Sunday, February 15, 2009

Phoenix Art Museum Donation Tuesday

Phoenix Art Museum

While in Phoenix we took a "field trip" to the Phoenix Art Museum.

Popular exhibitions feature artists such as Rembrandt, Norman Rockwell, Annie Leibowitz and Monet. More than 18,000 stunning works of American, Asian, European, Latin American, Western American, modern and contemporary art are shown here.

The museum is a maze 3 stories tall. We wandered for 4 hours and could have spent many more. We learned lots while there.

We spent some time quizzing a museum security agent about art theft and learned that it's almost always an inside job. We walked through rooms holding pieces over 400o years old.

We spent a lot of time talking about art and its meaning. We learned that art can be fun and interactive as in the piece "fireflies" where you enter a dark room filled with mirrors that has tiny lights suspended like stars throughout the space.

The lights slowly changed colors and faded. We eventually found our way out of the other end of the room.

"Mass" was the charred remains of a church that burned down after being struck by lightning. The pieces were hung in a perfect square in space.

We would like to visit other art museums in the future and compare what we saw. This was the biggest collection of work we've seen yet. Phoenix was pretty impressive.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The hardest part of leaving Bend, Oregon 6 months ago was saying goodbye to all our wonderful friends. We had a great group of friends there and still do. Lucky for us, most of them love adventure. And they are all looking for ways to meet us on the road and experience a little bit of Chinchen roadtripping.
Chris and Amy have been friends of ours since Kaleb was a baby. They've watched our family grow and now we're excited for their little one that will be here in a few more months. Chris, Amy and "Obie" flew down to Phoenix to go on a little camping trip with us. They have a friend, Amy, who lives in Phoenix. We kidnapped her and took her on a 3 day trip into the Arizona wilderness. She became our navigator and GPS unit, we've nicknamed her Amy3K.

After an exciting reunion and hot breakfast it was time to hit the road. Jason and Chris are old skateboarding buddies. Our first stop was at the Tempe skatepark where the guys "played" while the ladies made the weekend menu and filled up the cupboards. After that we headed east and found an old ghost town to explore. Camp wasn't much further down the road near Apache Lake.

Sunday we wanted to find our way to Tonto National Monument. This would require a 15 mile trip down a crazy one lane dirt road with hairpin turns and cliffs on one side. Jason worked through the pressure of getting his family and friends down safely. Perhaps we should have researched our route a little better before heading out, but then again then we would've missed out a lots of laughs and funny memories.
After making it safely down the mountain we stopped for a lake front lunch and some rock throwin. A quick stop at Theodore Roosevelt Dam and we were on our way to Tonto National Monument and more cliff dwellings. These shallow caves are nearly 700 years old and lived in by the Salado people. Unlike the other ruins we've visited, we were able to explore the inside of the dwellings. Rock tools still littered the land and the kids had fun pretending to hunt and gather food.

When out in the wilderness with 5 adults, 3 kids and a dog, some fun memories are sure to be made. Our favorite....deciding to pull off onto a dirt road and find some camping deep in the Arizona desert wilderness. Enter the Cholla Cactus, otherwise known as The Teddy Bear Cactus. BEWARE....DO NOT TOUCH, DO NOT GO NEAR, in fact DON'T EVEN LOOK AT THE PLANT.
Cholla have tubercles, small wart like projections on the stem. These spines WILL jump at you and attach themselves into your skin requiring long BBQ tongs to pull out. Just ask Ani or the dog. They will also pop every single one of your bike tires if you happen to back into one trying to get the perfect spot. They will stick to your flip flops and poke your feet. You will be afraid. I don't think I need to say more.

We cooked a mexican feast in the cholla forest, had a girls spa night in the RV, sang and danced around the fire, and rested for our big hike the next day. Amy3K led us on a beautiful hike within the Superstition Wilderness. We hiked through canyons and Saguaro Cacti. It was a warm sunny blue sky day. We didn't make it to the top, but got far enough in to witness the amazing scenery that hides behind the city. After our hike and 3 days out camping, Chris's cousins welcomed all of us stinky folks into their home in Mesa, Arizona for a BBQ dinner. I was introduced to the game Rock Band where my alter-ego jumped out and jammed it on the guitar and microphone. Who'd a thunk I had that in me. It was a blast.
As Obama was being sworn in as our next president it was time to say goodbye to our dear friends. It was sad to see them leave. The next time we see them they will be momma and papa. We can't wait to kiss, hug and hold the baby. Amy3K welcomed us into her home for a few more days. We again took advantage of hot showers and clean clothes. Phoenix now reminds us good friends and fun. We're glad to have a place to call home if we ever go back.

Home is where you park it

Quartzsite, Arizona. How do I explain it to you.
Sleepy Saguaro desert one day, busy urban city the next.
It's absolutely crazy. RVer's from all over the country and even oversees come here every year to live on the BLM land that surrounds this tiny desert town. Flea markets are set up left and right and stretch on for miles. New folks pull in every day and stake out their plot for the winter season.
We were told what to expect, but I don't think we truly understood what really took place out here in the winter oasis.

Normally by Jan 1st the hundreds and hundreds or acres of BLM land that surround this sleepy community is practically full. With the economy in a rut we we're told it was slow, but it sure got busy for us!. There are no hook-ups or water. Just empty land waiting for you to find. After a few tries we found the spot we would call "Home" for the month. Out a bit away from the madness, the way we like it, yet close enough to town that we were able to ride our bikes to the flea markets, library and grocery stores. That's about it for the town of Quartzsite.
One word of advice...fill your cupboards before arriving!!! You may find great deals at the flea markets, but it all catches up to you when it's time to stock the fridge. Food at the local Markets is very expensive and not that great of quality...Green meat anyone? We ended up taking 2 trips to Blythe, California, just over the border. There is an Albertsons there and its worth the drive if you need more than a few items.
What did we do with our month out in the desert? We did lots and lots of reading, learned how to knit, wrote and played songs, perfected the Smore, hit golf balls into the desert, made new friends, jump roped, built forts and whittled away at some of winter.

During our time in Quartzsite we were lucky enough to have family visit not once, but TWICE. My brother drove down from Colorado to spend Christmas with us and Jason's brother and his family picked up his mom who happened to be down in Palm Springs and drove over for a fun-filled day. Familiar faces bring lots of happiness when you've been "lost on the road" for 5 months. We ate every minute up while with them all.