Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Arizona and Your RV

By Lance Winslow

Arizona is one of the greatest states for recreational vehicles and they truly appreciate all the RV people coming to their state and spending money. Each year almost a million people go to Quartsite Arizona for their annual events. Many snowbirds go down to Yuma Arizona and some people come from as far as Canada and the population of Yuma, swells. It is also fun to watch the United States Marines fly around in their jets to practice there.Of course the Grand Canyon is unbelievable and that is in northern Arizona. Flagstaff is also a fun town after you are done with the Grand Canyon. Also I recommend going to Sedona Arizona and traveling down Highway 89.

Bullhead City Arizona is right across the river from Laughlin, Nevada and all the casinos and there are many places to park your RV and camp out in Bullhead City and then go across the river to the casinos. Lake Havasu City is a wonderful place to visit and there are several RV parks there as well.

In the Phoenix, Arizona area you will enjoy Scottsdale, Arizona and perhaps you might make it to Globe Arizona and travel up the hill on Highway 60 to Show Low, Arizona. That is some significant scenery and terrain. Of course I like Tucson, Arizona and it is a great place to go to in an RV and you can go to the many museums there including the Pima Air and Space Museum, which is absolutely incredible. Please consider all this in 2006.

"Lance Winslow" - Online Think Tank forum board. If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; Lance is a guest writer for Our Spokane Magazine in Spokane, Washington

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Friday, April 25, 2008

The Ultimate Cactus Guide - Part 1

Arizona is cactusland. There are cacti everywhere. Arizonans even know that the plural of cactus is cacti. :)

So when you travel around Arizona with your buddies or loved ones, wouldn't it be neat to be able to name the cacti you come across, and maybe even toss out some facts about them? If you think so, read on!

There are seventy-two species of cactus native to the state. In addition there are around 1,800 other species of cactus also growing in the state, both in the wild and in little pots on peoples' porches.

Cacti come in all shapes, sizes and forms. From the tiny pin-cushion cactus to the 50-feet tall saguaro, these prickly plants are pretty interesting things. Here is a closer look at some of them:

Lets start with the saguaro, the friendly cactus giant (pictured on the left). I think that when most people think of a cactus, this is what pops into their heads. The saguaro grows in the low-lying desert well below the tree lines. Saguaros get really old. It takes 70 years before they start growing "arms", so when you see a huge one with lots of arms you know it is probably older than your great-grandma. Take a look at a prime speciment:

The prickly pear must be the most common cactus in Arizona, it is literally everywhere. They grow in patches, and one "pear" grows on top of the other till the plant becomes too top-heavy and falls over. All souvenir stores in Arizona sell prickly pear jelly and prickly pear candy. Mind you, ordinary Arizona folks don't eat more cacti than people elsewhere! Sometimes I come across some funny ones that look like Mickey Mouse's silhouette (see below).

Another very common cactus is the cholla. There are 20 or so different types of chollas, but they all ahve in common the way that they are built out of clusters of cylindrical stems composed of segmented joints. When I was a kid I used to call it the "cat poop cactus" because, well, it looked a lot like that. OK, I admit I still refer to them as such. They are also called "jumping cactus" because the joints break off easily and get stuck on people or animals who come to close. It is not uncommon to see javelinas with a piece of cholla stuck to their backs! Here's a cholla:

OK, guys and gals, this concludes part one of The Ultimate Cactus Guide. Part two will be published soon, so please come back.:)

Monday, April 21, 2008

How the Grand Canyon was made

Arizona is known as the Grand Canyon State, and while the state has numerous other attractions it is not without reason that this is the one most people think about when they hear the word Arizona mentioned.

It is an enormous natural wonder: it is both the longest and the deepest gorge in the world. It's 290 miles long and a mile deep. From the north to the south rim it is 18 miles across at its widest.

So how was the Grand Canyon created? Short answer: 6 million years of erosion by the Colorado River. The river may be somewhat tamed by dams and divertion projects, but it still follows the path that it established that long ago, and is still quietly deepening the canyon.

So yeah, it was not made by man nor space aliens, nor is there an escalator to the bottom like on young lady once asked me.

