Although we have been out on a few short trips here and there, we finally dusted off the 5th wheel for a quick trip to the desert. Phoenix is about 11 hours away by car and so we decided to try and drive straight through. Probably not our best choice! It took over 13 hours, we didn’t arrive until after dark , and Mike was, understandably, quite exhausted. However, after stepping out of the pickup we realized that it was worth it. Even though it was dark, it was so warm and inviting outside and we knew we were in for a good time. We started Thursday morning with the idea watching some minor league practice and went in search of some free baseball! It wasn’t until we had driven by 3 or 4 practice fields of different teams that we realized we were about a week too early. They were probably just reporting back to work and wouldn’t be out on the fields for a few days. So we decided to investigate Casa Grande since it is close to Phoenix and a very cool place to go.
Casa Grande is a National Monument located about 30 miles away from Scottsdale near Coolidge, AZ. It was home to Native Americans who have been described as the “First Masters of the American Desert”. They lived in this area for thousands of years as hunters and gatherers. By 300 CE (Common Era), they lived in permanent settlements and built a huge canal system to irrigate crops. It was 500 miles of canals and it supported 80,000 people. An amazing engineering marvel! At some point in the 1300’s, they decided to build this Great House and it was completed by around 1350. By the 1400’s most people had moved on from the area and just the buildings were left. The coolest aspect to the building is on the back wall. There is a perfectly placed circular hole high up on the wall. It first appears like a mistake–why did someone put a strange little window here? But it was later discovered that every year on the Summer Solstice (June 21st), the sun will shine directly through the hole in the wall. So it is a type of calendar that would help them keep track of the time of year. Very smart….
Back in town we met up with Mark Hospenthal–long lost friend and relative for dinner. We couldn’t decide how long it had been since we had seen each other but think it was at least 15 years ago. First day in the books.