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 in.hot 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 land.hot 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

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The Wild West lives on!

Hubby and I have always enjoyed a wide range of diverse activities.  We’re the kind of people who enjoy dressing up and attending a Ballet, Play, or Fine Art Museum in a major city and the next day we’ll equally enjoy hitting the road for a back country trip.wild westYears ago, you could find us visiting Chicago’s Art Institute one day and the next we’d be packing up the truck, tent, and canoe and heading toward northern Minnesota for some remote woods roughing it.  Those trips were always an adventure filled with campfires, fishing, and wild blueberry picking.  We’d need to keep an eye out for any black bears while stealing their blueberries as an actual bear encounter was not usually part of the plan.  Fun times, bear encounters included!

blooming saguaroArizona’s Phoenix valley, offers the diversity that Al and I enjoy.  In my last post, I attended a Fine Arts Festival in the upscale community of Carefree.  The terms refined and polished can easily be used to describe the northeast part of the Valley of the Sun aka Phoenix.

Old Town Scottsdale, the Musical Instrument Museum, and the Desert Botanical Gardens could also fall into the class of polished and refined.  All well worth visiting.

But let’s not forget, Arizona is located in the WEST and there’s still plenty of WILD left to entertain us all.

Time to leave the polish behind and inhale some dust and gun smoke.  Folks around these here parts like their guns, horses, and four-wheelers.cowboy mounted shooting

Arizona Game & Fish EXPOWith our friends Mike and Linda in tow, we attended the Outdoor EXPO at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility located on the far north side of Phoenix.  This family friendly EXPO was hosted by the Arizona Game & Fish Department.

Upon arriving, our attention was quickly drawn to the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Competition taking place.  The four of us could have spent the entire morning watching this event.

cowboy mounted shootingThe horses seem to be having as much fun as the shooters.   Talk about the relationship between a horse and rider….  Wow!  If you’re not sure what cowboy mounted shooting is, I encourage you to watch this 3 minute clip.

kayakingOnce we tore ourselves away from the horse activity, it was time to check out the guns.

Actually Mike and Al checked out the guns while Linda and I sat at a shaded picnic table watching folks test out kayaks in the pool.  We also needed to discuss our plans for a Desert Botanical Garden visit. Spring in the desert is not to be missed.

shooting EXPO

Al checking out a Glock

Gosh, who thought there could be so many different types of shooting and guns.  Here’s a list of the different station areas for the various types of shooting;

  • steel target shootinghandguns
  • practical pistol shooting
  • cowboy action shooting
  • air gun shooting
  • benchrest shooting
  • black powder shooting
  • .22 rifle steel target shooting
  • BB gun shooting
  • Intro to shooting

target shootingAnd then there were the event areas for Archery and Fishing along with special tents for exhibitors.

Phoenix gun EXPO

I am not a birder!

A third area was geared toward four-wheeling and shotguns.  Want an exhilarating ride in a OHV? (off highway vehicle)  Hop in one of these while an experienced driver whips you around the arena kicking up mud.  Another area was set up for Rock Crawlers.OHVIn the above photo, the rock crawling boulder track and Jeeps are seen on the left in the distance.shootingshooting expoAnd no event would be complete without plenty of vendors to supply food and drink.  BBQ and hamburgers took center stage with a choice of meet for the burger….. Angus, Bison, or Elk.  Al went with the Elk while I prefer Angus.

With the exception of a few of the shooting stations and food, this whole event including parking was FREE of charge.

RVing

the original RV

It was a fun family event……  and this coming from a non-shooter.  Refined?  Polished?  I think not.  Rough and tumble at it’s best.  I needed a shower afterwards to wash off the layer of desert dirt coating my skin. Ben Avery shooting range

The wild west is alive and well.  Time to go strap on my six-shooter 😉Valley of the Sun

FurReal Friends Butterscotch, My Walkin’ Pony Pet

UFREE Large Mechanical Rocking Horse Toy, Ride on Bounce up and Down and Move, 44” for Children 4 to 15 Years Old (Black Mane&Tail)