Road Trip 2019 – Fort Verde Historic Park, Campe Verde, AZ (March 28th – April 1st)

I had not been back to the Grand Canyon to see friends since I had left January 1, 2018, so I decided to take a few days and make a little road trip before leaving Phoenix for Kings Canyon National Park to work for the season.

On the way to the Grand Canyon, I stopped off in Cordes Junction for lunch to see my friend Peggy that I worked with at the Grand Canyon, Desert View in 2017.


My next stop was Camp Verde to check out Camp Verde Historic Park – The fort consists of the original administration building,  which is the main “museum” part and small gift shop. There are also three complete houses in “officers row” down one side of the parade ground…….the houses are accessible and decorated in the style of the period including the kitchen, living quarters and children’s room. There is also the army doctor’s quarters, which includes his “surgery” in the front room. The museum is well done giving you a good idea of life on the frontier and one of the only remaining Indian War time forts left in the West.    

Settlers began migrating into the Verde Valley because of the mining industry in the early 1860s. The settlers grew corn and other crops with the hope of getting good prices from Prescott, which was the territorial capital, and from the miners. The rapid increase in the mining population disrupted the hunting and gathering environments of the local Tonto-Apache and Yavapai tribes so they started raiding the settlers for their crops and livestock. As the settlers fought back hostilities escalated and military protection was requested from the U.S. Army. The first military establishment was a temporary post overlooking the farms at West Clear Creek. In 1865, the next post, Camp Lincoln was established. In 1868 the name was changed to Camp Verde. The post was moved to its present-day site in 1871 due to the onset of malaria. In 1873 when construction was completed there were 22 buildings arranged around a parade ground which housed one company of cavalry and infantry (which only 4 survived until 1956).  In 1878 the name was changed to Fort Verde and in April of 1890, the post was officially closed and sold at public auction in 1899.  Over the following years, the community recognized the value of protecting and preserving this historic site and was established as a Historic State Park in 1970.

Commanding Officers Quarters

This one and a half story building consists of 10 rooms and is of the Second Empire architectural style with a mansard roof. Its outer walls are pise adobe construction covered with board and batten. Pise adobe is a technique of casting massive adobe in a temporary wooden form, similar to rammed earth. This was simpler and faster than making adobe bricks, and the resulting structure was less susceptible to water damage. The upper story is wood framed with dormer windows and a shingle roof.

Fort Verde’s commanding officer was typically the senior company captain. His monthly salary of $166.00 was enough for his wife to have gradually assembled the respectful household furnishings necessary to assume their roles in the center of military society.

Surgeon’s Quarters

Each permanent military command was required to have a physician. The post surgeon was allowed these rather spacious accommodations because patients were treated and surgery was performed here. The post-hospital was located at the northwest corner of the parade grounds and was operated by the hospital matron. It was used strictly for quarantine and convalescence. Many of the surgeons serving at Fort Verde achieved recognition as natural scientists. Doctors Mearns, Coues, and Palmer were but a few surgeons who made outstanding contributions to ornithology, botany, and archaeology during their service.

Administrative Building – Now houses the museum and small gift shop

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Indian Scouts, Weapons, Uniforms

In 1871, General George Cook who had established himself as an Indian fighter was named commander of the Department of Arizona. He soon realized that his soldiers were no match for the fierce Apache that he was sent to subdue. He recruited from the reservation at Fort Apache about 50 men to serve as Apache Scouts, who played a key role over the next 15 years in the success of the army in the Apache Wars.

Eleven Arizona Indian Scouts were awarded Medals of Honor for their service between 1870 and 1892. The Medal of Honor is the highest award of bravery and gallantry given by the U.S. military. Between 1863 and 1904 it also was the only medal awarded for bravery.





Road Trip 2019 – Part 2- Zion National Park, Kanab Utah and Powell Lake (March 28-April 1, 2019)

We had reservations for a hotel in St. George for the night, so after getting a good night’s sleep, we were up making our way back to the Grand Canyon via Zion National Park and Kanab Utah.

