On the Road with Tom and Gloria travel blog





repairing cracks of protective covering of original wall

up close look at blooming ocotillo - one of my favorite bushes

On the way home we stopped at the Casa Grande Ruins in Coolidge Az. There is a town called Casa Grande but that is not where the ruins are. Go figure!

This 4 story high and 60 feet long building is the largest known structure built by the Hohokam tribe. It was the early Spanish explorers who named it Casa Grande ( Great House). Our guide told us that the walls face the four points of the compass and there is a circular hole in the upper west wall that aligns with the setting sun at the summer solstice.

The Hohokams are called the "First Masters of the American Desert" by archaeologists because they were amazing farmers on a land that doesn't seem very hospitable. They diverted water from the rivers through a system of irrigation canals - back breaking work since they had no metal tools to dig through the caliche (cuh-LEE-chee) which is a concrete like substance at the bottom of the rivers. They used 3,000 tons of this stuff along with ribs from the saguaro cactus and timbers from juniper, pine, and fir trees (from 60 miles away) to build the Great House.

We learned about what food came from what cactus( either the cactus itself or it's fruits), edible seeds from mesquite and ironwood trees, and so much more.

The Hohokam (ho-ho-KAHM) lasted about 1000 years . When Father Kino - a famous missionary in the southwest- visited the Pima Indians who lived nearby, and asked about the structure, the Pima said that their ancestors were hohokam which means "all-gone" or " all used up".

Interestingly, the Butterfield Stage used to run right through this area. Travelers would get out for a rest and souvenir hunt. In 1892 Casa Grande became the nation's first Archaeological reserve.

Back on the road to Mesa -

We arrived and of course the RV wasn't quite ready. What? "You had three days", we said. Patience I keep telling myself!

Finally, we were back in our spot at Gold Canyon and hooked up. After eating Chinese food for dinner, Tom read the paper and I started this entry. It's been and interesting couple of days but it's good to be "home".

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