Valley of Fire State Park-Las Vegas March 2016

The Valley of Fire State Park was such an amazing, beautiful place! It was one of those places where the scenery and landscape just kept changing and dazzling me at every turn and bend in the road.

Valley of Fire is located in the Mojave Desert about 58 miles Northeast of Las Vegas. Valley of Fire is the oldest Nevada state park and was dedicated in 1935 and covers about 35,000 acres. Named for its magnificent red sandstone formations that were formed from great shifting sand dunes during the age of the dinosaurs more than 150 million years ago. These formations can appear to be on fire when reflecting the sun’s rays. A 10.5-mile road connects the east and west entrances to the park.

Rainbow Vista is a viewpoint where the road reaches the top of a low ridge revealing a vast area of multicolored rocks stretching for miles. Rainbow Vista was also carved from sand deposits 150 million years ago.

Seven Sisters are a series of stone formations that were once part of nearby red rock formations. These rock towers are all that is left after the relentless forces of erosion stripped away the surrounding sandstone deposits. Numerous “blow holes” in the formations forecast the eventual destruction of the towers that will take place many thousands of years into the future.

A few other miscellaneous photos

Death Valley, CA-March 2016

Death Valley was an amazing place to visit. So much more beautiful than I ever thought. My friend, Becky, and I left Las Vegas early and drove two and a half hours on Hwy 95 to Beatty, which is the east entrance to Death Valley. Our first stop was the Rhyolite Ghost Town which was an interesting place. I did not know anything about this place when we arrived and there really is no information around at the site that tells you anything, so it wasn’t until later that I did some research on Google and found out more about Rhyolite that I will share with you. Two men, Shorty Harris and Ed Cross were prospecting in the area in 1904 when they found quartz all over a hill that was full of gold. In a very short time, thousands of people soon arrived and several camps were set up. A townsite was laid out and given the name Rhyolite for the silica-rich volcanic rock in the area. There were 2000 claims that covered an area of 30 miles. The most promising claim was the Montgomery Shoshone mine, which prompted everyone to move to Rhyolite. The town soon was booming with hotels, stores, a school, an ice plant, an electric plant, machine shops, and a miner’s union hospital. The stock exchange and Board of Trade were even formed. The townspeople had baseball games, dances, church picnics, variety shows and pool tournaments at the opera house.  In 1906, Countess Morajeski opened the Alaska Glacier Ice Cream Parlor and a miner named Tom Kelly built a Bottle House out of 50,000 beer and liquor bottles. In April 1907, electricity came to Rhyolite, and by August, a mill had been constructed to handle 300 tons of ore a day at the mine. It consisted of a crusher, 3 giant rollers, over a dozen cyanide tanks and a reduction furnace. The Montgomery-Shoshone mine had become nationally known because Bob Montgomery once boasted he could take $10,000 a day in ore from the mine. It was later owned by Charles Schwab, who purchased it in 1906 for a reported 2 to 6 million dollars. The financial panic of 1907 took its toll on Rhyolite and was seen as the beginning of the end for the town. In the next few years, mines started closing and banks failed. Newspapers went out of business, and by 1910 the production at the mill had slowed and there were only 611 residents left in the town. On March 14, 1911, the directors voted to close down the Montgomery Shoshone mine and mill and in 1916 the light and power were finally turned off. Today you can find several remnants of Rhyolite still standing……Mercantile Store, School, 3 story Cook Bank, and Overbury Building. The Las Vegas & Tonopah Train Depot is one of the few complete buildings left in the town, as is the Bottle House. After the town was completely abandoned the Bottle House was restored by Paramount pictures in January 1925 for a film. The bottle house is the oldest and largest bottle house in the United States. Rhyolite is not within the boundaries of Death Valley National Park.

Goldwell Open Air Museum

An outdoor sculpture park at the entrance of the ghost town Rhyolite.

The Museum began in 1984 with the creation and installation of a major sculpture by Belgian artist Albert Szukalski titled “The Last Supper”– a ghostly interpretation of Christ and his disciples set against the backdrop of the  Amargosa Valley.

To make the life-size ghost figures, Szukalski wrapped live models in fabric soaked wet plaster and posed them as in the painting “The Last Supper” by Leonardo Da Vinci. When the plaster set, the model was slipped out, leaving the rigid shroud that surrounded him. With more refining, Szukalski then coated the figures with fiberglass making them impervious to weather.

