Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum

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The Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum was quite impressive and very touching examination of a national tragedy.

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The clock was frozen at 9:02 when the bombing occurred.

I drove from Springfield, Missouri to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma today. I found a local Elks lodge that had RV electrical hookups available to members. After locating the lodge and confirming that the electrical connection was functioning correctly, I jumped back in the motorhome and drove downtown to see the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum. I have heard that it is excellent but was not able to put it on the agenda on previous trips through Oklahoma. So, today was the day.

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The extent of the damage was unbelievable.

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About one-third of the building was destroyed!

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I remember this famous photo of a rescue worker carrying a child from the rubble.

Having only driven the motorhome for just over a week, I am still learning about maneuvering it in tight quarters. Thus, driving downtown would be a new learning opportunity for me. I am glad it was Sunday because there was less traffic downtown. After driving around, I located an empty parking for a group of attorneys and it looked like the perfect place to park the motorhome.

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Well spoken words describing why the museum is so important to see and think about.

I thought the Memorial Museum was very moving. The bombing happened on April 19, 1995 at 9:02 am. The day after my birthday. I remember when it happened. I also remember thinking “Why Oklahoma City?”

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Each chair has the name of a person who died in the bombing.

One of the first exhibits was about a water hearing that had started at 9:00 am in the Murrah Federal Building. They were recording the proceedings of the hearing. We walked into a reenactment room and they started playing the recording. A woman introduces herself as being in charge of the hearing and how it will be organized to allow both sides to speak. She talked about writing a report based on the hearing and the entity that would ultimately make the decision about the water hearing. She is going through this introductory information when suddenly there is an extremely loud explosion and you can hear people yelling, screaming, and trying to get out. It was an extremely shocking and powerful recording. This was not Hollywood. This was an actual home-grown terrorist attack. I was stunned listening to it.

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Moving layout remember those who died.

There were powerful stories from different people buried in rubble. There were 168 deaths. Many survivors too. One of the most mind-shocking accounts was about a woman that had a huge heavy beam crushing one leg. They could not get her out. An interview with a physician described that they were either going to have to amputate her leg or they would have to leave her there. No anesthesia was possible. All they could do was give her a benzodiazepine injection (Versed), apply a tourniquet, and amputate her leg while she was awake. She was screaming during the procedure. With difficulty, they were finally able to free her body and she survived. Horrific!

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A portion of the fence where people would place remembrances.

There were moving accounts of survivors and family members describing moving on after the tragedy. They talked about the tremendous loss. They described family members that were suddenly in charge of raising children because their parents were killed. There were heart-wrenching stories of parents losing children in the daycare facility housed in the building.

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Beautiful setting to honor those who died.

The Gallery of Honor was a beautiful tribute to those people killed during the explosion.

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I found myself reading through details provided in the Gallery of Honor. It really touched my heart.

The museum also covered the investigation of the bombing and how Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were found. McVeigh was ultimately executed and Nichols is serving life in prison.

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I learned the meaning of home-grown terrorism.

Although this museum is focused on a massive tragedy, I thought it was extremely well done. They presented factual information and they honored the loss so many people have endured. I highly recommend the museum.

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On a positive note, I will end this discussion of such an important national tragedy with a lighter photo of the great camping spot. Electrical hookups provided and I have the entire place to myself.

 

Kentucky Whiskey Decisions!

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I really like Kentucky!

I love visiting Kentucky. I love the beautiful countryside. I love all the horses. I love all the different distilleries. I love the Louisville Slugger baseball factory. There are so many great things about the state

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This was the consensus recommendation as a top Kentucky whiskey. I especially loved the bottle with the Kentucky Derby.

After visiting Scotland, Ireland, and a previous visit to Kentucky, I have gained an appreciation for enjoying nice whiskey. In the Louisville area, there are many, many, many different distilleries. Some famous (e.g., Jim Bean, Maker’s Mark) and others are much smaller (e.g., Four Roses and many others).

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A highly regarded Kentucky whiskey (note the different spelling).

After arriving in Louisville, I looked for a local liquor store to learn more about different distilleries. It is a very difficult choice to select what to buy. I talked with the employees as well as other customers. The consensus was that Woodford Reserve was one of the top products among many highly regarded options. I wanted to buy something unique to Kentucky, so I bought a bottle with thoroughbreds racing on the label.

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I have never heard of 57.5% alcohol. Probably too rich for my taste. I passed buying this bottle.

Old Forester certainly had its fans too. One customer kept encouraging me to buy the “Prohibition Style” bottle of Old Forester. It is 57.5% alcohol!!  In contrast, the “Original Batch”  version of whiskey is 45% alcohol. I decided to try a small bottle of this too. More things to see and do…

 

 

West Virginia!

