Friday, March 16, 2012

Day 27 - 1360!

Started our day in Topeka, Kansas.  Surely you know, as I now do, that this is the capital of Kansas. 

Soon, we’re not in Kansas anymore.  We’ve crossed into Kansas City, Kansas.  It’s amazing how many twists and turns I-70 takes through this city!

It’s soon quite apparent we’re back in Missouri.  We have never encountered another state that has as many adult book stores and “cheapest-ever” fireworks stores.    We’re not complaining, but it’s just the facts, Mamm!

 Missouri is beautiful today;  Lots of blooming trees and fields of purple. We try to get a good picture, but not doing too well today.

As we near St. Louis we start to see a strange phenomenon….drops of water striking our car and the surrounding area.  We haven’t seen this for a month!

We’re so tempted to stop in STL, but plan to visit next weekend so onward we drive.  We cross the Mississippi and continue our eastward journey.

At last, we see the exit we’re looking for!  Lyrics to a song come to mind, “It’s been a long time, been a long time….”

Finally, we’re home.  We’ve traveled 5941 miles in 27 days.  We’ve been through ten states and seen wonder after wonder.  It’s been a great trip, but we’re glad to be home!  (But, we’ve also got our next trips planned!)

We often get asked….”What was your favorite thing?” or “What was your favorite meal?” or…  So, this time we thought we’d try to anticipate some of those questions with the answers below.

Q: How did The License Plate Game turn out?

A: We’re still missing three states; Rhode Island, West Virginia and New Hampshire.  Where are those people!?!?!?  Marvin gets the award for the plate from the farthest distance…a plate from Santos, Sao Paulo, Brazil.  (Oh, yeah, Mona got the most plates in total!)

 Q: Most exciting drive?  
             A: Durango to Ouray – OMG!!!!!  Next time we’ll listen to Paul! Runner up - drive to Taos

Q: Most notable meals?
            A: So many great meals…can’t pick a #1.
Steaks on the grill in Palm Desert at our villa
Mona's meal at Lake View at the Marriott in Palm Desert
The Buckhorn Exchange in Denver
The diner in Santa Rosa, New Mexico

Q: Most snow?
            A: Denver rest area – about 8 feet of snow.

Q: Best bathrooms?
            A:New Mexico (this one is from Mona)

            Q: Best event?
            A: Polo!!!  All four of us want to go back for this!

            Q: Biggest surprise?
            A: Mona didn't shop.  Runner up – Marvin finished only one book during this trip (about   
            Roswell).  Normally, he’d read twenty or thirty books on a trip this long.

            Q:Biggest RS? (retirement stupidity)
A: Marvin repeatedly saying Denver instead of Colorado

Q: Best wrong turn?
A: Taos

Q: Biggest disappointment?
A: No dancing, but there’s always next week!

Q: Most convincing?
A: Roswell.  The answer is there.  

Q:Most fun?
A: Being vagabonds for four weeks

Q: Favorite one night stand (hotel)?
A: Santa Fe, The Inn and Spa at Lorretto…this is a must-do hotel! 

Q: Mona's best kick ass experience?
A: Shooting a Colt 45 in Tombstone.

Q: Favorite breakfast?
A: Without a doubt, the restaurant at the Inn and Spa at Lorretto…need we repeat? corn pancakes, pinon syrup….Y.U.M! 

Q: Most beautiful sight?
A: Impossible to answer!  Sedona.  Grand Canyon.  Mesa Verde.  Monuments. ..the list goes on and on. 

           Q: Regrets?
           A: None…ready to go again!

Well, this is the last post on this blog.  We won't be posting any more on Facebook until the next vacation.  If you want to follow us, subscribe on the link below.  Not sure how much we'll be posting, but we'll see.

This was a great vacation.  Hope you enjoyed traveling a little with us.  Happy trails to you!

(What time is it?  What day is it?!?)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Day 26 - Mountains in my rear view mirror!

