Archive for the 'Travel' Category

Page 2 of 15

Aloha!

Oahu PanoramaClick image to see more detail.

What have we been up to the last month? Why haven’t I posted? We’ve been having way too much fun wrapping up the school year and jetting off to an island paradise…or two…or four.

Stay tuned for more details!

…when we get a chance. 😉

Aloha!

Relaxing in Tucson

As you can tell from the previous posts, we had a fantastic time on our Spring Break Trip to Tucson. Each day was filled with an adventure of some sort, but we also had time to relax.

Our favorite place to do that?

Tucson Relaxing

You guessed it…by the pool.

When I texted my sister to taunt her about our lounging about by a pool, I was sure to tell her I had spotted a creeper. I could hear her snort in response.

When I texted my sister to taunt her about our lounging about by a pool, I was sure to tell her I had spotted a creeper. I could practically hear her snort in response.

Tucson Swimmer

Tucson Swimmer

A Tucson Tickling Fish was tickling my toes!

A Tucson Tickling Fish was tickling my toes!

Prickly Pear Cactus

Oh, Tucson. We love you. Thanks for the wonderful Spring Break!


Old Tucson Studios

Do you know who one of Claire’s favorite actors is? John Wayne. Yes, really, The Duke. She’s watched a handful of his westerns, and she absolutely loves him.

You can’t say that about very many 9-year olds.

When we were in Tucson, we’d talked about the different sights we wanted to see on this trip. We mentioned Old Tucson Studios, and said that John Wayne had filmed some movies there. She didn’t seem overly excited about this adventure, and I couldn’t figure out why, but I didn’t think much of it.

As luck would have it, we arrived just as one of the included tours was starting. As we were walking around with the cowboy (who has played in many movies as an extra, etc.) giving us all kinds of background and insider information about the various sets, all of a sudden, Claire squeezes my hand.

“Mom! I recognize that building out of Eldorado!” she squealed as she pointed at one of the buildings. “…and that one is out of McClintock! JOHN WAYNE HAS BEEN HERE!? YOU DIDN’T TELL ME THAT’S WHERE WE WERE GOING!”

It finally dawned on her why we were there. We were there so she could see some of the places where John Wayne had actually filmed some westerns.

She was floored. Seeing her excitement was worth the price of admission.

After the guided tour, we caught a show put on by some stuntmen, and that was entertaining, complete with gunfights and explosions! Then, we explored on our own.

Click photos for more detail.

Old Tucson Studios Stagecoach

Old Tucson Studios High Chaparral

Old Tucson Studios Waterwheel

Old Tucson Studios Girl and Waterwheel

This car was harder to control than you'd think. I'd scoffed at the rail down the middle of the road, but it kept us from barreling into some cacti...

This car was harder to control than you’d think. I’d scoffed at the rail down the middle of the road, but it kept us from barreling into some cacti at one point…

...and as you can see by Papa hiding his face, Grandma's driving may not have been much better!

…and as you can see by Papa hiding his face, Grandma’s driving may not have been much better than mine!

25 Scientists Plus 1

U of A Matching the Flowers

Claire’s outfit matches the flowers at the University of Arizona!

We had a great time walking around the campus at The University of Arizona. We enjoyed looking at all the plants, flowers, trees, lizards, and sculptures. Our visit just happened to coincide with a certain big basketball tournament, so the campus was completely empty. Bonus!

I loved this shot, in particular. This piece of artwork is called “25 Scientists.”

25 Scientists Plus 1

This photo should be called “26 Scientists.”

 

Saguaro East

We love hiking in the desert. No, really. We do! It’s beautiful and dangerous, and if you’ve read any of this website, you know we like adventures that fit that description.

Saguaro East

Last year, we fell in love with both parts of Saguaro National Park (east and west). On that Spring Break Trip, Claire completed their Junior Ranger Program, which was one of the most extensive programs we’ve seen in a national park (and she’s done a lot of them!).

This year, we could just play.

…so play, we did.

No filter, just squinty sunshine.

No filter, just squinty sunshine.

Claire and Grandma

Claire and Grandma

Dad and Papa

Dad and Papa

Rock Hunter

Rock Hunter

Hey guys! Don't go!

Hey guys! Don’t go!

So, you know the danger part of the adventure equation? This is the reason we wear shoes when we hike in the desert (as opposed to the awesome hiking sandals we own). I didn’t even know I had this stowaway until we got back to the apartment in Tucson. See it? If I’m pointed the right direction, you can tell time sundial-style with this thing!

Wicked

Wicked

As always, click the above photos to see more detail.

Biosphere 2

Biosphere 2 is another place we explored while on our Spring Break Trip to Tucson! It was just like going to another world.

Click photos to see more detail.

