Saturday, February 17, 2018

Sold! Barrett Jackson AZ 2018

Sparkles, Glitter and a Rolling Hot Tub Caddie

This year Phoenix / Scottsdale hosted a record 6 collector car auctions simultaneously in mid-January.

The Gooding and Company Collector Car Auction was a 2-day event at the Scottsdale Fashion Square. Total sales at Gooding was $49,215,650 with 11 cars selling for over $1M. High dollar car was a one-of-a-kind 1965 Ferrari GTB Speciale built for the personal use of Battista Pininfarina for $8,086,000.

The RM Sotheby Collector Car Auction was conducted at Phoenix's Arizona Biltmore Resort. It was also a 2-day event with total sales of $36,523,620. Sotheby's sold 11 cars for more that $1M including a 1966 Shelby 427 Cobra for $2,470,500.

Bonham's "Scottsdale" Auction (which was actually held the Westin Kierland Resort in Phoenix - I guess saying the resort is in "Scottsdale" has more cache for elitists) had total sales of $25.2M with 7 sales over $1M. Top seller was a 1958 Porsche 550 Spyder going for $5,170,000.

The Barrett Jackson 8-day "Lifestyle" event (collector car auction) was held at Scottsdale's  Westworld. It reached $113,7M in total sales featuring 3 cars selling for more than $1M.

The Russo and Steele Collector Car Auction was conducted at the The Talking Stick Resort and featured 800 cars for sale. The Worldwide Collector Car Auction was also held in Scottsdale.

I went to the Barrett Jackson on a Tuesday for the first time this year and really enjoyed the more relaxed pace of the day.

As always the Barrett Jackson was the biggie. And as usual my visit began with a visit to the Salon Collection where the amazing cars reside until the gavel falls. 

As with last year it felt like there was more space devoted to selling massage chairs, magnetic ion bracelets, art made from nails and fly-in fishing trips, and less space showcasing the Auction's signature collections.  I'm guessing that the addition of auctions in Palm Beach, Newport Beach and Las Vegas dilutes the pool of exceptional cars showing up each year at each venue.

No matter, there were still lots of great cars to admire, new hood ornaments to photograph and lots of greasy heart stopping comfort food to eat.

Here are my 2018 snaps...

1930 Cord Phaeton
(Sold for $253,000)

 1937 Rolls Royce Phantom III
(Did Not Reach Reserve)

1950 Oliver 77 Orchard Tractor
(Sold for $23,100)

1952 Ferrari 212 Europa
(Sold for $1,100,000)

Hood Ornament 
1953 Pontiac "Woody" Wagon
(Sold for $65,000)

1954 Plymouth Belmont
Concept Car
(Did Not Reach Reserve)

1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II
(Sold for $95,700)

1956 Talbot Lago T-26
(Did Not Reach Reserve)

1967 Jaguar XKE
(Sold for $176,000)

1969 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
Rolling Hot Tub
(Sold for $26,400

Collectibles and Auto Nostalgia

For Roadboy's photos from 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 (I didn't post for 2011) just click here:

2017 Event
2016 Event

See you next year!

Roadboy's Travels © 2018

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Crying on the Sidewalk

My Neighbors are Awesome

Every Saturday in the winter I take a bicycle ride. 

My rides begin along Phoenix's network of canals to enjoy views of local architecture and our mountain scenery.

I don't ride for speed or distance anymore. I ride to get out, stretch and fill my lungs. Seeing an occasional roadrunner (last week) or a covey of baby quail (this week) is cool too.

Today, I opted for a different route to climb some hills and turned north on 44th Street. And, since 44th Street is really busy, I was paying attention to traffic (important since actuaries all agree that drivers in my state are among the worst, most aggressive and inattentive jerks to be found anywhere).

As I started riding up the hill, I passed a bus stop, where a lump of humanity in a tracksuit was sitting on the ground crying inconsolably.

My first inclination was to keep riding. 

But at the next corner I stopped, turned and went back.

At the bus stop, through tears, the lump of humanity became a person. 

A person for whom all things were bad. 

She asked if I'd call the police for her. I did.

Assuming she did not want to tell a stranger what had left her so desolate, I instead asked if she needed water (in Phoenix cyclists carry a lot of water). And, yes, she was thirsty. 

At that point a fellow cyclist (with his 3 year old son in a little bike pod) stopped to join us.

