Sunday, June 21, 2009

It's my birthday...

So it is just Dawn and I for my birthday, and Dawn had been kicking around an idea that we should go tubing down the Salt River. We kinda did not want to go without the girls; however, when some friends suggested (who did not know at the time it was my birthday) we should all go tubing, we were on the river as fast we could get there. We hit the river and enjoyed a nice float on some fast moving water with small rapids scattered about.

Some of these folks on the river take their tubing seriously. Some have their own massive tubes to carry the coolers full of food and drink, as well as their radio. I saw one guy that had made his own floating, waterproof, solar powered radio.

The highlight had to be seeing several groups of wild horses a long the river.

We had a blast and then Dawn took me to a great restaurant at Tempe Marketplace call the Keg Steakhouse. After some ice cream, we headed off to meet some friends and then enjoyed a quiet evening at home.

It was great talking to family who called to give me birthday wishes during the day, and then to some of them again today for Father's Day. The real bummer was that there were a lot of sales and deals, but dads had to bring their kid in to receive the deal. Maybe next year.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Catching up on furloughs and art...

Opps, time slipped away again as we have been playing without the girls...

This June has been very mild with many days under 100 degrees, so we have taken advantage of the situation by getting out of the house whenever possible. We still eat most dinners outside, but we really enjoy getting up on a furlough Friday and going hiking on South Mountain. We wear able to beat the morning rush hour, hit the trail, and be back in time for lunch.

The first Friday of the month, the art district in Phoenix hosts an Art Walk. We finally decided that it was time to go to it. We started the evening by riding the light rail to downtown. While there, we found some great sculptures before heading off to dinner at Cooper's Town, as in Alice Cooper. I tried to take a picture of the historic Phoenix City Hall (a beautiful building), but a uniformed US Department of Homeland Security agent walked up and asked me to leave since it was illegal to take pictures of the building for security reasons. Despite that incident, we headed over to the Art Walk. The Art Walk was amazing an we are looking forward to bringing the girl to it when they get back. It is such a eclectic collection of sights and sounds. Some of these artists are amazing and are very expressive.

Then I was off to a conference in Baltimore for work where I was able to catch up with an old friend before the conference got started. Yes, I did have some crab cakes while I was there. When it was time to head home, a thunderstorm ripped through the area before I left and delayed my five hour flight by four and a half hours. I did not get home until 1am. I worked through the shortened week, but was too tired to do much of anything on Furlough Friday.

Today for Furlough Friday we did some urban hiking. In other words we walked through Arizona Mills Mall, IKEA, and Chandler Fashion Square Mall.

I have one more Furlough Friday (the 12th and final furlough day, I hope) next week, no plans yet; however, I bet we will think of something.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Let's go to Globe

So Dawn asks, "Where is Globe and what is there?" I knew it was a mining town famous for copper, but that was about it. So we decided to drive out there on Saturday. We headed east US 60 (which eventually becomes Atlantic Avenue in Virginia Beach) through Superior (an old mining town) and on to Globe.

We drove through Globe to the Besh-ba-Gowah Pueblo, an old 14th century town built by the Salado Indians. The ruins have a reconstructed building and a museum, which we found to be very nice. There were few people there, so we were able to enjoy everything at our own pace. However, a thunderstorm came through the area as we were leaving.

We drove on to the Salt River Canyon to see some of the landscapes throughout the Tonto National Forest and beyond. I had visited the canyon last year a couple of days after a good snow, this time it was raining. Despite the rain, it was beautiful.

When we got back to Globe, we decided to head out to Roosevelt Lake, a lake that was created by the Roosevelt Dam backing up the Salt River and the White River. The lake is big enough to support a large marina. There are a lot of camp grounds here that we are hoping to visit again to go swimming and camping.

We decided to head back home via the Apache Trail, of which, 22 miles are dirt roads with single lane bridges. We drove by Apache Lake, Canyon Lake, Tortila Flat, and the Lost Dutchman State Park. This was another beautiful drive and we came out of these canyons as the sun was setting.

Now we were hungry. We found the Mammoth Steakhouse & Saloon at Goldfield. We missed seeing the gun fights and ghost tours, but dinner was great. We will be coming back here as well.

From there we drove home.

Besh-ba-Gowah Pueblo in Globe

Salt River Canyon

Lake Roosevelt and Dam

Apache Trail

Memorial Day

We started the day by packing up my parents and the girls and waving goodbye as they headed east. Then we looked at the empty house, and left.

Lexi had won two free tickets to the Diamondback take on the San Diego Padres at Chase Field in downtown Phoenix. So we grabbed the light rail and took in the game. It is a very nice ball field, and is know for its swimming pool behind the outfield wall and for having a retractable roof in a place that is so sunny. Since the temps were getting back to normal, the roof was closed and the AC was on for the game. We were joined at the game by Senator John McCain since his wife was there for the pre-game activities honoring veterans.

The DBacks had a five-run inning early in he game, but let the Padres catch up and take the lead. Then they failed to scored despite great opportunities to do so late in the game. In the end the DBacks lost in the 10th inning.

After the game ended, they opened the roof to water and sun the field as we left.