Sounds like a country song, doesn't it? Maybe it could start like this:

     Mountains in my rear view mirror.
     Each mile bringing me nearer,
     Back to the center of lands I roam.
     Yes, back to my home sweet home!

Okay, I won't quit my day job. Come to think of it, I don't have a day job. Need a new phrase!

Denver is certainly a city of transition. You come down about 6000 feet from the high Rockies and you're immediately on the high plains. Traveling eastward, the only mountains you now see are in the rearview mirror. Red can almost drive himself now as the roads are straight and the traffic is light.

Kansas Highways
In about 90 minutes we are in Kansas. The highest point in Kansas is 3300 feet. Twenty four hours ago we were in deep snow and at 11,000 feet. Now, it's 74 degrees and we are surrounded by fields of brown and green. We wonder if the inspiration for the Emerald City of Oz came from these emerald fields of green winter wheat?

This has been a great trip so far; we've seen so much and have more than our retired brains can handle. It's also been interesting from the perspective of what we didn't do this trip. One thing we didn't do is go out to listen to music and dance. That's a first for a Palm Desert trip for us, but we just weren't up for it. We blame the "itises" that we came down with when we started our trip. Yeh, that's the ticket, "itises"!

But the biggest "didn't" is even more amazing. We did not shop. I'm serious, we (meaning Mona, of course) did NOT shop! We always spend three days shopping in the Valley: 1: El Paseo to get pampered and to shop the Coldwater Creek Mother Ship. 2: The strip in Palm Springs which is full of fun trendy shops. And 3: The Cabazon Premium Outlet Mall. Over the the years, these three places have cost us more than most of the cars I've owned. And I'm only talking about the shipping costs!

She did have to pick up a new sweatshirt at Crazy Shirts, but hey, she simply bought it without shopping for it. Big difference! Just to illustrate how big this "didn't" is: Mona is bringing home EXACTLY the same number of shoes as she left with. Unbelievable!

Back to the "dids"!

Loving the Heartland!
We are really enjoying the trip through the heartland. We've got the iPod hooked up and we sing our favorites as we roll through mile after mile of green and brown fields. Apparently, the locals feel we need more entertainment so there are signs along the road advertising neat things to do like: visiting an adult superstore, looking at a museum on Oil Patches or seeing the world's largest prairie dog. Tempting they are indeed, but we roll on.

Throughout this trip we've been seeing lots of new wind farms; and of course the original wind farm in the Gorgonio Pass.  Near Salina, Kansas, we see another new farm being built.  There's no transmission line to it and they are still hauling in parts.  In fact, we see a few trucks with wind turbine parts rolling past us.  The view out the back window gives you an idea of just how large each blade is.

We stop for lunch and gas at the exit for the World's Largest Ball of Twine. We long to see it, but we've just made reservations for a hotel in Topeka and we don't want to drive an extra two hours. Sigh.

Imagine the stories of what happened on this trail!
Got to Topeka and wanted to stretch our legs and enjoy the beautiful weather so we went geocaching.  The most interesting cache we found was on the Oregon Trail, where wagon trains headed west.  Look at the pic and you can see the ruts still there from the 1800s.  Too cool!  Would have never know this was there without geocaching!

Headed into the backstretch of our trip tomorrow.  But for now, time to rest and relax.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Day 25 – Head East!

Sunrise Over Grand Junction
The time has come to head east…back to the Lou and to Decatur.  But first, a short trip to Utah.  Geocaching is our hobby and we’re trying to find caches in all the 48 contiguous states this year.  Grand Junction is only 30 miles away from the Utah line.  So, I (Marvin) head west before sunrise, trying to time my arrival in Utah at first light.  Got there just in time to find the cache before sunrise.  Another state done!  I get back to the hotel just in time to have breakfast with Mona and we begin our journey east on I-70.

The scenery along the interstate is incredible!  Beautiful mesas, the Colorado River winding back and forth along the highway.  We snap picture after picture.  Is the entire state of Denver postcard perfect??

