We’re Baaaaaack!

Sorry about the long time between updates. I’ve been having serious issues with the site and I hope that we now have them all resolved.  The picture below was taken a little after 7:00 as we got ready to run the half marathon.  The Hayden Mill is in the background, with ASU’s butte behind it.

P.F. Chang's Half Marathon Line-up Tempe AZ

Posted in Exploring Arizona | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on We’re Baaaaaack!

Arizona Historical Society Museum – Papago Park

Arizona Historical Society Museum at Papago Park

Entrance, Arizona Historical Society Museum at Papago Park

We’re trying something a little different with this post. Instead of posting a number of pictures on the page, we created a YouTube video slideshow of our visit to the Arizona Historical Society Museum in Papago Park, which in turn is located in Tempe, Arizona.

Please let us know what you think of the slideshow.  Flash photography is not allowed in the museum so some of the pictures are not as good as we’d like them to be.

We went on a Friday afternoon and had the place largely to ourselves.  It’s a nice locale, with Papago Park to the west and south.  The museum itself is a large building accessed through a courtyard.  Most of the museum is on the second floor, but there are elevators allowing handicap access to the exhibits.  Along one side the museum visits Arizona at war from before WWI through WWII, with an area devoted to the Japanese American Relocation Centers, an AT-6 trainer hanging from the ceiling and a horse-drawn caisson and 3-pound cannon.  Other displays cover the state fair, water management, population growth in Phoenix and the surrounding area, and entertainment.  On the first floor are more exhibits for Sandra Day O’Connor, the Cactus League and traveling (including a melded car).

Some of the displays were not working when we were there, but we spent a couple hours wandering through the place.  There are several places where you can stop and listen to audio, including a couple about Pearl Harbor and the start of WWII.

Outside the building are a couple more exhibits.  One is about Roosevelt Dam and the other is about the green belt that has grown up along a drainage channel that runs along the south and west side of the museum.  Both are worth taking a few moments.

Overall, this is a nice way to spend a couple hours – more if you’re really into history – and you may just learn a few things.

Posted in Exploring Arizona, Museums | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Arizona Historical Society Museum – Papago Park

Scottsdale Greenbelt

One of Scottsdale’s best feature is actually a little hard to discover. While it’s easy to find some parts of the Greenbelt, it isn’t obvious that the whole thing is connected.

To back up a bit, Team Diabetes, of which I’m a part, trained at Eldorado Park in Scottsdale. We had a good time doing our training, but I was fascinated to find out what a nice place the park is and that the park is connected to a whole string of parks and paths running all the way from Tempe Town Lake in the south to past 92nd Street and Shea in the north. The paths and parks follow the Indian Bend Wash, which means that the paths are able to go under major roads that are bridged over the wash.

Eldorado Park

In addition, the parks offer Frisbee golf, skate boarding, fishing, birding, jogging, swimming, bicycling, and all kinds of other outdoor activities. You can stop for a picnic, if you’d like. There are lots of trees and other shade, too, and water flowing along the way.

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret, Wading at Eldorado Park

Oddly enough, Scottsdale doesn’t treat it as a continuous pathway on their website except for this map:

http://www.scottsdaleaz.gov/Assets/Public+Website/traffic/Bicycles/IBW_SharedUsePaths.pdf

If you go there, remember that the paths are multi-use and busy.  Watch out for kids, bicyclists, skateboarders, Frisbees and so forth and remember to be courteous on the paths.  Stay to the right, give warning as you’re passing, don’t plug both ears with headphones, and enjoy the beauty of the parks and paths.

Posted in Exploring Arizona | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Scottsdale Greenbelt

Climbing Camelback

The iconic image of Phoenix is Camelback Mountain, and one of the bucket-list things for people here to do is climb to its summit. It’s still on my list because I haven’t managed to get all the way up it, but I have gone part of the way three times. The latest time was yesterday and I took my Olympus pocket camera along.

I started out from the Echo Canyon parking lot a little after 6 AM.  Even at that hour the lot was fairly full, but I did find a slot.  Since there were cars parked down the entrance road, I think that it must have been really busy just after sunrise.  It’s a small lot, by the way, so coming on the weekend is likely to be tough going to get a parking space.

The first part of the climb is up a series of steps blocked off with timbers.  However, it’s not all that easy because the steps are irregularly spaced.

Early in the ClimbAfter a little while you come to a saddle that gives a very nice view out to the east, with Red Mountain, the McDowells and the Salt River reservation.  From this point the trail heads south along a big rock wall that is part of the “camel’s” head.  The path is so tight and the drop-off is steep enough that fencing is provided for this section.  In addition, there’s a pair of very steep climbs where handrails have been installed to help you up them.

Fencing and First Handrails

While in the midst of hauling myself up the first steep section, I found this Chuckwalla hiding in a crevice in the rock.  Why it was out in the middle of the path with all the people going and coming, I don’t know, but it was cool to find anyway.

Chuckwalla

From here, the trail goes along an easier section for just a bit, which is nice for catching your breath, and then does another section of handrail-steep climbing.  After that there’s another easier section and then a section where the trail goes straight up a boulder-filled slot.