Our route back to the Grand Canyon took us through Zion National Park. I was here with my grandchildren in July of 2016 and really enjoyed this park. We did not make any sightseeing stops, just did a drive-through.

We then made it to Kanab, Utah where we were spending the night. Kanab is a small classic American West town, surrounded by towering Navajo sandstone cliffs and vistas of sagebrush. This scenery has lured filmmakers to Kanab for nearly 80 years. Abandoned film sets near town have become tourist attractions. Many buildings all over town have plenty of movie posters and autographed photos to support Kanab’s self-proclaimed title, “Little Hollywood.”

Parry Lodge, I found to be fascinating and interesting: Founded in 1931 by the three Parry brothers (Whitney, Chauncey, and Gronway), Parry Lodge has hosted some of the biggest names from the golden age of Hollywood. John Wayne, Frank Sinatra, Gregory Peck, Maureen O’Hara, Anne Bancroft, Dean Martin, Clint Eastwood, and Barbara Stanwyck are just a few of the hundreds of stars and character players that have stayed at Parry’s while filming. Check out the link below for the fantastic history of Parry Lodge.

We next visited the Little Hollywood Museum Set. You enter a store with the Free museum outback. It is interesting with a variety of different movie sets that were used that were acquired and moved to this location. The place is for sale and things have been kept up as they should be, but it is still interesting.

After spending the night in Kanab, we headed back to the Grand Canyon and on the way made a stop at Lake Powell in Page, AZ. I had not been back to Lake Powell since the summer of 2017 when I was working at the Grand Canyon, so I was in shock when I saw how low the lake was. Lake Powell is a reservoir on the Colorado River that straddles the border between Utah and Arizona. Lake Powell is a major vacation spot that is visited by nearly 2 million people every year. The Lake is 186 miles long and 25 feet wide. Lake Powell is a water storage facility for the Upper Basin states of the Colorado River…..Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico so it is expected to have low water levels as water is released to these states. The hope, of course, is that each spring there will be plenty of snowmelt to fill the reservoir for the summer enjoyment and to continue to supply water to the states that depend on it.








Road Trip – Grand Canyon to St. George Utah (March 28-April 1, 2019)

After visiting Fort Verde I made my way to the Grand Canyon – Desert View to meet up with my friend Kathy. Kathy was still at work so I said hello to a few old co-workers who are still there and took some reminiscing photos.

I stayed overnight with Kathy and had a lot of fun catching up with her. The next morning we were up early and heading out on a three-day road trip. We headed out the west end entrance of the Grand Canyon towards the Vermillion Cliffs, past the North Rim towards St. George Utah.

As we headed toward St. George Utah on highway 89A we came across Pipe Springs National Monument out in the middle of nowhere so, of course, we had to stop and check it out.

The Kaibab Paiute Indians Visitor Center and Museum sits at the entrance of the monument. A collaboration between the National Parks Service and the Kaibab Paiute Tribe, the museum houses artifacts of both Native Americans and pioneers. There are educational displays and a short 10-minute video. During the summer months, folks in period costume demonstrate various activities to show what life was like in the late 1800s for both ranchers and Paiute. Guests may take a self-guided tour of the grounds, or accompany a park ranger for an educational talk. Tours of the fort are available at half-hour intervals throughout the day during both summer and winter months. Visitors will see artifacts and furnishings from the 1800s and learn more about the history of the fort. This time of year (March) there were not very many tourists and we pretty much had the place to ourselves and we had a great tour from our tour guide.

Pipe Springs National Monument is a historic pioneer fort located 20 minutes west of Kanab, Utah. The fort was created in the 1870s for security from the Native Americans but rarely was used for its original purpose.

