Monday, July 16, 2018

Downtown Mesa

We've been Mesa residents for over 15 years, but rarely spend any time downtown. The city has made a lot of effort to wake up the downtown area and has made many positive changes in the past ten years. Downtown is now served by light rail and has a growing number of food and art venues. They also have a growing collection of sculptures and murals and an organized tour.

Some of the sculptures were part of a touring sculpture show that used to visit before the city started their own collection.

There are quite a few animals, from pigs to wolves.

Some are whimsical.

Others seem a bit out of place in a desert environment, even if they do have some interesting details if you take the time to look.

There are lots of people represented - some are not specific to a person, like this one of the citrus grower

or the girl reading a book.

Others are donated by families recognizing their lineage. This man was a school teacher, served as the mayor, and then had refrigerated storage for crops which led to him being the first Coors distributor outside of Colorado.

The Wolfswinkel family had a service station and Mrs. W would bring a warm loaf of bread to her husband every day for lunch. I'm not sure what was in the mason jar.

At least one of the sculptures highlights one of the more recent industries in town,

but my favorite is one that combines a people element with animals. This one is located right across the street from the Mesa Arts Center, where they offer all sorts of art related classes in addition to a busy schedule of performing arts.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Tucson, Again

I headed south at 7 a.m., headed first for the U of A campus in Tucson. I found a spot to park not far from the Arizona State Museum (that I should visit some day) and dropped my last two quarters in the meter to buy me 30 minutes. I'd intended to bring a handful of quarters with me but totally forgot until I was standing in front of the parking meter.

My reason for the visit to campus was to log the only webcam cache in the state. BJ and I have logged four others during our travels, but I needed one more to qualify for a challenge cache that was still waiting for a First to Find. With challenge caches, you not only need to find it and sign the log, but you have to meet the challenge qualifications before you can officially log it as found.

Unfortunately, when I got to the published coordinates near the south door of Old Main, I discovered the cache had been moved to a different location another half mile to the east.

After repositioning the car and feeding another meter with the credit card, I waved at Lute Olson

and ignored the felines as I walked by.

I finally ended up where I needed to be to successfully log the webcam cache, and immediately thereafter claimed the FTF on the challenge cache that I'd signed 10 days before.

With that out of the way, I wandered around the desert for the rest of the morning as the temperatures climbed into the triple digits.

Both figuratively and actually - it was the end of the road for my desert wanderings and time to start chasing some

'neon' multi caches. These were done by the same cacher that did the neon related caches along Main Street in Mesa. The advantage of saving these for the afternoon was that much of the work could be done from the delightful air conditioning in the car.

Some of the neon was getting very worn,

but it brought me to this appropriate piece of Americana - Paul Bunyan flying the flag for the 4th of July holiday instead of holding his normal axe.

The real reason I went to Tucson was that there was a geocaching gathering late that afternoon. I have one more challenge cache to be placed in a series that I've put out, but the final cache can't be published until I meet the qualifications. I need five more event caches to meet the quals, and events are rare enough that it was worth the drive.

The sun was setting as I headed home after a long, but very enjoyable day.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Main Street

I've finally gotten around to doing a few of the local Wherigo caches, in part because many of them can be done from the air-conditioned comfort of the car until you get very close to the final cache. A couple of these highlighted some of the vintage neon signs that still survive along Mesa's Main Street.

At one time, four highways converged and traveled the length of Main Street.

Most of these businesses continue to operate although I wonder about the cash flow.

Buckhorn Baths is very well known. The original owners have passed away, and the property was recently purchased with the intent to restore and reopen the motor court.

I'm not sure how much more time this sign has. Bill Johnson's was a fixture when we moved to the valley nearly 30 years ago. This one (and perhaps all of the locations) is now closed and the property is for sale.

The highlight at the Kiva Lodge wasn't the neon as much as the "refrigerated" highlight. Air conditioning sells, especially this time of year!

I found this one hiding just off Main Street.

This one isn't neon, but it was memorable.

Now I know where old transmissions go to die. They make them into pizza!