BEETHOVEN’S NINTH AND WILLIAMS’ TALLIS FANTASIA

Last night, Elizabeth and I attended a marvelous performance by the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra and Chorus of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and of Vaughn Williams' Tallis Fantasia at the Mesa Arts Center. The program was a perfect combination of mellow, dreamy and pastoral English composer's "fantasia," and the deeply moving and spiritual "Ode to Joy", arguably the greatest piece of music ever written.

OUR WEEKEND IN TUCSON, TOMBSTONE AND BISBEE: LOTS OF ACTION AND FUN

Part 1: A Disappointing Play Our weekend in Tucson, Tombstone and Bisbee was originally inspired by a play staged by the University of Arizona performing arts students and graduates. In the past years, we had enjoyed a number of good shows there on the Tornabene Theater stage, Not this time. The play "Tigers Be Still" …

SEDONA: BEAUTIFUL MORNING HIKE IN RED ROCK COUNTRY

This is the last day of our trip. We are already home, meaning in Arizona. And nature may have said the best for last on our 3,000-mile journey through the American West. Or not. Because beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as Elizabeth remarked this morning on our 2.5 hour-hike on the Hiline trail. And what a hike it was! Take a look at these panorama shots first we took from the trail. I have not been hiking much this summer due to excessive and prolonged heat in and around our home in Scottsdale. Elizabeth had not done it all until yesterday (at the Walnut Canyon) and today in Sedona. So what had been a fairly easy trail for us in the past, turned into a challenge this morning.

HEART FLUTTER AFTER REENTERING ARIZONA, HIKING IN WALNUT CANYON TO 900-YR OLD CLIFF DWELLINGS

When we crossed the border between Nevada and Arizona after driving over the Hoover Dam, my heart fluttered for joy. "We are home again," I said to Elizabeth. "And my heart knows it." I then told her about the same warm feeling in my heart when I returned to Arizona 16 years ago, in September 2011, after cruising through 10 western states right after 9/11. During our drive on the I-40 toward Flagstaff, Elizabeth suggested we make a side excursion to the Walnut Canyon. She remembered visiting there 17-18 years ago the ancient Indian cliff dwellings from the 12th century.  It was a great idea and a fun detour on our route to Sedona, our final destination for tonight. Even though Arizona has been my home for three and half decades, I had never been there before.

LEAVING SIERRA NEVADAS, SEEKING “LOVE” IN “SIN CITY”

After two wonderful days at Mammoth Lakes, Elizabeth and I continued out journey south. Our ultimate destination was Las Vegas, Nevada. But for the first couple of hours of our drive, we paralleled the southeast Sierra Nevadas. SEEKING "LOVE" IN "SIN CITY" Those who know me well, also know that I hate Las Vegas with a passion. The city's real name should be Sin City. It stands the worst of the US traits... greed, love of money, belief in a free lunch, porn etc. But Las Vegas has one redeeming feature. Occasionally, the casinos put on good shows, like tonight's performance of the acclaimed musical - The Beatles LOVE: Legendary Musical | Cirque du Soleil​ at the Mirage (see https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/beatles-love).