Musical Instrument Museum

Imagine playing an absolute banger on this thing.

My friend and I went to the Musical Instrument Museum first thing when we arrived in Arizona. Both of us being musicians, this seemed like something we could really get into.

“Um, is your face ok??” my friend asked before we walked in.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“You look like you have a big rash all over your face.” I looked at my reflection in a mirror. “Holy fuck, you’re right! It’s a heat rash!” It was 109 degrees that day and my weak, frail, sensitive body was letting me know this wasn’t cool.

“Oh well,” I decided, “Let’s go rock the fuck out in the museum.” So we went on our way, rash and all.

This museum has lots of historical instruments and interactive displays where you get to play the instruments and experiment with sound. But the most rock n’ roll thing in this whole museum was the room where you could physically play all the weird instruments you want. You’re not allowed to break them though. Trust me.

Have you ever wanted to hit a gong with a stick over and over again until you get kicked out of the museum?

You can do that at the Musical Instrument Museum. And we did.

Chapel of the Holy Cross

Aliens are real.

After we got kicked out of the Musical Instrument Museum, we decided to go to Sedona, to see the Chapel of the Holy Cross, which I’m pretty sure you can’t just go in and have to admire from afar, and get some tacos.

Sedona is a funny place. It’s surrounded by naturally painted rock strata, each layer telling another chapter of history. And in the center is a bunch of crazy ass, rich moms buying crystals for $500 so they can heal their heart chakras and lose 10 lbs.

We went to a crystal shop there, but there was nothing there to cure me of my various rashes so we left.

Meteor Crater

A mom looking for her baby she left somewhere in the crater.

Meteor Crater is the third coolest thing we saw in Arizona.

The story goes: a meteorite crashed into earth and left a big dent and now we call it, “Meteor Crater.” But what they should have named it is, “Big Dent” or maybe “Earth Hole.” That’s more original than Meteor Crater. Sorry.

You might be curious to know what’s in the center of the crater. It’s an old run down station of some kind. They explained it in the museum but museums make me sleepy sometimes and my friend had to carry me over his shoulder all the way back to the car, buckle me in my car seat without waking me, and then drive us back to our hotel.

So anyway, that’s why I don’t remember what’s at the bottom of the crater. Sorry.

Grand Canyon: South Rim

God made this probably.

The second most impressive thing we saw in Arizona was the Grand Canyon. Specifically, the South Rim of the canyon.

Now I know what you’re thinking, “But Shannon, it’s just a big crack in the earth. What’s cool about that? Come on.”

I know, I know. But this is really special. The canyon is so massive in scale, that it’s impossible to photograph all of it in one photo. You have to do a panorama shot. That’s how big it is.

I wondered to myself standing at the top of it, “What would it be like if the U.S. government just dumped all the cement on earth into the river that goes through the Grand Canyon?” Maybe we could fix the canyon. You know, fill it in and turn it into a cool skate park.

I sat on a nearby rock, soaking in the view, listening to the sounds of angry tourists yelling at their kids to hurry up, take the photo, and get back in the car.

It was beauty personified in a single moment in time, and I’ll never forget it, as long as I live.

Bonus story: Looking for Bats in the Sewer

One night in Phoenix, we had plenty of time on our hands and decided to look up something fun to do in the local area. One of the activities recommended was to look for something known as, “The Bat Caves.” The caves were supposedly along a canal near us, and bats would come out of their caves and fly around in people’s faces and hair, freaking them out, and causing them to drop their food, which the bats would eat hungrily, if it was dead bugs or fruit.

So we decided to go there.

We got lost, as we’ve been lost so many times, and ended up initially in a private elementary school parking lot. As my friend read the directions to me again. I would start in one direction and then slowly turn around (there could have been kids playing at midnight so I wanted to be safe), until about the 4th time when my friend said, “It looks like you’ve been doing slow donuts in the private elementary school parking lot for the last 5 minutes.”

We saw a police car in the distance and got freaked out that there was a cop, so we decided to leave for real this time, park somewhere, and then get out and just walk to the bat caves.

When we arrived we found the canal close by, and started walking along it. We looked for grates because the app we were using said the bats like to live inside the grates. But still, we saw no bats.

So we started walking, at midnight, in the heat, with the flashlight on my phone to guide us.

I was really freaked out by spiders and scorpions so I kept shining the flashlight around the ground, screaming periodically, and then after saying, “Oh, it’s just a shadow.”

There were many beautiful, oversize houses in the suburbs of Phoenix, along the canal.

“Wow, would you look at those houses?” I inquired, “Wouldn’t you just love to live there?”

“Yeah, I want to pay $4,000 a month to heat and cool my house. Also, you are shining your flashlight into people’s windows. So maybe you should stop doing that before they call the cops.”

Just then, I heard a sound coming towards us!

I instinctively grabbed my flashlight and shined it in a jogger’s eyes.

The jogger shielded his eyes from the blinding light.

“Shannon,” my friend said quickly, “put your flashlight down!”

I made the flashlight shine on the ground and the jogger ran past us.

After a couple hours of walking, we decided to give up and return to the car.

When we arrived at the car, before we got in, I turned to my friend and said, “Look at the moon, there’s no clouds to block it here. It’s beautiful…”

We both looked up at the moon, and then, just as we were about to lose our gaze, a bat flew across the sky, illuminated by the moonlight.

“Wow,” I said, “that is the #1 coolest thing we’ve seen in Arizona.”