Sunday, March 26, 2017

Mt Lemmon

March 12, 2017



Mt. Lemmon/Summerhaven Information

The Summerhaven subdivision of Mount Lemmon, Arizona is a community approximately 29 miles north of Tucson in the center of the Santa Catalina Mountains at an elevation of 8000’. The whole Santa Catalina mountain range is mistakenly called Mount Lemmon. The peak of Mt. Lemmon (9,157’) is actually more of a knoll, located adjacent to the University of Arizona Stewart Observatories.

The average temperature on Mount Lemmon is approximately 30 degrees cooler than that of Tucson which makes Mount Lemmon quite popular during the summer months. Additionally the top of the mountain is 9,157’ and is the location of the southernmost ski area in the United States. Mount Lemmon Ski Valley normally provides skiing and snowboarding from late December into March or April. The El Nino of 1997-98 brought 30 plus feet of snow to the mountain, one of the best years for skiing and snowboarding in recent memory. Ski Valley is also the home of the Iron Door Restaurant.

In addition, there are a number of recreational amenities offered on the mountain, including hiking, camping, fishing, birding, sledding, snowshoeing and rock climbing, making the area an attractive recreation and getaway location less than one hour from Tucson.


There are approximately 450 acres of privately owned land on Mount Lemmon, completely surrounded by the Coronado National Forest. Summerhaven, the largest subdivision, was subdivided in the 1920’s. The lots in this subdivision are small, typically averaging between 5,000 and 6,500 square feet. The subdivision of Loma Sabino Pines was created by a land swap with the US Forest Service back in the 1980’s. The lots in this subdivision average 16,000 square feet, giving the area a more open feeling.

The majority of the 450 acres of privately owned land is utilized for second homes and private residences. There are also approximately 130 cabins on land leased from the US Forest Service under 20-year permits.

Commercial development is limited to the lots along Sabino Canyon Parkway. Currently Summerhaven has The Sawmill Run, a new restaurant opened April 1, 2012. The Mt. Lemmon General Store & Gift Shop, provides anything a tourist, cabin owner, cabin renter or Arizona Trail biker or hiker may need or want. In addition the General Store & Gift Shop offers a large selection of gifts, to groceries to camping gear. The Living Rainbow, a gift shop, is located down the street and the Pizza and Cookie Cabin, serving pizza, giant cookies and homemade chili operates in Summerhaven. A US Post Office and a real estate office, Mt. Lemmon Realty also resides in Summerhaven. Karen’s Sky Mountain Realty operates out of Summerhaven but does not currently have an office here.

Overnight lodging facilities are currently non-existent in Summerhaven and on Mt. Lemmon. Families wanting to stay on the mountain must rent a cabin from private individuals or Mt. Lemmon Realty in the summer months. All businesses here rely heavily on summer business. Mt. Lemmon, because of the limited overnight facilities and the close proximity to Tucson, is largely a day use area. However, in the summer months, there is a large population in the private homes. After all, the subdivision was named Summerhaven for a reason back in the 1920’s.

The Mount Lemmon Highway, which carries traffic from metropolitan Tucson to Summerhaven, has under gone a Federal Highway Improvement. This project was started in 1986 and completed in 2003. It is joked that it was a planned 10 year project that lasted 17 years. The project was implemented and was been accomplished in 3 to 5 mile segments, every other year. Traffic has increased because of the work done..

The Santa Catalina’s are heavily visited with an average use exceeding a million visitors per year. Mt. Lemmon and Sabino Canyon are Tucson’s second most popular tourist attraction. Weekend days with fresh snow on the ground are always a challenge. At times the Mt. Lemmon Highway is closed to traffic due to too many cars on the highway and lack of facilities to accommodate these large numbers of people and cars

One of our favorite drives is up to Mt. Lemmon while there is still snow on the ground.  If one times it right the snow melt creates waterfalls along the way and the streams are running with the ice cold water.  We were too late for the above, but it was a great drive nonetheless.  

Debbie and Dale went with us and enjoyed the views and drive as much as we did.  There is a small creek behind them with a little water in it but the photo doesn't show it.

Debbie & Dale
As mentioned above the road to the top took a number of years to complete and once you drive it you will see why.  It's 26 miles from the bottom to the top and an uphill climb almost all the way.  There are a number of turnouts along the way and also some campgrounds for small rvs or tent campers.  I wouldn't even consider driving our 40ft motorhome to the top.

