Virtual Travel – Arizona

Time to head to the sunshine of Arizona on our virtual tour of the country. Arizona has some of the most impressive geology and topography around, with the world’s greatest natural wonder – the Grand Canyon.

Our virtual tour also time travels back to 1952 for the oldest map in the collection. Ironically for a state that is mostly desert it features Canyon Lake. Located 50 miles east of Phoenix it is a result of the damming of the Salt River.

Government State Arizona 1952.jpg

 

 

 

The state was sparsely populated place in 1952 with less than 800,000 people in a state with almost 114,000 square miles. Phoenix, the capital, had barely 100,000 people.

Today the metro Phoenix area alone has almost 5 million people, with over 7 million living in the entire state.

Government State Arizona 1952 2.jpg

 

 

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Our trip moves on to 1956, with the fairly boring subject of a rural intersection featured on the cover.

Government State Arizona 1956.jpg

 

 

The backside of the map features the state flag bird, flower, seal and tree. The calendar of events is interesting, again showing the changes in the last 65 years.

The February golf tournament in Phoenix had a purse of $15,000 (est $200,000 in 2020 dollars). Today that tournament has a purse of over $7 million.

Other events like the rodeo in Yuma are also still in existence.

Government State Arizona 1956 3.jpg

 

 

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s the Arizona State Map was shaped like more like a book than a map. This map features the state flower, the bloom from the Saguaro Cactus. These massive cacti grow to heights of 40′ or more.

Government State Arizona 1967

 

 

 

1968 again features water in the desert. This time we are at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. While most of Glen Canyon is in Utah, it is dammed at Lake Powell, Arizona. The output from this dam heads down the Colorado River into the Grand Canyon.

Government State Arizona 1968.jpg

 

 

 

 

For 1970 we have the full view of the Saguaro. The backside of the map has a great collection of saguaros throughout the state.

Government State Arizona 1970.jpg

 

Government State Arizona 1970 2.jpg

 

 

As we move a few years ahead we again have cacti on the cover.

Government State Arizona 1977.jpg

 

 

The backside of the 1977 map however has some great photographs of the highlights of Arizona.

Government State Arizona 1977 3

 

 

 

For my collection 1980 is the last year of the ‘book sized’ maps. With a fantastic canyon view (amazingly not named on the map – guessing a view of the Grand Canyon I have not seen), the backside features many of the National Monuments located in the state.

Government State Arizona 1980.jpg

 

Government State Arizona 1980 2.jpg

 

 

We have been fortunate enough to visit a number of these locations including Wupataki Ruins. These ruins are nearly 1000 years old – home to a town of 2,000.

2005 06 26 Wupataki Ruins Arizona 1.jpg

 

 

 

By the 2000s Arizona had ceased producing traditional road maps, rather they produce a ‘Visitor Map’ on glossy paper, much like any other tourist map. It is filled with advertising. The 2002 edition has an unidentified road, while the 2004 map on the right is the area around Sedona.

Government State Arizona 2002.jpg        Government State Arizona 2004.jpg

 

In 2012 I passed through Sedona. An artist colony, it has amazing scenery as you make your way down Oak Creek Canyon.

2012 03 15 29 Sedona.jpg

 

2012 03 15 41 Sedona.jpg

 

 

2012 03 15 42 Sedona.jpg

 

 

 

The 2005 edition has Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon on the cover. This 8 mile trail descends over 4000 feet. The 2010 map on the right features Brittlebush with their spring wildflowers in bloom near Bartlett Lake.

Government State Arizona 2005            Government State Arizona 2010.jpg

 

It is hard to believe but it has been 15 years since we were last at the Grand Canyon. These photos are from the early days of digital – we need to go back.

We did spend 1 hour going down Bright Angel Trail, which equates to over 2 hours coming back up. Needless to say we did not reach the bottom. It was well worth the time, as soon as you get away from the crowds at the rim the views are so much better.

2005 06 26 Grand Canyon 29a.jpg

 

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The 2011 map on the left features ‘The Wave’ in Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness Area. This is one place that is high on my list to visit. The 2012 map on the right revisits Sedona.

Government State Arizona 2011.jpg           Government State Arizona 2012.jpg

 

 

 

In 2012 they published two editions, the one below has Saguaro National Park featured. The 2014 map features Mogollon Rim near Payson.

