Continuing on the Southwest tour we come upon the Phoenix, AZ metroplex. Here you not only visit Phoenix, but the surrounding cities of Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa, and other communities.
I was happy to be visiting Phoenix on July 4th and enjoyed the great folks at Visit Phoenix helped set me up with a wonderful dinner reservation at a wonderful restaurant called Rustler's Rooste. The steak and view were just amazing. My reservation was a bit early so I did not get to see the fireworks, but I really loved looking over the entire area They also had a wonderful live band and I recommend finishing your dinner with their delicious ice cream sundae.
I must admit, I love travel and seeing these places with so much diverse history and culture, but it gets exhausting. I typically stay in a different hotel each night to try to find the best for our tour groups and only get a couple of days in each place so I have to cram a lot in. I do not recommend leisure travel like this and when looking at planning our cross country tour I am working to balance attractions and down time. I say that because fatigue was hitting in and I sadly did not see as much of Phoenix as I wanted, but it was still an amazing city.
One extremely unique museum in Phoenix was the Musical Instruments Museum (MIM). This museum houses over 15,000 musical instruments from over 200 countries along with other cultural artifacts. It was started by Bob Ulrich, the former CEO of Target in 2010. As you tour the museum you are given person bluetooth headsets that pick up videos automatically so you can hear how the instruments sound. The building is 200,000 square feet and has a beautiful contemporary design. Along with instruments on display there is a section on different styles of music and a section on famous musicians and performers. As you end the tour there is a room you can try the instruments yourself. Personally, I enjoyed the giant gong.
This trip across the southwest has really started to ignite in me a love of art. I am certainly new to seeing and understanding much of it, but there is a spark. That is why I was so impressed with Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the West. This museum features various southwestern artist and Native American art. This is the newest museum I visited on my tour as it only opened in 2015.
There are eight exhibit spaces and a sculpture courtyard. I was really interested in the photography work of former Senator Barry Goldwater. His talented eye for capturing the southwest and native people was exquisite.
For me the most breathtaking exhibit was the Chris Calle Collection. His graphite work was astonishing and the piece remembering the Kent State shooting nearly brought me to tears.
As I mentioned above, some of the photos on display were from Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater. Whatever you think of his politics this is one of the most interesting Americans of the 20th century. He was a five term senator, a photographer, he was a collector of Hopi Kachina dolls, flew across the ocean solo, and had an interest in UFOs. On the way out of Phoenix I stopped at a small park remembering his life in the town of Paradise Valley, AZ.