Many of our weekend morning conversations start out like this:
“Do we have anything on the calendar for today?”
Both look at Google calendar
“Do we want to do anything or just loaf?”
“I don’t care, what do you want to do?”
“I don’t know, is there anything to do?”
Jump on Google
I use Google for everything. Key in the right search words and Google will find you some very interesting places. Most recently it led us to a couple of houses in Phoenix that I would never have found on my own.
Gary Parsel’s Front Yard Sculptures
Located in Central Phoenix, Gary Parsel’s front yard is decorated with an eclectic collection of sculptures. Human heads, dogs, a couple of beach bums, and a tiki head are just a few of the stucco and cement sculptures. There is also a chain mail dog and a warrior made of junk.
Unfortunately, Gary was not at home during our visit so we were unable to speak with him. For now, the why’s and how’s of his front yard art gallery will remain a mystery to us.
Driving west on McDowell after leaving Gary’s house, we came across a mural. Murals can be found all over Phoenix, so coming across it was not surprising. This one was just different from most we’ve seen and therefore caught our attention. This particular mural is located on the north side of McDowell Road near 3rd Ave.
The artist is Fred Tieken.
Don Park’s Collection of BIG STUFF
Moving over to the west side of Phoenix we found Don Park’s houses, yes, two houses are needed to display his collection. Don started his collection of yard art when he bought his first house in 1971. In April 2012, he bought the house across the street and quickly filled that one too. Having read about Don before going there, we were already aware that both houses were fenced and carefully watched by security cameras. This would be a sidewalk only adventure.
We turned onto Don’s street and got about a quarter of the way down the curved road when we spotted the first house. It’s hard to miss a 23 foot Paul Bunyan statue, axe and all! I hurriedly parked and we grabbed our camera’s as fast as we could and jumped out of the car in complete awe. Yard art is one thing, this is a class all its own. Both yards were full, completely full of statues. Dinosaurs, chickens, bear, and sheep are a sampling of some of the animals on display. Astronauts, pirates, lawn jockeys, and cowboys made up some of the human aspects. Then there was a giant golf ball and giant sunglasses, the statue of liberty, aliens, a missile, and a parking meter just to get started. Don’s collection is enormous and could never be expressed through words alone.
As we were running around the perimeter of both houses, Don came out! The husband being the more social of our pair struck up a conversation with Don. In the midst of that conversation he asked whether Don ever opened up the yards to let people in. To our utter delight, Don said “Sure, go ahead now. I’ll even open the house for you.” What? Not only do we get to walk around the utopia that is the yard, but he’s going to let us go in the houses too! And it’s not even my birthday!
We could have spent days inside and out and never seen all of what Don has accumulated in his nearly 40 years of collecting. From simple toy cars to the Sky Ride cars from Legend City, giant Keebler Elves to giant Ronald McDonald heads, Don has it all.
And everything is for sale, except for the aliens!
Don was kind enough to allow us into his homes to share his collection and his eccentricities. We will forever be grateful for his kindness and will remember him always as the man with the BIG collection of stuff!
More photos from this trip are at Perfectly Damaged Photography