Since then six additional pieces were added to the site by three other Belgian artists who, like Szukalski, were major figures in European art who chose to create in the Nevada desert near Death Valley in the early 1990s.DSC09634DSC09619DSC09642DSC09644DSC09636

Shortly after leaving Rhyolite Ghost Town we entered Death Valley, National Park. Death Valley is the lowest, driest and hottest area in North America. It covers more than 3.3 million acres of beautiful desert scenery, desert wildlife, undisturbed wilderness and sites of historical interest. Nearly 550 square miles lies below sea level. Death Valley was named by gold seekers, some of whom died crossing the valley during the 1849 California Gold Rush.

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At Furnace Creek, there is a visitor center and headquarters of Death Valley National Park. Furnace Creek was once the center of Death Valley Mining and operations for the Pacific Coast Borax Company and the historic 20 mule teams hauling wagons of Borax across the Mojave Desert. There are a few remnants and ruins of the Harmony Borax Company as well as the 20 mule wagons. After the discovery of Borax deposits in 1881 business associates, William Coleman and Francis Smith obtained claims to the deposits which opened the way for the large-scale borax mining in Death Valley. The Harmony Borax Company became famous from 1883 to 1889 for the use of the 20 mule team-double wagons which hauled Borax along the Overland route to the closest railroad in Mojave, CA. During the summer, when it was too hot to crystallize borax in Death Valley, a smaller borax operation shifted to the Amargosa Borax plant which is near present-day Tecopa, CA. The Harmony Borax Company remained under Coleman’s operation until 1888 when his business collapsed. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 31, 1974.

Salt Creek Pup Fish

As Becky and I drove along the main road of Death Valley we saw a sign that said “Salt Creek” and we could see off in the distance other cars so we decided to get off the main road down this white, dusty road to see what Salt Creek was all about. Little did we know that it was home to the “Pup Fish”.  There is a one-mile boardwalk that loops along the creek through low thickets of pickleweed and saltgrass. The creek is a very shallow, slow running salinated creek. Looking at it you would wonder how anything could survive in it, but the Pup Fish are so very tiny and there are thousands of them and boy are they tough little fish who seem to survive in some pretty harsh conditions.

The Pup Fish cannot escape from this creek that fluctuations in temperature year-round. The Pup Fish are among the most heat-tolerant of all fishes. They have been known to survive water temperatures at 112 degrees. The Pup Fish is so adapted to the warm water that they must burrow into the mud and become dormant when the shallow stream becomes cold in the winter. They also survive the high levels of salt in the creek. Pup Fish can survive in water 2-3 times saltier than seawater. Salt Creek evaporates in the summer and the dissolved salts become even more concentrated. Fish living in freshwater can absorb water through their body by osmosis, but the Pup Fish must drink to get their necessary water. Excess salts are then excreted through their kidneys and gills.

 

Las Vegas-March 19-26, 2016

Viva Las Vegas!……..Wow! what a great week and a half I had here. So much fun!

I arrived in Las Vegas and hooked up for a late afternoon lunch with a childhood friend from my hometown of Truckee CA….I had not seen Vickie since she moved away during our Freshman year of high school. It was so great to see her and get caught up on each other’s lives and our families.20160318_184317-1

I then went to Sam’s Town KOA where I had reservations for my RV. This place was the best camping rate I have had on my whole trip so far. I basically ended up storing my RV here for a week since I was meeting up with my friend Becky from back home in Washington who has a timeshare at the Polo Towers just one block off the strip. It made more sense to stay there for the week where we had two bedrooms, my own bathroom, and a small kitchenette, a living room, kitchen and dining room, a swimming pool and a hot tub.

I arrived in Las Vegas first, Becky was flying in later that night. I found my way to the Las Vegas strip via a shuttle bus from Sam’s Town to Harrahs. I only had a few hours before it was going to get dark so I did not wander too far and I just wanted to get on the strip and just take it all in. It was just amazing with all the people, the grandiose size of the casinos and all the different shapes, sizes, colors, and sounds. I loved it! I made my way down to Treasure Island and tried my luck at gambling………No luck……. lost $40.00!

My friend Becky arrived later that evening, she picked me up in her rental car from Sam’s Town KOA and made our way to Polo Towers. We had so much catching up to do plus make our plans for the week that we were up till 4 A.M.

Here are random pictures of the Las Vegas strip during the week:

Here are other weeks activities:

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Red Rock Canyon is located about 17 miles west of Las Vegas. A very easy, nice drive to get to. We took the 13-mile one-way scenic drive loop which was just beautiful. The best time to get there is in the morning before it gets too crowded. The area has miles of hiking trails, rock climbing, horseback riding, bike riding, and picnic areas.

