Zion, Utah

Day 637

     We decided to hike Zion Canyon, located in southwestern Utah, near the Arizona and Nevada borders. The canyon has numerous waterfalls, which we wanted to see, walk under, and then hike to the top of one.

     The hike is labeled as moderate, 4 miles round trip. The hiking trail follows the Virgin River along the canyon floor, and then hike up the walls to the waterfalls.

     At this point you can actually walk under the falls. The wind was blowing and water was being sprayed out. Since it was now getting warm, it was refreshing. 

     Mormon pioneer, Isaac Behunin, built his cabin here in 1863. He named the Canyon Little Zion, the Old Testament reference to a “place of safety or refuge”. In time the Canyon became known just as Zion Canyon.

     The hike up was getting to be a little more than moderate, but the scenery was spectacular.

     As we continued up, we should have heeded the warning of the insects:

     The lizards looked at us as if we were crazy:

     This has become definitely more than moderate:

     We finally reached the top of the waterfalls:

     Although the mountain went higher, we could not:

     We left our climbing spikes home. But the view was impressive:

Cedar City, Utah

Day 633

     We are heading north to Montana to meet the other RVer’s who will be joining us on our 3 month trip to Alaska. However, there are snow capped mountains ahead. Not a good sign.

     Cedar City was originally settled on November 11, 1851 by Mormon pioneers and is located about 250 miles south of Salt Lake. They were sent here to build iron works, as there are vast iron and coal deposits in the area. They named this area after the abundant local trees (which are actually junipers instead of cedar). Cedar City was incorporated on February 18, 1868.

     So, do you know what this is? Hint: it is called The Deseret Alphabet.

     For my fire-friends, how does this “fire engine” work?

     Went to the local museums. Saw this Ore Shovel,

     But it was in a bad position for the photograph, Barbara was kind enough to move it slightly.

Technical Stuff:

Las Vegas, Nevada to Cedar City, Utah 178.5 miles

4 hours 14 minutes

9.4 MPG

Diesel: $2.98

Hoover Dam, Nevada and Arizona

Day 632

     Hoover Dam is located on the Nevada/Arizona border in the Black Canyon. Back at the turn of the century (I guess I now have to specify which century, that is from 1800 over to 1900) the melting snow from the Colorado Mountains forms the river of the same name. The river passes through 7 states before exiting in the California Bay. Some years the water was so much it flooded the entire California lowlands, and other years the river dried up before reaching there, causing sever droughts. The Dam was the solution, but the 7 states could not agree on how to manage the water.

     Finally, in 1921, Herbert Clark Hoover, Secretary of Commerce, had a conference with all the states and the Boulder Dam Project was created. The Dam was originally going to be built in Boulder Canyon, but later it was determined Black Canyon was a better choice, nevertheless the Project name remained the same. In fact, after the Dam was completed in 1936, it was called Boulder Dam until the name changed to Hoover Dam in 1947.

     Tidbit of Information: On March 3, 1931, President Herbert Hoover signed a law that made “The Star-Spangled Banner,” based on an 1814 poem by Francis Scott Key, America’s national anthem.

     I would give you all the statistics of the Dam, but I see you are becoming bored. 

     We took a tour of the Dam.

     We saw the generators that turned water into electricity

     The Dam is not one poured piece of concrete, but hundreds of poured blocks of concrete that are interlace with each other. On the inside you can see where they are joined. Each is identified. 

     Sensors are placed throughout the Dam to detect movement.

     You can see where the inspection tubes are located in the Dam walls. 

     Water does not flow over the Dam. To turn the generators, water goes through passages at the base of the Dam, thru the generators. During flooding of the river, there are spillways on each side of the Dam for overflow. Water usually goes no higher that the middle of the Dam.

     To build the Dam the Colorado River had to be diverted. When the Dam was competed it took the Colorado River 6 years to fill the reservoir behind the Dam, named Lake Mead, the largest man made reservoir in North America and named after Dr. Elwood Mead, a world-renowned water and irrigation engineer, who worked on the Dam project and died shortly after it’s completion.

