: My Annual Snowbird Weekend in Arizona



gdwriter
01-23-11, 08:07 PM
For the past several years, I've taken advantage of the King holiday from work to take a four-day trip to Arizona. Winter visitors are known as snowbirds, so this has become my annual Snowbird Weekend.

I lived in the Phoenix area from 1988-2003, and I still have a lot of friends there, so I go back to see them, play some golf and go to In-N-Out Burger, which sadly, we do not have in Oregon. It's always a good time, and this year was no exception.

I played nine holes Sunday afternoon at Bear Creek Golf Complex (http://www.bearcreekaz.com/) in Chandler Sunday afternoon:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/hs021.snc6/165127_499012103093_776743093_5929579_1292283_n.jp g

Shot a 42 on the par-30 executive course, but that included a birdie on the #6 par 3. My tee shot was more of a line drive, but it managed to roll up to the green about 4 feet from the cup.

Drove to Tucson after my golf game to see another set of friends and played 18 holes Monday morning at Torres Blancas Golf Club (http://www.torresblancasgolf.com/) in Green Valley, which I picked because it was designed by Lee Trevino.

With a generous allocation of mulligans, I ended up shooting 97. The sand traps on the front nine seemed to have a tractor beam on my ball. Had one par on the front nine and two on the back, including a par 5 with water in front of the green. My approach shot hit the water, but had enough momentum that it popped back out and landed about 14 feet from the cup, and I managed to one-putt for par. So overall, a decent couple of rounds since I hadn't played since October.

After lunch with one of my friends, I had some time to kill before heading back to Phoenix for my flight home, so I made a stop at the San Xavier del Bac mission south of Tucson:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs765.ash1/165636_499012128093_776743093_5929580_5369060_n.jp g

You can really see the difference in the restoration work on the exterior.

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/hs042.snc6/167271_499012188093_776743093_5929584_646845_n.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs746.ash1/163801_499012153093_776743093_5929582_5219931_n.jp g

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs1379.snc4/163144_499012253093_776743093_5929587_5283526_n.jp g

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs893.ash1/180147_499013313093_776743093_5929592_6535933_n.jp g

gdwriter
01-23-11, 08:21 PM
One of my favorite drives is through Gates Pass (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Tucson+Mountain+Park&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=43.578243,93.076172&ie=UTF8&hq=Tucson+Mountain+Park&hnear=&ll=32.218247,-111.102419&spn=0.045965,0.090895&z=14) in the Tucson Mountain Park (http://www.pima.gov/nrpr/parks/tmp/index.htm), a winding, dipping road that climbs the side of the mountain to cross through the pass and back toward the city:

http://www.gdwriter.com/gates_pass.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/hs253.snc6/180184_499013653093_776743093_5929594_7725118_n.jp g

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs1379.snc4/163156_499013748093_776743093_5929602_1883297_n.jp g

Cars coming down from the end of the pass:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs781.ash1/167114_499013778093_776743093_5929603_5877896_n.jp g

Looking out to the west from the mountain side of Gates Pass:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs1396.snc4/164845_499013803093_776743093_5929604_5872951_n.jp g

The winding route up the side of the mountain and through Gates Pass:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/hs080.snc6/169094_499013818093_776743093_5929605_3064371_n.jp g

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/hs070.snc6/168035_499013878093_776743093_5929607_256985_n.jpg

gdwriter
01-23-11, 08:34 PM
After Gates Pass, I headed to the Pima Air and Space Museum (http://www.pimaair.org/). It's been several years since I visited, so there are a number of new planes. Unfortunately, I only had about 45 minutes to spend before I needed to head back to Phoenix. I'm only posting some of the pictures here; the rest of the album is on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=272538&id=776743093&l=ab26c19e86).