Spring Mountain Ranch State Park

Spring Mountain Ranch is a small preserve within the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. I did not know anything about this place, but my friend, Becky wanted to check it out and I am glad we did. It has a really interesting history. The many springs in the mountains provided water for the Paiute Indians and later brought mountain men and early settlers to the area. In the mid-1830s, a campsite was established along the wash that runs through the ranch. The spring-fed creek and grassy meadows formed an oasis for travelers using the alternate route of the Spanish Trail through Cottonwood Valley. The use of the site by pack and wagon trains continued until their replacement by the railroad in 1905. This remote trail was also used extensively by outlaws involved in Indian slave trading, horse stealing and raids upon passing caravans. In 1840, a group of American mountain men and Ute Indians conducted a famous raid on the Mexican Ranchos in California. Mountain Man Bill Williams, a member of the raiding party, brought his band of horses through Red Rock Canyon where he rested the horses from the hard trip across the desert. Apparently, he revisited the area several times and for many years the site of Spring Mountain Ranch was known as the “Old Bill Williams Ranch”. In 1876, Spring Mountain Ranch was homesteaded as the “Sand Stone Ranch” by Jim Wilson, a former Army sergeant from Fort Mohave. In 1929, Willard George, a friend of the Wilson family, acquired the ranch by paying off the outstanding debt incurred by Jim Jr. and Tweed. George was largely an absentee owner, leaving the ranch operation to the Wilson’s. During 1941-43, the George family lived on the ranch. George was a prominent furrier in Hollywood, and during this time, he raised chinchillas in addition to the cattle operation.

In 1944, George leased (with the option to buy) to Chet Lauck, (Lum of the “Lum and Abner” radio show). Lauck exercised his option to buy the 520-acre oasis in 1948 and renamed the property the “Bar Nothing Ranch”. He kept the cattle operation going but built part of the ranch into a family vacation retreat with an expanded ranch house, a boy’s camp and a large reservoir that he named “Lake Harriet,” after his wife. He sold the property in 1955 to Vera Krupp, a famous German movie actress. She renamed the property the “Spring Mountain Ranch”. Krupp was the longest residing owner. She expanded the business of ranching by raising a large herd of a hybrid strain of white-faced Hereford and Brahma. She added a swimming pool and expanded the west wing of the main house. It was her principal residence until 1967. Sometime after that, Howard Hughes owned the place for a while. Three generations of Wilson men are buried in a small family plot on the ranch.

Springs Preserve

Springs Preserve is the birthplace of Las Vegas and is located about 3 miles west of downtown Las Vegas. Springs Preserve is 180 acres of culture and history that sits on the site of the former springs. There are exhibits, galleries, walking trails and botanical gardens that teach visitors about the city’s rich heritage.

The Origen Experience teaches visitors about the spring’s early inhabitants. The Natural Mojave Gallery has interactive exhibits that explore the geological history of the Mojave Desert and the formation of the valley and springs. Visitors can play with fossils, see how desert animals adapted and learn about erosion. There is also a flash flood re-creation to show the danger of flooding in the area. Visitors are also able to see a variety of live wildlife that live in the desert…..the Gila Monster, Lizards, Bats, Snakes, Desert Cottontail Rabbits, Tortoises, and a Gray Fox.

The People Gallery focuses on the city’s cultural history and development. Visitors can see reconstructions of Native American dwellings, walk through a 1905 Las Vegas land auction and view actual footage from the construction of the Hoover Dam, and the arrival of the railroad which put Las Vegas on the map.

The Nevada State Museum is a 70,000 square foot state of the art building that is within the Springs Preserve. The permanent exhibition takes you through Nevada’s geology, fossil, and desert wildlife. Visitors learn about mining to early settlers—minerals that were mined, tools and technology of the mining profession. The railroad boom, the formation of Nevada’s government and construction of the Hoover Dam. The museum takes you through the Native American inhabitants of Nevada, the Nevada nuclear test-site, WWII history, Bugsy Siegel and the Flamingo Hotel. Displays of old slot machines, neon signs and a $25,000 poker chip from the Old Dunes Hotel. A 1911 Desert Love Bug that is considered one of the most popular cars to cruise Fremont Street….used mainly for promotional purposes made its first appearance in a parade in 1939 and its last in 1994. The museum has an amazing collection of vintage showgirl costumes…..lining a large pink sequined wall, the costumes and headpieces are encased behind glass windows. The Museum also has revolving temporary exhibits that change every few months.