The engineering on this highway is incredible as well!  They put this highway in places you couldn’t imagine unless you’ve seen it.  And the highway doesn’t disturb the beautiful nature…instead it seems to fit right in!

We stop at a rest area for a break.  The snow here is over our heads!  They are still bulldozing snow away.  As we come down the off ramp there is a line of snowmobiles parked to our right.  We visit the facilities….go to wash our hands, and there are no sinks!  Just hand sanitizer and blow dryers.  There is an interesting sign over the toilets…check it out and think about it.

Driving through the mountains on the interstate is stressful, but nothing like yesterday’s trip north from Durango.  Compared to that, this is a breeze!

In the tunnel
Frozen Waterfall
We come to the summit and cross the Continental Divide inside the Eisenhower Tunnel.  This huge tunnel is the largest in the U.S. interstate system and the longest.  We were over 10,500 feet in elevation when we peaked.

We exit the tunnel and start our descent.  There are lots of highway signs, mostly cautioning semi-drivers about the steep decline and to check their brakes.  It’s really steep!

Soon after the tunnel we exited to try to see some Bighorn Sheep.  Didn’t see any, but did find a cache.  A few more miles and Marvin spots a herd of buffalo.  This will return $25 of the $50 paid to Mona for winning the wild horse bet!  Couldn’t get a good pic of the buffalo, but did get this sign:

Pulled into Denver fairly early.  Time for lunch and a little relaxation.

Isn’t it interesting how smartphones have changed travel?  We have used ours extensively throughout the trip.  We have used our iPhones to:  plan our routes; Google for information on sights, birds, geology, etc; book our hotels while driving; read books; check our elevation - love the altimeter; message our friends; find reviews on restaurants and hotels;  blog; update and read Facebook; keep up with our emails; pay our bills; geocache - of course; take thousands of pictures - best camera we own; jot down notes, to-dos, bets and license plates; check on the weather for our travels; light our way with the Flashlight app; check our calendars; route away from traffic problems; listen to music when there are no stations availabl;, and oh..yeh, call our friends, families and others.  Not bad for a device that fits in a shirt pocket.  Oops, thought of another use…finding night stars and planets.  And…kept up with the Post Dispatch….and shopped for Austin’s birthday present on Amazaon.,,,and…and…

Buckhorn Ambience
We met our good friend Paul and his friend Anne B. for dinner at The Buckhorn Exchange in Denver.  Paul has been trying to get us to visit Denver for almost twenty years and we finally made it...about time!  The Buckhorn was the first restaurant in Denver and the first place in Colorado to recieve a liquor license.  The license is still posted on the wall.  This place feels like it's from the Old West, which it is.  Hardwood floors, swinging doors and stuffed animals from all over the West adorning the walls.  (And maybe a few animals from a bit further afield.)  It's a very relaxed and casual atmosphere; and while you're waiting you can look at autographed pictures from most of the celebrities and Presidents that you've heard of.

Rocky Mountain Oysters

The food, well it's western.  We end up sharing Rocky Moutain Oysters for appetizers.  Good stuff!  Then our entrees came out....Mona had salmon and ostrich, Marvin had elk and buffalo.  All were prepared to perfection, perfectly sized and served with style.  This is a do-over place!  Thanks again, Paul!

All in all, it was a wonderful evening...a great dinner with an old friend and a new friend.  Hard to beat that!

Day 24 – Snow

Snow capped beauty in the distance.
Didn't know we'd drive over them!
We started the day with beautiful views of mountain to the north, covered in snow.  They were in stark contrast to the desert monuments we’ve been seeing the past few days. 

Peek a boo!
Our primary goal today was to visit Mesa Verde National Park and to see the cliff dwellings there.  The park was only 9 miles from our hotel so we were quickly there.  No sooner than we turned into the park we saw a deer in the road.  She quickly got off the road and “hid” beside a tree about 20 feet from our car.

