|*** I included a video clip - It may take a while to download*****
Thursday, April 5, 2007 we drove to Mesa, Arizona, which is a suburb of Phoenix. Actually there are many suburbs of Phoenix which include: Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale, Chandler, Sun City and Surprise the home of the Kansas City Royals baseball training camp. We didn't go to Surprise because the Royals are already back in Kansas City. We arrived at the Green Acres RV Park in early afternoon since it was only hour and a half drive from Tucson. The RV Park is small and tight fit for the RV but the place was very neatly kept. That evening we went to the Organ Stop Pizza Restaurant. I have been looking forward to seeing the huge Wurlitzer theater organ they have there. They claim it to be the largest Wurlitzer in the world. They started the business in downtown Phoenix but have now moved into a specially designed building in Mesa. The organ pipes, now numbering almost 6000 pipes are installed in four chambers at one end of the restaurant. They are behind glass moving louvers that are opened and closed for volume effects. The ceiling in the restaurant is 43 foot high to provide unparalleled acoustics. The Console is "presented" on an 8000 lb rotating hydraulic elevator. Many of the percussions (such as the xylophones, glockenspiels, drums, etc.) are installed in the dinning room for greater audience appeal. The console has 4 manuals (keyboards), 276 keys and 798 Stops and Controls. The organist can also control the lights in the theater and the lights that come on when a section of pipes or percussion section is used. He also controls special effects such a strobe lights, bubble machine, mirror ball and presentation of the flag when needed. He can also control a Rinky Tink Piano that sits in the right balcony and a Grand Piano that sits in the left balcony. He plays mostly popular songs and movie themes and the sound of this organ is awesome. It was great entertainment and the pizza and food was passable. We stayed almost three hours.
Friday, we took a guided tour which included downtown Phoenix, Biltmore and Wigley Mansions, Lookout Mountain and Old Scottsdale shopping area. We learned that the total metro area is about four million people and the fastest growing and fifth largest city in US. My only thought is how they survive the summer heat. My last memory of Phoenix was when Carol and I were here in July 2001 to begin our ride on the American Orient Express Train. It was110 degrees and it was brutal. Oh well, it was nice while we here now, upper 80's and lower 90's.
Saturday, I did the laundry and then we went back to the Organ Stop Pizza Restaurant. I just can't get enough of that organ. We again stayed about 3 hours. It was a different organist tonight. They have four on staff.
Sunday we went to the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale. It has a carousel, railroad museum, 16 inch train ride, HO train club and layout, O gauge train club and layout, N gauge train club and layout, live steamer club and train ride, beside two playgrounds and the typical park picnic areas. There was also a country store selling ice cream and snacks and a hobby store selling train items. The hobby store was closed because it was Easter Sunday. The park was FULL of people picnicking and taking the train and carousel rides. They also had some full sized train cars used for birthday party rooms. A pretty nice set up which was operated by the city parks and rec. department of Scottsdale.
Monday we are driving to Camp Verde, Arizona to ride a full size train.