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I loved wearing my University of Arizona Wildcat shirt in front of the Mountaineer football players right behind me. However, I was soon “escorted out” because of a possible virus risk.

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They have a beautiful football stadium!

Today was the day to enjoy beautiful West Virginia. I started off by going to Morgantown and went to the campus of West Virginia University. Since I really enjoy college football, I tend to be drawn to the football stadiums when I visit a new campus.

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Famous players and games were highlighted all around the stadium.

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Nice and clean logo for the university!

When I located the stadium where the Mountaineers play their home games, the gate was wide open, so I walked up the steps and started taking pictures with my phone. Football players were busy lifting weights under a section of the stadium. I asked one of the trainers to take my picture in front of some of their players while I was wearing a t-shirt that said Arizona Wildcats and had a large emblem of a Wildcat.

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However, soon after my phone was returned to me, a guy ran up to me and asked me why I was there. I told him I was a visitor and wanted to take some pictures about Mountaineer football. He said that practice was closed to the public because they wanted to protect players from someone possibly with the Covid 19 virus. He wanted me to get on the other side of the fence so no one would be in trouble for not protecting the players. I apologized and headed for the exit. He was not too happy to hear that the gate near the endzone was wide open and I just simply walked up a few steps. That was probably corrected very quickly.

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Beautiful countryside in every direction!

I then had a great drive through the state. I stopped for lunch and bought a “Mediterranean Vegetarian” sandwich at a store that sold may Amish products. The sandwich was excellent and then I finished my drive in Charleston, West Virginia. Charleston is the state capital.

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Beautiful green, and more green, and more green!

West Virginia is beautiful! Everything is very green and there are rolling hills in all directions. There are gorgeous trees everywhere. Hills flow into more hills and they are simply packed with spectacular green trees. I loved my drive today!

Harness Racing – Pennsylvania Style!

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The racing harness sure does not look very large to be flying around the racetrack with some fast and powerful horses!!

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It is amazing to watch how the horses trot. This horse is completely in the air as they fly around the track!

For years, I have seen harness racing on TV. It always looked cute seeing people racing in buggies. Well, I had my eyes opened today. I visited the Meadows in Washington, Pennsylvania (a little south of Pittsburgh)! They have harness racing along with a race track for harness racing.

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Before the race begins, they go all over the course getting warmed up.

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Tough competition as the start into the final stretch!

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Crossing the finish line!

Those cute little buggies really move fast! The horses may be trotting, but they really fly!

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The horses leg movements are interesting as they fun full speed!

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Zooming across the finish line!!

I am not really a betting person, but I absolutely loved seeing harness races live and in person.

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It is interesting because this truck drives down the track and puts out arms that the horses run up against. Once all the horses are there, the race begins and the truck speeds ahead of the horses.

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Help! The lead jockey seems concerned that the second horse is getting too close!!

Because of the covid 19 pandemic, people were not able to stand next to the race track, but there were plenty of empty seats outside in the stands. It was a bit challenging to take photos of the harness races with my phone, but it was fun to try. Because fewer people were there, you could hear the jockeys yelling as they horses were coming to the finish line.

Pro Football Hall of Fame

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It was a wonderful experience to visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame!! I loved learning more about football and reliving so many memories over the decades.

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I have always highly respected Kurt Warner as a person and it is incredibly amazing that he lead two different teams to play in the Super Bowl!

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Patrick Mahomes was one of my favorite players last year. Having lived in Kansas City, I have always liked the Chiefs. It was wonderful that they Chiefs won the last Super Bowl!

I went to Canton, Ohio and had a completely magical time vising the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I have always enjoyed football and seeing the exhibits brought back so many forgotten memories of exciting teams, players, and games.

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Learning about the history of football was interesting.

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I had absolutely no idea that the NFL was born in the tiny town of Canton, Ohio. Who knew?

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Never did I know that the forward pass was illegal until 1933!

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Growing up in Flagstaff, I remember watching Johnny Unitas play. He was amazing to watch!

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I was glad to see that enormous recognition was given to Jim Thorpe.

It was fun to learn more about the history of the game of football. It was especially nice to see recognition given to some truly exceptional people.

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I vividly remember watching the Miami Dolphins during their perfect season. It was a truly remarkable group of coaches and players.

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I remember Pat Tillman playing for ASU and I remember him playing for the Cardinals. He truly put his country first.

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I was shocked to learn the the field use to be 110 yards in length and did not have end zones.

I remember the Miami Dolphins going undefeated when I was in junior high. I loved the “Philly Special” when quarterback Nick Foles caught a touchdown pass in the endzone for Philadelphia to beat the New England Patriots.

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I was very happy to see that the “Philly Special” football made it into the Hall of Fame. It was such an unexpected play and I was extra happy that it was Nick Foles that caught the ball for the key touchdown.

