Gals & Guys

While hanging at the EXPO, the four of us discussed getting together one more time before Linda and Mike hit the road.  They were off to explore parts of northern Arizona while Al and I were extending our time in Phoenix just a little longer to help our son with some projects on his house.Phoenix Botanical GardenAlthough the EXPO provided the guys with shooting opportunity, it was just enough shooting to wet Al and Mike’s appetite.  As I listened to the two guys conversing, much of the language was lost on me as I’m not necessarily a fan of guns.  Thus, the conversation sounded more like, “I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours”.  Ah yes, boys and their toys.

sporting clays

the guys get ready to shoot sporting clays – safety first.

Mike is more of a pistol shooter while Al is predominantly a shotgunner.  The previous week the guys, along with their sons, spent time at the Pistol Range at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility allowing Mike to share all his toys with Al.  Now it was time for Al to share his toys.  Plans were quickly forged for Al to introduce Mike to Sporting Clays.

Wanting Mike’s first experience to be a fun one, Al arranged to have a large, slow-moving target brought air balloons“Aim for the smiley face, Mike”.  In all seriousness, I’m not sure what the balloonist was thinking landing in the middle of a clay target shooting range.  In the photo above, you can see to the left of the picnic table is shooting station number 13.

Ben Avery shooting range

Staff members were quick to approach the balloon.

sporting clays

balloon lands in the center of a clay target shooting range

Since this occurred prior to 7:00 a.m., no shooters were on the line just yet as shooting doesn’t start until seven.  Staff quickly informs the balloonist that it was not ok to land.  After some conversing and laughing the pilot fired off the burner and off they went for a safer spot to air balloons

I’m sure it was an exciting morning for everyone.  Oh well, Mike and Al will just have to aim at the little black disc in the air.

The guys of course had a great time shooting, but Linda and I were more interested in seeing the desert flowers.  After all, spring in the desert is beautiful and not to be missed.  Thus, the two of us were off to the Desert Botanical Gardens.

Phoenix Botanical Garden

Me and Linda crushing maze as we tour the “plants & people of the Sonoran Desert” loop

Phoenix Botanical Garden

We match!

This was our second attempt to visit the Botanical Garden.  The winds kept us away the first time, and although we missed the peak of the wildflowers, the weather was perfect; sunny, in the upper 70’s/low 80’s, with a gentle breeze.

Phoenix Botanical GardenWe were excited to see all the cactus just beginning to bloom including the saguaro. The saguaro cactus are late spring bloomers, but seem to bloom a little earlier at the Desert Botanical Garden than in the wild.Phoenix Garden

Phoenix GardenSitting on 140 acres, the Botanical Garden is a museum of living plants with more than 50,000 in its collection.

There’s five main loops, each focusing on a variety of plants; wildflower loop, desert discovery, herb garden, nature loop, and plants & people loop.

There’s additional exhibits including a butterfly pavilion.  It’s a beautiful botanical garden as seen in the photos.


It was a great day for both the guys and the gals 🙂

Plants of Arizona (Falcon Guides)
Sloggers 442DB01 Women’s Wide Brim Braided Sun Hat with Wind Lanyard – Dark Brown – Rated UPF 50+ Maximum Sun Protection


57 thoughts on “Gals & Guys

  1. Hi Ingrid. I wrote to you a couple of times. We have been full timers since the middle of Dec 2014. I am a planner and my husband is a seat of his pantser..LOL..I was wondering how far in advance do you plan ahead. I want to know when we get in an area we have a place to go..I would appreciate any advice you can give. Thanks, Connie Tyler

    Date: Wed, 15 Apr 2015 12:42:44 +0000 To:

    • Hi Connie, thanks for stopping by. We do a combination but always have an idea of direction planned for at least 6 months ahead of time. I too like to know I have a place to park and a lot of state parks can fill quickly. We have a couple of weeks coming up where we’ll be traveling without reservations and winging it, but most of the summer is all laid out until Sept. We’ve discovered certain times of the year it can be a challenge to find openings. Hubby usually leaves the planning and reservations up to me after we figure out a general idea of where we want to go. The first year of full-timing was a learning curve. Be patient and you’ll figure out a way to work for both of you.

  2. Beautiful pictures from the botanical garden, especially the butterfly sitting on the purple flower! Funny that the ballon landed on the shooting range, bad move:)

    • Thank you. Yes, bad move indeed….I was really surprised to see that balloon descend into the middle of a shooting range. More butterfly photos to come 🙂

  3. Hahaha, “Aim for the smiley face!” You are hilarious! I’d love the botanical garden — it’s been on our list for quite some time. Cute photo of you two grinding grain for dinner. 🙂

  4. The Botanical Garden is so beautiful this time of year. I love seeing the desert come alive. You two picked the perfect day for a visit.

    • Yes Marsha, we definitely picked a perfect day to visit. It’s amazing all the beautiful colors created by so many unique plants.