We all just talked, waiting for the officer to arrive. We asked her name and where she was from. 

Her breathing became regular. Her tears stopped.

At that point a man walked up. He touched her shoulder and asked if she was hungry. She was. He left to get her a meal from a nearby fast food joint.

She was from Illinois having arrived in Arizona just two weeks ago. She was at the end of her rope.

The Phoenix Police officer rolled up and professionally began her assessment.

I bid Daniela (I now knew her name) goodbye, advising her to visit Andre House (a homeless services provider my church supports) and, knowing she has a really tough road ahead, quietly said a prayer for her.

In the space of 30 minutes a complete stranger was no longer a stranger. She was comforted, fed and knew that she was loved, even if it was by total strangers.

My weekly bike rides always nurture me physically.

Today's ride, in a nation that feels increasingly hateful, restored my faith in the human race.

When in doubt, stop. Get out of your comfort zone. Offer a hand and a heart. 

Trust me, the benefits flow both ways.

Roadboy's Travels © 2018

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

A Few Roadboy Travel Tips

Making Travel Easier

So my goal is always to make life easy and to travel organized. 

I mean they go hand-in-hand right?

So without further adieu...

Tip #1
Download the App: Tripit

This is the best tip you'll get from Roadboy in 2018. 

Tripit is simple to install and use and it makes travel so much easier. Once downloaded you simply set up your profile. Then you'll load the date and a title for each upcoming trip.

Then, as you book travel and get confirmation e-mails for air, rental cars, hotels (whatever), simply forward them to "plans@tripit". 

Tripit takes care of the rest.

Tripit organizes all the details for each trip into a continuous stream. It saves me (literally) hours of itinerary building. It also notifies me if there appear to be conflicts.  While traveling I can click specific items and all the important accompanying reservation details appear.

And best of all it is free! 

Tripit does have an advanced version that comes with an annual fee. It is pretty cool through. I gave it a test run and it dutifully gave me live updates of gate changes and such.

Tip #2
Download the App: Rome2rio

This app is amazing. Just open it. It is so simple to operate. Add any two destinations (anywhere). And poof! A whole host of travel options appear: driving, walking, trains, planes and UBER. Many show combinations.  Each option shows time involved and estimates of cost.

After some recent searching on how to get from Split to another town in Croatia for an upcoming bicycle trip, I was getting pretty steamed. All the normal venues just dropped me into commercial sites that then sent me down the rabbit hole. 

Then I found Rome2rio and boom! It showed me I could take a ferry boat, ride a bus or just use a ride share. It even gave logical combinations: Take a plane to here, then a bus to there. This is my new Go To site for connecting my travel dots.

Tip #3
(This one is for IOS folks). Enable Low Power mode when you begin a trip.

I am always frustrated when I start a trip and then watch my I-Phone battery melt. So now I begin my journey's by opening "Settings" and scrolling to "Battery". There I click "Low Power Mode". If I need to do some major searching needing data and speed or have access to a car charger etc. I turn Low Power Mode off. 

But on my recent bicycle trip in South Carolina (where I used my phone for turn-by-turn GPS mapping) enabling  Low Power mode kept me in business all day.

That's it for today's tips.

Happy 2018 from Roadboy!   

Roadboy's Travels © 2018

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Merry Christmas from Roadboy!

The Glamor of Travel

In order to economize travel costs on a recent business trip to Wisconsin I booked a round trip through O'Hare. It meant a couple of extra hours of drive time, but would save some taxpayer money....

Everything was working. Drives were smooth and this morning delivered blue skies. I caught an on-time hotel shuttle and discovered short lines at TSA Pre.

We boarded on time. I got my exit row, the travel gods were smiling. Life is good.

Then we got the dreaded pilot PA describing too much baggage, an injured laser beam smoke detector and some other technical stuff all culminating in a "minor delay".

Soon, the minor delay became a full hour. 

Then we were asked to get off the plane and remove our luggage (never a good sign). 

Then the rolling waves of delay started to crash....

2 hours became 4 hours, 
4 hours became 6 hours, 
6 hours became 8 hours.
8 hours becomes 10 hours.

Fingers crossed......

So bummed.

Amidst all this, I had been wondering when I was going to get the chance to compose my holiday letter this year. Well I guess Airbus Industrie and American Airlines just stepped in to solve that dilemma for me!