There are a number of areas cut through boulders with sharp dropoffs.  Thankfully they have barriers that are quite strong and would save you in the event you ran off the road.



There are a number of beautiful cabins in Summerhaven that are mainly used in the summer to cool off.  The cabin below looked very nice and would be a great summer retreat.


It was warm on the mountain and the snow runoff was crossing the road in a couple places.  I would have liked to get out and wade in this stream crossing the road, but there wasn't a place to park.


We saw this vintage Porsche on the way up and I asked the driver what it was.  He said he bought it in an estate sale a couple years ago and was slowly restoring it.  The man was over 6ft tall and his head and shoulders were unprotected due to not having a windshield. 


There was snow on the ski slope but it wasn't deep enough to ski on and the area was closed off.  There are a couple ski lifts there and 2 or 3 ski slopes.  Not Sun Valley, but close enough for a day trip to ski.


We stopped at an overlook on the way back and got our picture taken.  I think we could see for 50 miles more or less from the area.




Closeup of the stone work.

I've included this tree since it's covered in carvings with initials, A loves B, etc.  If you double click on the picture you can see the carvings.  There is a smaller tree near this one with carvings all over it also.  It's amazing that the tree can live with all the bark cut out of it.


We took a quick drive through Saguaro Park East to show Debbie and Dale what is there.  It's an eight mile drive on a one way paved road and is a pleasant drive.  We were too early for most of the desert flowers, but there were a few out.  They have nature trails in the park along with many night time hikes led by a ranger.  Check it out if you are in the area.

Crested Saguaro Cactus

We stopped by Saguaro Corners restaurant on the way back and had a couple cold ones before we headed back to the campground.  There was a man singing and playing the guitar to entertain the patrons as well.  It was a long day but we enjoyed the mountain and Saguaro Park very much.

That was our day, how was yours?  Can you remember back to March 12?

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Hummel Sale

One of the ladies in Gerry's craft group happened to mention that an antique shop had Hummels on sale for 60% off.  That perked up Gerry's interest in a heartbeat so she decided to check out the sale.

Now some people buy Hummels as an investment, but Gerry just likes them and has collected them for the last 50 years or more.  She has a nice collection of them in storage and occasionally finds one or two on sale and adds to the collection.  That way she can see them while we are in the motorhome and enjoy them.  The following are some of her collection that is in storage.



































Gerry knows the names of each hummel and she only collects original Goebel figurines.  There have been knockoff ones out there but she knows her hummels very well.

She had me somewhat nervous for a while when she asked me to come in and look at a couple hummels.  I usually just say if you like it, buy it.  When I saw the price tag for this pair I had to modify my statement.  Gulp!



Thank God she wasn't that interested in these three and we walked out with three others for a reasonable price.  These were 32 inch ones and she prefers the 3 - 6 inch ones. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Arizona State Capitol Museum Pt 2

 March 22, 2017

The first territorial capitol of Arizona was Fort Whipple, an army post near Prescott. The capitol was later moved to Prescott. In 1867 the territorial capitol was moved to Tucson. In 1877, the capitol moved back to Prescott. Phoenix became Arizona's permanent capitol city in 1889 and, in that year, the construction of the Phoenix state capitol building began. Completed in 1900, the cost of the building was about $136,000.


The Arizona State Capitol Building was dedicated on February 25, 1901. It was designated a museum in 1977.

The Arizona State Capitol Museum was the actual state capitol building when Arizona became the 48th state of the United States in 1912. The Governor's Office was located here until the mid-70s. Although the rooms of the Arizona State Capitol Museum are no longer used for state business, the Governor's Office, other departments and the Senate and House of Representatives are in adjacent buildings.

Copy Of The Liberty Bell

 When we arrived at the museum there was a nice luncheon on the grounds.  We weren't invited but did receive some cookies and a couple bottles of water from the servers at the luncheon.  Next to that group was a tent set up to sign organ donors.  There were a number of pictures on poles with organ transplant patients who owe their lives to organ donors, as well as some of the donor's photos on poles.   The white tents were from the luncheon and the blue tent was for the sign up of organ donors.


 There were two large pieces of petrified wood near the entrance to the museum.  I assume they came from the Petrified Forest in Arizona. 


