The Maryland Frankes flew from Baltimore to Phoenix on April 2. On April 3 we traveled to Phoenix and met them at the Heard Musuem. We got there early enough to have lunch at the little cafe there and it was very good. After the crowd of Frankes showed up, we took a tour of some of the exhibits. Then to our motel for the night.
Friday morning we were up and about and headed north, stopping off at the Pioneer Living History Museum north of Phoenix. Ian and Fiona enjoyed seeing some of the old farm machinery (for me, it reminded me of some of my boyhood). From there we headed on up to the Montezuma National Monument where there are some remains of cliff dwellings (actually, Montezuma didn't have anything to do with it, unlike what the folks that saw it thought). A kindly passerby offered to take our picture with the largest ruins in the background. Then it was on to Williams where stayed in a motel for two days.
Sunday we were up bright and early to catch the Grand Canyon Train. First there was a western re-enactment with the Marshall facing off against the bad guys. On our ride up we were in the Kokopelli car. After an enoyable ride to the Grand Canyon, we took a walk out to the Yavapai Point from the train station, stopping to let another kindly passerby take our picture with the Canyon in the background. Of course, there were lots of "Kodak" moments, which unlike my usual mode, I don't show you. On the way back, I got a less than satisfactory shot of the train on a curve. Later there was an announcement that train robbers had broken out of jail and headed our way. We wouldn't stop unless they shot. Well, Duh! We were shaken down for our gold, and luckily I had a couple of Harrison dollars. They were pursued by the Marshall, who was collecting for his re-election campaign fund. It was all good fun.
Monday morning Evan and Laura took off for Canyon de Chelly National Monument and we headed back to Green Valley with Ian and Fiona. First, breakfast at a Route 66 Diner, where we were greeted by Betty Boop. I couldn't resist a picture like that.
Tuesday was recovery day. We went swimming, we played shuffleboard, we played Parcheesi. At the end we had a nice sunset.
Wednesday was a different day. Ian and Fiona and I took a walk and found this century plant sending up its spike. Then on to the Valley Presbyterian Church and got a look at the nesting Great Horned Owl that has been nesting outside the choir window (in the owlto section) for more than twenty years. Then Amelia picked up us, and we headed for Tucson and the Tucson Botanical Gardens, and in particular the Butterfly Magic at the gardens. Here they have a rotating collection of butterflies from around the world. There were many very gorgeous butterflies, of which I painstakingly selected only three. Pretty butterfly number one. Unusual butterfly for number two. Then, butterfly three with Fiona. After we returned to Green Valley, Evan and Laura came in that afternoon.
Thursday, all but Amelia went to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. We got there late in the morning and had lunch. Then off to the best of it all, the raptor free-flight demonstration (not a bad shot, if I do say so myself - could have delayed a fraction of a second to make it better, I guess). After that we went to the reptile lecture, where we heard about Gila Monsters and rattlesnakes. Then we took the desert loop. We didn't see a coyote, but managed to get this picture of Fiona with a sculpted coyote. On the way out I got this picture of the Maryland Frankes with a crested (deformed) saguaro (yah, that's ice cream).
Friday was a busy day for the Maryland Frankes. We all went to the Kartchner Caverns which are quite spectacular (discovered about 1973 but kept secret by the discoverers to protect it). The site was finally bought by the Arizona Parks Department and they are very cautious in protecting it. No pictures allowed. So, no pictures today. The Maryland Frankes then went on to Bisbee and a tour of the Bisbee Queen copper mine while the Arizona Frankes recuperated a little (also visited a used book store in Benson, which the Kartchner Caverns are near.
Saturday was a special day. Day before Easter, so we dyed Easter eggs with Easter egg dye and great hilarity. No, Ian did not fall into the Easter egg dye with his shirt on. Lots of fun here finishing up the last few. Ah, the time delayed shot of the entire crew looking mighty pleased with themselves and the job they did. Here's a representative shot of a few eggs. Thanks to Sandy for providing the eggs already boiled. Also pleased with himself is this Cardinal at the feeder. More on him later. The evening was the crowning moment, as we all (including Sandy, who took the picture) went to PF Chang's to celebrate my birthday. Not saying how old I am, but it is divisible (more than once each) by the two smallest prime numbers. It was a good time was had by all.
Easter Sunday. The plans were for a brunch at Sandy's, with contributions from others. While those at our house prepared our contributions (actually Fiona and I had prepared our cookies the day before), Fiona took a bike ride and shared it with me. While we were riding, the Cardinal serenaded us. Here's Grammy, Fiona, and Ian ready to head over to Sandy's. Once there, final preparations were made for the feast. And yes, that is the much mentioned, important, but elusive Sandy to the right in this picture. Here's the lovelier contingent of the crowd taking a break from their efforts, while the merely handsome bunch also broke out of their play. I thought Ian had such a nice smile in that one, that I decided to see if he could do it again. Then, time for the Easter egg hunt, all the younger folks avidly looking. Here's one of the treasures. Then we all relax a bit. The younger ones hid the eggs again, and the adults were forced to try to find them (we did, by golly). No pictures, though. A great Easter was capped off with a swim, some rest, and then gathering once again at Sandy's to have a supper of (would you guess?) egg salad sandwiches(!) followed by several rounds of Mexican train.
Monday was time for a bit of resting up and preparing for the Maryland Frankes to get ready to head for home. Fiona (mostly) and I were riding the bike when the Gila Woodpecker who likes to peck on the neighbor's metal buzzard came around. It does make a loud noise, and I'm not sure what the woodpecker gets out of it. In the afternoon, Evan, Laura, Ian, and I headed for Kitt Peak and the observatories there, seen here from the road up the mountain. Here's Evan at the entrance to the visitor center and in front of an artwork showing native American scenes and the planets above (Kitt Peak is on the Tohono O'odham Nation property). They had snow the day before, and here's Ian on snow. The weather was not as nice as we could have hoped, and viewing was going to be limited. So, as a special treat we were allowed to go up in the 4.1m observatory. Here's a shot of us guys on the observation deck with some of the other observatories in the background. There are at least 23 observatories (one privately owned) on the mountain and I pieced together three shots to make this collage many of them. The privately owned one is the one in the left side of the right piece. The peak in the background (almost looking like a dark observatory) is Baboquivari Peak. Finally, a shot of the 4.1m instrument from inside the dome. We were allowed to go up to the next level and the student astrophysicist who would have preferred to be actually using the instrument talked to us a bit about what she was trying to study (hopefully the weather cleared enough to get some work in that night). Afterward I got this shot of Ian and liquid nitrogen. Turns out the weather cleared enough we got to view through a telescope to see some star clusters, the binary star Castor, and Saturn a bit later. Got home just after 11pm and admit to having had a good time.
Tuesday morning the Maryland Frankes headed for the airport, and it was mighty quiet around the house. Many thanks to Sandy who put up with (not too hard of a job, I think, and hope) Evan and Laura since we would have been a bit crowded here, and besides, how could we spoil the grandchildren with Mom and Dad looking on?