January 11–13, 2014 Our Time in Casa Grande Part Five

Every time we walk in the desert we usually go east or south first then make a big loop – anywhere from 2.75 miles to over four miles.  And almost every walk we do there is something new to see but I always forget my camera.  So on Saturday, I brought the camera along and here are some of the sites in the desert that keep me wondering.

Balloons on the horizon:

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A jar full of sand buried in the middle of nowhere:

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Bones, bones, and more bones:

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We have come across quite a few bones.  In one area they were scattered all over.  In another area was a horse.  Actually the horse was killed in November and we watched it go from full to bones – Interesting to see but also gruesome.

Some ones balloon:

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We haven’t figured out why this was here.  Could have been a carport for a house/business or ??  There were a lot of nails sticking out on the top of the pole so something was attached.

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Found these guys too – Smile:

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Lots of glass:

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And ?

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Shoes??  Actually we find quite a bit of clothing and bedding.

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Trash, trash, and more trash (lots of broken glass in there too):

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Now this is interesting.  It is a small ceramic Siamese cat.  There was nothing around it.  Was it carried by the water to just this spot??

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We came across an area that was full of stuffed animals – whose were they?

More trash – this was roofing material:

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Did someone live here for a while???

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After all that rain, the desert has grass:

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I have a lot more pictures but you get the idea.  It is like a treasure hunt every walk – what will we find today?

On Sunday, my cousin, Kris spent the day with us.  We had a wonderful time getting caught up, showing her around the park and a great “lupper” at the Native New Yorker Restaurant in town.  What a great time and always good to spend some time with her.

Here we are:

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Today, Monday, was pack up/shutdown/laundry kind of day.  We will be leaving tomorrow for Quartzsite so stay tuned and enjoy today.



January 3 to January 10, 2014 Our Time in Casa Grande Part Four

First I am happy to report that our Dusty is back to his normal self and running and playing with Bella.  So it must have been an infection.  We still do not know the cause but will continue to monitor him.  Gosh, we were so worried and I am glad that all worked out.

On January 3, Andy, me, Bill, and Shelly made our way to the Moose Lodge in Arizona City for their Fish Fry Friday (their baked tilapia is just YUMMY!).  We walked in to see Jan and Ken also there.  It was great seeing them and getting caught up.  And we met them again on Saturday for lunch in town.  A great visit and hopefully we will see them again next month.

On Thursday, 9th, we took a road trip to Tubac, Arizona.  Our first stop was the Pima Mine Visitor Center and outdoor display area.

How about the size of this truck:

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And this bucket – Wow!:

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Both the indoor and outdoor displays were great.  We did not do the tour of the copper mine but will put in on our list for our next trip.

Leaving the parking lot, we found this crested saguaro:

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Isn’t that something!  The crested saguaros are considered somewhat rare.  I have seen a few in our travels but never had my camera and just HAD to stop and photograph this one.

Biologists disagree as to why some saguaros grow in this unusual form. Some speculate that it is a genetic mutation. Others say it is the result of a lightning strike or freeze damage.  They really do not know – but they are beautiful to see.

We then made our way to the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park (which is Arizona’s First State Park).

A little history from the internet:

“As the Spanish Empire attempted to expand into the frontiers of New Spain, Catholic missions were established throughout modern-day Mexico and the southwestern United States. Of these many churches, one was established at nearby Tumac├ícori in 1691 and Tubac, then a small Pima Indian village, was set up as a mission farm and ranch. Spanish colonists started to colonize the area in the 1730s; twenty years later the Pimas, led by Luis of Saric, led an uprising against the Spanish in 1751 and the settlement at Tubac was destroyed. A year later, the Pimas surrendered and the Presidio San Ignacio de Tubac was established to protect the town and the surrounding area from further rebellion. Tubac became the first European settlement in what today is the state of Arizona.

Threatened by the establishment of a Russian fort immediately north of the San Francisco Bay area, the Spanish sent Juan Bautista de Anza to establish an overland route to and a presidio and mission in the San Francisco area. The expedition passed through Tubac in early 1774. Several years later, the Tubac garrison was moved north to Tucson, leaving Tubac undefended against Apache raids. As a result, the presidio was reactivated in 1787.

Tubac became part of an independent Mexico in 1821 and then part of the United States in 1853 as a result of the Gadsden Purchase. With the arrival of the Americans came Charles D. Poston, who established the Sonora Exploring and Mining Company in Tubac. Poston performed marriages, granted divorces, officiated baptisms, printed his own money to pay his employees, and even established Arizona's first newspaper in 1859. The following year, Tubac became the largest town in the state. The prosperity was not to last, however, as the area's soldiers were called away to fight in the American Civil War. The town was again unprotected from the Apaches. The routing of the railroad through Tucson to the north and the discovery of silver around Tombstone to the east meant that Tubac would never regain its importance.

The Tubac Presidio is one of only three presidios in Arizona and is one of the rare sites where the story of New Spain’s presidios can be adequately told. (A presidio is buried under downtown Tucson and another is near Fairbank in Cochise County.)”


Our first stop was the visitor center where we saw a short film on the history of the presidio and the park.  We then did the self guided tour.

This is the school house:

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Check this out:

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These were lashes – WOW!  Four lashes for boys and girls playing together.  Oh my!

Check out the instructions to the teachers – Yikees!

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The outline of the Presidio:

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The Presidio is actually under this mound.  In 1974, it was excavated and instead of covering it all, an archeology exhibit was created and we were able to see some of the walls and foundations of the Presidio.

We continued our tour of the grounds.

This is an arrastra. It is a primitive but effective system for crushing ore (copper, gold, silver).  Heavy flat bottom boulders are attached to chains and dragged over the ore by horse, mule, or manpower.  Over time, the ore was pulverized into smaller and smaller pieces.  In the case of silver, water and quicksilver (mercury) were added to the crushed ore, enabling the metal to be separated out.  Arrastras are still used in remote areas of Mexico for crushing ore and other products.

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Grinding Stones called Molinos that are used to grind grain to flour – check out the different designs:

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We spent a lot of time in the history museum.  The first newspaper in Arizona was printed on a printing press in Tubac.  We spent some time checking out the printing room and watching the videos.

What a great place – if you are in the area, we highly recommend a stop.

From there we had a great lunch at one of the eateries and walked around the town.  Tubac is a small but very artsy town with a lot of Spanish/Mexican influence on their buildings:

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Sculptures (?) throughout town:

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Shelley and I continued through many of the shops while the boys were good enough to wait around for us – Smile.

Our last stop was for a Sonoran Hot Dog in Tucson – YUM!

Another great road trip that ended with a beautiful sunset:

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Every year we see sheep in the various fields in and around Casa Grande.  We have watched the farmers move them from area to area with the help of the sheep dogs.  I always said I was going to get my camera and see how close I could get to photographing them.  Well, today, 10th, I finally stopped and walked very slowly up the dirt road:

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Aren’t they just the cutest – Smile!

There is some interesting information here: http://arizonaexperience.org/people/sheep-herding-arizona

Hmmmmm…  I may need to check this out further and see if we can get a tour at one of the farms in Casa Grande.

So that has been our big events for the week.   Andy continues his daily walks in the desert and I try to go most of the time.  We try to get to the daily social hours and love hearing the stories.  Andy has been more involved in activities than me – I have been “nesting” or “hibernating” (Hey, it is winter, isn’t it – LOL!)  Sometimes I just need to do that - My apologies to all for not visiting. 

But, I am ready to get moving again so next week we will be heading to Quartzsite. 


Enjoy today.