It's really easy to get jaded about delays when things start to go wrong. Partly because over the years the airline industry has perfected special ways of compounding "wrong".

But this time of year I have to admit it just seems like a time to chill.

A joy of travel for me is people watching. And (maybe aside from the ambulatory freak show known as Las Vegas) there are almost no better places on earth to watch the human parade than big airports like ORD.

At the holidays you dilute tired business travelers with effervescent, wide-eyed kids and a few dazed college kids all returning home or off to Grandma's house.

There's the lady with the two friendly little Scottie dogs that came and sat down next to me attracting every kid for six gates.

And the impromptu guitar concert from a (very talented) fellow passenger.

Then (to their credit!) American rolled out a very well stocked food cart with real food (sandwiches and wraps, sodas and juice, not just granola bars). And a few hours later they rolled out another fully stocked cart.

OK, I'm starting to forgive them, a little.

All the while Diane Schurr's perfect pitch is serenading me in my wonderful travel headphones.

And O'Hare has got some pretty SpecT holiday decorations this year too.

Holiday's in O'Hare

Now if O'Hare would just fix their crappy Boingo® free Wi-Fi limit of 30 minutes.....

But I digress.

The point is no matter what life tosses at you, Roadboy says (especially this time of year) relax, its just life. Its also better than covered wagons and steam trains.

Roadboy also wishes you and yours smooth travels and a wonderful holiday season!

UPDATE 12-22-2017: 
I just received an e-mail from AA apologizing for yesterday's delay. It went on to inform me that 10,000 bonus FF Miles had been deposited in my account. Color me surprised (and even a bit more forgiving).

Roadboy's Travels © 2017

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Cincinnati's Deco Masterpiece

The Netherland Park Hotel

It is pretty standard to seek out the newest and coolest places to see, eat and stay whenever we travel. But I actually try to balance my hotel stays between sleek new hotels and history rich hotels. While new hotels offer clean, spare modern rooms with lots of tech, older hotels offer great locations and rooms with character and provenance.

On my recent trip to Cincinnati I returned to the venerable Hilton Netherland Park Hotel for a conference. This is a hotel steeped in history. 

In 1929 John Emory approached various banks to finance his vision for a new office and hotel tower. It would be a city within a city.  Cincinnati's banks lacked Emory's vision and refused to finance the project. 

So Emory cashed in all of his stocks and securities to pay for the project himself.  His timing was pretty amazing, selling just before the 1929 stock market crash. 

If he hadn't followed his dream, he'd have been financially wiped out. 

Instead, Emory went on to build his masterpiece and become one of Cincinnati's biggest employers through the Depression.

To design it he retained Walter W. Ahlschlager as architect. To build it he hired Colonel William Starrett as builder (Starrett built the Empire State Building and the Lincoln Memorial).

Elaborate Deco Detailing is Everywhere

His hotel, the St. Nicholas Plaza, never opened. 

Just before opening a local Realty Company claimed they owned the rights to that name. 

Since all the hotel's towels, dishes and silverware had been monogrammed, a new name had to be crafted using the same initials and the Netherland Park was born.

The new 800 room hotel featured modern bathrooms, elegant ballrooms, shopping arcades, a fully automated parking garage and seven commercial kitchens.

The River View From My Room on the 24th Floor

The hotel currently features Ohio's only AAA 5-Diamond restaurant The Orchids at The Palm Court. It is listed also listed as one of TripAdvisor's top 100 American restaurants. 

The chef here is serious. Everything is seasonal, fresh and local. Take a peek out on the 6th and 16th floor roof terraces and you'll see his beehives and herb gardens.  

Our 4-course dinner was truly wonderful in presentation, taste and thoughtful service.

The Palm Court

 Pastured "Fried" Egg / Gulf Shrimp / Creme Fraische / Caviar Cream

  Dry Aged Duck / Maitake / Root Vegetable / Juniper

Cream Cheese Custard / Raspberry / Lychee / Almond / Hibiscus

My night of dining at The Orchids will not soon be forgotten.

So a little Roadboy background on Cincinnati. 

From my very first visit here nearly 30 years ago, I have loved Cincinnati. 

It is a city full of surprises. It offers up some really great food. It is home to remarkable architecture. It has a a fantastic zoo, a Roebling bridge (the longest suspension bridge in the world in 1866) and enjoys a picturesque setting along the Ohio River.

