Week 166: Phoenix, AZ

Apr. 3 - 9, 2022

Sunday, we headed out for Drive # 49, Apache Trail. We have to break it into two drives because part of the trail is closed. As we drove up highway 87 toward the Tonto National Forest, we were passed by a whole bunch of vintage racing cars.  We never found out if they were just out for a Sunday drive or if they were actually racing. Unfortunately 2 of them got pulled over by the State Troopers. They were cool though.  We took highway 188 to Theodore Roosevelt Lake and as we approached the lake we saw the strange looking airplane.  Turns out it was a fire fighting plane out for some practice scooping up water from the lake and then dropping it.  That was cool to watch.  The lake was pretty too and of course we had to stop at the dam to check it out.  Next we drove up the Apache Trail as far as we could before the road was blocked off. They had some wash outs a few years ago and haven't had the resources to fix them yet.  It was a very twisty-turny-upy-downy-dusty drive. We also found another cliff dwelling that is just south of the Lake, Tonto National Monument. It is pretty amazing that these dwellings have survived for so long. Another successful road-trip day.

Monday, we started with a very good breakfast at Matt's Big Breakfast, another Triple D recommendation.  It was good, and true to the name, Big. We were going to go to the Japanese Friendship garden but it was closed and since it was early we couldn't go for beer yet. Instead we visited the Desert Botanical Gardens, another place we visited 20 years ago.  It is just as beautiful as I remember and they also have a Dale Chihuly exhibit going on.  We started in the butterfly house but they were not very active. We spent a nice couple of hours wandering through the cacti. I was wearing my new cowboy boots... that may have been a mistake LOL.

Tuesday, we started the day with a visit to the Hall of Flame, a museum of fire fighting. It was definitely cool. They had dozens of fire "trucks", the oldest was built in 1725!  Some of the fire "truck" looked like Cinderella's carriage.  They were used for parades.  Back in the seventeenth century there were no government run fire fighting services. So a few insurance company's formed there own fire fighting companies and came up with the signs called Fire Marks that you would put on your building to show you were insured by them. My next favorite exhibit was the helmets.  Apparently the first helmets were made of leather, who'd a thunk? I think the oldest helmet was from 1750.  They have every thing related to fire fighting, alarms, hoses, extinguishers, wild fire equipment, and funeral traditions. We even saw a model of the airplane that we saw last week scooping up water from the lake. They had several walls covered with the uniform patches of fire fighting units from across the country.  We found some patches from Shreveport, Ponca City, and Okaloosa. Next we visited Arizona Falls, a man-made water fall built in the late 1800's to supply power and water to the northern area of what is now Phoenix.  It has a cool history and though it doesn't provide power anymore, it is a pretty and cool spot to stop and enjoy a rest from the sun along the canal trail. Apparently there have been a system of canals used to harness the water from the Salt River for agriculture since the 1400's!  We ended our adventures for the day at an appropriate quilt shop...Sewing Nuts.

Wednesday, we created our own driving tour of Frank Lloyd Wright homes and buildings in the area.  None of the homes are open to the public so we just drove past.  Most you can't really see because they are built to blend into the landscape.  There was one that is currently owned and lived in by a retired Marine.  How do I know that you ask, you'll recognize it from the pictures LOL.  The Arizona Biltmore was designed by FLW, they require reservations for a tour but you can see the interesting textural blocks he designed for the lobby and the cottages.  It was a nice day for a drive.

Thursday, okay, today was a busy day!  We started at the Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum.  They are a combat aviation museum and you can book rides on several different warbirds. They have a B-17G Flying Fortress, a B-25J Mitchell, a SNJ/T-6 Texan, a N2S-3 Stearman, a C-47 Skytrain, and a C-45 Expeditor to choose from and the rates range from $85 to $850 (as of 5/28/2022).  It is a beautifully kept museum. I just can't get enough of viewing old aircraft up close.  There was even a special visitor on the B-17G Sentimental Journey.  The docents said it had been there all morning. I don't know if it was injured or just looking for shade. It was keeping an eye on everyone that walked by but didn't seem bothered by us.  I also always look for references to the Flying Tigers. The docents there all seemed to be retired air force and were enjoying everyone's questions. We went back to Andreoli's for lunch, soo good.  Next up, we visited the Musical Instrument Museum.  WOW, they have at least one of every instrument known to man!  It was crazy to see some of these instruments. I got tired about halfway thru and missed the whole US, Europe, and Jazz exhibits. If you play an instrument or just enjoy music, I highly recommend this place. Elard even played a Theremin! We were just in time to catch the last playing of the Apollonia. It is a player band, not just a piano but a whole band.  I am sure in the 1800's it was high definition! We ended the day at FLW's Spire.  He had designed a court house for the city of Phoenix with this spire on top. The city declined his building but Scottsdale built the spire in tribute. It was a perfect time of day to catch it with the sun shining thru it.

Friday, we did some chores and Elard took the Jeep in to get new brakes. I joined some quilting peeps at Mad B's Quilt shop for a sewing day.  There were about 20 ladies working on a multitude of projects.  It was fun to have that camaraderie for a few hours.

Saturday,  we finished Drive #49.  No fun cars passed us today but the drive was beautiful nonetheless. We tried to get to 3 more dams along the route but all were closed up with no viewing points.  There were lots of people out enjoying the beautiful weather on the lakes and waterways.  Makes me want to rent some kayaks! We skipped the tourist trappy mining attractions at the start of the drive, there were plenty of other folks visiting them. There were several one lane bridges over the inlets of Canyon Lake.  Every one was taking turns like rational human beings, it was amazing.  We had planned to stop at the Superstition Saloon but we were waaay to late to get a parking spot. The Octilla seem to be in full bloom but I haven't seen any hummingbirds feeding on them yet. There is also a wild life area that has wild horses in the area.  We saw a few but we were moving to fast to stop and get good pictures of them.  It was another beautiful day for a road trip. It is beginning to get kinda hot but, say it with me, it's a dry heat....bwaaahahaha.

Make Life an Adventure!