Thursday, May 25, 2017

Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum

Today John, (my hubby), and I visited the best museum ever!  We have driven by it and never stopped in so we made a point to check it out today and I’m so glad we did.

The Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum is located at Falcon Field in Mesa, AZ.  You enter into the gift shop and happily greeted by staff.  You enter into the hanger and greeted by one of the volunteers; our guide was the nicest most knowledge volunteer ever, Mr. Baker.

He told us the history of each plane and the history of Falcon Field; I had no idea.  The hanger is not only filled with the most unbelievable air craft from WWI, WWII, Korean War and Vietnam but also includes so much memorabilia. 

The second hanger is filled with planes they are restoring and working on.  Our guide let us in the enclosed area and told us more history of the planes and the training they did at Falcon Field during WWII.  I couldn’t get enough of the stories; fascinating. 

There is a bomber they are working on called “Made in the Shade” which we got to get close to.  They had the bomb bay open and inside the doors were signatures of everyone that had a hand in this plane from builders to the crew.  Even one of the many “Rosie the Riveter” visited the museum this year and signed the bay door; so cool.

bomber door signed, Rosie the Riveter

The bomber, Sentimental Journey, landed when we were there and we got to go through the plane. The museum offers rides in this aircraft several times a day; we lucked out and got to see it taxi in.  All I can say, it’s very loud 😊  You enter the aircraft through a ladder that takes you up to the cockpit area.  You had to stay very low when you enter crawling into the next area where you can stand up.  Boy, was it tight in there I don’t know how these young men moved around in these planes; they had a crew of 10 in this bomber.  You next go through a cat walk over the bomb bay to get to where the radio operator was.  In the far back of the plane was the last gunner’s area.  He had his own door into his area.  You had to back out of the plane at the back.  It was so cool to be able to actually go through the aircraft.


Our guide showed me an electrical outlet where one of the gunner’s station was and told me that they would put on their normal underwear, then a pair of electric underwear, then their uniform and on top of that their flight suits; plug in their underwear to keep warm on their missions.  I can image how cold it was flying in those bombers with no insulation in the crafts.

On the outside of Sentimental Journey is a picture of Betty Gable along with bombs and 2 decals of movie cameras.  Our guide told us that this plane never saw action in WWII.  It made it over to the Pacific but the war ended when it got there.  It should not have had bombs put on it but when it was used in two movies they put the bombs on it.  The bombs represent how many missions and aircraft was on.

Notice the bombs and 2 motion picture cameras

After touring the planes on the tarmac, we went back into the first hanger to finish our tour.  John went along the outside checking out all the memorabilia and headed off to take photos of all the wonderful aircraft.  Of course, I got a little artsy-fartsy with my photos 😊

That motor was crazy!

If you have the opportunity check this museum out, it was fantastic!  We spent several hours there and I would definitely go back and check it out again.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Adventures at the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch: we rescued a Red Eye Slider Turtle

It’s 5:30 a.m. and I’m leaving the house to meet my friend Kathy to explore the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch.  I find a parking space and get my camera gear together when I spot a couple of love birds in the parking lot.  They were on the ground under some trees in a median.  I snap a few photos and off to find my friend Kathy.

 Love Bird

We meet up by the Saguaro cactus and off to pond 7 to see what we can see.  No birds, the pond was almost empty but off to my left I see a Coyote; my first Coyote in the wild!  I snap several shots as he stands and scopes out the dry pond looking for rabbits since no birds were to be found.  The Coyote was off for better hunting ground so we’re off to pond 1 to see if there is any water and birds.


Half way along pond 1 there is a clearing and we found some Canada Geese.  We enjoyed their company for a while and off we went to pond 5.  Along the way, we see Quail and lots and lots of Cottontail Rabbits.

Canada Goose

At pond 5 there was some water but mainly very tall vegetation; no birds and a lot of Cottontail Rabbits.   We looked for Jack the friendly Black-tailed Jackrabbit but so sad no Jack.  I haven’t seen him in over a year.
Peek-a-boo Cottontail Rabbit

Cottontail Rabbit

So off to pond 2 we go.  We come to the first clearing at pond 2 and no birds, so farther down the path we go.  The next clearing there were 4 Mallard ducklings on the shore and no parents!  We kept our distance not to disturb them and I took several photos of the little guys.  We went to the next clearing and still no birds but we decided to stay to see if we could see the mother Mallard; no luck.  While standing there talking a Great Egret flew in, love these majestic birds.  Took several shots and here comes mother Mallard landing in the pond and swimming over to her babies.  Several other mother Mallards swam by with their ducklings; yay some birds!!!

Mallard baby ducks

Great Egret

We decided to go over to pond 6 and yay water!  No birds but water.  We hung around waiting for something to fly in and nothing.  So off to the foot bridge by the to find the Least Bittern Heron.
We are at the bridge and we witnessed two Least Bittern Herons flying out of the reeds.  Of course, we just arrived and I didn’t have my camera ready.  Standing there talking with another photographer we noticed a lot of fishing line and lures tangled in the reeds and we all were concerned about the Least Bittern Herons when we notice a red eared slider caught up in a line.

My friend Kathy decides she can’t take it anymore watching this poor turtle struggle she takes off her shoes and socks, rolls up her jeans and she’s in the water to rescue the turtle.  She finds the turtle totally tangled in the fishing line with a hook through its mouth.  This hook was huge and thick and went all the way through its mouth and out the other side. 


Kathy brought the turtle over to me and a passerby helped cut the fishing line and part of the hook away from the turtle.  Kathy went back to the reeds and cut out several fishing lures and pulled out a lot of fishing line before we helped her out of the water.

Kathy and I were on our way to the parking lot so I could take the turtle to the Arizona herpetological association to see if they could get the hook out.  I called and left several messages but no one was calling me back.  I tried every button I could press but no one was answering the phone!  So I drove home to get the turtle into some water and keep trying to reach the association.

Finally, home my darling hubby had gotten our wash tube out and we put the turtle in there with some water.  I grabbed some needle nose pliers and holding the turtle John was able to push the hook out of its mouth and the turtle was saved!  The turtle was so happy.


So back in the car we go to drive back to the Riparian Preserve to return the poor turtle back to its habitat.  I released the turtle back to the fishing pond where we rescued it but on the other side away from the reeds and fishing line.  The turtle was so excited to get back to its home it couldn’t wait to get back in the water.

Red Ear Slider Turtle back home

All I ask if you need to fish please read the signs and do not fish on the foot bridge!  If you lose your fishing lures jump in the water and retrieve them.  You have no idea how much you are hurting wildlife by leaving your trash behind!

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Time Arizona Lost a National Monument

I was honored today, Arizona Highways used my photo of Papago Park in their article about Arizona losing a National Monument.  The article is about how Papago Saguaro National Monument, created in 1914, lost it's National Park status and became Papago Park in 1930.  It was the very first park in the US to loose it's National Park status.