Pipe Spring was named in 1858 by Latter-day Saint missionary, Jacob Hamblin on an expedition to the Hopi mesas.  Jacob saw the spring’s great potential as an oasis in the middle of the desert and took his knowledge of the area back home with him. Mormon pioneers living in St. George, Utah, brought cattle to the spring sometime during the 1860s. They established a large cattle ranch and began interacting with the local Kaibab Paiute Tribe. Although the relationship between the ranchers and the Paiute was friendly, there were some problems with other tribes in the area. During the winter of 1866, members of a local Navajo tribe stole the cattle at the ranch.  The rancher, and his herder, began tracking the cattle and were attacked and killed. Following the attacks, the ranch was abandoned for four years until a peace treaty was signed in 1870. Brigham Young, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, had a fort built for protection.

Although it was equipped with guns and high walls, the fort was never needed for safety, as both the Paiutes and Mormons were able to live peacefully. The fort was built right on top of the spring. The LDS Bishop of nearby Grafton, Utah was hired to operate the ranch and maintain the fort. With this outpost being so isolated it served as a way station for people traveling across this part of Arizona which separated them from the rest of the state by the Grand Canyon. It also served as a refuge for polygamist wives during the 1880s and 1890s. There were many changes for the Paiute tribe when the Mormons settled and built the fort.  The biggest impact was the water source, now located inside the fort. Although this created some dependency, the relationship had mutual benefits. The Mormons benefited from the knowledge and friendship of the Paiute, and the Paiute gained some security as the tribe had been victim to slave raids from other tribes. With the presence of the fort, these attacks ceased and everyone was safe and secure. The Kaibab Paiute Tribe continues to live at Pipe Spring. In 1907 the Kaibab Paiute Indian Reservation was founded. The property surrounds the monument, and the Paiute operate a campground and picnic area nearby.


Our next stop was St. George Utah. We stopped to take a tour of the Latter Day Saint winter home of Brigham Young. From 1870 to 1877, President Brigham Young lived in St. George, Utah, during the winter months. Beginning in 1872, he and members of his family lived in the place that is now called the Brigham Young Winter Home. From this home, he directed the affairs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The historic home is open to the public year-round. The home and adjacent office have been restored and furnished to reflect their 1870s appearance. Tours tell about Brigham Young’s family life in St. George and about his role in directing the settlement of southern Utah, including the construction of the St. George Utah Temple.

An interesting story about the green and red trim on the Brigham Young home: In the early 1870s the builders of the St. George LDS temple ordered white paint with which to paint the temple. When the paint arrived, half the wagon delivery was white and half green. Brigham Young and the settlers did not alter their concept and painted the temple white. The green paint did not go to waste and many fences, houses, and mercantile establishments were painted green. Some of that green paint was used on Brigham Youngs Winter Home. During restoration work, layers of paint were scraped away and revealed the original colors……the eaves, porches, banisters, and pillars painted a jade green with accented strips of cranberry red.

Next, we stopped to take a tour of the St. George Tabernacle. In 1862 Brigham Young suggested a meetinghouse be built, one large enough to comfortably seat at least 2,000 people that would not only be useful but also an ornament to the city. The ground-breaking and dedication of the site took place on June 1, 1863, which was also the 62nd birthday of Brigham Young. Over the next few years, the work to build the meeting house progressed slowly…..there was an outbreak of malaria, the rivers were unpredictable and dams and ditches needed frequent repairs and rebuilding. The Utah settlers were also busy with helping to transport other settlers from Missouri to Utah, and all settlers were also building homes, setting up mills and shops. In February of 1866 George A. Smith, the apostle-frontiersman after whom St. George was named visited the area and the limestone foundation that was six feet thick had only reached six feet high. Nine months later a stepped-up program of construction was put into place and within a little, over a year the basement had been completed and the main floor timbers were about to be laid. On March 20, 1869, the first public gathering met in the basement. Worked continued on the main structure for the next two and one-half years. On December 29, 1871, the last stone to the tabernacle was laid and a community celebration was held.