Hoover Dam

The last time I made the trip to Hoover Dam I was 14 years old. My uncle and cousins at the time lived in Boulder City and we had made a trip to see them. At that time we were able to drive across the dam, we took the tour and also spent time on Lake Mead. I wanted to return and see Hoover Dam again but due to the changes in the new freeway, security and congestion I chose not to drive on the dam or take the dam tour. Becky and I found in our research a museum in Boulder City that was only $2.00. This museum is small but so worth the $2.00. It was full of great information….. a movie about the building of the dam that was great, the displays and exhibits were well laid out to describe the social and economic struggles from the 1929 stock mark crash and depression that drove thousands of unemployed citizens from their homes into the Nevada desert where the Hoover Dam project was one of the few places where men could get work. Photographs, artifacts, and oral histories tell the story and give you a sense of the complexity, and danger of the construction of the dam. The museum also had displays and exhibits that showed how they lived ordinary lives in an extraordinary time and place, how the women set up their households in the sandy Nevada desert along the Colorado River and the dangers that the men faced in building the dam….an engineering project unlike any attempted before.

The museum is located in the Boulder Dam Hotel……The hotel was built to accommodate official visitors and tourists during the building of the Hoover Dam. It was designed in the Colonial Revival style. The hotel was restored and still operates with 22 rooms.

Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge

A new freeway opened across the Colorado River above Hoover Dam in October 2010 which rerouted US 93 from its previous route along the top of the Hoover Dam. The previous narrow, two-lane road could no longer handle the 14,000 cars that passed over the dam every day causing congestion. The road was dangerous with two hairpin turns, blind curves, and pedestrian traffic. There were also vehicle restrictions on the Hoover Dam, loaded trucks and buses could not pass over it. Since 9/11 trucks and other unauthorized vehicles have had to go through Laughlin, NV to cross over the Colorado River and other vehicles were subject to inspection due to increased security.

Since the building of the Hoover Dam was an engineering feat that had never been done before it seems fitting that the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge was also a new engineering feat. Construction of the bridge approaches began in 2003, construction of the bridge began February 2005. The bridge was the first concrete-steel composite arch bridge built in the United States and it incorporates the widest concrete arch in the Western Hemisphere. It sits 840 feet above the Colorado River and is the second-highest bridge in the United States. The new bridge is 4 lanes wide and has a pedestrian sidewalk which provides spectacular views of the Hoover Dam. To reach the pedestrian sidewalk there is a parking lot and interpretive plaza on the old road to Hoover Dam. The bridge was named for Mike O’Callaghan a decorated Korean War Vet and Governor of Nevada from 1971-1979, and Pat Tillman, an American football player who left his career with the Arizona Cardinals to enlist in the US Army and was later killed in Afghanistan by friendly fire.

Fremont Experience-Old Downtown Las Vegas

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You can’t leave Las Vegas without visiting Fremont Street! What a fun place this was from people watching, free entertainment and street acts! A fun atmosphere!

Here are a few highlights from Fremont Street:

Light Show – The Viva Vision canopy is the world’s largest video screen, an awesome musical, light entertainment experience with a 550-watt speaker system!

Zipline-We did not go on the zip line but it sure looked like everyone who was doing it was having a lot of fun. The zip line runs the whole length of the canopy above everyone’s head. There is the lower “Zipline” which is 77 feet and the upper” Zoom line” which is 114 feet.

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Vegas Vic stands to watch over the Pioneer Gift Shop

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“Glitter Gulch” – A nickname given to downtown Las Vegas because of all its dazzling lights.

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Golden Nugget Casino – is the home to the world’s largest nugget and the “Tank” which is home to sharks and other fish with a water slide running through it.

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Heart Attack Grill – We saw this place but did not go in. It apparently is a one of a kind restaurant, there is a scale outside and anyone who weighs over 300 pounds eats free.

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Binions  Casino opened in 1951 and was the first casino in Las Vegas to have carpeting.

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4 Queens Casino has been around since 1966

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Fremont Hotel and Casino opened in 1956 and was the tallest building in Nevada when it opened.