Government State Arizona 2013.jpg           Government State Arizona 2014.jpg

 

 

For 2015 the cover takes us to the countryside outside of Flagstaff. At over 7000 feet in elevation, the terrain around Flagstaff is very ‘un-Arizona’ like. It is near here that there are ski resorts.

Again in 2016 they visited Sedona.

Government State Arizona 2015.jpg          Government State Arizona 2016.jpg

 

 

 

The final map in my collection has to be in of course…Sedona!

Government State Arizona 2018.jpg

 

But there is much more to Arizona than the natural scenery, as fantastic as it is.

In Arizona you can see the London Bridge in Lake Havasu City

2012 03 14 Route 66 Road Trip 66 Lake Havasu City Arizona.jpg

 

 

Take a trip on Route 66 and see the wild burros in Oatman …

2012 03 14 Route 66 Road Trip 98 Oatman Highway Arizona.jpg

 

 

Continue on Route 66 to the very kitschy little town of Seligman for some lunch at the Roadkill Cafe ...

2012 03 14 Route 66 Road Trip 175 Seligman Arizona.jpg

 

and ice cream at the famous Snow Cap…

2012 03 14 Route 66 Road Trip 182 Seligman Arizona.jpg

 

 

Catch the Grand Canyon Train in Williams….

2012 03 14 Route 66 Road Trip 219 Williams Arizona.jpg

 

 

And watch Spring Training in Phoenix! Arizona is easily one of my favorite states.

2012 03 15 151 Glendale Arizona Camelback Ranch Spring Training.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Cleveland – June 2019 – League Park Makes a Comeback

For someone or something to come back after 20 or 30 years is amazing. In Cleveland the former stadium for the Indians baseball team has made a comeback after being unused for nearly 70 years.

League Park is located in the Hough neighborhood on the east side of Cleveland. In the early days of baseball many stadiums were located in the neighborhoods like this.




As with many other cities Cleveland built a larger, more centrally located stadium downtown and League Park was essentially torn down in 1951, with the exception of a small brick ticket office.

All that has changed in the last few years as the city of Cleveland has invested significant money in bringing back League Park. They have restored the ticket office, and remaining wall, and added a new field.









The field is once again available for baseball.







The ticket office now serves as a small museum commemorating baseball, with an emphasis on Cleveland.

While League Park will never again host major league baseball, it has found a great new life.













Evansville, Indiana – May 2019 – Bosse Field

Bosse Field in Evansville, Indiana is known as the 3rd oldest baseball stadium still in use, although they are disregarding Rickwood Field in Birmingham in that statement.

The stadium is most famous for being used in a number of the scenes from the movie A League of Their Own.

While it is an interesting stadium, it does not have the character of Rickwood Field.







































Houston – May 2019 – Sights at the Baseball Game

Since the Houston Astros had a home game, and we were staying a couple of blocks away, we checked out the scene. As with most stadiums they have sold the naming rights, so they play at Minute Maid Park 🙂




The crowd was gathering outside before the gates opened.



Anytime I visit a new stadium I like to get there early and walk around to check out the sights.



The TV people were preparing for their broadcast.




As with all the stadiums built in the last 25 years, all have ‘quirky’ features. This stadium has a retractable dome (which was closed because it was 90 and humid), as well as a giant glass wall facing the downtown buildings.



The bullpens were empty.



Some basic instructions were occurring.



Marketing + Marketing = Excess.



The left field scoreboard and stands.



Finally it was time for the game and the obligatory national anthem. This group of young string instrument players were excellent.



The Phillips 66 Home Run Pump, brought to you by Phillips 66.



They have a large train along the glass wall. This train weights 60,000 pounds, and the driver actually drives (and stops) it. In researching this there is no apparent reason why there is a train there other than someone liked the idea.



The massive main scoreboard – everything you need to know about Jose Abreu.



If you can’t hit a real baseball virtual reality gives you the chance.



They have cheerleader at a baseball game…. The most excited the crowd got was for the free t shirts.




Almost forgot – there was a baseball game played.





Crowds going for, or dodging, foul balls always make good subjects.







Finally it got all too slow and we headed out.






Biloxi, Mississippi – May 2019 – No Blues In Biloxi

Welcome to Biloxi, Mississippi.



Biloxi has to be the only town in America that built their freeway exit ramp over the beach and slightly into the ocean.