After the walls were up and the roof was on, meetings were held in the upper part, but finishing work remained. The community clock and bell were installed in the tower in 1872. The interior was finished in 1875, a beautiful silver sacra­ment set and organ were provided in 1877. Brass chandeliers were added in 1883. The Tabernacle has stood for close to 150 years until its recent remodeling. After almost two years of remodeling the St. George Tabernacle reopened its doors on July 23, 2018.

Our last stop was to view the St. George Temple. Brigham Young observing the effectiveness and beauty of the work that had gone into the St. George Tabernacle, the time had come for the Saints to build a Temple in St. George. The ground was broken on November 9, 1871, and excavation for the basement and foundation began immediately.

The cornerstone was laid on April 1, 1874, and completed January 1, 1877, it was the church’s third temple to be completed, but the first in Utah.

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MIM -Music Instrument Museum- Phoenix, AZ (March 17, 2019)

MIM was a great museum and more than exceeded my expectations. I ended up spending about 4 hours here and could have easily spent a whole day. MIM opened in April 2010 and is the largest museum of its type in the world with a collection of over 15,000 musical instruments, costumes and various objects from nearly 200 countries and territories represented from every inhabited continent. MIM is a 200,000 square foot modern building with two floors of galleries. The exhibits are arranged by regions so it’s easy to follow. Each exhibit for each county features a video on a flat-screen showing local musician performing on native instruments. Visitors are able to listen to the performances through a wireless device with headphones that are activated automatically when an exhibit is being observed.

MIM has changing exhibits for a set period of time, at the time I visited the museum was highlighting The Electric Guitar: Inventing an American Icon. This exhibit shared the story of the invention of the electric guitar, an instrument that revolutionized music and popular culture forever. The exhibit showcased more than 80 of the rarest electric guitars and amplifiers in the world, as well as the personal instruments of groundbreaking artists who were among the first to play and popularize the electric guitar.

Standard Electric Spanish Guitar 1948-1949…….Paul Bigsby’s third standard electric guitar was built for Tommy “Butterball” Paige, lead guitarist for country star Ernest Tubb.

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Telecast Electric Guitar 1962-1963 ……..One of the most recorded instruments in history, this was Tommy Tedesco’s primary electric guitar for years. A core member of the Los Angeles based studio musicians called the “Wrecking Crew.” Tedesco is heard on countless hit tracks (Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley, Beach Boys), television themes (Bonanza, The Twilight Zone), and movie soundtracks (The Godfather, Jaws).

Telecast Electric Guitar 1

“The Bad Dude” custom electric guitar 1998 – carefully constructed according to Bo Diddley’s own detailed sketches & notes, ” The Bad Dude” was presented as a gift from close friend Charlie Tona to Diddley. The signature rectangular body shape features onboard equalization, special effects, and a synthesizer pickup. Extensively used for years at the end of his life & career as a true originator of rock and roll claimed this was the best guitar he ever owned.

The Bad Dude custom electric guitar 1

Quad Stringmaster electric steel guitar – 1950’s………Noel Boggs was a first-rate steel guitarist who played in the bands of Hank Penny, Bob Wills, and Spade Cooley, aside from his extensive studio work. Leo Fender tested ideas with his close friend Boggs and personally provided him with prototypes of new instruments, including Fender’s first double-and triple-neck steel guitars, and later this Quad Stringmaster.

Quad Stringmaster electric steel guitar

Alvino Rey’s Electro A-25 (1932) – This instrument was likely the first electric guitar ever played on a national radio broadcast. It’s new sound shocked the world, igniting a music revolution. Considered the “Father of the Electric Guitar.” Alvino Rey was not only a talented performer but also a direct contributor to the research and development of amplified instruments for brands such as Rickenbacker, Gibson, and Fender.

1932 Electro A-25 electric hawaiian guitar 2

Custom Electric Hawaiian Guitar – 1936 ……Alvino Rey was the most popular and visible electric guitarist in the world, Gibson built this custom steel guitar to his peculiar specifications in order to secure a partnership.

