South Mountain Park-Phoenix AZ

South Mountain Park/Preserve is about 16,000 acres. It is one of the largest municipally operated parks in the country and the largest desert mountain preserves in the world. It is made up of three mountains (Ma Ha Tauk, Gila, and Guadalupe). South Mountain Park was one of the areas that were worked under the CCC program (Civilian Conservation Corps) that was started by Franklin D Roosevelt to help put Americans back to work.

DSC08628

Between 1933-1940 four thousand men worked out of two camps at South Mountain Park. During this time they constructed 40 miles of hiking and horse trails, 18 buildings, 15 ramadas, 134 fire pits, 30 water faucets, water dams and other features in the park.

 

Organ Stop Pizza-Mesa AZ

Colleen and I were referred to Organ Stop Pizza by a local who was sitting in the row in front of us at the Spring Training Game. So after we had been out and about all day Sunday, March 6, 2016, we stopped to get something to eat and check out this place. I took the following information from the internet. I felt it explained it best how Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa AZ came to be what it is today.

The Pipe Organ – History

In 1972, the original Organ Stop Pizza restaurant premiered in Phoenix, Arizona at the corner of 7th Street and Missouri Avenue with a Wurlitzer pipe organ which was originally built for Grauman’s Hollywood Egyptian Theater. This unique concept of a pizza parlor with a pipe organ was envisioned by William P. Brown, a Phoenix real estate developer whose enthusiasm for the theater pipe organ and its music led to the creation of this landmark attraction.

The phenomenal success of the Phoenix restaurant prompted plans to open another Organ Stop in Mesa. It opened in 1975 near the corner of Dobson and Southern Avenue with a Wurlitzer organ from the Denver Theater in Denver, Colorado. In the theater, the Denver instrument had 15 ranks or sets of pipes. The instrument was totally rebuilt, and the decision was made to enlarge the organ to 23 ranks for its debut in the new Mesa Organ Stop.

The success and popularity of the new Organ Stop Pizza mirrored that of the Phoenix location. In 1984, Bill Brown decided to retire from the restaurant business. The Phoenix Organ Stop was sold to a real estate developer, who sold the pipe organ and demolished the building in favor of an office complex. Incidentally, that instrument was sold to a couple in Downers Grove, Illinois, for installation in their home! The Mesa Organ Stop was sold to a longtime employee and manager Mike Everitt and his business partner Brad Bishop. Under the new ownership, improvement of the pipe organ became a high priority. Over the course of the ensuing years, careful acquisition of rare pipework and percussions were made, culminating in what is now the largest Wurlitzer pipe organ in the world. With the change in ownership, the restaurant continued to gain in popularity. Inevitably plans were made to move into a facility twice the size of the original in order to accommodate the ever-increasing number of patrons and ever-expanding organ. This new mega-facility, located at the corner of Stapley Drive and Southern Avenue, was designed specifically to accommodate the expanding scope and size of the Organ Stop Wurlitzer. Construction of the new facility began in May of 1995 and the grand opening was Thanksgiving weekend of that same year.

In its new and improved location, Organ Stop Pizza and it’s Mighty Wurlitzer has come to be known as the biggest and best in the world as attested to by many of the world’s finest theater organists and, more importantly, the hundreds of thousands of patrons who visit each year. There are continuing efforts to make additions and improvements to the organ, endeavoring to fine-tune the instrument closer and closer to perfection.

DSC08974P

http://www.organstoppizza.com/

Hall of Flame-Phoenix, AZ

Here was another gem in Phoenix that Colleen and I found…….The Hall of Flame. We really debated whether we were going to go here and if looking at a bunch of fire trucks was going to be that interesting. Well, we decided we would check it out and the entry fee of $7.00 was reasonable. Let me tell you this place was well worth the stop and well worth the entry fee.

The National Historical Fire Foundation is a museum dedicated to the historical preservation of firefighting equipment used throughout the years around the world. There are 5 exhibit rooms and the National Firefighting Hall of Heroes gallery which honors firefighters who have died in the line of duty or who have been decorated for heroism.

The Hall of Flame was established in 1961 and is the largest museum in the world dedicated to firefighters.

Upon entering the museum the first thing in front of you is the front desk which is the front of a fire engine.

IMG_44871

you are given an exhibit catalog that describes all the major exhibits. Each item in the museum has a number that corresponds with the catalog. The museum contains horse wagons, parade carriages, ladder wagons, chemical wagons to motorized fire engines through the years from 1725-1969.

http://www.hallofflame.org/

http://www.hallofflame.org/TableofContents.htm  (This link to the internet gives you the catalog information of each of the fire engine apparatus with picture, description, and history. Very interesting and cool)

There is a room to watch a short movie about the history and restoration of the museum and its pieces as well as a collection of helmets and other memorabilia on display.

There are” arm patches” from fire departments all over the world. There is a catalog where you can go to look up your state, city or province to find which frame the arm patch you are looking for is in.

This is a 1952 American La France Model 700 fire engine from Miami, AZ. This is the only fire engine in the museum that visitors are allowed on.

 

Spring Training Peoria AZ

My friend Colleen lives in Vacaville, CA. She caught a plane and flew to Phoenix on Friday, March 4, 2016, to spend the weekend with me. The first thing we did was catch a Spring Training Game Friday night in Peoria at the Padre/Mariner Sports Complex. An evening game on Friday night was the only thing available for the weekend as it was just going to be too hot to catch a daytime/afternoon game. So although the Mariners were not playing I did get to sit in the Mariner Sports Complex and watch the San Diego Padres play against the Kansas City Royals. KC got a run on the board early on in the game and the score stayed at 1-0 through most of the game up until the 8th inning and then the Padres were scoring and they won 3-1.  Although not the most exciting game, it was fun and great just to experience a Spring Training Game.

 

Slide Rock State Park – Sedona AZ – February 2016

 

http://azstateparks.com/Parks/SLRO/

I stopped by Slide Rock State Park on my drive back from Flagstaff to Phoenix. Slide Rock is 7 miles north of Sedona. It is a smooth natural water slide formed from the red sandstone that cascades into a cool swimming hole.

It was about a 15-minute walk from the parking lot to the slide and a bit of careful navigating over the uneven, rocky terrain. It was just so beautiful and just relaxing to sit in the sun and take in all the natural beauty for a while. I had initially prepared to go swimming or try the slide, but the water was sooooooooo cold! I tried putting my feet in the water and it was no time at all before they were becoming numb. So no way was I putting my whole body into that freezing water, but there were a few who took the plunge!