Biosphere 2 Map

Why is it called Biosphere 2? Well, as we were roadtripping there from Tucson, someone in the car asked that, and I jokingly said, “Well, it’s probably called Biosphere 2 because we already live on Biosphere 1!” Everyone laughed, but you know what? I was right!

Biosphere 2 started out as an experiment to see if we could replicate Earth in another dimension. What would it take to be sustainable? After 2-years of being sealed inside, the scientists needed a boost of oxygen from the outside world. They’d discovered the hard way that the curing of the cement in the facility was using more oxygen than they could produce & sustain.

The scientists learned a lot from that experiment, and now, Biosphere 2 is a wonderful place to do other experiments on a grand scale. Scientists are using it all the time to test their theories on a scale that can only be imagined elsewhere.

Speaking of scale, the pictures do not do this place justice. It’s massive.

Walking down the outside path to Biosphere 2

Walking down the outside path to Biosphere 2

Biosphere 2 is home to the same types of regions here on Biosphere 1.

Ocean

Ocean

Rainforest

Rainforest

Temperate

Temperate

Desert

Desert

We even ventured underground!

We even ventured underground!

Biosphere 2 Desert Basement

Labels, Labels, Labels!

Labels, Labels, Labels!

When the scientists were stationed here, they had to provide for themselves with what they had. They could communicate with the outside world, but labeling everything made their jobs that much easier if something went wrong and they needed to do maintenance.

Biosphere 2 Lung

On our guided tour, we were able to go to the South Lung. Because Biosphere 2 is a closed system, there needs to be an efficient way to move the air that is constantly heating and cooling.

On our guided tour, we were able to go to the South Lung. Because Biosphere 2 is a closed system, there needs to be an efficient way to move the air that is contracting and expanding.

See the black portion around the outside edge of the top? That is a membrane that expands and contracts, not unlike lungs!

All kinds of experiments are being conducted here.

All kinds of experiments are being conducted here.

 

I wasn’t sure what to expect when we visited Biosphere 2, and I was impressed. It’s amazing to think that the things they’re learning in Biosphere 2 will help us here in Biosphere 1.

Kitt Peak

On our wonderful Spring Break Trip to Tucson we had a chance to visit Kitt Peak, the home of the National Observatory which boasts 25 optical telescopes and 2 radio telescopes. These telescopes are not what you may be thinking: those cool instruments you can take out to the backyard and view the stars. These telescopes are massive and buried deep into the mountain-side and then soar off into the air. They are incredible to see in person.

The day we visited, they also had a solar telescope up and running. We were able to view the surface of the sun with two different filters. One highlighted the sun spots, and the other allowed us to see the plumes of gases swirling and moving on the surface of the sun. It was absolutely magical.

On this particular trip, we weren’t able to snag a spot in the nighttime tour group, but we were able to do the 1:30pm guided tour of the Mayall 4-m Telescope, which is the largest optical telescope on Kitt Peak.

Kitt Peak Mayall Telescope

On the walk up to this telescope, the guide showed us where they had to put a bolt into the side of the mountain during construction.

"Hey, Claire! Go stand by the bolt so we can show people how big it is." She obliged.

“Hey, Claire! Go stand by the bolt so we can show people how big it is.” She obliged.

As part of the tour, we were able to take an elevator up to the observation deck of this telescope. It’s enclosed in glass, and every so often, there was a little ladder for the kids to climb so they, too, could see out.

She hopped up on one of the ladders and gasped. “Mom!” she said. “May I use your phone to take a picture? This looks incredible.”

She hopped up on one of the ladders and gasped. “Mom!” she said. “May I use your phone to take a picture? This looks incredible.”

…and she was right.

What a view!

My favorite picture from this adventure was this picture Claire took while on that tour!

My favorite picture from this adventure was this picture Claire took while on that tour!

Click the photo to see more detail!

I can only imagine how spectacular the views are at night and in the opposite direction.

Escape to Tucson 2015

Desert Hikers 2015

We had such a fantastic time on Spring Break in Tucson!

Stay tuned for tall tales of our adventures and pictures.

Lightning Bug Haiku

Chasing lightning bugs.
Magic & science collide.
Glowing in a jar.

Small captives released
Childhood dreams made & relived
Empty jar, full heart.

I tweeted these while on our most recent 10-day Roadtrip. Chasing lightning bugs is one of my favorite childhood memories. No, we don’t have lightning bugs were we live now, so I’m glad Claire has the opportunity to do it, too!

We’re back!

Corn

I’ll give you three guesses as to where we went on our roadtrip, and the first two guesses don’t count. 😉

We had such a great time!

Instead of corn, my view is back to Mountains (of the both the Rocky and Laundry variety)… I’ll update more when I’ve had a chance to conquer the latter.