After our visit with Bambi we stop at the entrance and learn that it’s a twenty mile drive through the park to the museum and to get information on the places we can visit today.  On we go…but the thing is, they didn’t tell us that much of that twenty miles is up…and for 11 of the miles there are avalanche warnings and you’re not allowed to stop anywhere on the road.  The roads are twisty turny with few guardrails, but Mona takes it like a trooper…she and Red were like one and skillfully got us through the danger areas and we soon found ourselves on the downslope of the mesa, heading for the museum.

All of a sudden, Mona stops the car and points to the left.  It’s horses…wild horses!  We’re both thrilled!  (I might have been a tad less thrilled because I lost the $50 bet, but I was thrilled…some.)  We drove down a ways and turned around so we could stop and get better pictures…they were still there and let me approach and take a few shots.  So cool!

We land at the museum just in time to watch a movie about the history of the mesas and their inhabitants.  Interesting stuff, but we’re chomping at the bit to actually visit a cliff dwelling.  Unfortunately, most of the dwellings are inaccessible due to snow and melting snow mess.  Luckily, the Spruce Tree House can be visited and it’s just a short hike away. 

Early into the hike, we get a glimpse of Spruce Tree House…it’s on the mesa next to the one we’re on and we can see it across the canyon.  It simply doesn’t look real….massive cliffs with a huge overhang…and under this overhang are these pueblo buildings, tucked neatly into every available space.  We can’t wait to get there and see these up close!

We go down the side of our mesa and up the side of the other mesa and suddenly we’re there!  The Anasazi had cleverly built this little community into the side of the cliff.  There were bedrooms, balconies, kivas (for religious ceremonies), and everything one would need to live comfortably.  Their engineering was remarkable as they tailored everything to fit with the existing structure of the overhang.  It was multi-story and we even got to use a wooden ladder to go down into a kiva.  Absolutely fascinating and amazing!

After “oohing” and “ahhing” at Spruce Tree we climbed back to our Mesa and took a drive through the park.  There were numerous overlooks where we could get a look at more cliff dwellings.  We lost count of how many we saw, The Cliff Palace, The Fire House, the new Fire House and on and on.  This fascinating place is definitely a do-over!

Have we mentioned how retirement seems to be making us dumb and dumber? Case in point, we're at 9000 feet in the Mesa Verde wilderness and we suddenly remember we haven't checkout out of our hotel!  DUH!  As we are driving out of the park we finally get a connection and call to check out.  Geeze!

Time now to head north.  We decided to go to Durango and then head north on 550 to Grand Junction, Colorado.  Looks pretty easy on the map.  NOT!  Remember those snow-capped mountains mentioned in the first paragraph?  Turns out our route took us over the top of those mountains.  Literally.  First driver was Mona.  She drove over 80 miles up, up and up to over 10,500 feet, through hairpin turns and twisty turny roads with avalanche warnings virtually every mile.  Now is a little too late to remember that friend Paul warned us that this is the most dangerous road in Colorado.  But, in spite of the gut wrenching turns and twists, it’s beautiful!  Snow-capped mountains with pine trees and birches providing beautiful accents at every view.

Mona gets up to Silverton where we relax over lunch.  Tried to grab a quick geocache, but too much snow.  They were hauling it away in dump trucks while we were there.

Now, it’s Marvin’s turn to drive.  Up we climb from Silverton’s 9200 feet elevation.  Up and up to over 11,000 feet.  We’re not believing our altimeter, but it keeps going up!  The roads are twisting and turning and there are no guardrails….who forgot the flipping guardrails!?!?  This turn is 20 mph, the next is 15 with a double-back loop…finally we see a sign that says “Road Narrows”.  Road narrows?!?!?!  We’re over 11,000 feet up, slippery wet roads from the snow slides and the road narrows????  No matter, on we must go.  We’re down to 10 mph…then 5 mph….it’s too fast!!!!
Road crew
finishing up

We make it through the narrow road and breathe a sigh of relief.  Up ahead we see a flagman…all traffic (all four cars) are stopped.  Apparently, there has been an avalanche ahead and the road crews are clearing it.  Thankfully, we stopped for lunch otherwise the timing would not have worked out so well.  We wait patiently and finally they get one lane cleared…we’re moving.  Well at least three of us.  Apparently more problems happened as we never saw the fourth car come down.