Nearby is the rebuilt Biloxi pier, replacing the one destroyed by Hurricane Katrina



Being on the Gulf Coast, Biloxi has palm trees on the beach giving it that tropical feel.



In some perspectives it feels like a beach town.



One of the more impressive buildings in town is the Frank Gehry designed art museum.



Biloxi has had a long history of gambling, and from the 1990s on large casinos were built directly on the beach.



Biloxi is one of the larger gambling meccas in the country outside of Las Vegas.



The tall hotel/casinos dwarf their small motels across the main boulevard along the beach.



But there is more to Biloxi than the casinos. The town is only a couple of hours away from New Orelans, giving the town itself a similar look and feel.

The Half Shell Oyster House not only is a great looking building, but the food was fantastic.



Nearby is MGM Park, a minor league baseball stadium for the Biloxi Shuckers – a middle tier farm team for the Milwaukee Brewers.

The name celebrates Biloxi’s heritage in the seafood and oyster industries.



The crowd was sparse for this Thursday evening game.



Their mascot is a giant seagull named Schooner.






Birmingham, Alabama – May 2019 – Rickwood Field

Despite what Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, or even Bosse Field in Evansville, Indiana say, Rickwood Field in Birmingham is America’s oldest baseball stadium.

Opened in 1910 it is in amazingly similar look and condition to the day it was opened.

While it is no longer used regularly for the minor league Birmingham Barons, it still sees some use with a tribute game by the Barons, as well as other use.

Most frequently it is used as a movie set for retro baseball movies, as well as local colleges.


As you enter the stadium you are greeted with old entry gates, not metal detectors.


The lineups are written on a chalkboard.


Going into the box seats you have a fence surrounding the home plate area for protection from foul balls.


The seats are still all wood, not plastic.


For most a large roof protects you from the hot Alabama summer sun.


Looking down the stands towards the press box. The original press box was a tiny 4 person booth on the roof, but this one was added for a period piece movie and it was left as it is more functional.


We were permitted to go onto the perfectly manicured field to check it out. The center field fence seems far away from here.

Also note how much foul ground there is behind home plate – many would be foul balls likely turn into outs here.


Looking down first base toward right field show the unusual cantilevered light towers.


Left field is similar, with a ‘batting barn’ built further off to the left.


A view from home plate back towards the stands again show the foul territory.


Despite it’s minimal use, they keep the field in perfect condition.


The view of the right field stands are far longer than those along left field. When this stadium was built in 1910 Forbes Field in Pittsburgh had just been completed as the standard in stadium design, and the architects here used essentially the same design – albeit with much less seating than the major league stadium.


As we make our way into the outfield you can see the advertising along the outfield fence. This was a common practice in the early 1900s, and the advertising that is there is either period advertising, or new companies with the ads made to look period correct.


The scoreboard has been restored to the early 1900s look, with the scorekeeping done manually.

The teams listed would be those from the 1930s – Atlanta is still in the Southern League, and Brooklyn still has the Dodgers.


Birmingham is happy to see you.


Even the Vulcan is present.


The ads are very cool.


Another sign of the history of the south – there were all white teams, and all black teams. Rickwood Field hosted both Birmingham teams.

This practice ended in the 1950s.


The right field stands.


Rickwood Field is easily one of the best baseball ‘park’s I have ever seen. While it has been made retro for Hollywood , it really works nicely.





Columbus – April 2019 – Ohio Sports History

The Ohio History Center recently opened an exhibit on the history of sports in Ohio. It featured both professional and team sports, as well as sports geared toward participation, such as these classic old roller skates.





The Cincinnati Bengals came into existence as part of the American Football League (AFL), a couple of years before they merged with the NFL. The exhibit had a rare referee’s uniform from the AFL days.





A classic bowling shirt from the 1960s.





One of the most famous annual events in the state is the world soap box derby championships in Akron.





While the NBA was in existence in the early 1960s, college basketball was bigger. An offshoot of that was big time AAU basketball – Cleveland had a team that was the National Champions in 1961.





The 1970s Cincinnati Reds were a powerhouse team, lead by catcher Johnny Bench and the now disgraced Pete Rose.





High School football is big time in Ohio, and are none are bigger than the Massillon – Canton McKinley rivalry.





Probably the most famous athlete from Ohio today is LeBron James.

The exhibit was ok, but given how much sports history there is in Ohio it seemed lacking in depth and detail.