Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Sky Ride at the Snow Bowl

My niece and I wanted to get out of the heat for a day. So last Saturday, we drove up to the Snow Bowl in Flagstaff. We took the ski lift, or sky ride as it is called in summer. If you buy the tickets on line before you go, it's 25% cheaper!
We are both somewhat afraid of heights, but bravely got on. I had done it once before, but it was like 25 years ago. I was ok as long there wasn't too much moving going on. My niece was suprizingly fine.

There is beautiful scenery, all the way up and down. It is well worth the money. We saw a deer and some blue jays. Where we got on the lift, it was about 67 degrees. It was much cooler on top of the mountain. It's 11,500 feet by the way. It was the highest elevation my niece had been at. My ears were popping. We could see a thunderstorm coming. It was all really nice. I am really glad that we brought jackets. It was very cold.

 On the way home, I thought I was going to take us down Schnebly Hill from i-17 to Sedona. We made it as far as the actual hill. The road started getting really rough, just as the views got really great. We were stopped by one of the jeep tours, who told us we really needed to turn our passenger car around and get out of there.
So we did.

We got this photo of a blue jay, just as we were turning around. It was a nice cool getaway for a day.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Butterfly Wonderland

Butterfly Wonderland just opened near Scottsdale on the Salt River Reservation. I have been in a place like it up in Victoria. It is really cool that they built this place here. There are hundreds of butterfly's from all over the world. They fly all around you and land on you. There are a few beautiful giant moths like this one above.

You also get to see some emerging from chrysalis.

 It is worth a visit!

Odds and ends

With two short trips, I have also had time to do a few other things around the house. I enjoyed messing with my garden. My tomatoes are going to town this year. They are actually overshadowing a lot of my other plants. But I don't have the heart to whack them back. I also worked on a lot of baby blankets. We have quite a few ladies at Church expecting babies, so I tried to get prepared.

I also lost my dear sweet Dobbie dog while I was off. He was about ten. He had a hard life his first few years. He came from a puppy mill. He was kept in a cage to sire pups. He was a mess when I got home and for the first few years. I had him seven years. He really had a loving and sweet personality. I am sad he is gone.

Payson Camping trip

My niece and I also took a little camping trip. It's tricky to get our schedules to match so we had to go when we could. It was pretty warm during the afternoon's, especially the first day. After we left our stuff at camp, we went on a drive to explore and cool off. We came across this guy in the road. He is an Arizona Black Rattlesnake. I don't think I have ever seen one before. He was big and didn't like us stopping the car to check him out.

My dog Winston, checking out the tent accommodations.

A view of the Mogollon rim.
There were some Indian ruins in the area that I didn't know about. These were called the Shoofly ruins. They had been quite an extensive place at one time. It was an interesting walk. We also discovered that the East Fork of the Verde River started in the area. There was a lot of really nice refreshing water. We spent a couple of hours there our second day. That is also where my phone fell out of my pocket into the river. I rescued it quickly, but my camera stopped working. I was very lucky that it started working again, a couple of days later.

My niece and her dogs.

My new Coleman "instant tent". It was pretty cool. It really went up fast. The poles are already attached. all you have to do, is spread them out and extend them in place. I was pretty happy with it. My last tent was too short. I couldn't stand up in it. I also got a cot. It greatly enhanced my camping experience. My niece was ragging on me for using a cot. After one night of sleeping on the ground, she went to Walmart and got her own cot. I see more camping trips in our future. We also got to see a couple of Elk!

June Las Vegas Trip

I took some time off of work, but didn't plan any big trips. I did want to take my niece to Las Vegas. She had recently discovered Cirque du Soliel, but had never seen them in person. I thought it would be fun to take her to one of the shows. I thought I got a deal at the MGM grand. It didn't turn out to be the deal I thought it was for many reasons. Apparently, their special summer rates had just started and there were 2000 people trying to check in at close to the same time. This was the lovely line that I had to stand in for over an hour to check in. I was not too happy about that. My niece took an immediate dislike to the whole city. I told her that there were some positive things there along with the negative. She wasn't convinced. We also had the privilege of calling security for a fight in the room next door. And really bad food at the "free" buffet we got with our room deal.

In an effort to find something my niece would like, that was free or cheap, I took her to see the atrium at the Bellagio. They redo it several times of year and it is always stunning. It has an Americana summer theme now, with birds. They even have an atrium with live finches in it.
She seemed to think it was nice, but wasn't that impressed. my photos loaded a little out of order so bear with me.  We also went to the aquarium at Cesar's Palace.She liked the aquarium.

I thought this blue chandelier in this store we went by was stunning. They sell shoes.
As we drove around town, we saw this fabulous city library. Apparently it used to be a children's museum, hence the fun architecture.
I hadn't been inside Cesar's Palace before. The parking was horrendous, but the Italian faux streets were quite fun. We came back our second night to see Shania Twain in concert. I enjoyed it. She even road two horses on to the stage. My niece had never been to a concert. She thought it was an interesting experience, but that the music was too loud and that she didn't need to go to a concert again.
Another sight my niece enjoyed was the "old Mormon Fort". It was the first Anglo settlement in the area. It was a brief interesting stop.

We were going to watch the fountains in front of the Bellagio, but they were working on them. Boo hoo.
More atrium photos.
View of Paris hotel from the Bellagio. Notice them working on the fountains.
Bellagio atrium.

We saw the Mystere show at Treasure Island. In the lobby, there is this fabulous mammoth tusk that has this amazingly detailed scrimshaw carving. We loved it. This is just a small segment.

Chihuily glass on the ceiling of the Bellagio lobby.

Caesar's palace.
My niece is a big fan of the show Pawn stars. We had to drive by the shop. There was a line to the corner of the building to get in. The guy in the black shirt was only allowing a few people in at a time. We didn't stop.

I thought this store display was cool.
Caesar's Palace.
Prior to Mystere starting. No photography allowed. It was a cool show. We both really enjoyed it.