The past 10 days I have been on tour with the BYU Young Ambassadors through Arizona. I shared a pre-tour post about my last adventure to Tombstone and have a report on this most recent adventure. I’ll also share with you a little about some the other places we visited.
Days 1-2: St. John’s, Arizona
This small town really only exists because of a power plant. It is a quaint little town.
This valley is an interesting place. Its major industry is cotton and it has a large Mormon population, so much that a new LDS temple is being built in Pima. Spencer W. Kimball, 12th President of the Church, was born and raised there. His childhood home is very close to the Eastern Arizona College campus, a school once owned by the LDS Church. We performed on campus and held a more religious performance on Sunday at a local church building.
Day 5: Tombstone-Tuscon
Our journey from Thatcher to Tuscon included a stop at Tombstone, “the town too tough to die.” We wandered the town and saw what there was for us to do. Tombstone is such a tourist town. Everything cost money and just about all of the attractions cost $5 like the World’s Largest Rose, the Helldorado Town shootout and the state park museum in the old city hall.Since everything cost money,
and we have a limited budget because we are college students, the small group I wandered with decided not to go to the shootout or into the museums but rather just walk around. We had fun but ran out of stuff to do really quick. We did enjoy a good lunch of buffalo burgers at the OK Cafe. So, if you want to visit Tombstone, be sure to budget a little money for admission to the attractions.
Day 6-7: Tuscon-Queen Creek
The next two days I spent in theaters setting up as I do most days on tour. I did enjoy the wonderful weather of Arizona and had to keep reminding myself that it gets up to 120 degrees in the summer. If there is a time to visit Arizona it would be February and March because of the awesome weather, sunny in the mid-70s.
Day 8: Queen Creek-Mesa-Gilbert
This day we couldn’t get into our venue in Gilbert until mid-afternoon so we visited a couple of places on the way. First stop was Schnepf Farm in Queen Creek, AZ. This part of the Valley of the Sun has recently seen exponential growth with new neighborhoods and shopping centers popping up where just ten-fifteen years ago there were farms. Schnepf Farm is a holdout in the booming suberb with a mission to preserve the way things were and share that with families. The farm is an organic you-pick farm with acres of peach orchards and vegetable fields. The farm is owned by the Schnepf family. Carrie is a former Young Ambassador and her husband, Mark, was the first mayor of Queen Creek. They are in the agri-tourism business, and, in addition to the garden and orchard, they have rides and entertainment in the summer season.
After the farm, we went to Mesa to visit the LDS Arizona Temple. This is a beautiful building. It is hard to imagine it was built in the middle of farmer’s fields during the roaring 20s.
We watched Joseph Smith Prophet of the Restoration at the visitors center then sang a few songs in the lobby. I love visiting temples and other houses of worship where ever I am. I love seeing the design, the architecture and the art. I love to see the detail and effort put into a building built not for man but for God out of faith. After the temple, it was off to Gilbert to set up for another show.
Day 9: Cottonwood
A small town in Northern Arizona near Sedona. We performed in the high school then went home with our host families. I stayed in the nearby town of Cornville and had a stargazing session that night with some amazing views of the heavens. Wow, I felt small.
Day 10: Prescott
Our last day on tour. One last show and then a long drive back to Provo through the snow and rain. Thanks to our bus driver for getting us back in one piece. During our show that night there was one audience member in particular who was just loving the show. She was clapping and cheering and dancing in her chair. She was only a few rows away from where I was running the show. I just enjoyed watching her and am glad she had a good time. I hope that many more people enjoyed our show through the week even if they didn’t show it outwardly like she did.
A note to host families: 99% of our host families are amazing and can never be thanked enough. However, the other 1% needs a few lessons from the others. If you are hosting any guests in your home, please clean up. Your house doesn’t have to be spotless, you do live there, but it shouldn’t look or feel like you haven’t cleaned your house in years. If anything make sure there is a place for the guests to put their stuff and they have a clean place to sleep. Thank you for being willing to take us in, feed us and give us a place to sleep. Thank you.
This was my adventure over the last week and a half. We had a successful tour with several packed audiences and some good shows. I hope this inspires you to have your own adventure.