some time and the destination was chosen by sticking a pin in a map blindfolded. (I know, not exactly a wise thing to do, but....) My problem is this, i've never been to the states before, and want to be sure i'm not going to stay in any dangerous areas, Ghettos and Gang areas! Can anyone hopefully from that area, reccomend any good areas, and is there any areas which are a definite NO GO Area! Any advice would be great, thanks. P.s Have already been reading up on the usual attractions to go photograph, but if anybody has some good "not so well known spots" i'd be very interested in that also!

Dean
Re: U.S. Travel help!!! Kilted-Arab Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 1192 W: 77 N: 1849] (8186)::2007-04-08 21:11
Wear big gold chains, jeans that don't fit, scratch your privates a lot and learn the lingo...stuff like "yo dude", "mofo" and "lets mosey on down the sidewalk to the 7-11, grab a six pack and shoot some pool with ma homeys, bro', an we'll head them off at the pass, y'all".

you'll fit in a treat and be as safe as houses. or condominiums.

{n.b. Americans - please take this in the spirit intended and don't sue me! :-)}
Re: U.S. Travel help!!! deanophotos Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 167 W: 12 N: 396] (2646)::2007-04-08 21:27
Thanks Rich, i take it your speaking from experience? I've been trying to read up on the net, and there's just so many contradictory views on the areas, so hopefully y'all be able to clear them up for me!

i've never been further than the usual spanish and Greek isles, so i'm not what you would call an experienced traveller, and althpugh i'm excited about doing this alone, i'm also crapping myself at the same time! (not literally):D
Re: U.S. Travel help!!! ScottHale Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 633 W: 106 N: 38] (136)::2007-04-08 21:47
I travel blindly too and simply do this (it works in Chicago, it will work anywhere):
Drive during the daytime and see what the area looks like. Do NOT make reservations ahead of time. Phoenix is a HUGE city with hundreds of hotels. You should be able to find a nice, safe, clean hotel away from the gang area's fairly easy by looking at the quality of houses/buildings in that area. EVERY city in America has gangs of some sort, whether it be hillbillies, mafia, crips and bloods or grandma's knitting team. All kidding aside, DON'T be apprehensive and let it control your trip. I live about 15 miles from East Saint Louis and have never had problems with gangs. (Everyone's heard of East Saint Louis haven't they?)
Anyway, have a good trip, Phoenix is a beautiful place to visit, your pin on a map trick did you well....better try avoid it during the HOT months though....(june/july/aug/sept.)
Scott
Re: U.S. Travel help!!! mysoulsinsights Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 331 W: 0 N: 0] (0)::2007-04-08 23:06
Hi, Dean. I just returned from a visit to Arizona - my first. We flew into Phoenix and drove 2 hours north to stay in Sedona, which I would enthusiastically recommend. Sedona is amazing - a relatively small town, rich in "new age" stuff, if you're into that, which I'm not. :) Lots of art, restaurants and sculptures, but the landscape is absolutely gorgeous and is the main attraction. Using Sedona as our base, within the space of four days we were able to make day trips to the Grand Canyon, the Petrified Forest, Meteor Crater, and the Painted Desert. There are Indian reservations, ruins of old civilizations, gorgeous rivers, canyons, pine tree forests, mountains...I'm kicking myself that I hadn't visited there before now.

I went with a female friend, and we never felt "not safe." We were perfectly comfortable driving everywhere. There are LOTS of wide open spaces, but it just seemed so peaceful to me. This is not a highly populated area by any means, and the area isn't known for its high crime rate. Of course you have to be careful anywhere you go, but you know that. :) We only spent the night before our flight in Phoenix, so I can't really address the situation there.

Sedona is kind of an "artsy" community, so you don't really see any scary people there, unless spiked white hair on a 70-something year old man frightens you! ;) As far as ghettos and gangs? Not even close. :) The Grand Canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world, as you probably know, so the National Parks System is VERY careful to keep things in line around there. Sedona has been named the most beautiful place in the U.S. by numerous publications! http://www.usaweekend.com/03_issues/030518/030518springtravel.html

So, if you stuck a pin in the map blindfolded and found Arizona, the gods were indeed smiling on you! :) I'd go back in a heartbeat - and will again as soon as I can manage it!

