Day 15 started with me waking up at James Hotel in Old Town Scottsdale.
I’m not sure who owns James, but I’m guessing it’s not Motel 6 folks, given the amenities and what you pay for them.
For example, I stared at a small bag of Cheez-its I found in my room for quite a while. The price list said the bag cost $3. But after careful examination, I could see nothing that distinguished this bag of Cheez-its from the kind you find at Costco.
At Costco you would need a forklift to take home $3 worth of Cheez-its.
When planning this trip, it was not my intention to nestle into the lap of luxury along the way. But my editors thought living the high life for a day — just one single day, they stressed — would serve as an interesting contrast to the life on the road that I had experienced during the past two weeks.
I checked into the hotel around 5 p.m. on Friday, wandered around in my room in slack-jawed amazement for a while, then went out to explore the hotel property.
I will take a moment here to tell you how I packed for this journey, since it is relevant to today’s story. Because I could only pack what could fit into a large backpack — which had to have room for my computer, camera, various cords, batteries and notebooks — my wardrobe was limited to the essentials.
I packed four Tribune T-shirts, three pairs of shorts, a pair of jeans, a sweater, four pairs of socks and boxer shorts and two pairs of shoes.
This limited attire was of little consequence until I arrived at James.
As I was walking through the lobby and into the hotel’s bar, I noticed that everybody was dressed up. Very stylish, they were. And it was that way everywhere I went.
Heck, I was even underdressed in the elevator.
I mentioned to a young, well-dressed man in the lobby that I intended to visit some of those fancy nightclubs that I’ve heard about, but he took one look at me and frowned.
“None of those places are going to let you in dressed like that,’’ he said. “You have to have a collared shirt.’’
He told me that he was once turned away at one of these nightspots because he was wearing the wrong kind of athletic shoes. I didn’t have a collared shirt and my Nikes look like they had been stolen from a vagrant, so I didn’t even give the nightclubs a try.
Besides, nobody goes out in Scottsdale until 10 p.m., which is about the time of day I start looking for a place to lie down.
When I got up on Saturday, I had to walk eight blocks to find an open restaurant for breakfast. This part of Scottsdale is not known for its earlyrisers, apparently. Of course, they don’t go out until 10 p.m., so that figures.
This is brunch country, I’m told.
Around 10 a.m. I went to the pool and spent a while there, where my primary diversion was trying to get my eyeballs back in their sockets, such was the, uh, scenery.
Earlier in my journey, you may recall that I wrote about the simple pleasure of soaking one’s feet in the clear, cold running water of an irrigation ditch in Gilbert.
I stand by it.
But as I sat by the pool at James, sipping a drink — I still don’t know what it was, I told the cocktail waitress I wanted something cold and colorful with fruit in it.
And having my eyeballs pop out now and then, I realized something else: Lounging by the James’ pool ain’t too bad, either.
I left the pool at 11:30 a.m. so I could make the noon check-out time. It’s probably all for the best, to be honest. Because after just one day at James, I realized I was in peril of becoming an insufferable snob.
Case in point: After checking out, I walked a mile down to the Fashion Square mall, hoping to kill a few hours by watching to see if anybody was going to rip off the Botox store again.
While I was there, I became more and more annoyed by the crowd of shoppers around me and thought: “All these people seem so so terribly redundant!”
I think I got out of James Hotel just in time.