Custom electric hawaiian guitar 2

Electro A-25 Electric Hawaiian Guitar – 1938……This well-used guitar features a rarely seen textured, ivory-painted finish from the factory.

Electro A-25 Electric Hawaiian Guitar 1

Gebroeders Decap Organ – Measuring over 25 feet long and weighing over two tons, this dance organ was originally manufactured in 1926 by the preeminent Antwerp firm of Theofiel Mortier, S.A. It was remanufactured into its present configuration by another famous Antwerp Company, Gebroeders Decap, in 1950. The largest organs made by the Decap brothers were often given unique names; “Apollonia” is the female form of “Apollo,” the Greek god of the sun and music. During its working life, this organ was owned by the firm Gebroeders M.&G. Teugels, which provided organs for the popular circuit of dance halls and traveling shows. It remained in Teugels’s collection until the mid-1980s when it was imported into the United States by an American Collector.

Swiss watchmakers were already skilled builders of delicate mechanisms when they began to create musical boxes in the 18th century. By 1825, a standard music box size had developed with more elaborate and imaginative decoration available two decades later.

#1 – Swiss Chalet Music Box 1900……Handcrafted in Black Forest style, three original tunes play when the roof is lifted.

#2 – Child’s Musical Chair 1890s made in Black Forest style play’s ” Rose-Marie” and “Show Me the Way to Go Home.”

#3 – Musical Picture Frame 20th century……..When the music plays, the figures move across the inside scene.

Geographic Galleries

The museum has these global geographic galleries that flow from one to another. The instruments are fascinating artifacts along with photographs, original costumes, related art, and cultural performance videos.

Asia Gallery: Gakuso (plucked zither late 19th century); The Philippines, ?, Kakko (double-headed barrel drum) Tenri, Nara 2007-2008, Dadabuan (goblet drum) 1920-1930, Sovann Marcha & Hanuman Costumes, San-no-tsuzum (double-headed hourglass drum) Tenri, Nara 2007-2008; Philippines, Shava Mongol People 2003; ?, Chinese Lion Dance costume; Pat-Waing (double-headed barrel drums) Burmese Mandalay; Ves (dance costume) Sinhala People 1998-2008.

India Dance Costumes

Guitars:  Moscow Russia 1900, Black Sun  CA 2005, Smooth Talker South Africa 2007, Maccaterr G40 NY 1953-1964, Harp-Guitar Germany 1994, Chaturangui West Bengal India 2007

Misc Instruments: Fou (Kettle Drum) China 2008 – Played in the opening ceremony of 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, Nagado Odarko (double-headed Barrell Drum), Haiti, Marimba Dole (Wood Xylophone), Dragon2002 Electric Guitar, Igbin  Single-headed cylindrical drum Nigeria.










Spring Training Baseball Games (March 2019)

I had been living in Phoenix for a year and two months when I decided to take some part-time work at the Maryvale Sports Stadium as a cash room attendant for 5 weeks. I worked with Andrew, a GCU student along with Kara, the controller from the corporate office in Buffalo, NY. It was a great season and a lot of fun working with some great people. Since I and Andrew had never worked in this capacity we spent a full weekend working with the folks at Camelback Ranch Sports Complex for training. The first week of games was a learning curve for Andrew and me as we got up to speed and found a routine that worked for us. It was a lot of fun to be part of the games, a chance to watch some of the games and be a part of the excitement that is felt at the games.

American Family Fields of Phoenix, formerly known as Maryvale Baseball Park and briefly as Brewers Fields of Phoenix. It is the spring training home of the Milwaukee Brewers replacing Compadre Stadium in Chandler. In February 2018, the Brewers started a major renovation of the facility which was completed for the Spring Training season in March of 2019. The new renovation included a new clubhouse, agility field, practice field, batting tunnels, covered practice mounds, a new entry plaza and parking lots.