It also has one of America's most beautiful and iconic fountains (the Tyler Davidson Fountain on fountain Square). 

The Tyler Davidson Fountain

In the late 1800's it was one of the seven most populous cities in the US and referred to as the "Paris of America".

It also has had to overcome notable flaws. It is home to the nation's largest abandoned subway system. It built one of America's most beautiful train stations just in time to witness the demise of passenger rail service.

Its politics are bizarre. On one of my trips Jerry Springer's Cincinnati mayoral run was cut short when the check he wrote to pay a prostitute in Covington found its way into the newspaper.

About the same time Cincinnati proudly pronounced a Mapplethorpe retrospective exhibit in its contemporary art museum "obscene" and sent police to protect its citizens from viewing it.

But Cincinnati's saddest character flaw is its pervasive and deep history of toxic racism. It was home to three white on black race wars and Marge Schott.

However, the Cincinnati I see today, is working hard to overcome its troubles and build a bright future.

It remains one of my favorite American city's to visit.

Roadboy's Travels © 2017

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Roadboy Returns to Philadelphia

75° Days, Spectacular Art and A Gaggle of Police Chiefs

For me any excuse to visit Philadelphia is a good one. This trip it was the 124th annual International Association of Chief's of Police national convention.

More than just a convention, it is the preeminent opportunity for law enforcement executives worldwide to network, attend educational workshops, discuss various hot button topics and explore the dazzling array of technology and services designed for their use; literally everything from software, helicopters & drones to badges and uniforms.

The Skyline of Philadelphia

The convention rotates between various cities from one year to the next, I try to attend whenever it lands in Philadelphia or Chicago. I love those cities.

Despite the national turmoil and need for extreme security this year, the 2017 convention turned out to be one of the more interesting and productive IACP gatherings in recent memory.

This most recent visit to Philadelphia reconfirmed that it is a great city in every aspect. It is rich in history, saturated with beautiful architecture, filled with amazing murals, loaded with regional cooking and inhabited by wonderful residents. Whether walking through the Reading Terminal Market (maybe in search of some Amish donuts?), or visiting its parks and museums, Philadelphia has something for anyone with a pulse.

This year I took an afternoon walk (tracing the steps of Rocky Balboa) right up the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum. It was my first visit and from the moment I entered I simply lost track of time admiring an embarrassment of riches. Eventually a very nice staff member had to inform me that the museum was about to close. 

So here are a few impressions of a sunny fall Saturday spent enjoying "Philly".

The City of Brotherly Love 
(Offering Expressions in Many Languages)

Saturday Chess Game
In front of the Philadelphia Parkway Central Library, 
Architect: Horace Trumbauer 1927

Trumbauer designed the library based on inspiration from the Place de la Concorde in Paris. Affections dating back to the American Revolution, result in a lot of references to France throughout Philadelphia.

The Swann Fountain at Logan Circle
Alexander Stirling Calder 1924

A interesting little bit of information for art buffs. The Swann Fountain (also know as the Fountain of the Three Rivers) was designed by the son of the sculpture that designed the William Penn Statue residing on top of Philadelphia's iconic City Hall. And his own son (also named Alexander) went on to become internationally famous for his gently swirling mobiles.

Philadelphia's Rodin Museum
Architects Paul Cret and Jacques Greber, 1929

Native American 
Washington Sculpture & Fountain
Rudolf Siemering 1897 

 The Philadelphia Art Museum
Architect's Howell Lewis Shay and Julian Abele 1926

I found it interesting that Julian Abele (who completed the details and perspectives) was the first African-American to graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Department of Architecture in 1902.

Fans Mug at The "Rocky" Sculpture

Once you reach the grand staircase to the entry of the museum you'll see a line of people off to the side of the stairs. When I ventured over to see what they were doing I found that this is where the movie sculpture of Rocky Balboa has been placed. 

I made my way up the stairs and into the museum. The main entry presents another grand staircase featuring the huge golden weather vane "Diana". This sculpture once graced the tallest point in Manhattan atop the original Madison Square Garden.

Diana in The Entry Hall 

With about 3 hours to spend, I had to pick my route carefully. I simply walked through many galleries in order to spend more time in others.

Here are a few of my favorite items from Philadelphia's collection.

First up Winslow Homer's A Temperance Meeting (sometimes referred to as Noon Time).

