Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Arizona - Corona Ranch

One of the activities Culver's planned for reunion attendees was a Mexican fiesta and rodeo at the Corona Ranch in Phoenix. We were greeted by a mariachi band and servers with trays full of (you guessed it) Corona beer and margaritas. We enjoyed live music and a delicious buffet, and then got to watch a Mexican rodeo.
The mariachi band that greeted us 

Quite the crew - Don, Danne, Brian, Mary and Craig
I'm not sure if the photo below represents "dressage," but the rider and horse definitely acted as one. Simple and slight movements of the rider's feet and knees instructed the horse to go through varied steps. It was beautiful to watch.

These were just some warmup steps

Three bull riders tried their luck.

Now for the actual performance - amazing!

Three generations of ropers performed for us. This gentleman is the eldest, but sure was nimble!

This man is the "middle" generation. He, too, is very skilled!

And the third generation of performers didn't disappoint - I think she's just nine!

The grandfather returns for an encore.

These women rode side saddle, and rode with precision and grace - very entertaining.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Arizona - Desert Botanical Garden

Tonight I'm not writing too much (need to get to bed), but want to share some photos taken at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. It's well worth the $18 admission fee to visit this place. We spent about 3/4 hour with a volunteer docent who provided a tour and taught us a lot about the remarkable adaptations the various cacti have made to survive in their desert environment. Enjoy.
Glass sculpture at the garden entrance

Looks so soft and fuzzy - but looks are deceiving!

Taken with a fisheye lens

Very accustomed to humans (and our food), a woman kept shooing this quail away.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Arizona - Sedona

Holy smokes - it's been too long since my last post. Over the next few days, I will cover a recent trip to Arizona. Even though we've had the mildest Minnesota winter I can remember, it was wonderful getting away to a warmer climate and enjoying nearly endless sunshine for several days earlier this month.

The purpose of our trip was the Culver's (restaurant) Reunion held at the Sheraton in Phoenix. (The reunion is their annual convention.)

We flew to Phoenix on Saturday, Feb. 4.

Artwork in the grand stairwell at the Sheraton

St. Mary's Basilica

The Basilica is a refuge of peaceful calm surrounded by skyscrapers and the busyness of a large, noisy city.

The bus made one stop prior to arriving in Sedona, and we were surrounded by beautiful views.

Bell Rock

Danne and Mary at Bell Rock

Our first stop in Sedona was at the Tlaquepaque Mall.

Mary at the Heartline Cafe. We enjoyed a delicious meal. (I had pecan encrusted tilapia.)

The "airport" mesa overlooking Sedona

Another view of Sedona from the mesa overlooking the town

We saw this from the bus on the return trip. Imagine their view!