25 miles of hairpin turns, small rocks falling around us…and white knuckled driving.  Finally down to 6000 feet!  Whew!!!!  Hit the gas and head for Grand Junction.  Loving the flats!  We drive around a huge mountain, instead of over it, and land at our lodging for the night.  It’s good to see no snow again!

Notice no pics?  This hotel's WiFi is fact, we've stayed at two Best Westerns this trip and both have had horrible connections.  This one is the worst.  Each device has to have a separate logon and password.  Duh!  Will repost someday when we get a decent connection.  In the meantime, we advise against Best Western.

We've decided we can't live anywhere without 3G.  Techno-snobs we might be, but so be it!  We are indeed addicted to iDevices and high speed connections and we do realize you have to have real hard-copy maps to travel.  All that said....,3G...or better.

Update: Obviously posted with pics.  Visited the motel lounge early in the morning and managed to hook up to the visitor PC in the lobby...against the rules, but whatever!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Day 23 – Such a fine sight to see!

See the girl and flat-bed Ford?
Started our day in Winslow, Arizona.  First went to McDonalds for a quick breakfast, but more importantly for a good WiFi connection.  The connection at the Motel 6 was poor and definitely not good enough to restore my iPad. (Oops, I had wiped it Sunday evening!)  We have decided that we are definitely 3G at a minimum people.  Gotta have it! 

Got everything fixed and headed for a corner and a flat-bed Ford.  (It’s a must-do for Eagles fans!)  Then a short drive to Meteor Crater.  This crater is about 600 feet deep and about a mile in diameter.  A meteor crashed here about 50,000 years ago, crashing at an estimated 26,000 miles an hour.  Mona had visited here about 50 years ago and she’s been telling me about it ever since I met her because she thought I’d love it.  She was right!  This is like standing on a crater on the moon.  In fact, astronauts trained here before landing on the moon.  This is a very cool place to learn about meteors and see a crater first hand!

Next up is The Petrified Forest and The Painted Desert….two sites adjacent to each other.  We started at the north end of the park which begins with view after breathtaking view of The Painted Desert.  We must have taken 50 snaps in less than a mile.  Virtually every color is represented in the sand and rocks…and maybe a few colors that even Crayola hasn’t heard of!
Quoth the Raven!

Newspaper Rock
We stop at Newspaper Rock, where ancient Indians drew their stories by chipping off the patina of fallen rocks.  None of our pictures captured this amazing wealth of drawings of animals, people and strange creatures.  This is very reminiscent of the petroglyphs we saw on the Big Island of Hawaii, but these are thought to be much older.

Now on to the Crystal Forest.  Logs are strewn everywhere….looks like someone went nuts with a chainsaw because most of the logs are cut up in three or four foot sections.  But, a closer looks shows these are petrified logs…trees frozen in stone for about 225 million years. These trees are now log-like treasures of quartz, amethyst, and rose quartz…very beautiful and surreal at the same time.  We’ve seen several polished pieces of petrified trees at the gift shop and they are beautiful!

Some fun facts: 

     Petrified trees are found throughout the world and in all 50 U.S. states. 

     The opening of Route 66 created a great problem for the Petrified Forest, because of all the
     new tourists who wanted souvenirs.   

     Even though the Crystal Forest seems like it has lots of trees, old photographs show that this is
     just a small remainder of what once was.  The rest has been carried off for souvenirs.

     People are still stealing pieces of the forest.  It’s estimated that about a ton of rocks is stolen
     each month.

It’s time to move on.  We reluctantly leave the forest and head east.  We’re going to Gallop, New Mexico and then turn north for Cortez, Colorado.  On the way, we tune into a Navajo radio station.  The announcers all speak Navaho and the music is new country, old country (e.g. Hank Williams) and Navajo chants.  This is a great station!