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It was impressive to see the sculptures of so many great individuals.

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I really like the Hall of Fame logo!

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Roger Staubach is such a high class individual and was an amazing player. However, I have never really like the Cowboys, so I usually rooted for whoever was playing the Cowboys. Roger Staubach broke my heart repeatedly by guiding the Cowboys to win after win. He is truly an impressive guy.

Jim Thorpe was before my time, but he had a huge impact on the game of football.

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I remember watching this game when Drew Brees broke this amazing record!

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Patrick Mahomes and his MVP season. Probably more to come in the future?

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Larry Fitzgerald is a tremendous athlete and a tremendous person. The Cardinals have been so fortunate to have him for so long.

I never knew that professional football started in Canton, Ohio. I also never knew that the field used to be 110 yards and that there used to be no endzones because passes were not allowed.

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I was very happy that former University of Arizona Wildcat quarterback Nick Foles was the MVP when he guided the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl win.

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The Hall of Fame even had the dress and jewelry worn by Carrie Underwood when she sang the famous song about getting ready for Sunday Night Football.

I spent hours and hours walking through the exhibits, reliving impactful plays, and thinking about such a big part of American culture. I highly recommend a visit to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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Our new motorhome is parked here in the Hall of Fame parking lot. We used to own a large 40 foot diesel pusher. Now we have a cute little 24 foot diesel motorhome. I laughed at the size difference when I came back to our motorhome. Everything is smaller with our new motorhome, but it is nice and nimble to drive.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!

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Cleveland was a great place to visit! I especially enjoyed the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!

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It was interesting to learn about Cleveland, Ohio’s contribution to rock and roll.

I had a wonderful time visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. I am not sure why Cleveland was selected for the location, but it is a marvelous museum. I do not consider myself all that focused on music, but even a dunderhead like me could appreciate all the exhibits. From stars decades ago to current musicians, the museum covered it all. It was quite impressive. There were so many interesting things to see, there is no way I can cover it in just a few photos.

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Outside the museum had added security because of the covid 19 pandemic. Also, quite a few people had Georgia connections and loved my t-shirt (where Neil earned his PhD)!

I just keep walking through different sections with more and more remembrances. Songs that made me think of different events. Songs I remember listening to while driving. Songs that friends and family really enjoyed.

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I was obligated to buy a t-shirt highlighting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Cleveland!

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Elvis made a huge impact on Rock and Roll and he was highlighted.

From what I saw, the largest crowd of people were gathered around the Beatles exhibit. There was a display that went through 13 of the Beatles albums and showed excerpts when the album was being recorded. I found it fascinating.

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I love these guys beards and a number of their songs!

From ZZ Top, to the Rolling Stones, to Lady Gaga, to Taylor Swift, to Michael Jackson, the content was simply amazing. I am not sure why, but it really amazed me to see the actual piano where Paul McCartney wrote the songs “Got to Get You Into My Life” and “Eleanor Rigby.”

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During my first year of college I attended an Elton John concert in Tucson. It was the first rock concert I had ever seen live.

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Over the decades, the Rolling Stones just keep flowing with music.

I highly recommend visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Music has had quite an impact on our culture (both good and bad). It was fun to walk through memories as musicians and songs were highlighted.

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Michael Jackson had an enormous impact on Rock and Roll music!

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Taylor Swift keeps creating more and more beautiful songs!

Amish Ohio!

Horse and buggy

Amish country means seeing many horse and buggies, great food, and very nice people!

Since I have never been to norther Ohio, I decided to drive around a learn about the area. Heading north and east I found the “Amish Byway” and enjoyed driving through the rural countryside. The land seems to be quite fertile with crops everywhere. Corn fields were common. The meandering roads were narrow, but I enjoyed taking my time seeing all the greenery and rolling hills.

Blueberries local

Ohio blueberries taste wonderful. They are especially great with oatmeal!!

I stopped at a local vender selling fruits and vegetables. I bought a couple of zucchini that were a great snack while driving.

Blueberries Michigan

I thought the Michigan blueberries were excellent as well!

I also learned about blueberries. At first I picked up some Michigan blueberries. However, I was informed that the local blueberries tasted better, so I quickly switched my purchase to buying the local blueberries instead. Actually, I think I would have thoroughly enjoyed either one, both seemed excellent to me.

Purchases are cash only. Credit card processing does not seem to be part of the culture.

Horses only

Horse and buggies need a place to park too!!

I stopped at a small town and bought lunch. It was interesting to see the sign for horses only. The Amish need a place to park their horse and buggies.

While driving, it was fun to see the Amish men wearing straw hats and beards. The Amish women wore bonnets and long dresses. I could not take photos while driving, but I hope to get some photos before leaving the area.