USAF Thunderbirds F-4 Phantom:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/hs252.snc6/180081_499013918093_776743093_5929609_1926977_n.jp g

One of the first three Boeing 707s used as Air Force One, delivered in 1959 and retired in 1997:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs749.ash1/164077_499014028093_776743093_5929612_6296270_n.jp g

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs764.ash1/165581_499014068093_776743093_5929613_6114747_n.jp g

Ex-TWA Lockheed Constellation:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/hs047.snc6/167762_499014108093_776743093_5929615_1803883_n.jp g

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs752.ash1/164330_499014113093_776743093_5929616_5224017_n.jp g

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/hs260.snc6/180867_499014148093_776743093_5929617_2930619_n.jp g

Convair B-36 Peacemaker, aka The Aluminum Overcast:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs1384.snc4/163615_499014303093_776743093_5929624_4417349_n.jp g

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/hs053.snc6/168305_499014323093_776743093_5929625_6516936_n.jp g

Six props, plus four turbojets to get this bird in the air:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs760.ash1/165194_499014393093_776743093_5929629_5315229_n.jp g

gdwriter
01-23-11, 08:39 PM
Boeing B-47 Stratojet. My Dad spent the early years of his USAF career working on these in the late 1950s:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs895.ash1/180317_499014468093_776743093_5929633_315933_n.jpg

Boeing B-52A Stratofortress. This airplane was used to launch the X-15 rocket plane:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs799.ash1/168986_499014493093_776743093_5929634_1056200_n.jp g

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs754.ash1/164540_499014508093_776743093_5929635_3410688_n.jp g

The under-wing mount for the X-15:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/hs057.snc6/168767_499014523093_776743093_5929636_7973120_n.jp g

A record of launches:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs766.ash1/165762_499014598093_776743093_5929640_4676885_n.jp g

I cannot think of a more fitting nickname for a B-52:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/hs265.snc6/179374_499014538093_776743093_5929637_1429098_n.jp g

A model of The High and Mighty One with its X-15 payload:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs1384.snc4/163673_499014618093_776743093_5929641_7475194_n.jp g

hueterm
01-23-11, 08:47 PM
Looks like a great trip, Gary. Perfect time to go to AZ!

ben.gators
01-23-11, 08:52 PM
Nice pictures, thanks for posting, and by the way, I can see some pics from a new STS! A review and a comparison with 5th gen Sevilles would be very nice! :D

gdwriter
01-23-11, 08:55 PM
A B-52D Stratofortress in Vietnam-era camouflage. My Dad spent most of his USAF career as a crew chief on the B-52:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs765.ash1/165653_499014658093_776743093_5929643_3463514_n.jp g

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/hs066.snc6/167685_499014683093_776743093_5929644_7467451_n.jp g

A B52-G Stratofortress in Desert Storm camouflage; in 1991, this plane and others in its squadron flew the longest nonstop strike mission in history, flying 14,000 miles and 35 hours from Barksdale AFB, Louisiana to Iraq and back.

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs785.ash1/167572_499014708093_776743093_5929645_3946541_n.jp g

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/hs276.snc6/180481_499014818093_776743093_5929649_4834683_n.jp g

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/hs066.snc6/167682_499014878093_776743093_5929651_3734265_n.jp g

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/hs062.snc6/167208_499014928093_776743093_5929654_4932460_n.jp g

Looking back at three generations of B-52: G, D and A:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/hs077.snc6/168736_499014948093_776743093_5929655_10463_n.jpg

Convair B-59 Hustler, the USAF's first supersonic bomber. My Dad worked on these at Bunker Hill AFB, Indiana in the early 1960s.

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs892.ash1/180067_499015073093_776743093_5929663_5077571_n.jp g

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs789.ash1/167956_499015093093_776743093_5929664_4835725_n.jp g

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/hs051.snc6/168107_499015113093_776743093_5929665_4971305_n.jp g

gdwriter
01-23-11, 09:02 PM
One of the new additions, a converted Boeing KC-135A tanker used by NASA for weightless training:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs799.ash1/168974_499015178093_776743093_5929668_1996867_n.jp g

It's better known as The Vomit Comet:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/hs003.snc6/165370_499015208093_776743093_5929669_5765669_n.jp g

The weightless simulation process explained:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/hs041.snc6/167105_499015223093_776743093_5929670_563746_n.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs896.ash1/180403_499015263093_776743093_5929671_1706965_n.jp g

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs884.ash1/179293_499015273093_776743093_5929672_8132949_n.jp g

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http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs886.ash1/179405_499015343093_776743093_5929676_6645810_n.jp g

Heading back to Phoenix, Picacho Peak is one of the landmarks along I-10:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs1391.snc4/164299_499015373093_776743093_5929679_209079_n.jpg

Third and final visit to In-N-Out Burger (http://www.in-n-out.com/) before heading to Sky Harbor Airport:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs774.ash1/166472_499015728093_776743093_5929695_5062538_n.jp g

I~LUV~Caddys8792
01-23-11, 09:34 PM
I really want to get back to Arizona! That was my favorite state I've ever visited (take that, Florida!).