On the way to Cortez we see “monuments” from the New Mexican end of Monument Valley.  These monuments are huge up-thrusts of stone standing out from the high desert.  We’re driving along, enjoying the desert scenery and all of a sudden these rocky mammoths jump out of the ground!  Such a fine sight to see! 

Along the way, we see that many of the houses and trailers have hogans next to them.  Many times, the hogan is in much better shape than the home.  The hogan is a sacred home for the Navajo who practice traditional religion. Every family even if they live most of the time in a newer home -- must have the traditional hogan for ceremonies, and to keep themselves in balance.

We make a slight detour to visit Four Corners, where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah meet.  Can you believe it, it was closed.  How do you close something like that!?!?!?  But, closed it was.  We took pictures of us under the sign, sighed, and moved on.  We’re coming back to this area and we’ll revisit, but next time between 8 AM and 5 PM.

Rolled into Cortez around 6:00 PM.  Checked into our hotel and headed for Tequila’s.  After all of today’s driving it was truly a fine sight to see!
Of note:  Saw our first herd of long-horned cattle today!  Also, saw a license plate with "Santos" on it.  The vehicle gave us the impression that it was from South America, but we still haven't figured out which country.  Still have not seen any plates from: Rhode Island, West Virginia and New Hampshire.  Where are those people!?!?!

Snow-capped Colorado Peaks
About 9:30 we noticed that the room clock said it was 10:30. Dern! We forgot that Colorado observes Day Light Savings Time so we lost an hour at Four Corners. Actually, we lost it when we went from Arizona to New Mexico, gained it again when we returned to Arizona, then lost it again when we walked over to Colorado. Damn, confusing!!!! Time for bed!

P.S.  Below is a clip of the Navajo radio announcer...just in case you want to practice your Navajo language skills!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Day 22 – She’s NOT Going to Like It!

Mona is going to awake today to a little surprise…Arizona doesn’t observe Daylight Savings Time.  All that folderol last night of setting the clocks ahead…nope, she’s not going to like it!  Me, I get an extra hour so I can start the blog early!

Oh, BTW...I was right! 

Not exactly sure what the plans are for today other than heading north.  Moving out of the desert and into the forests of Arizona.  Neither of us has ever been there and we’re really looking forward to this!

Took Taffy’s suggestion and headed to Sedona.  From the moment we entered the valley we were in love!  The red rocks of Sedona are absolutely breath taking!  We took picture after picture, but there is no way these mere photos can fully depict the beauty, majesty and splendor of this valley!!!  Sedona is definitely on our “do over” list!!!

We drove through the valley and then up to the airport for a complete vista.  Highly recommend this drive!  Afterwards we went back into Sedona proper for lunch at Secret Garden.  This is a quaint little restaurant inside the Tlaquepaque center.  It has a painting that had to be painted by Sheryl and it’s the perfect place to plan our next drive.

We decided to head to the Grand Canyon.  We’ve both helicoptered twice to the bottom of the canyon, but wanted to stand on the rim and look down.  Our route took us up from Sedona into elevations of 6500 feet….on a winding, twisting steep road.  This is a great drive and near the top we stopped at a scenic view area.  We walked past a line of tables with Indians selling jewelry and crafts and then came to a scenic overlook.  Deep valleys, ponderosa pines, and lots of snow.  Beautiful!

Driving north past Flagstaff we got on 89 North, driving about two more hours through The Painted Desert.  More and more incredible scenery!  Who knew that someone took the time to paint all this beauty!   We keep seeing signs of, not hoofprints, road signs warning of elk crossing.  We keep our eyes peeled, but no elk so far.  Darn!

A new perspective!
At last we reach the canyon, THE Grand Canyon!  We stop at the first overlook….what an incredible sight!!!  The canyon is immense, beyond our wildest imagination!  The colors, the depth, the enormity!  OMG!!!  The next stop is even more impressive…and the next and the next!  Put this one on the “do over” list, too!