I spent the night at a Elks lodge near Cleveland. It was fun because as I was reading a book on my Kindle, three deer casually walked to the motorhome. They were on their was to get a drink at the creek next to me. I tried to get a photo, but they ran away when they saw me move to grab my phone. Hopefully, they will return. Some pleasures are simple and nice. Unexpectedly seeing deer is one of those simple pleasures in life.

New Beginnings!

New motorhome

We are excited to be the new owners of this motorhome! I love going on RV trips!

It is a time for new beginnings! After much thought and consideration, we bought a new-to-us (i.e. used) motorhome. There was much we loved about our previous large class A diesel pusher. However, it was so large that it was difficult to maneuver and did not lend itself to going into the forest or out into the desert. It was mainly a motorhome for RV parks and we wanted more flexibility.

This new motorhome is a class C, and almost half the size of our previous coach. There is much less storage space, a smaller generator, smaller water tanks, but it is so much more maneuverable! It is a Mercedes-Benz chassis and then Winnebago built a motorhome on the top. It is super easy to drive and has some nice Mercedes-Benz safety features. None of that was on our previous motorhome.

Inside there is plenty of room for two adults. There is a bed over the cab that seems to be a perfect spot for grandsons to sleep. I think Luke and David could be invited to join us on some camping trips!!

With the covid 19 pandemic, people have been buying RVs like crazy. Everything from trailers to motorhomes has been selling. It makes sense that if people want to be able to be socially-distant as a family, be outdoors where it is safer than indoors, and get out of “lock-down” in the house, many people have turned to renting or buying some type of RV.

We had picked out this model of RV and I have been searching nationwide to find one. I made an offer on a coach in Florida, only to be told by the seller that he had accepted an offer a few hours before I contacted him. I tried buying one in Arizona and as we were working out the purchase details, I was told that it had just been sold. I found our current motorhome available in Ohio. I made an offer and the couple accepted it. They had just bought it new in January 2020. They had never even taken a shower in it. They had only used it for brief weekend trips and it only had 2,000 miles on the odemeter. The biggest disadvantage was that it was located in Ohio.

I had to fly to Columbus, Ohio, take an Uber ride 45 miles north to meet the sellers at the county motor vehicle license office. It was a big rush to get everything finished before the state offices closed, but we got it done and now we are the new owners of a nice motorhome. I am going to wander around the area before working my was back to Texas. It will be interesting to see what Luke thinks about the inside of the motorhome.

 

Lower Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend!!

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Horseshoe Bend was beautiful to see as the sun was setting with storm clouds in the distance!

I had a wonderful trip to Page, Arizona with my friends Dan and Rebecca and their son Jonathan. We first stopped by Horseshoe Bend to see it before the sun went down. The following morning we visited Horseshoe Bend again to see if we could find better light for photos.

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The following morning, there was beautiful sun peeking through the clouds to highlight the rock formation!

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It was very nice to enjoy such wonderful scenery!

I especially enjoyed seeing Lower Antelope Canyon! I had tried to see it last spring but ran into mechanical problems and could not make my reservation. It was especially rewarding to see such interesting rock formations and see how the light highlighted the shape and surface of the sandstone.

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Our tour guide took this photo of me with my cell phone. It was spectacular to see such beautiful rock formations!

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See the rock formation of the woman with her hair blowing behind her? I think this was my favorite rock formation!

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I was so amazed to see the formations where the running water has created such beautiful formations!

It was very inspiring to walk through so many beautiful and unique rock formations.

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See the seahorse? Our tour guide showed me this as we were near the exit of Lower Antelope Canyon.

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We walked along the pathway at the bottom of this photo and simply stared at the gorgeous rock formations all around us!

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I could not get enough of seeing all the unusual rock formations!

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I loved all the shapes and colors in the rock formations throughout Lower Antelope Canyon!

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Our tour guide had fun with my cell phone with this photo!

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Water is certainly a powerful force!!

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The rocks here remind me of waves, but it is hard rock!

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I just had to stare at the curves and shapes in the rock walls!

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I say hooray for being able to visit Lower Antelope Canyon!!

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The seem to be no end to the amazing rock formations!!

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Rugged and spectacular! Truly a marvel of God’s creativity!!

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I marveled over and over while walking on the trail at the bottom at the huge rock formations all around me!!

I look forward to visiting other slot canyons in the future!!

Zoo Lights!

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The lights at the Phoenix Zoo were beautiful for Christmas!!

I had a wonderful time seeing the Zoo Lights at the Phoenix Zoo. Everything was decorated for the Christmas season. It was great to walk through the zoo and see so many wonderful decorations!

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This amazing lion was eating my hand!!

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The scenes were amazing!

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I loved all the creativity in designs!

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The colors were fun!

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Friends and family had a wonderful time seeing all the beautiful lights!