Arizona is so much more scenic and spread out, and it's much drier as well. Florida was cramped, crowded and incredibly humid.


What the heck is with that Convair? Why are the props on the backside of the wings?

ben.gators
01-23-11, 09:50 PM
I really want to get back to Arizona! That was my favorite state I've ever visited (take that, Florida!).

WOW!...
Sorry Chad for asking this question, but is Arizona the only state you ever have visited so far? :D

I~LUV~Caddys8792
01-23-11, 09:56 PM
No.

Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Kansas, Tennessee.

gdwriter
01-23-11, 10:05 PM
What the heck is with that Convair? Why are the props on the backside of the wings?The B-36 is huge, even bigger than a B-52. According to Wikipedia, the rear-mounted propellers prevented propeller turbulence from interfering with airflow over the wing. With the addition of turbojets, the B-36 had "six turning, four burning."

ben.gators
01-23-11, 10:08 PM
No.

Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Kansas, Tennessee.

So I should say this a historical day for Arizona.... :D

Playdrv4me
01-23-11, 10:18 PM
So I should say this a historical day for Arizona.... :D

I have seen every state in the union with the exception of the extreme Northeastern states (and there's nothing of value up there anyway), Wisconsin and Minnesota, and if I had my choice of a place to settle down, the desert Southwest, and probably Arizona in particular would be it.

Playdrv4me
01-23-11, 10:20 PM
No.

Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Kansas, Tennessee.

Texas is sorely lacking from that list.

gdwriter
01-23-11, 10:22 PM
I've been all over the U.S. I think the only states I haven't visited are Florida, Delaware, Rhode Island and Alaska. And I'm living right where I want to.

orconn
01-23-11, 11:28 PM
The B-36 is huge, even bigger than a B-52. According to Wikipedia, the rear-mounted propellers prevented propeller turbulence from interfering with airflow over the wing. With the addition of turbojets, the B-36 had "six turning, four burning."

Back in the late forties and early fifties there was still a lot of experimentation with rear facing engines of long range air craft. I remember seeing a prototype of the Northrop "Fying Wedge" flying wing bomber flying over my house in Pasadena in the early fifities. This plane also employed , at least, six engines mounted on the rear edge of the wing. Every once in awhile I will see a picture of the plane I saw that day in aviation history stories.

It was not uncommon to see prop driven military aircraft in the skies over Pasadena in those days. In fact several crashed or crash landed in the Arroyo Seco where the Rose Bowl is located. I personally saw three planes crash during the time I lived in Pasadena. Usually the planes were military, but the last plane I saw, walking home from school, was a Piper of some sort which I saw spiral into a house and catch on fire.
One would think that the experience would turn one off flying, but that was not the case with me!

gdwriter
01-23-11, 11:52 PM
Just for you, Jesda, here is a picture of my dinner from last Saturday night:

http://www.gdwriter.com/IMG_0026.jpg

Chardonnay Shrimp Pasta (http://www.bjsbrewhouse.com/menus/pasta-favorites) at BJ's Brewhouse (http://www.bjsbrewhouse.com/). My friend I was staying with in East Mesa is on a pretty restricted diet because of a history of high cholesterol in his family. One night at In-N-Out was OK for him to do, but he generally doesn't eat red meat, pasta or any bread other than whole grain. Fish is generally good, but shrimp or any other shellfish is high cholesterol. So for him, my dinner was Heart Attack on a Plate. And it was good.

77CDV
01-24-11, 01:59 AM
I really want to get back to Arizona! That was my favorite state I've ever visited.

Ah, a man of good taste, I see! :thumbsup:

orconn
01-25-11, 03:01 PM
There are those out there that don't like Arizona, and Phoenix in particular! I really don't mind the more mountainous and less desert part of the state around Flagstaff, Prescott and Sedona .... but desert you can have. I am not against deserts per se but the Arizona variety, along with the Nevada and the Mojave variety have little to recommend them. Maybe as a cheap refuge from a frigid Minnesota winter, or if you were desperate for golf and it was raining in L.A.! For pretty desert ... interesting desert try New Mexico!