Ugh! Climbing up the BouldersI should mention here that the views on both sides of the ridge of Camelback at this point are great.  You can see downtown Phoenix and South Mountain on the one side and Paradise Valley and Scottsdale, with the mountains beyond, on the other.

I climbed up the boulders and came out to a little easier place where I could see across another small saddle to the last climb to the summit.  I decided at that point that I should choose to come back and complete the climb another day.  August in Phoenix is not ideal for someone as big as I am to be doing this stuff.

The Rest of the Way to the Camelback Summit

Posted in Exploring Arizona | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Mini-Time Machine Museum of Miniatures

We recently had a wonderful trip to Tucson to visit a fairly new museum of miniatures.

The Mini-Time Machine Museum Entrance

The Mini-Time Machine Museum Entrance

The entrance is a door within a larger door and off to the side is a miniature door, and that is a good indication of the attention to detail of the museum itself. It’s a beautiful place, too.

The museum is full of miniature houses and contents and they are fabulous.

Miniature House and Content

Miniature House and Content

A Wider View of Some of the Museum Pieces

A Wider View of Some of the Museum Pieces

There are all kinds of houses and other buildings in the museum, along with miniatures placed inside other items (such as a miniature violin shop inside a violin). There’s lots of whimsy, too, with a resident fairy and a whole gallery dedicated to Christmas villages and fantasy castles.

Christmas Scene

Christmas Scene

I should tell you that I’m not big on dolls and doll houses, but this was an amazing experience. The detail, the methods to make such things as a carpet for a miniature house, the attention to the smallest items, the clever adaptation of real-world items as scale items – all that is really incredible.

We were there for about 3 hours, most of it spent with a docent who gave us a marvelous tour of the galleries, and we didn’t see everything. In fact, we went to lunch and decided that we’d have to go back another time because we were just saturated with all the stuff we’d seen.

So, in summary, this museum has stuff to fascinate small children and the elderly and it’s a bargain for the entrance price.

The museum is on the north side of Camp Lowell Drive, just a little west of Swan Road. The museum Web site has the details of location, direction, hours and prices.

Posted in Exploring Arizona, Museums | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Mini-Time Machine Museum of Miniatures

River of Time Museum

The River of Time Museum in Fountain Hills is a pretty nice place to spend an afternoon. That’s what we did on Friday.

It’s a small museum with quite a lot packed into its space, including history, geology, archeology and hydrology exhibits. There’s are sections about the tribes who lived here – both the Hohokam and the more recent Yavapai – as well as an area dedicated to Fort McDowell and another depicting a bit of ranch life. The museum winds up with an overview of recent developments and the establishment of the town of Fountain Hills.

Pottery

I want to give a shout-out to the pleasant and informed staff of the museum as well. Our guide gave a very good presentation as we walked through the exhibits, after which we wandered through on our own.

A couple additional comments: The museum is only open on a limited schedule, so make sure to check the times before you go. Also, it is housed in the library in the Fountain Hills city complex. Outside the museum are some very nice sculptures and, in the distance, a view of the lake. We didn’t see the fountain going, but I expect that you would have a nice view of it from there as well.

Flower Dancing in the Wind

Family

After leaving the museum, we went to a very nice Chinese place on Shea Boulevard named Ping’s. The food was great and they had a very cool bas relief scene on the wall. That is worth the stop all by itself!

Chinese City

Posted in Exploring Arizona, Museums | Tagged , , | Comments Off on River of Time Museum

Tucson, etc.

I’ve added a page for Tucson under Towns and Cities with a number of links for events, museums, parks and so forth. The page will need to be expanded and updated with additional links and pictures, but this is a good start.

We’ve also updated and tested all the links on all of the pages in the site so everything should be working. If you find a dead link, please use the contact form to let me know!

Also, if there are pages or posts that you’d like to see added, please contact us with that information too. We have a long list of additional items that we want to add, such as Canyon de Chelly and the Music Instrument Museum, but the order in which we get them done might be helped if we knew what people were looking for!

Posted in Site-related | Tagged , | Comments Off on Tucson, etc.

Changes Continue

The site now has a front page and a separate page for blog posts like this one. We’ve also added a contact page for general comments and we’re preparing to reopen comments on the blog. In addition, we have some trips planned to see some other parts of our state and we’ll be posting and adding pages about those in the near future as well as continuing to reinstall and update the rest of the pages for the site that were lost when the site was moved.

Please keep faith – we’re working on it!

Posted in Site-related | Tagged , | Comments Off on Changes Continue

Update 2011-04-06

We’ve just restored and updated the Holbrook page.  Included are additional pictures, of Meteor Crater, the Wigwam motel and the Grand Falls of the Little Colorado. 

We have a couple pages of corrections, modifications and updates to do and we’ll be working on those for the next several days as time permits.  Stay tuned!  We’ll be adding new content to the existing pages as well as new pages!

Posted in Site-related | Tagged , | Comments Off on Update 2011-04-06

Updating the Site – Spring 2011

Hi, all!

I’m working on the site and have just added back the Coronado Trail and Flagstaff pages. I hope to get the rest of the old site back up in the next little while, along with new pictures and content. Please drop by and visit when you have a few moments.

Posted in Site-related | Tagged , | Comments Off on Updating the Site – Spring 2011