Tag Archives: cactus

20191219_110913

ADVENTURES IN SCOTTSDALE OLD TOWN – Pt. VI

So this was my last day in Scottsdale Old Town – I’d got all my souvenirs and gifts purchased, toured all the cultural hot-spots so all that was left was a visit to the fabulous Museum of the West where I’d spent a few happy hours last time I was in town. https://scottsdalemuseumwest.org/ They have spectacular sculptural installations inside and out…20191219_110813 20191219_110845The museum has multiple levels/floors, all easily accessible, displaying artifacts and memorabilia covering the history of Arizona, stunning artworks, native American culture and even film/TV cowboy ephemera, vintage saddles, spurs…and a wonderful collection of photographs from the late, internationally renowned State Senator Barry Goldwater, pictured below with his wife in the lobby. 20191219_111800Following are photos that are pretty self-explanatory but they showcase some of my fave displays of western art and native artifacts that I had previously discovered. I sincerely recommend a personal visit to experience the awe and wonder of Arizona.20191219_112137 20191219_112157 20191219_112827 20191219_112942 20191219_112900 20191219_113511 20191219_113058 20191219_113904 20191219_113932There’s a spectacular sculpture garden courtyard and they had changed the pieces since my last visit (you can search my previous blogs dated last April to see those pics). These are the stunning works currently on display – all life sized or larger.20191219_114403 20191219_114455 20191219_114528 20191219_114539 20191219_114606There’s a gorgeous rusted and tarnished wall installed as a backdrop…just look at this:20191219_114619 20191219_114642 20191219_114655Back inside, I found even more fab paintings from Arizona artists. I love the donkeys below, and of course, my beloved saguaro cactus…20191219_114135 20191219_113343 20191219_113245 20191219_113253Before I left the museum, I had to visit the gift shop and say hello to my friend Jeffrey who reigns over the souvenirs, art prints, books and touristy nic-nacs. He’s full of cool information about the museum and the local area, and made me feel so welcome last time I visited, I just had to bring him a wee Christmas moose from the great white north! I think he liked it…LOL20191219_111414If you ever visit the  museum, please go inside the shop and say hi to Jeffrey.   Afterwards, I decided to walk back down to the main centre of Old Town, passing more cowboys…20191219_121541…and popped into the beautifully restored Mission church.The stained glass windows were created by local artisans many many years ago.20191219_131825 20191219_131852 20191219_132103 20191219_131907I spent some money on souvenirs there and dropped a few $s into the donation box, hoping to be blessed with a safe journey home….and I was. Less than 15hrs later, I was speeding away from Toronto’s Pearson Int’l Airport in a limo, home to my downtown apartment, a bit sleepy but thoroughly invigorated by my 8 days in sunny Scottsdale Old Town.20191220_072900If you take a trip to Old Town, here are 2 great transportation companies that will get you out and about, and to-and-from your hotel and airport:
Local tours courtesy of Quick Silver Golf Carts: www.ridequicksilver.com   and for affordable taxis & town cars, contact Scottsdale Sedan-Taxi (call Frank at 602-714-9833).  I can recommend both. Happy trails, dear readers…..20191219_113220

20190410_124647

MY ARIZONA ADVENTURE (Pt. VI) – Dances with Butterflies

On my last full day in Arizona, my friend AJ took me to meet the tiny winged creatures living in Butterfly Wonderland located in Scottsdale. What a lovely way to spend a couple of hours walking through the gardens while thousands of tiny (and not so tiny) butterflies flitted around us.

It took a while for me to focus my phone camera – so many flutterbies to follow. There were a number of cute kids who were fascinated with them, too, so I just focused on one family….

I managed to capture some great shots of them as they sat in the sunlight, resting their wings…20190410_132718 20190410_134253 20190410_132647 20190410_134248I even picked up a hitchhiker…..the great butterfly escape of 2019!20190410_134055The park keeps chickens to eat up all the nasty bugs who are dangerous to the butterflies…this cute one kept clucking at me as I tried to snap a pic.20190410_132906Lunchtime….everyone in the fruit bowl!20190410_132358AJ had several butterflies use him as a resting spot…

And unbeknownst to me, I had been walking around for some time with this gorgeous wee beastie riding on my back.20190410_134342

 

AJ took lots of great shots I’d like to share with you…just look at these beauties:IMG_7648IMG_7697IMG_7729IMG_7731IMG_7750We were starting to get pretty hot and clammy thanks to the temperature and humidity of the “wonderland” so AJ and I went thru to the adjacent reptile rooms and found some pretty cool critters (in a much cooler environment…LOL). Check these out…20190410_135737 20190410_140109 20190410_140118What a blast!  Time for something to eat so we departed Butterfly Wonderland and headed out into the “mall” where we located a rather interesting restaurant….20190410_154125 20190410_145930 20190410_145959Yes, a dino-bistro complete with crazy ass dinosaur models! Food was pretty good – mostly Mediterranean style, and afterwards we walked around both levels of the compound…the sun shone thru the wrought iron railings creating some lovely shadow designs.20190410_154123If you plan on visiting Scottsdale/Phoenix, I highly recommend spending an afternoon here – lots to see and do, not just butterflies. And the souvenir shops are fabulous – lots of nifty things and very inexpensive.  For directions and details, visit their website: www.butterflywonderland.com

Back home to Camp Joy Ranch, enjoying the beautiful countryside for the last time….20190410_161841 20190407_172512 20190410_120828The following day, I had to fly back to Toronto, via Calgary, so this night, AJ and I had our “last supper” at one of the local steak houses…yummmm.IMG_7812I’ll be back for sure…even if it’s just for the amazing steaks!!

20190406_103138

MY ARIZONA ADVENTURE (Pt.I) – welcome to Camp Joy Ranch

It’s been 22 years since I took a vacation – working for one’s self means if you don’t work, you don’t make money so after all that nose-to-the-grindstone living, I finally accepted an invitation from old pal Anthony (AJ) Cavanagh with whom I worked at a local Toronto TV station back in 1999/2000, to visit him and his husband Tom on their ranch in Phoenix, AZ. If there is a heaven here on earth, Camp Joy Ranch must be it…or at least heaven-adjacent!

After coming in for the landing and seeing such a bleak landscape (below)…20190405_205210…I was surprised to learn that Arizona had recently experienced an unusual amount of rain and the desert was in “super bloom”  i.e. all the wildflowers and cacti were blossoming, bursting with colour and fragrance. After AJ picked me up it was pretty dark and as we drove thru the night about an hour or so out of the city, he explained that they have a law requiring street lights and commercial/retail lighting be turned off or down low in order to see the night sky. OMG…I have never seen such bright stars, the moon, all the constellations! But even more beautiful was the surroundings of Camp Joy Ranch when I woke up the next morning with the sun streaming through my bedroom window…20190407_07061220190406_10320520190406_10294420190406_102710The first thing I noticed, apart from the stunning vistas, was the sound of birds singing. Mourning doves coo’d, desert quails with their funny feathered top-knots warbled and the crows cawed high above as they rode the wind high above. I saw all sorts of birds including red cardinals, honeysuckers and humming birds (try taking a pic of them – impossible…LOL) as well as eagles and hawks, plus the bunnies came out to play every morning (below)20190409_091022After a great Aussie breakfast of toast & Vegemite, AJ saddled up the Prius and we headed out to Scottsdale for some serious shopping and touristy sight-seeing. I was so excited just like a little kid, knowing I was gonna be amazed and enthralled. My next blog post will show you what we saw so stay tuned.20190406_102808