Phoenix .... the city that was landscaped by the same guy who did the L.A. River! You have to be really desperate to escape the cold to move to Phoenix. Unbelievably hot for six months out of the year (like over 100 F) and then there is the trying to get around a flooded city when it rains in the winter time. And when its all said and done .... its' boring, unless backyard wading at midnight is your thing!

gdwriter
01-25-11, 03:55 PM
I think there's a huge difference between the Sonoran Desert of Arizona vs. the Mojave in Nevada and California. Many parts of the Sonoran Desert, particularly the forests of stately saguaro cactus, are beautiful. The Mojave just seams barren to me.

Prescott is one of my favorite places, and AZ89 from Wickenburg to Prescott is a very fun drive I've taken many times going up and down the mountain. AZ89A to Sedona and Flagstaff is also a great drive.

Phoenix has done a pretty good job of paving itself over, but it's not (yet) a complete wasteland. I still enjoy the drive through the Papago Buttes near the Phoenix Zoo:

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_2vZrZwSwE_k/SaeRdE1ov3I/AAAAAAAAf4c/4QwqQD_aYfA/IMG_3664.JPG

The view of the city from the Dreamy Draw:

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_07JgyeCS1So/SfywAl5pqWI/AAAAAAAACNs/uDGzoyKlMRc/s720/DSCN4110.JPG

Any view of the city where you can sight the mountains that ring the Valley of the Sun:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3207/3020812740_f744e9f35c.jpg

The Superstitions and Red Mountain on the east and northeast edges of the Valley:

http://www.arizona-leisure.com/gfx/superstition-mountains.jpg

http://my-photo-blog.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/03/Red_Mountain.jpg

Still, I much prefer living in Oregon. Although I could see myself as a snowbird when I retire. Arizona winters are a lot like Oregon summers.

Jesda
01-25-11, 05:53 PM
As a local to Lambert Field, I get a bit nostalgic for the TWA logo.

Playdrv4me
01-25-11, 06:28 PM
I think there's a huge difference between the Sonoran Desert of Arizona vs. the Mojave in Nevada and California. Many parts of the Sonoran Desert, particularly the forests of stately saguaro cactus, are beautiful. The Mojave just seams barren to me.

Prescott is one of my favorite places, and AZ89 from Wickenburg to Prescott is a very fun drive I've taken many times going up and down the mountain. AZ89A to Sedona and Flagstaff is also a great drive.

Phoenix has done a pretty good job of paving itself over, but it's not (yet) a complete wasteland. I still enjoy the drive through the Papago Buttes near the Phoenix Zoo:

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_2vZrZwSwE_k/SaeRdE1ov3I/AAAAAAAAf4c/4QwqQD_aYfA/IMG_3664.JPG

The view of the city from the Dreamy Draw:

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_07JgyeCS1So/SfywAl5pqWI/AAAAAAAACNs/uDGzoyKlMRc/s720/DSCN4110.JPG

Any view of the city where you can sight the mountains that ring the Valley of the Sun:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3207/3020812740_f744e9f35c.jpg

The Superstitions and Red Mountain on the east and northeast edges of the Valley:

http://www.arizona-leisure.com/gfx/superstition-mountains.jpg

http://my-photo-blog.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/03/Red_Mountain.jpg

Still, I much prefer living in Oregon. Although I could see myself as a snowbird when I retire. Arizona winters are a lot like Oregon summers.

Good Lord that is absolutely spectacular country. How can anyone NOT like that!

gdwriter
01-25-11, 06:41 PM
Good Lord that is absolutely spectacular country. How can anyone NOT like that!Whenever I returned home after a trip elsewhere in the country, I always felt like I was living somewhere exotic.

Jesda
01-25-11, 07:29 PM
Food pics made me hungry.

In addition to Arizona, CA, BC, MI, AK, and OR have to be among the most beautiful states/provinces on the continent. I think I prefer Oregon's four seasons to Arizona's endless summer.

drewsdeville
01-25-11, 07:38 PM
Michigan? Really?

I admit, rarely bother to actually vacation there, though I've been there countless times (snowmobiling country). Some of the UP is nice, but there's definitely other scenic places I'd visit.

