Focus On Fun Travel

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Mesa, Az - The Beginning


     It is 1am on Dec 30 (Happy Birthday, Mom!). I was awakened by the clicking nails of our dog, Tallie, trotting through the hallway a couple times, when I should have heard the sound of THUNDER! . Oh, how I hate being a light sleeper!  Thunder does not happen very often in Winter, in Northern Utah, but it is snowing outside. My now awake mind made me realize that I had started this blog in a rather dull way, but the "thunder" brought an idea that I think most of you will appreciate. Let's take a look at places that I have visited, with a little more depth and purpose.  So I have abandoned the name One Beautiful World, and replaced it with a more exciting Around the World Every Day.  And with the name change, I will explore a different place with all y'all (that's Plural) each and every day.

    It is very appropriate that I start at the beginning.  The place of my birth..and my mother's birth...and her mother's birth.  Mesa, Arizona.  With a history of over 2000 years through the Hohokam indians, this city has found a way to thrive, inspite of being in the middle of an unforgiving desert.  It was the Hohokam's that created a canal system network of over 125 miles, that gave early settlers the ability to sink roots, so to speak.  That canal network is still used today.

     Founded by Mormon Pioneer's in 1878 (No, my Grandmother was not one of those pioneer's! How old do you think I am?), with the original settlement named after a Book of Mormon prophet, Lehi (pronounced Lee High).  The names of the early settlers are ones that I and my mother grew up with, Crismon, Sirrine, Pomeroy, and Robson.  So even though the city is officially 133 years old in January 2011, those names have remained.  Amazing, since they had to compete for space against Scorpions, Diamondback Rattle Snakes, Gila Monsters, Choilla (a.k.a. Jumping Cactus), Desert Rats, like my friend Kellie, and nearby lawman/outlaw, James D. Houck.

   I came to be... in 1963 (I feel a rap coming on) in Mesa Southside Hospital, near the corner of Main St and Mesa Dr, which is now a city government building.  My family lived in a few places throughout the city during my growing up years, but it was the house at 1755 N Forest, that I remember the most.  My parents built this house in 1969, in spite of my father having an accident on Mormon Flat Dam, on Apache Lake, which left him permanently disabled.  This house has special memories, like playing football with my brother and his friends in the "pasture" (our large back yard). Flood irrigation and catching frogs by night. Jumping the irrigation ditches on my bicycle. Lighting on fire the wheat field behind our house and pretending it was caused by "I Don't Know"! Dove hunting in the nearby orange groves. Walking the dirt streets bare footed. School grades 2-8. My brother sneaking up on me in a dark bedroom and scaring me half to death. Yep, this house is still awesome in my mind, and I have had dreams of buying it back.  After growing up (Many dispute that this has occured) and getting married, Barbi and I lived here for 14 years before relocating to Northern Utah.  Because I still have family here, we visit sometimes.

     Mesa has many wonderful places to see which are of interest.  Because of its Mormon Pioneer heritage, the Mesa Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is one of those building completed at a time, in a desert, that amazes even me. Located at the corner of Main St and LeSueur, this building was completed in 1927.  Though not the oldest building still standing, it is certainly the grandest.  There is a visitor's center and the manicured grounds are incredible for a desert community. There is an annual Easter Pagent perfomed here.  The Christmas lights are also a must see.

     Falcon Field Airport has an impressive collection of war birds (Not Romulon or Klingon), maintained by the Commemorative Airforce I have always had an interest in military aircraft.  This is a must see.  The airport also has an interesting history, as it was used to train British Royal Airforce personnel after its construction in 1941.  The Apache helicopter, used by the U.S. Army, is still manufatured at a plant near the airport.

     Dowtown Mesa still has that throwback feel to it. Not much has changed since the buildings were constructed.  It is fun to walk and visit the shops there.  Near the downtown area and across the street from the Mesa Temple, is Pioneer Park.  A great place to have a picnic lunch and let the kids play.

     For food, there is no more special place to me than Matta's. The first restaurant opened in 1953 on Main St, West of Stapley.  The kids knew it was a special treat when our parents would take us to Matta's.  I learned that my dad's favorite meal would become mine...3 soft taco's, covered in Chili Con Carne.  mmmmmmm.  Now they can be found in 2 different locations.  See them at  The hispanic community here is well established, making authentic mexican food easy to find.

     If you love to golf in the winter, there is no better place than Mesa and the surrounding Phoenix Metro area. I will say that the desert is most beautiful in the winter time. No Snow. Rarely gets below freezing.  This is why the "snowbirds" love this area. Retirees migrate to Mesa and the surrounding areas from colder regions northward each winter.  You can easily find all 50 states and all canadian provincial license plates here between October and March.  Because of its proximity, you'll also see mexico license plates.

My Family and Olga

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