     In taking a tour of the Dam, we went to one of the air-vent holes in the center. Here is the vent hole from above,


and where I looked out from it.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Day 630

     We spent the day in Las Vegas. We did all the touristy things: saw the fountains at The Bellagio     As well as the spring gardens there

     The flamingos at the Flamingo (those are live flamingos)

     The chandeliers at The Cosmopolitan     The gardens in the Aria     We walked the Strip at night to see all the lights

     However, what I really wanted was a picture of me with a Las Vegas Showgirl. But, Barbara said NO, so I let her walk by 

Technical Stuff:

Tuscon, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada: 270.8 miles

5 hours 33 minutes

9.3 MPG

Diesel: $2.70

Musical Instrument Museum, Phoenix, AZ

Day 628

     The Global Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, is the largest museum of its type in the world. The Museum, which opened in April, 2010, was founded by Robert J. Ulrich, former CEO and chairman of Target Corporation. 

     The Museum features exhibits and instruments for every country in the world, with over 16,000 items in it’s collection, of which 6500 are on display. 


     Like this Alphorn, from Switzerland 

     The exhibit for each section features a flat screen high-resolution video showing local musicians performing on native instruments. We listen to the performances through a wireless guidePORT and headphones that are activated automatically when an exhibit is being observed. There are about 250 of these exhibits. As you approach the exhibit, the guidePORT automatically picks up the sound signal, as you walk away it drops the signal and picks up the signal for the next exhibit you approach. Now that was cool. 

     You can see the instruments, and watch and hear them played in the video.

     The oldest object in the museum is this Paigu (goblet drum) from Shaanxi, China. Made around 4000 BC.

     The skin of an animal would be stretched over the rim and tied to the hooks on the side. No video of this being played. 

     Let’s not forget the Gong, from Tibet:

     Wasn’t there a show about that?

     From Israel, they had the Shofar, the only biblical instrument continuously in use since ancient times. 

     Some countries I never heard of, like Cameroon, in Africa:

     For each Country they had a map of it’s location, the actual instruments, and the video. They had every Country in the World, including North Korea. 

     There were also sections devoted to specific types of musical instruments, like bag pipes, accordions, harmonicas, violins, pianos, Saxophones, trumpets, etc.

     For the gallery of the United States, they had exhibits on music from different regions, like Appalachia and Cajun, as well as styles of music: Folk, Blues, Jazz, Bluegrass, Country, Rock & Roll, and of course, Taiko.

     Then there was a gallery on mechanical instruments, like music boxes and this nickelodeon:

     So put another nickel in, in the nickelodeon. 

     Let’s not forget the universal instruments, like the air guitar and whisky jug:

     Going through a museum like this makes you realize how much you don’t know about different countries and the people that inhabit them.

     Well, it is time to go, big kiss to all of you:

Goodyear, Arizona

Day 627

     In 1917 the Goodyear Tire Company was looking for a climate to cultivate cotton for vehicle tire cords. They bought 16,000 acres here, in Arizona, and named the place, what else? Goodyear. 

     Ultimately, Goodyear sold the land for housing developments. The town became a city in 1985. Although today it does not seem much of a city. 

Technical Stuff:

Tucson, Arizona to Goodyear, Arizona: 147.9 miles

2 hours 51 minutes

11.4 MPG

Diesel: $3.09

A Walk in The Sonoran Desert, Arizona

Day 626

     Being from a metropolitan area on the east coast, the only cactus I see are in stores and television. Spending the day walking in the Sonoran Dessert in Arizona, I saw over 100 different cactus. Some I know the names of, some I don’t. Of course, the one we are all most familiar with is Saguaro

     Here are some of the others:

     I don’t know what this one is called, but it had the unique design of having water drain down to it’s stem:

     When we got to the mountains,

     we saw big horn sheep

     We saw hummingbirds

     and even one in a nest

     Sorry for those having snow