I wrote this post as an excuse to share some of the pictures I took last time I hade the fortune to see the canyon. Of course, nothing beats seeing it for yourself, standing on the edge looking a mile straight down.

So please visit Arizona and visit the Grand Canyon.:)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The 5 C's of Arizona

As you travel through the Grand Canyon state, you might notice that some industries and businesses are more prevalent than others. Schoolchildren in Arizona are taught that the economy of the state are based on 5 major industries: The 5 C's of Arizona. This might seem like an oversimplification of things, but show me any A's or B's or W's or whatever that are more Arizonan than the 5 C's!

OK, so here they are:

- Copper
- Cattle
- Cotton
- Citrus
- Climate

OK, so the first four might not be as all-important to the economy of the state as they once were. They did however make a lot of people come to Arizona in the early days, and they do still play quite important roles.

The last one though, Climate, is as far as I am concerned THE biggest underlying reason for the state's success in attracting newcomers in the past few decades. The climate and the sunshine is pretty nice! Well, except for the summer months when I think most will agree it gets way too hot.

By the way, check out the state seal: The five C's of Arizona are all represented:

Friday, April 18, 2008

San Xavier del Bac

Just south of Tucson on the San Xavier Reservation, lies the best-preserved mission church in America. The mission was founded by the Spanish in 1700 next to the village of Bac. The first church was destroyed by Apaches in 1767, the Franciscans built the current church between 1783 and 1797.

San Xavier del Bac is an impressive example of 18th century Spanish Baroque architecture. The white-plastered walls and towers and the decorations inside are really beautiful. The altar shows how the two cultures, the Spanish and the O'odham Indian, intermingled: both Catholic and local artwork are represented.

Inside the church you can also find a statue of St Francis Xavier covered with milagros - images of healed body parts and pictures of children.

The major feast days at the mission church are those of Saint Francis of Assisi (October 4) and Saint Francis Xavier (December 3).

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sedona - beautiful and mysterious

Sedona, a relatively small town of some 18,000, is one of Arizona's top tourist destinations. Why? Well, that is because nature has blessed it with some of the most amazing red sandstone cliffs on the planet. Millions of years of erosion has formed the cliffs into semi-recognizable shapes, such as Snoopy Rock, Bell Rock and Teapot Rock.

Sedona itself has little to detain visitors, apart from some nice shopping. There however are plenty of tour operators more than willing to take you sightseeing. If you have a car, be sure to get out there and explore the surrounding Red Rock landscape. Make sure to get the Red Rock Pass so you can park legally! It costs $5 a day, alternatively $15 for a week or $20 for a year.

New Age followers flock to Sedona because they believe in the healing powers of the vortexes in the area. These are concentrations of strong spiritual energy coming from the red rocks. If you are curious to see what the fuzz is all about, just pick up a map from the tourist information center, the vortexes are clearly marked! If you can't get enough vortex stuff, there are dozens of vortex related tours and shops in Sedona.

For the more mainstream believers out there, and for those who appreciate fine architecture, the stunning Chapel of the Holy Cross is a must-see. The chapel, built into the rock, was voted to be one of the Seven Man-Made Wonders of Arizona in 2007.

How to get to Sedona:

Sedona is 120 miles north of Phoenix and 28 miles south of Flagstaff on Highway 89A. By bus, the Sedona-Phoenix Shuttle is a good option (928/282-2066).

Pictures of Sedona:

Above: Chapel of the Holy Cross, Sedona.

Above: View of Sedona.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

No Daylight Saving Time in Arizona!

Most of you are probably accustomed to twice-a-year adjustments to your watches. Arizona however does not follow the rules of daylight saving! Perhaps because no one would really need another hour of sunshine during an Arizona summer? It is hot enough as it is!

Anyway, the point is to remember that Arizona always follows Mountain Standard Time, and never switches to Mountain Daylight Time. Arizona is actually the only part of the continental US that does not change its clocks.

But no rule without an exception, right? The Navajo Nation in the state's north east corner does make twice-a-year alterations to their clocks, because the reservation extends into Colorado and New Mexico as well. To make things a bit more confusing, the Hopi Reservation which is completely surrounded by the Navajo Nation, follows the rest of the state and does not observe Daylight Saving Time.

So keep this in mind when you visit the Grand Canyon State!