2 On The Road Blog

After 12 years of full-time rving, we've sold our truck and trailer but we're still traveling. Email us at wowpegasus@hotmail.com if you would like to contact us.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Organ Stop Pizza

January 11th we went with a group of over 100 from the park to Organ Stop Pizza. Now the pizza is ok but the real draw is the organ. It's a 1927 Wurlitzer theater pipe organ that was made to provided the music for silent films. It's the only one still left that is played on a continuous basis in a commercial establishment. It is insured for 4 million dollars but most if its parts are irreplacable.

The main attraction. Now look to the left.. you can just make out the drums on the wall. Above them are some other percussion instruments. Under the U.S. flag are some instruments mounted on the wall. Under those you can look through the windows to see some of the 5,000 pipes that are used to make the wide variety of music the organ can play. Behind the flag are more pipes. To the left are more windows behind which play more pipes. The windows are actually louvers that open and close to control the volume of the sound because the pipes only play one volume. The organist controls it all.

Here's a better view of the instruments to the left of the organ. The organ even controls the grand piano behind the drums. There's a fake duck on a barrel back there and there's a key on the organ that makes it quack. The organ has pull out trays covered with buttons that play special sounds from fog horns to 1920's oogah auto horns.
This is a better photo of the instruments on the right of the organ. There are carnival whistles, a tamborine, bells and way too many other things. The pipes can be played to sound like bag pipes too. Oh, the trumpet section is to the back of the theater above the crowd. And there's more instruments on the ceiling. There's even a bubble machine on the ceiling and the organist played "Under the Sea" from Disney's Little Mermaid and bubbles came out right over a four year old. Needless to say, she was delighted.

Cotton Gin

...On January 7th we went to a cotton gin cooperative and this gentleman told us all about cotton ginning. Now I don't remember 1/100th of the things he said but I'll tell you some of it. He's been farming cotton all his life and still used the 2-head pickers he bought in the 1950's. He said most of the farmers use 4-head pickers now.
When the cotton is harvested out of the field, this is what the seeds look like. Fuzzy. And that's the way his dad used to plant them.
Nowadays the fuzz is removed and the seeds are treated with insecticides and herbicides before they are planted. There are many different varieties of cotton and most of the difference has to do with the length of the fibers produced.
This is one of the spindles in the head of the picker. They are what really take the cotton off the plant.
Now I've had photos of cotton and cotton picking on my blog before. I've always called these bales. Well they aren't bales, they are modules. Each weigh between 17,000 and 19,000 pounds and is covered with a tarp.
The modules are picked up by a covered truck and moved to the gin where they are put in rows like in the above photo. A truck like this then picks them up and takes them to the start of the ginning process.
I think these piles are the second picking and they weren't compressed and put into modules.
At the start of the process, the modules are put on a conveyor belt that feeds them into the gin.
Inside the gin, the cotton is ran through four machines like this. I forget what they are called but they contain a bunch of saw blades. Well not saw blades like you are thinking. The kerfs on these aren't very deep but they grab the cotton and leave the seeds and other debris to fall to the bottom. You can see the cotton coming out in the middle and the seeds falling down below.
After running through the four machines, the cotton is sucked through a tube in the ceiling and put in this machine. It compacts them into 500 lb bales.
The little mechanical truck on the bottom right moves along a track to the bottom of the machine. When the bales are ready, the machine that is painted yellow bands the bales then the mechanical truck picks the bale up.
The photos are blurry because they were taken through plexiglass.
Read cotton facts at www.cotton.org
Once the truck has lined up with the hole in the wall, it dumps the bale onto a conveyor belt and a mechanical arm pushes the bale into the next room.
In the next room the bale is stuffed into a sack.
Another bale getting stuffed in a sack.
The covered bale continues down the conveyor where it passes over a scale to be weighed. Then it goes outside through the plastic curtain.
Once outside it is dumped into a line.
A man uses a forklift to haul off four bales at a time.
There were lots of Swift trailers in the yards.
The load barely fits inside the trailer so that driver has to be experienced. See the modules still to be ginned in the background?
While we were watching, cotton started dumping from the top of the fourth machine that separated it from its seeds. They let the cotton collect on the floor for a while.
Then they pushed it through a hole in the floor, actually it was being sucked in. That cotton was ran back through all four machines.

Coolidge Dam

...... On January 3rd, Nolan, our friend Corky and myself rode to Coolidge Dam. It is southeast of Globe, AZ just off Hwy 70. First we rode through the valley for about an hour.
Then we got onto Hwy 60 and headed east into the mountains.
......As we climbed the temperature dropped. It was supposed to get to 70° at Casa Grande this day but it was 15° cooler in the mountains. We stopped at this pull off just east of the tunnel that is east of Surprise, AZ.
.......A look down the canyon at the pull-off. We stopped here before three years ago.

Lots of bikes passed this spot while we were stopped.

...It took a while but we made it to Coolidge Dam. One of the weirdest looking dams I've ever seen. Wikipedia says it is a "reinforced concrete multiple dome and buttress dam and was built between 1924 and 1928. It's named after President Calvin Coolidge. Check Wikipedia -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coolidge_Dam for a better description.

There wasn't much water in the lake but I guess there usually isn't. It was at least 50' from the top of the water to the bottom of the spillway so it would take massive amounts of water just to get one drop to go over.
......We walked out onto a couple of the "pedestals".
Looking over the spillway. See the eagle sculpture on the side of the bridge? We got dawgone cold during this ride but we thawed out by the time we got home.

Friday, January 08, 2010

January 2, 2010 Ride

The temperature got to 70° so we went out for a ride. You can see alfalfa growing in the fields by the side of the road. There are berms of sand every so often so they can flood different sections to irrigate them.
We decided to ride the Florence-Kelvin Hwy starting just south of Florence. You can see here that we got out of the agricultural area and into more natural plant growth.
I love this kind of area much better than the agricultural area. One good thing about it is that the dust doesn't blow as bad here. We were only about 25 miles from our trailer at this point.
But all good things some to an end.
But the gravel/dirt road was wide and hard packed so off we went.
We only went about 2 miles before we turned around. It was getting narrower and curvier.
Nolan just loves this tree and I'm sure he will get a closer photo of it sometime.

Wind Storm

December 22, 2009 this area of Arizona had a big wind storm. This is the view from the front of our site as the wind started to blow.
This is the view out the back of the trailer.
Then the wind really started blowing. This is the view out the front.

Out the back
Then it rained for about 45 minutes and that helped clear the air.
Out the back after the rain. There were terrible accident on I-10 and people died.