Whereabouts in Michigan did you stay?

Stingroo
01-25-11, 07:41 PM
I could go for endless summer. :)


I want to move to Texas though.

77CDV
01-26-11, 03:55 PM
Texas = tornados = bad. :(

When I was a child, I used to love the ocean. I could spend all day every day on the beach. Then, when I got to be college-age, I took a couple camping trips to Joshua Tree, and fell in love with the desert. The calm, stark beauty and absolute silence captivated me, and still does. And the heat doesn't bother me a bit, as long as it's not coupled with humidity. It's cold that I just cannot tolerate. I can't imagine living in the northeast or upper midwest. I have no idea how Chad and the others endure it year after year.

The "explore content" tags on this thread are getting very strange.

orconn
01-26-11, 04:11 PM
^^^ I don't know that I'd want to actually live there, but my favorite vacation place is the High Sierras of California. I love the scenery and the clear, clean air. While i have been an avid sailor from ten years old, I still prefer the High Sierras over the beach and ocean for pure enjoyment!

They are those that love the desert, I am not one of them. I get my fill of desert going up the Mojave on my way to Mammoth and other High Sierra places. Having grown up with mountains always close by, I enjoy seeing in the morning and all day, through the different seasons, but I also enjoy the green deciduous wonder of the East Coast and the glory that comes every Spring and Fall with the change of seasons!

Stingroo
01-26-11, 04:55 PM
True, I hadn't thought of that. Texas makes me think of rust-free cars. :thumbsup:

I could probably dig the desert honestly. I hate rain, I hate cold, and I've survived 15 years in Florida humidity, so dry heat wouldn't bother me. lol

ben.gators
01-26-11, 05:18 PM
^
I always say this: living in Arizona has two main benefits: 1- Rust free cars! 2- Very cheap housing options

Jesda
01-26-11, 06:10 PM
Michigan? Really?

Coastal and U.P. Michigan is beautiful. Just avoid Detroit and Flint.

77CDV
01-27-11, 12:19 AM
^^^ I don't know that I'd want to actually live there, but my favorite vacation place is the High Sierras of California. I love the scenery and the clear, clean air. While i have been an avid sailor from ten years old, I still prefer the High Sierras over the beach and ocean for pure enjoyment!

They are those that love the desert, I am not one of them. I get my fill of desert going up the Mojave on my way to Mammoth and other High Sierra places. Having grown up with mountains always close by, I enjoy seeing in the morning and all day, through the different seasons, but I also enjoy the green deciduous wonder of the East Coast and the glory that comes every Spring and Fall with the change of seasons!

I visit friends in Tucson several times a year for as much as a week at a time. Every time I have to head back to CA, I really wish I didn't. But, only three more years to vest my pension, then I'm outta here.

greencadillacmatt
01-27-11, 05:16 AM
Coastal and U.P. Michigan is beautiful. Just avoid Detroit and Flint.

I think the most scenic place I've been in Michigan was Grand Marais in the UP. It's right on Lake Superior. It's amazing in the summertime. :thumbsup:

0849
07-11-11, 04:57 PM
We are very much impressed with Arizona, incredibly beautiful scenery, will be moving there. Would be interested in knowing about any good shops to work on my CTS in the north Phoenix area.

ben.gators
07-11-11, 06:54 PM
Just Cadillac dealerships! If you can work on your own car, we have three DIY mechanic shops that provide you with everything and you can use their lifts and tools to do any project.... Else if you want to take your Cadillac to a mechanic shop, I would strongly suggest take it to the dealership. Our cars are too complicated for those small family owned mechanic shops. The other giant chain mechanic shops like pepboys are even worse! A bunch of inexperienced, underpaid kids are working on the cars.... Been there, done that......

AAA mechanic shops are good. However the difference in your final bill will not be very different from a Cadillac dealership.

Here there are 5 Cadillac dealerships. Kachina, Legend, Lund, Coulter in Phoenix, and Coulter in Tempe. I have been in all of them to buy parts, but never have them repair my car since I myself fix my STS. My local Dealership is Kachina and I really dislike their part department, but no idea about their service department. The nearby dealerships to you are Coulter in Phoenix (Camelback Rd) and Lund Cadillac (Bell Rd).