Bad Day for the GPS to Die

avatarthumbnail.jpgOn a warm late-may afternoon 19 years ago in the bowels of Jack Murphy Stadium, future Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt announced his retirement from the sport he loved and the team – the Philadelphia Phillies – with which he had spent his entire career.

”I gave it some time to turn around on the field,” a teary-eyed Schmidt said then. “I looked for signs and reasons every night to continue as a player, but I just couldn’t find them.”

This morning I spent quite a bit of time looking for signs myself and, like Mike Schmidt, I couldn’t find them. What made things worse was I was less than 10 miles from the Dobson Ranch – the area in which I grew up and lived for 16 of my 39 years.

Take me outside of the general confines of the Ranch and what once was known as the tri-city area (there even was a mall so named a long, long time ago) and I’m lost. This is not the Chandler and Gilbert I once knew. These are large, sprawling cities with dozens of subdivisions all designed like tiny mazes to keep out those who don’t belong.

Today I came to realize I’m in that class. It’s a difficult admission for someone who has lived in the Phoenix area for more than 30 years and always has taken pride in being one of the seemingly few who knows both the East and West Valleys.

Without my GPS working (it died valiantly last week after leading me into Fountain Hills to show homes … and get stranded on the balcony of a townhouse), I found myself heading south from the Loop 202’s southern end trying to find Pecos. Pecos is a block north.

Later I tried going west from Recker to find Power Road, not realizing it was behind me to the east. Recker … Power … Meridian … Idaho … Sossaman … these names have about as meaning to me these days as Park Place, Boardwalk and Illinois Avenue. I know that they are there in the east … somewhere.

I’ve argued the Phoenix real estate market is not one where you can specialize to a severe degree, not unless you’re entrenched in an area like Bob Simon, who still is walking the streets of the Dobson Ranch after a couple of decades. Part of that argument was the willingness to go anywhere to serve my clients; later I’ll post a map of where I’ve sold homes here in the Valley.

But after today, I’ve got to rethink that to a large degree. I was lost in what was my own backyard, driving streets whose sole interest to me 20 years ago was their possibility as a make-out spot. (Don’t tell my mom I wasn’t really going to Burger King with Angie those few nights. It would break her heart to know her son was a wannabe 19-year-old gigolo.)

I’m shortening my circle … the West Valley, for certain. Scottsdale, absolutely (as long as Steve Belt, Dru Bloomfield or Irene Hammond don’t know I’m there as I’m persona non grata in the west’s most overrated city.)

But the far East Valley … the time has come to say my farewells. I’ll cherish the memories but that time has come. I’m looking for signs, for reasons to stay … and I just can’t find them.

[tags]Phoenix real estate[/tags]

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at


  • Jamie Geiger 10 years ago

    Hey-you were in my neck of the woods. I feel the same way after helping a buyer find a home in Surprise- I told myself ” I just don’t belong in these parts.” I refer all my West side business- the “city” is just to big, and I have been here for 28 years.

  • Jay Thompson 10 years ago

    Heck, I *live* in the East Valley and get lost in some of these subdivisions. Heaven help me if I manage to weave my way into the bowels of a Power Ranch or Seville Master Planned Community.

    My condolences on the loss of your GPS.

    You know where to send those EV referrals….

  • Jonathan Dalton 10 years ago

    I’ve always been better at remembering what used to be in a given location than seeing what’s there. Which probably is not the most useful habit as looking backward doesn’t help you move forward.

    Blue building on Alma School? That’s the Western Savings building. Call it whatever you choose but that’s what it is. NW corner of Alma/Guadalupe? That’s where the AJ Bayless was.

  • Dru Bloomfield 10 years ago

    But, Jonathan, maybe you would be better off referring your clients who want to live in Scottsdale to someone who “is at home in Scottsdale”. You might feel much less conflicted about what a great town it is to live and play in! 😉

    Sorry to hear about your GPS… I love my Garmin and it’s routing capabilities.

  • Jay Thompson 10 years ago

    **Love** our Garmin Nuvi GPS. Punch a bunch of addresses in, push a button and it routes it all out. Greatest invention since Tivo.

  • Irene Hammond 9 years ago

    Hey what were you doing over here?

    The whole city is way to big to ‘specialize’ in – that is for sure. Even all of the Adult communities can be daunting and all the new ones have streets not on my GPS –

  • Steve Belt 9 years ago

    I’m fairly lucky with direction. I rarely get lost or turned around. Even with my Nav, I usually Google map everything before I leave the office, just to make sure I have the order of my route clear. Nothing wastes more time (and these days gas) than driving past the next closest home on a route, just to have to double-back to it.

    And like Dru mentioned regarding Scottsdale expertise, I know “the North Ranches” about as well as anyone. If it’s McDowell Mountain Ranch, DC Ranch, or Windgate Ranch, we are talking my back yard. Tack on Silverleaf and Greyhawk, too, though they don’t use “Ranch” in their name.

  • Jonathan Dalton 9 years ago

    Anyone else like to work in a plug while they’re here? 🙂

    Garmin may be the next step depending on the cost of either replacing the CD for the Chrysler Nav system or repairing the system if that’s what happened.

    I’m usually pretty good with direction myself but not when I’m down in the far Southeast Valley.

  • Steve Belt 9 years ago

    Reminder: IOU- one free plug back.

    PS, on the cost of the Chrysler CD, give me a call, I may have an inexpensive (nearly free) solution for you.

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