Tuesday, September 25, 2012

About The Best Day Ever!

Our 600th Post!  And suitably, it includes the Grand Canyon, which is one of our favorite places.  I think we've convinced our Russian friends of the same thing.  It is a beautiful place, and though the day dawned cloudy and threatening sprinkles, any day at the Canyon is great!  It was a 90 minute drive up from Flagstaff, and of course, we had to take the obligatory group shots.

With the spectacular backdrop, everyone wanted their picture taken...

After all the pictures, we split up a little.  Chuck agreed to lead a hike down Bright Angel Trail for 3km.  Meanwhile, Melinda and I escorted Anton (who didn't care to hike today) along the rim and for some shopping before meeting everyone for a late lunch.

 For lunch we went over to one of our June star party standards, Maswick Cafeteria.  While I usually go for the Mexican food, most everyone today (everybody, I think) went for pizza.  Interestingly, they go for what I think is the bland pizza - straight cheese and tomato sauce...  Oh well, I guess they know what they like!  Finally, everyone who had gone out hiking had some time to do some souvenir shopping before heading  back to Flagstaff.  On the way, we stopped at our friend Tom Taylor's B&B, A Shooting Star Inn.  We blogged about them recently, and I thought the group would like to observe through his solar telescope.  Fortunately, the clouds parted for a few minutes and we all got a good look.  Everyone also really enjoyed his music studio, with several making themselves at home with some of his instruments!

Finally, back in Flagstaff, we went back to our rooms to relax a bit and dress in warmer clothes for our visit to Lowell Observatory, a great historic location.  The highlight of any trip at the Observatory is the big 60cm (24") refractor, now about 115 years old - old by most any standards around here.  After a nice movie while it got dark, we climbed the hill to the historic scope.  While waiting in line I took another group shot with the telescope enclosure in the background.  Most of these following exposures are 5-8 seconds in length, the group shot illuminated briefly with my red flashlight...  Finally it was our turn to observe.  With the bright moon, that is the only object to which the  big scope was pointed.  It is visible out the dome slit at right.  Unfortunately, the scope wasn't in critical focus, so I was unable to examine the color error of the achromatic doublet, but it was still interesting to finally look through it after about 10 years of trying!

After a couple hours of looking through some additional small scopes, touring through the interactive exhibits, visiting the Rotunda (collection of some historic instruments), and more shopping in the gift shop, we finally decided it was time for some dinner.  Interestingly, several of the local eateries were totally packed for some reason on this Monday night, so we ended up at Coco's.  Eating late, we finally got back to the rooms about 10pm.  Another road trip tomorrow to return to Tucson - the gang has a train to catch Tuesday evening...  The end of the Arizona leg of the visit is in sight!


Anonymous said...

very cool trip photos, kudos to you and yours for showing them the best of the best of arizona. (including the apple store at la encantada) wink. matt who works for apple inc. has lived in cali for about 3 yrs now and has moved up in the company. many trips to cupertino etc. mike would have loved interacting with the russian folks to challenge his foreign language skills. looks like your visitors are having a grand ole time. (pun intended) safe journeys

Anton's parents said...

Hello! My wife and I watched with great interest for a description of the stay of Russian children in Arizona (our Anton included). We want to thank you for the warm welcome and irreplaceable experience with enthusiastic people one thing, I think this trip will be remembered by children for life. We wish you a lot of vitality and all the best. Thank you very much!!