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. I'm certainly not an expert, but I do have the benefit of that very recent visit. I'll be posting my shots in the upcoming weeks, so take a peek now and then if you like. (no points or critiques required! lol)

Gayle
Re: U.S. Travel help!!! appalcarp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1116 W: 154 N: 633] (4198)::2007-04-09 0:25
Well, since I grew up there and revisited a few years ago, maybe I can make some suggestions. As said, the Grand Canyon would be a priori, a beautiful area and on the Havasupai side, the 'beltway' was just completed so there's now that. For the grand tour, I think it's upward of $100. If they still have the ass rides to the bottom, you can camp at the river overnight. If you go east from there to the reservation in the Four Corners region, there's some awesome hiking and camping with arroyos, canyons and plateaus to photograph. There is a place called Monument Valley, nice place as well as the White Mountain areas. All very picturesque. Sedona, as mentioned is nice and has a place called slide rock since it will surely be warm. Beautiful Red Rock canyons. Up toward St. John's are a few small and nice lakes like Woods Canyon, Bear Lake. On the road out of Phoenix to a nice little town called Payson were my favorite haunts and it is the same area. The Mogollon Rim is there with Indian ruins and such to visit. In the far corner is Boulder Dam but that's mostly desert, saguaros and such. The cacti bloom in the spring sometimes if there is rainfall so you may be fortunate if you're early there. East of Tucson about 80 miles is the telescope on Mt. Graham, about 10,500 feet high and a wild drive up. Usually you'll get some doink going 15 miles per hour the whole way and no way to pass. There's also Flagstaff with a University and lots of snow some years, others it's dry and cold but not wet.

As to Phoenix itself, there's the Phoenix Zoo, of course, a park called Papago Park with interesting rocks to climb, Big Surf (if it's still there which was a desert beach). Lake Pleasant is a nice day trip for fishing or relaxing, not far to the north. Out toward Mesa is the Superstition Mountains where it's said that there still a mine filled with gold but those who look for it never find it and some meet with disaster as the mountains are very rocky and dangerous. Don't forget Squaw Peak Restaurant where they used to cut the tie off of anyone wearing one (cowboy hats ok! ;). Pretty area for a hike, too. South Mountain Park used to be nice and it's pretty much family oriented (at least it was). Yahoos like me (in my misspent youth) went up there for all the wrong reasons but when we went with our parents, it was for all the right ones. There's some nice hiking there. To the west is the Estrella Mountains with a nice hiking park (at least it used to be but last time I found that houses were bordering it, so not clear on that one any more.

There's some great golf courses, too, of course and people like Vincent Damien Furnier (Alice Cooper) who graduated from a neighboring high school (Cortez) sometimes will be seen around since I hear he likes golfing. Stevie Nicks is from there also. (east side around Mesa somewhere) Might catch a Suns game if basketball season isn't over, too.

And of course, what visit would be complete without visiting Tombstone? The original graves are there with sayings like 'he died with his boots on' for epitaphs. ;) The famous 'shootout at the OK Corral' really did happen there.
Re: U.S. Travel help!!! appalcarp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1116 W: 154 N: 633] (4198)::2007-04-09 0:30
Also, the town of Jerome is a ghost town (not really) as there are a few permanent residents but it's a nice little trip. Prescott is a little-known jewel, too. I have a grade school friend living there, she loves it. There's also the rebuilt London Bridge at Lake Havasu, so there's a lot you may not ever see, but it's a boatload of fun.
Re: U.S. Travel help!!! appalcarp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1116 W: 154 N: 633] (4198)::2007-04-09 2:17
One last thing, get there before the heat starts up, the 1st of May it begins to climb up to 100, then more as the summer progresses. Of course, I'm sure you'll find an a/c unit. We grew up without them.
Re: U.S. Travel help!!! deanophotos Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 167 W: 12 N: 396] (2646)::2007-04-09 9:18
Hi Scott, i was hoping i'd get some insight from you, I know you've travelled a lot and like me are quite adventureous, so you think i'd be better off not booking a hotel from this side of the ocean? i was thinking a long those lines myself. unfortunately it's going to have to be June when I go, i know it's going to be hot but then i'll just have to do the best I can. Thanks again Scott!
Re: U.S. Travel help!!! deanophotos Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 167 W: 12 N: 396] (2646)::2007-04-09 9:23
Thanks for that Gayle, after my research i'd already decided that Sedona was definately going to be included in part of the trip, if i have half as good a time as you sound like you've had, then i'm pretty sure it's going to be great!

