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Arno
Hi everyone. Erm...

There was a lot of text here, and a picture of an American brown bear, and especially Beedoo! wrote a big story about how we went to Bearizona park and got rained on really hard first, and then the next attempt nearly smashed into a guy making an ill considered U-Turn. She then went on to name all the animals we saw and to say how this park was still under construction and all...

But... I did a dumb thing and now it's all gone.

Arnoes are made of stupid! Sorry Beedoo!...


Beedoo!
Arnoes are dumb! Now I have to write (and try to remember what I wrote!) my whole diatribe again!! Ergh..

Bearizona Park is a brand new drive-through animal attraction in Williams, AZ. They have completed several spacious fenced enclosures, and currently have American burros, Dahl and bighorn sheep, a couple species of bison, and nine black bears--the stars of the show--on the driving tour, as well as a walking tour, which includes enclosures for bear cubs, wolves, and bobcats. The bobcat kittens were brought in the morning of the day we went--Lucky us!

But that wasn't the only reason we were lucky.

Arno and I had tried to drive out to Bearizona on a Friday, but--this being the Monsoon season here--we were caught by surprise by an immense storm just before reaching Williams. I was reduced to driving no more than 40 mph on a 75 mph highway, as even my very good windshield wipers couldn't help me see through the onslaught as we fought our way through flash-flood rain, hail, thunder, and very close lightning! When we got TO Bearizona and the rain hadn't stopped pouring on us, we decided to turn around and come back another day, guessing that even if we waited for the rain to give up, the animals would probably be in their dens anyway.

The following day, we were to meet up with my friend Andy and his parents for a picnic at Lake Mary, where they treated us to a beautiful spread. (Dave is a wonderful cook!) After lunch, Andy, Arno, and I took turns paddling around the lake in Andy and Ann's inflatable kayaks for a while, after which I sugggested going to Bearizona again, since the weather had cleared up remarkably since the previous day. (The Southwest's monsoons generally gather in mid-day, dump rain, and clear up by evening, and repeat the process every other day.) Ann and Dave and Andy thought that that would be a wonderful idea, especially since--my big selling point--the park was charging $11 per person for entry ($10 for seniors, so Ann and Dave got a buck off!) because the park was only partially completed in their first year of operation.

The trip out, once again, ended up being the exciting part, because some idiot pulled a U-turn in front of me from the outer lane, stopping right in front of me. I started by slamming on the brakes, but realizing that I wasn't going to stop in time, managed to let the rear of my car drift, coming at him sideways instead of head-on. We managed to stop with bare inches between the two cars, and much squealing of brakes. Ann and Dave, who were following Andy, Arno, and I, applauded my driving skills. Andy remarked that he had never actually heard tires squeal like that before. After coming to a full stop, I swerved around him and got back in my lane. We were all a bit breathless, and Arno insisted that I stop and regather myself from the shock, but I was fine and kept going despite his admonitions.

The rest of the drive out was thankfully unevenful. All five of us piled in Dave's car to go through the park, giving me a bit of a respite, and watching the animals was nice and relaxing. Among the lot of us, we probably made very bear pun imaginable as we drove through the black bear enclosure... we had a lot of time on our hands there, since traffic was backed up due to people stopping to watch the bears, who were absolute clowns, roaming around the vehicles or playing in a large pool set up for them. The bobcat kits were likewise adorable, but were ending their playtime as we got to them.

This picture of an American black bear is not mine, and is not one from Bearizona; just something from the Intarwebz. I was going to use him as a model in the above picture, with him and Beedoo! in the bear pool, but ended up not having adequate room for it.