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Free entertainment and Street Acts

Before leaving Las Vegas I got to see another old friend from high school and my hometown of Truckee, CA. It happened that Joann and her husband, Scott were having a small family reunion with Scott’s family in Las Vegas and were in town the same time I was. We were able to hook up on a Friday night at the place they were staying at to catch up and had awesome BBQ elk. It was another great time seeing an old friend I had not seen since high school…. 42 years!DSC00065

 

 


   

Dolly Steamboat Tour-Canyon Lake Superstitious Mountains

On Sunday, March 6, 2016, Colleen and I booked a tour of Canyon Lake. We made quite the entrance when we got ourselves delayed from other sightseeing and lunch earlier in the day and then got behind sloooooooooooow traffic from Apache Junction to Canyon Lake. When we purchased the online tickets for a 4:00 boat tour, it said to be there 30 minutes early. Well, we were in Apache Junction at 3:30 PM and it’s a 15 mile, curvy drive. I said to Colleen if we make it, it’s going to be by the skin of our teeth. Well, sure enough, we pull into the parking lot, I am dropped off right at the boat loading dock while Colleen goes to park the car. The assistant captain is just starting to walk down the ramp to the boat when he sees me and says “Are you trying to catch this boat?” I said, “I am so sorry we are late, but yes we are.” I was feeling so bad and guilty that everyone else was already on the boat ready to go and here they are waiting for us. The assistant captain was so nice and kept reassuring me that it was fine. Colleen came half running from parking the car and the assistant captain says “slow down you have time we don’t need to have you falling.” LOL.  So we made the boat tour by the SKIN OF OUR TEETH! But boy was it worth it, it was just the right temperature, just the right time of day so we were getting different lighting and shades on the lake and the canyon. It was just breathtaking. One would never know from just driving on the road down to the lake that it actually went back so far into the canyon. Our tour was 90 minutes and they also had a dinner tour for later and it was for an additional 4 miles up the canyon. We saw bighorn sheep twice up on the cliffs and two different places high on top of the canyon where bald eagles nests and we could see the white heads of the eagles up there.

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https://dollysteamboat.com

Big Horn Sheep

 

 

Governor Hunt’s Pyramid Tomb- Papago Park Phoenix AZ

Governor Hunt’s Pyramid Tomb was another one of the things we found on America’s roadside attractions website.

George Hunt was Arizona’s first governor and served 7 terms between 1912-1933. He is buried in a pyramid made with a white bathroom tile in Papago Park that overlooks the Phoenix Zoo. The pyramid stands 15 feet tall and sits on a hill overlooking downtown Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa and Scottsdale. You can also see Camelback and South Park Mountain.

Hunt got the idea to be buried in a pyramid mausoleum from when he traveled and visited Egypt. When his wife died in 1931 he had the mausoleum erected at the top of the hill to bury her, himself and family members. Hunt died 3 years later and was later joined by his in-laws, his wife’s sister, and his daughter.

Hunt was an influential man who loved Arizona. He was directly involved in creating the Arizona constitutions, supported organized labor, women’s suffrage, income tax, prison, and labor reform, opposed capital punishment and advocated for Arizona rights to the Colorado River water. He was a descendant of an unnamed “Revolutionary War patriot,” and he allowed women to vote in his state eight years before the rest of the country.

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 http://arizonaoddities.com/2012/10/the-story-of-george-wiley-p-hunt-arizonas-first-governor/

 

 

 

Roadside Attractions-Phoenix, AZ

My friend Colleen loves to take pictures, find whacky stuff and just go, go, go! She told me about this internet site called “America’s Roadside Attractions.” You go to the website, enter the state and city and you will be directed to some interesting places. So on Saturday, March 4, 2016, we headed out to find these attractions in Phoenix. Hope you enjoy the ride:

1). Guitar Tree

Just a local family-owned business that finds, repairs and restores used and vintage instruments.

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2). “Release the Fear” Sculpture

Pistols, knives, rifles and other deadly weapons are fused to the base of the sculpture. The sculpture was erected in 2005 in a tiny park at the corner of Central Ave and East Roosevelt St. It is composed of 8 1/2 tons of metal of which 8,000 pounds is from weapons used in violent acts collected throughout AZ. Artist Miley spent 10 years finding sponsors and sources for the building materials. The funder’s names are inscribed on irregular stone slabs on each side. Miley continues to promote the power of education and art to combat violence, running a community awareness program since 1996.

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3). Art made of metal

This was not on the list of Roadside Attractions, but we ran across it as we were driving around and thought it had some interesting characters. As we were looking around, the guy running the store came out and asked if he could help us. We said no, that we were just looking. We asked if these were made here…….No they are imported!

4). Arizona Falls

Arizona Falls is formed by a 20 ft drop along the AZ canal. The canals are a public utility providing a water supply & irrigation to the desert climate. Beginning in 1902 the falls have been used to generate hydroelectric power.

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Water is diverted from the canal into new aqueducts framing each side of the water room. The aqueducts release the water back into the canal creating the waterfalls.

During the excavation of the site, artifacts from the old power plant were discovered. At the rear of the water room, you can see the gears and pipes through the falling water.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.