      • Other than using Jojoba as our winter base, nothing yet. We do plan to venture out a great deal more when we are next here. I cannot be stationary for this long again, and luckily Terry agrees. Since I have family in the Phoenix area, I’m sure that will be part of our itinerary. How about the two of you?

        • I’ll shoot you and email and fill you in on tentative plans. Sounds like you’ll use Jojoba as home and travel out and back next winter …. how fun.

  5. That baloon guy couldn’t have picked a worse place to put it down!! Sounds like you are having great fun, and also managed to match your outfit with some of those beautiful flowers!!

    • It was rather funny to see those blooms the exact color of my shirt. Love that shade of pink. We are definitely enjoying our time in AZ but soon the heat will have us on the move.

  6. I can hear the guys laughter seeing the balloon morphing into the shooting range. The smiley face would have his mouth droop if Al decided to practice on that smiling face 🙂
    I would love to be in that botanical garden to see all cacti varieties in bloom.
    Sounds like a fun day for everyone getting to do what they want. Great pics as always.

    • Droop? More like a burst or rather explosion…. helium and gun powder – not a good mix! You DEFINITELY would enjoy the Botanical Garden in the spring. The desert is so pretty this time of year 🙂

  7. Really? The guy chose a shooting range to land his balloon? You might have thought he would have known better than to land in an area with a bunch of people holding shotguns!

    • We were trying to figure out if the landing was planned, but there seemed to be too many people concerned/upset. Kind of crazy and strange 🙂

  8. I haven’t been to a botanical garden in the desert and have added it to my growing list of things to see. It looks like a wonderful place, packed with blooms, even if it’s not at peak. I’m sure you two had a lovely day together. : )

    • A desert garden is so vastly different than anything back east. Some of the plants look alien like or even prehistoric. Some had me tilting my head in a perplexed manner. It’s something to see at least once 🙂

  9. Fabulous photos of the hot air balloon! One day, Someday I will be in one of those taking pictures of THE GROUND! The pictures of the botanical garden were so pretty… I hope to see our day posted. There were sooooooo many creatures out and about yesterday! I have not even uploaded the pictures from my camera. Still working on my trip pics. It was great having fun with you yesterday! Many more fun times to come!

    • Thanks Nancy. I’m sure we’ll have more fun outings in the fall/winter when we return to Phoenix. Let’s challenge ourselves in the photography dept.? I too am working my way through all my photos. I seem to keep uploading 😉

  10. Stunning photos of the balloonist landing, Ingrid! But, Mike and Al just have to aim the target. 🙂
    The butterfly capture blew me away… really cool!

    • Fortunately everyone seemed to have a good sense of humor about the pilots misdirection on a place to land. The garden is so beautiful that I even made a second visit this past Tuesday. Yikes, more photos 😉

  11. Funny balloon and balloonist! Gorgeous pics of the Desert Botanical Gardens. My husband and I were there in January 2014 and Chiluly was on exhibit. Beautiful! My son lives in Arizona too.

    • Chihuly exhibit has since moved on but the Desert Botanical Garden did purchase 3 pieces near the entrance that will remain on display. Stunning! Now why did I think your son lived in CO? Well, perhaps one day our paths will cross again and we’ll be able to meet without time constraints.

  12. Sounds like a wonderful time with Linda and Mike. How neat that the guys have shooting in common and were able to have some fun together. Of course, I know you and Linda had a great day at the botanical garden. I saw a senita cactus in the background of one of the photos. That’s the one we searched Organ Pipe NM for only to discover people grown them in their yards in Phoenix! You may have missed peak wildflower time but your photos are gorgeous with the blooms you did see:)

    What a lucky son to have contractors as parents for house repairs:) Nice that you are there and able to help out.

    • There’s so many different varieties of cacti, I can’t even begin to remember any but a few. The century plant always gets my attention and I plan on adding a few of those to my son’s landscaping in the fall. I’ve surpassed son’s budget on this visit much to MY pleasure. It’s been not only a labor of love but very fun for Al and I to do some much needed fix up on son’s house and of course son his grateful beyond words…. double bonus 🙂

  13. That is the cutest hot air balloon ever. What a fun day! Love your flower photos, and I’m sure the gardens were lovely right now.

    • Thank you. Yep, the balloons fill the skies a half hour prior to sunrise and have usually landed a 1/2 hour after sunrise. Definitely early risers 🙂

  14. Loved this! If we were given a choice, I’d shoot clay pigeons and Bill would go to the Botanical Gardens! Lol
    But we both enjoy both activities. Looked like a perfect day with more amazing photos!
    I love your hat! There was an ad for a woman’s straw hat but I like your style better! I need a better one than my ball cap!

    • How funny…. love role reversal situations. I wish my hat had the chin strap like the one in the ad for those times the wind kicks up. Linda’s hat was almost identical to the ad. I can’t remember where I purchased mine as it was most likely 15 years ago on some trip some where 😉

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