 There is a scene on the Arizona Great Seal that portrays Arizona's landscape, climate, and industry. A miner stands in the hills with his pick axe and shovel. In the distance, a brilliant sun rises over the hills. And below, a fertile irrigated field springs to life.

Ditat Deus - God Enriches
On the 4th floor of the Arizona State Capitol Museum you can look down into the original House Chamber from the gallery.  Did you spot the spittoon?



There is a small courtroom that looks like the original one used for many years.  Judge Larry Clark is swearing in Gerry Clark to make sure she is telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  Yes, I know the judge is dressed very casual but there wasn't any air conditioning in his court.


Sandra Day O'Connor was from Arizona and was sworn in as the first female US Supreme Court justice in 1981.


I ran into a distant relative of mine at the state capitol building. Zachary Taylor was an American president born on November 24, 1784, near Barboursville, Virginia. Known as a national war hero for his battles in the Mexican War, Taylor was elected as the 12th president of the United States in 1849. He led the nation during its debates on slavery and Southern secession. After serving only 16 months in office, Taylor died from cholera morbus on July 9, 1850.  



There is a room dedicated to relics from the USS Arizona that was sunk in Pearl Harbor during the sneak Japanese attack on December 7, 1941.  The silverware was donated to the USS Arizona by it's citizens in 1919.









More silver service that was on the USS Arizona.



There is a very nice scale model of the USS Arizona on display along with pictures and pieces of the Arizona in a separate room.


There were many other artifacts in the museum but we were running out of time and it was time to leave.  I have a number of other photos but don't want to overload you with them.

We enjoyed the museum and thought it was time well spent there.  It wasn't fancy, but it gave us a glimpse of what it looked like when it was in use.

We wanted to beat the terrible Phoenix rush hour traffic and left early enough to avoid the worst of it.  It was a long day, but we enjoyed it.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Arizona State Capitol Museum Pt 1

Our friends Debbie and Dale needed to travel to Phoenix and asked if we wanted to join them for the drive.  The plan was to stop and visit the State Capitol Museum and then pick up some things they needed.  So, it was off to Phoenix early in the morning for the first stop at the Museum.

Arizona built a state capitol building and upgraded it a number of times and finally outgrew the space available.  There are a few offices left there but for the most part it is a museum with Arizona's history as a Territory and later a US State.

It is a nice museum spread out over 4 floors and I was interested in the posters from each of our armed forces during WWII.  I had seen many of them but there were a few new ones to me.  Since I haven't written for a while, I thought I'd start off with showing these posters.  They came from a more patriotic time in the US history.  There was more to the visit and I will write about it on a subsequent post.  Hope you enjoy the posters.

Who me??























From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the graffiti.

Engraving of Kilroy on the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Kilroy was here is an American meme that became popular during World War II; it is typically seen in graffiti. Its origins are debated, but the phrase and the distinctive accompanying doodle – bald-headed man (sometimes depicted as having a few hairs) with a prominent nose peeking over a wall with the fingers of each hand clutching the wall – became associated with GIs in the 1940s.

"Kilroy" was the American equivalent of the Australian Foo was here, which originated during World War I and later became popular amongst schoolchildren.

"Mr Chad" or just "Chad", was the version that became popular in the United Kingdom. The character of Chad may have derived from a British cartoonist in 1938, possibly pre-dating "Kilroy was here".

Etymologist Dave Wilton says, "Some time during the war, Chad and Kilroy met, and in the spirit of Allied unity merged, with the British drawing appearing over the American phrase."[1] Other names for the character include Smoe, Clem, Flywheel, Private Snoops, Overby, The Jeep (as both characters had sizable noses), and Sapo.

Author Charles Panati says that in the United States "the mischievous face and the phrase became a national joke... The outrageousness of the graffiti was not so much what it said, but where it turned up."[2] The major Kilroy graffiti fad ended in the 1950s, but today people all over the world still scribble the character and "Kilroy was here" in schools, trains, and other public areas.

It is believed that James J. Kilroy was the origin of the expression, as he used the phrase when checking ships at the Fore River Shipyard in Massachusetts during WWII.



 The museum is free and takes about an hour to visit and see the exhibits.  If you are in Phoenix and have the time, it would be worthwhile to visit.  There is parking right across the street from the Old Capitol building.