Thanks Dean.
Re: U.S. Travel help!!! deanophotos Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 167 W: 12 N: 396] (2646)::2007-04-09 9:27
Thanks for the insight, some great ideas there, and of course there's no way i'm going all that way without visiting Tombstone, it looks and sounds an amazing place in history!

Thanks very much!

Dean
Re: U.S. Travel help!!! deanophotos Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 167 W: 12 N: 396] (2646)::2007-04-09 9:29
Thanks again for the help and tips, as said in an earlier post though it's going to be mid June when I visit, so i'm just going to have to try and get used to it!!

Thanks very much!

Dean
Re: U.S. Travel help!!! appalcarp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1116 W: 154 N: 633] (4198)::2007-04-09 9:48
Ouch! Make sure if you rent a car that it's light-colored inside and out. Northern AZ, of course and the mountains are hot in the afternoon and have cool nights. Oftentimes afternoon thunderstorms.
Re: U.S. Travel help!!! seneca77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 265 W: 80 N: 368] (2109)::2007-04-09 9:52
Hi Dean,

Are you "married" to Phoenix? The only reason I ask is that in June, the heat may be unbearable, especially if you're not used to it. If I was traveling in June, I would look at Northern California/Oregon. Or the New England area (Boston, Vermont, Maine, etc.) Very temperate, very "photogenic", lots to see and do.

Just a thought. In any case, enjoy your upcoming holiday.

- Bob
Re: U.S. Travel help!!! deanophotos Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 167 W: 12 N: 396] (2646)::2007-04-09 10:44
Yep1 it's gotta be Phoenix now, cant go against the "pin" or the plans i've so far set for myself, but will try and be cautious, i'm actually more worried about get bit by a rattler!!
Re: U.S. Travel help!!! ttreen Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1317 W: 129 N: 3792] (15759)::2007-04-09 12:07
Hi Dean..
We took our kids to Washingtion DC for winter break.. We had never stayed in or around DC before and NOT wanting to end up on the wrong side to town I googled a ton of hotels and hotel finder sites. I found the hotel finder sites had reviews from past customers. This helped a TON and we ended up in a very nice neighborhood a block from the metro and we will book with the same hotel next year..
Hope this helps... have a great trip!


Tricia
Re: U.S. Travel help!!! deanophotos Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 167 W: 12 N: 396] (2646)::2007-04-09 12:30
Thanks, expedia.co.uk is the site i've been using, and it seems to be getting me some good deals and as you say there are some good reviews!!

Thanks Dean.
Re: U.S. Travel help!!! appalcarp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1116 W: 154 N: 633] (4198)::2007-04-09 22:36
The bad areas are the older areas, Bloods and Crips have even taken over the area where I lived for years and years. It's ok during the day, of course, for the most part. Also, South Phoenix and any road to the south of Van Buren may not be a very savory place. Another area is some of the downtown where care has to be exercices. Most of the outlying suburbia is fairly new and fairly safe.
Re: U.S. Travel help!!! crazycowcat (69)::2009-02-22 20:40
you will be fine, most gang activity is in the night at least were i live. the most important thing is to follow your instinks, if a person looks unusual dont talk to him and dont wonder in poor naborhoods for the heck of it.
Re: U.S. Travel help!!! appalcarp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1116 W: 154 N: 633] (4198)::2009-02-24 19:04
That was posted 2 years ago and the trip has long since been taken, I would venture.