Sunday, October 21, 2007

Vacation, Day ? - Casa Grande and the Tonto (Salada Ruins)

I had meant to blog about the last day of vacation early this morning, but last night around 10:15 my brother called to tell me one of the tenants in Richfield had flooded their basement. They said the washing machine had malfunctioned. But when we got there, it was fairly obvious "malfunctioned" meant they had filled the washing machine to level with the top with clothes (level when wet, so they were actually packed in the machine - they had to have been tamped down), to the extent that it messed up the water sensor, set it to large load, and left the building for eight hours. There was water everywhere - in the laundry room, which is large, out of the laundry room and across every inch of the downstairs living room, and even beyond that into the back bedroom. I had to take the steam vac to the floor for five hours (literally - my back hurts), and we'll still have to go back tomorrow night to do another run once the water has seeped downhill out of the wall and carpet toward the drainward wall. Did I mention all the kitty litter in the drain backing it up? She's not even supposed to have pets.

Anyway, at least waiting until tonight means I get to enjoy blogging on my new 22" Samsung LCD 226BW. Oh yeah...they might not love me at work, but Mom and Dad love me enough to make up for it. So big...hoo ah. The pictures of me inappropriately touching animal statues have never looked so fine.

Before the last vacation pics, I also spent several hours mowing up four week old grass and a bunch of dry leaves, and I spent the evening at Sarah and Pete's wedding, held very close to my house at the Tropics Trail at the New Zoo. Being able to sit with a beer on the bench in the aquarium area without any little kids around is exceedingly fun. Michelle, who I used to work with, told me she was from Eagle Grove. I biked within a block of her house when I was on RAGBRAI. If you're not familiar with Eagle Grove, I have video: 1, 2. Kurt, who I also used to work with, told me about his travels to Glendive. He's SEEN Glendisaurus!

On to the last bloggable day of our vacation to Arizona. I leave it to Pooteewheet to blog about almost getting hit in the face with toast. I'm going to show pictures of our trip to the Hohokam ruins at Casa Grande, and then to Tonto National Monument, where there are Salado ruins, way way up on cliff, where it's hard to breath.

Here's the full Casa Grande set.

Here's me, between Casa Grande and Tonto, kissing an owl. He's kind of creepy, like one of those pictures of the young girl and the old girl in the same picture. Is he an owl, or a many toothed monster? I touched both of them inappropriately. You may wonder why I've moved from bad touch to bad kiss. Can't really say. Sometimes the spirit moves you. But I promise I won't ever get (fully) naked.

This is a link, not a picture. It takes you to a close up of a wall at Casa Grande. Most of the ruins are just chicken wire with plaster over the top to replace what's been touched so many times it's no longer original anything, other than dust. And this picture shows why, but you have to view it in close up so you can see the inscription. If your grandparents ever tell you how things used to be much better in their days, as my grandmother was telling me while we were at Casa Grande, you can just point to this graffiti on the wall, written in 1891, and note that vandals have been around since before your grandparents were born. This wasn't even the oldest graffiti - some of it was from the (18)60's.

This is Casa Grande. Big big adobe-type house in the middle of nowhere. The roof is supposed to protect it, but it encourages pigeons and owls and, hence, droppings, so I don't know how much protecting it does. Six of one, half dozen of the other. Anything that looks smooth has been replastered. The graffiti is generally on the inside, before they sealed it off.

A picture from further back, so you can appreciate the gas station-style cover. Maybe Casa Grande was a gas station for Atlantis...who knows? Not me. Not you. Could have been.

Eryn lounging in a door. You might think, "Hey, this is why they need to plaster everything all the time!" And you'd be correct. But as you can tell from the break above the door, she's leaning against new plaster and chicken wire, not centuries-old adobe. The Hohokam got even with us by leaving their dirt all over Eryn's Chococat shirt.

Pooteewheet in adobe jail. I bet she can dig her way out. It looks like they used to pee out this window.

The exhibits claimed this was a petroglyph of some animal that was being hunted. But I've been to (what was formerly) Camp Snoopy, and the only thing missing is a mouth harp. I don't know who the Nostradamus of the Hohokam Indians was who saw this in a dream, but he was spot on.

After we were disappointed with Casa Grande, I noted that one of the exhibits said there were other ruins nearby at Tonto National Monument. My mother said it was indeed close and we should go. But close meant it was almost two hours away over mountains and scary hairpin turns where any sane human - i.e. not from Arizona - would not travel faster than 45 mph. We barely made it in time to sprint up the hideously long and steep stepback to see the Salado ruins at the top, and the trip back to Tucson was up and down over mountains in pitch black night. It all seriously freaked me out.

The Salado ruins. That woman in the picture had her kids up there. Her husband pushed a stroller up to the ruins. Doesn't sound so bad...until you check out the next two pictures.

Eryn, is she tired from going up...or coming down? "Dad, I promise I'll be good, just don't make me go to the f*ing ruins. This is how they died, climbing up and down and up and down and up and down the g*ddamn mountain. If they'd have just built their ruins next to the reservoir, they'd still be alive and driving their cars to the Casa Grande gas station for $2.78/gallon fill ups and sending postcards back to their friends pretending to be Rod Plant. Do you have an oatmeal bar? I'm out of energy."

This isn't meant to show you the pretty reservoir, but rather our cars. In the lower right, that tiny little strip of road...those two little dots are cars. We're parked a little further away from the trail head.

Pooteewheet. She asked me to take this picture, despite being so seriously ill she was going to hurl. Look at her cheeks - death warmed over. Or maybe she's just embarrassed because I asked if she wanted to get jiggy wit it in the Salado storage room. "Let's make the ruins come alive again," didn't work for her. Prude.

She barely made it back down the hill. I think she missed most of Eryn's repeated chanting of "Grandpa grumpa, little dumpa", which doesn't sound particularly funny, but which amused Eryn to no end and made some amusing laughing echoes off the cliff sides. Grandpa didn't like the rhyme as much as she did, basically making it self-fulfilling. Stare at Pooteewheet's chest as much as you want, I do, but you'll find no Snoopy petroglyph adorning her breasts. Commendations to anyone who comes up with a guess as to what her shirt says in ancient Native American. I vote for "I walked and walked up to these ruins and it feels like someone poked me in the butt with a trident." I'll be good. I promise. I'll be good, Salado Witch. I'll stand in the corner and count, just like I'm supposed to. Mom...Dad...I'm sorry...I'm so sorry...

Everyone in Arizona is a communist. Don't believe me? Explain this...

The rest of the Tonto National Monument, Salado Ruins, pictures.

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