A Temperance Meeting
Winslow Homer 1874

Facial Detail 

This is one of the few paintings I have seen by Winslow Homer that details a facial expression. In this case the important character is the strong sunburned milkmaid offering a drink to a slouching farmhand from her ladle (who is left without facial detail).

I loved Rousseau's The Merry Jesters. This lush playful piece is one of the artists later works. The bearded monkeys almost seem to be in a childlike embrace.

The Merry Jesters
Henri-Julien-Felix Rousseau 1906

Another interesting painting was an early Picasso painting he created in the summer he returned to Spain from Paris. I really appreciate his earlier works such as this (essentially the works he completed before he began painting the abstract works that eventually made him a global celebrity).

Woman With Loaves
Pablo Picasso 1906 

Perhaps one of the most interesting paintings in the museum is Marcel Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase #2. Hard to imagine today, but in 1913 this painting ignited international controversy when submitted in New York's Armory show.

Nude Descending a Staircase #2
Marcel Duchamp 1912

With a daughter that illustrates and authors graphic novels, I found myself smiling at this 1939 lithograph entitled The Art Class.

The Art Class
Caroline Durieux 1939

Perhaps one of Philadelphia's most revered and endlessly controversial artists is Thomas Eakins. A Philadelphia native Eakins traveled the world and studied anatomy and dissection at Jefferson Medical College. He was famous for his portraits, sculptures and huge large, brutally realistic medical paintings. In a nation healing from the horrors of a Civil War, his realistic medical paintings took on a life of their own. 

He is also famous his stormy tenure as an art instructor and for a personal life that left his sexual preferences ambiguous.     

The Agnew Clinic
Thomas Eakins 1889

A small statue of William Penn caught my eye only to realize it was Alexander Milne Calder's study for the huge sculpture on top of Philadelphia's City Hall.

William Penn
Alexander Milne Calder 1889
Rounding out my photos here is the marble bust of Benjamin Franklin by Jean-Antoine Houdon. Houdon was the leading portrait sculpture in France at the time. The bust is even more remarkable since Franklin never sat for it. It was created from Houdon seeing at the Masonic Lodge where they both were members. 

I noticed Houdon's amazing sculpture of Voltaire during a visit to the Los Angeles County Musuem of Art.

Benjamin Franklin
Jean-Antoine Houdon 1779

The last item here was very interesting to me. It was a painting of Duke Cosimo I de' Medici (yes those Medici's) of Florence by Agnolo Bronzino. Why Bronzino painted one of the wealthiest men on earth at the time as an alegorical Orpheus playing a lyre to charm the three-headed Cerberus on the occasion of his wedding poses more questions than I can fathom!

Portrait of Cosimo I de' Medici
Agnolo Bronzino (approx. 1537-39)

This trip (like those before) just makes me want to return to Philadelphia again!

Roadboy's Travels © 2017

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Citizen M Announces Expansion Plans

Coming to a City Near You!

Good news for fellow road warriors.

Over the past few years most major hotel chains have been very busy tweaking their products. So much so that the Marriott chain alone offers a mind boggling 29 different hotels brands. By comparison Hilton offers 14 different hotel brands. 

Clearly, they are committed to serving the unique needs of a very wide spectrum of travelers by developing customized products that cover every market niche possible. But their smaller, more affordable, offerings all seem like variations of each other to me.

There is one little upstart hotel chain however that (in my humble opinion) has developed a totally unique product: Citizen M. 

My first experience with a Citizen M was at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. I just needed a room for a quick overnight stay before flying on early the next morning. With its practicality, very affordable price, XL king sized beds and "walk to the terminal" convenience I opted to try it. 

For a single traveler it turned out to be great.

My first experience at Citizen M may be found here: Roadboy's Review Citizen M Hotel - Paris - CDG

Since then, I have hoped to see the chain expand to North American markets I travel to most frequently. 

Today, I received an e-mail announcing that there are locations now under development in:

• Los Angeles - Hollywood Boulevard
• San Francisco - Union Square

• Boston - North Station

New York: 
• New York City - Bowery (joining their present Times Square location)

• Seattle - South Lake Union

Washington DC: 
• National Mall / L'Enfant Plaza

For quick affordable high tech luxury this is all good news!

There were other global locations announced as well: Copenhagen, Kuala Lumpur, Paris Center, and Shanghai.

Roadboy's Travels © 2017