It’s been a day of big sights…Sedona, The Painted Desert, The Grand Canyon.  We’ve used up all our superlatives and emotions for the day.  We drive to Winslow and head for the Motel 6.  They left the light on!

Beep, beep.  Beep beep, the car it went beep, beep.  Darn you, Sheryl!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Day 21 – Phoenix

We started our day by heading northeast to Scottsdale tovisit Taliesin West, the part time home and architectural center for FrankLloyd Wright.    Wright took the proceeds from completion ofFalling Waters and bought about 600 acres of desert outside of Phoenix.  He and his students then used the local rocksand timber to build this center for architectural study and learning.  Wright and his wife lived here during thewinters and she lived here after his death.

The buildings here represent Wright’s personal desires andideas.  He had no client to please, so hetried whatever design he wished, often using scraps of wood instead of theelaborate materials he used for his clients. Most of the buildings are stone, roughly mortared together.  Up close, it looks crude, but as a whole it’san architectural masterpiece.  What makesthis place even more amazing is that Wright didn’t start the project until hewas in his 70s, long after most of us retire. In the early years of the project he and his students had to camp out onthe desert…and again, he was in his 70s!
There are numerous buildings in this complex and apprenticesof Wright still live here…some have been apprentices for over 50 years.  Their lives have been devoted to architectureand maintaining what Wright created.  This is a working school, fully accredited, helping to train about 24 architects from around the world each year.  (4 to 7 new ones each year)

We have toured many of Wright’s creations, from homes in OakPark, to the Guggenheim in New York City. All have been wondrous and truly unique pieces of art andarchitecture.  This creation followssuit, but one of the simplest, but coolest, things here impressed us….you getto sit on the chairs!  In fact, theyalmost insist that you sit in each room as you tour it.  Amazing, sitting on a Frank Lloyd Wrightchair!!!  So cool!

During the tour, our guide showed us a sketch of a buildingWright designed as a proposal for the Arizona State Capital.  The proposal was rejected as too radical, butin 2004 the spire of the design was constructed by the city of Scottsdale as the cornerstone of anew city area.  The spire was just a fewmiles away so off we went.  You startseeing it from about a half mile away and it just gets better and better as youdraw near.  This 172 foot masterpiece is comprised of over 1700 pieces of glass and steel and weighs in at a modest 45000 pounds.  It'sa wonder of design and art and is a must-see if you are in the Phoenix area!  That's an actual photo to the right...surreal, isn't it?

Next on the agenda is a spring training baseball game betweenthe Cubs and Brewers at the Brewer Park. We are Cardinal fans, of course, but thought it would be cool to see aspring training game. Cool it was! We parked in a field near the small stadium andgot the priciest tickets, $22, which landed us close enough to home plate tocall balls and strikes. No outfield bleachers here, from left field to rightfield people laid out their blankets and had picnic lunches. 

The game was fun and it was a good-natured crowd with ahealthy balance between Cubs and Brewers fans. Fun, except it wasn’t our Cardinals and we just couldn’t whip up the enthusiasmwe normally have for Cards game.  But, we DID get to see the classic sausage race!!!!  We’reready to head to Jupiter and cheer on our Cards!

On our way to dinner we decided to geocache a bit.  Gotta keep that streak going!  Near the cache we saw this huge palm tree, perhaps the biggest we've ever seen.  Or was it?  You be the judge.  (We love all the cool and interesting things we get to see while geocaching!)

Ahi Tuna at Corbin's
Finally, it's dinner at Corbin’s, “Where the neighborhood bar and grillmeets the 21st century.” This contemporary little place mixes eclecticsculpture,. exotic lighting and high end food into a homey atmosphere whereeverybody knows your name.We landed here just as happy hour began so dinner turned out to be appetizers...shrimp coctail and onion rings for M&A....ahi tuna on wontons plus filet sliders for us.  All were perfect...just exactly what we were hoping for. Corbin's is aunique little place and worthy of a repeat visit.  Next time we'd like to sit outside under the unique propane heaters.  But we are done for today…we’re tired and ready to restup for tomorrow’s adventures!