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

Tombstone, Arizona

Day 624

     Edward Lawrence Schieffelin was born on May 27, 1847 in Wellsboro, PA. He became an Indian scout for the railroad in the Arizona Territory. In 1878 he  determined “there’s gold in them thar hills” and decided to become a prospector. Upon hearing this, his friends reminded him that Geronimo and his Indians will kill any white man they encounter and the only rock he will find out there will be his own tombstone. He struck it rich. When word got out, the place was swarmed by prospectors, and he named the developing town “Tombstone”. 

     Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp was born March 19, 1848 in Monmouth, IL. Earp lived a restless life, moving constantly from one boomtown to another. He was at different times a gambler, an associate of prostitutes, an accused horse thief, a teamster, buffalo hunter, bouncer, saloon-keeper, brothel keeper, miner, boxing referee, gunfighter, and, occasionally, a lawman. He was accused of fixing a fight he was refereeing. He was arrested for stealing a horse, escaped from jail, sued twice, and was arrested and fined three times for “keeping and being found in a house of ill-fame” just during the year of 1872. 

     We best know Wyatt Earp from the TV series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, in which he was portrayed by actor Hugh O’Brian (born Hugh Charles Krampe on April 19, 1925). Unfortunately, none of that was true, including the fact that Ned Buntline gave Wyatt a gun he designed. Sorry. 

     Wyatt Earp and his brothers came to Tombstone in 1879 to mine for silver and gold. They filed a claim on October 21, 1881 and built houses for themselves in Tombstone. Wyatt’s house is still standing. 

     Wyatt’s brother, Virgil, was Deputy US Marshal in Arizona at this time. The Clanton’s were outlaw cowboys who were at odds with the Earps. They also got into an argument with the Earp’s friend “Doc” Holiday. John Henry “Doc” Holliday was born exactly 95 years before me on my birthdate, August 14th, in Griffin, Georgia.

     On October 26, 1881, at a few minutes before 3:00 p.m., they came looking for Doc to kill him, and the Earp’s if they got in their way. 

     The O.K. Corral was owned in 1881 by John Montgomery. The previous owner of the corral was named Kindersley, so over time people started to refer to the structure as “the old Kindersley corral” and eventually “the O.K. Corral”.


     The gunfight actually took place on the vacant lot next to the corral, by Fry’s photographer’s shop,which is why it is called the Gunfight AT the O.K. Corral and not IN the O.K. Corral. Doc Holiday had a room above Fry’s shop, and the Clanton brothers were on their way to kill Holiday, when the Earps’s steped in.

     Owing to the fallout and bad publicity from the Gunfight (Wyatt and his brothers were labeled “murderers”) he left Tombstone on March 19, 1882. 

     We did take a stagecoach ride around Tombstone.      Well, it is Saturday night, bath night. 

Biosphere, Sonoran Desert, Oracle, Arizona

Day 623

     We traveled through the Sonoran Desert to see Biosphere 2 in Oracle, Arizona. So, who knows what happened to Biosphere 1?

     Biosphere 2 is a research facility used to study ecosystem processes under controlled conditions. It started as a self-containing space-colonization study in which 8 people lived here for a year to see if they could be self sufficient. The facility was air tight for living in a hostile environment.

     Eventually, after the experiment, funding ran out and the facility changed ownership a number of time. Now it is owned and run by the University of Arizona as a research facility. I assume the initial experiment was a success, but could not find  any further information. Construction of Biosphere 2 began in 1987 and was completed in 1991.

     It houses a rainforest, savanna, ocean, mangrove forest, a coastal fog desert, as well as the sphere for human habitat and agricultural areas. 

     Things you don’t think about: As you can see a large part of Biosphere 2 is glass.

     Since this is a sealed unit, compensation must be made when the Arizona sun heats up, though the glass, the air inside. When the air expands, it could blow out the windows, when the air contracts in the cold desert night, it would cause an implosion. The solution was two dome-shaped “lungs” beyond Biosphere 2 which are connected to the main structure by tunnels. They allow for the air expansion due to changes in pressure inside the structure. 

     We went inside the “lung” and actually witnessed how it work. Pretty amazing. 

     Today, the University is studying the use of Greenhouse Habitat Modules for use on Mars.

      NASA is planning the exploration and landing on Mars in 2033. That is just 15 years away. Those future Mars explorers and now in high school.