Thursday, April 16, 2009

One Last Post on Arizona

The first thing we saw at the Sonora Desert Museum
outside Tucson on Tuesday, April 7 was this docent
with this barn owl.

She explained that this owl had been found and delivered
to the museum as a very tiny baby. Instead of
leaving it where it was, someone had moved it.
Thus, it's been a part of the "museum staff"
for a number of years.

Almost one of the first things we were able to watch was a rapter display. They have rapters "trained" to stay within the immediate area while they discuss each bird's characteristics.

I have no idea what this plant is, but it was spectacular.

Isn't this a great view?
There was a pane of glass between us,
thank heavens. :-)

In the hummingbird aviary, we spotted a hummer
on her nest.
This little hummingbird has a bright purple
"front," but it preferred to sit in the bright sunlight.
Consequently, this silhouette is the best I could do.

Again, I know not what this is...
but here's another variation of this blossom!
This is a photo of me with my Aunt.
She's such a fabulous person!
And, yes. I'm wearing braces.
At least for the next few months.

We left Tucson Tuesday afternoon and headed
north to Phoenix/Mesa.

On Wednesday morning, we headed for South Mountain Park and Preserve. We had packed our lunch ahead of time, so we first stopped at Dobbins Lookout and enjoyed the view! Here we are, overlooking Mesa and Phoenix!

After lunch, we drove to a trail head and began hiking again!
Of course, can you tell who's at the end of the pack?
Yes, it's Miss Camera Lady! ;-)
An interesting shot of a group of saguaro cacti!
We found an obliging bicycle rider to take our photo.
I just couldn't get the hang of the self-timer!
Good friends!

After returning home, we rested a bit, changed clothes
and headed out for dinner.
Have you ever heard of the Organ stop Pizza restaurant?

The pizza may or may not have been good. I can't say as I remember tasting it! ha. It was the entertainment that draws the crowd every night! The place is huge and can hold around 700 people! There's a huge main floor as well as a balcony for dining.

Center stage sits a huge Wurlitzer Organ. There are photos and information about four accomplished musicians who take turns playing this organ. While we were there, Lew Williams played.

Quoting from the menu/brochure, "the unit orchestra, later known as the theatre pipe organ, was designed with imitative orchestral tones in mind, rather than the customary liturgical sounds found in church instruments. The theatre organ has been described as part military band, part symphony orchestra, and part theatrical sound effects. The Wurlitzer product was considered by far the best organ.

This particular Wurlitzer theatre organ was built for the Denver Theatre and was installed in 1927. The organ was used regularly until the 1930's. This original organ was a "style 260," having three manual console and 15 ranks/sets of pipes. Organ Stop purchased the instrument in the early 1970's and undertook the mammoth task of rebuilding the instrument. After several additions from other ill-fated Wurlitzers, the 23 rank organ was installed in our original facility in 1975. In 1997, a larger four manual console was added. Through the years, several rare sets of pipes have been added, including a massive set of 32' wood diaphones. As of 2006, the organ has nearly 6000 pipes. The massive quantities of wind required for operation are provided by four huge turbine blowers. The resulting instrument boasts 78 ranks, 17 tuned percussions and innumerable traps and effects and is the largest Wurlitzer in the world!

The building's design is expressly for the enjoyment of patrons, with the organ installed in four chambers at one end of the restaurant. 43 food ceilings provide unparalleled acoustics. The console is "presented" on an 80000 lb. rotating hydraulic elevator."

Needless to say, this was also a highlight!
We had a wonderful vacation.

I hope you've enjoyed the sample of our trip. :-)


bobbie said...

You must really have had a grand trip! I'm sure, although your photos are wonderful!, that they can't compare to actually being there. Such fascinating country, plants, birds! I do read Kathie's Birds, also from Arizona. I've never been in this kind of country. Both of you make me wish I could see it.

And that Wurlitzer!! Wow! A grand ending to a great vacation. thanks for taking me along with you.

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Bobbie, You have been an encouragement to continue with this posting! We were given a wonderful tour of Arizona, and we are indebted. Yes, that Wurlitzer is wonderful - and it's quite the attraction. :-)

troutbirder said...

What a great post. You single handily improved my impression of Arizona. We visited my sister in law in Phoenix several times and I didn't care for all the traffic and malls.

Shady Gardener said...

Hey, troutbirder! Have you heard about the light rail? We didn't use it, but the traffic wasn't too bad during the week. However, our friends have used it and they tell us it makes traveling downtown to Phoenix Ever so much more pleasant! :-) Otherwise, now you know about some other great things to do!

Rose said...

I'm so enjoying looking through all your vacation photos, Shady Gardener! I visited many of the same places and even have a few similar photos:) We missed the raptor display at the Sonoran Museum, which I really wanted to see, but we were running short of time. I'll have to remember the Organ Stop Pizza restaurant the next time I visit; it reminds me of a place in Indianapolis years ago.

On my trip last December my daughter and I went to the Superstition Mountains and also ate lunch at Tortilla Flats. Such beautiful scenery! Of course, I was clutching the door handle the whole time she navigated the curves with the sheer drop-offs:) This Illinois girl isn't used to mountains:)

Looks like you packed a lot into your time in Arizona! Glad you had such a good time.

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Rose, You're fortunate to have a daughter in the area! That means you'll make the trip more often than we will. :-) We did a lot of the same things, didn't we? Did we SEE each other???

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Arizona looks just wonderful, I so want to visit. Love owls and all the other photos, especially the one with the talllll cactus, blooming halfway up. I wouldn't have even noticed the braces as they were in the Shday! :)

Shady Gardener said...

Monica, Only a few more months. I'm very glad to have had the opportunity to wear the braces. It's hard to be inconspicuous. This month my bands are powder blue!! Why not? ;-)

Anonymous said...

Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
I've been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

Thumbs up, and keep it going!


About Me

My photo
I enjoy being outdoors! I also love that I've two children (now grown up with families of their own)and six young grandchildren! :-) Sure would like to see them more often!!