Cool Archaeology News

I just came across this article, describing details of farming 2,500 years ago near what is now Tucson: http://www.archaeology.org/news/4092-160122-arizona-farmer-footprints

It’s just too bad that the site’s in the way of a highway.

 

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And on an Administrative Note…

I’ve been locked out of the admin part of this site for quite a while and have finally managed to get back in.  I hope to start with the changes I’ve previously mentioned.  I’m also hoping in this election year to bring more links to Arizona news.  There are lots of things going on, including a primary challenge to Senator John McCain and a serious general election challenge from the Democrats.

In the Phoenix area, the Loop 202 extension from I-10 in Ahwatukee going around South Mountain to link up with I-10 again on the west side of the metro area may take much of the through traffic out of downtown Phoenix, which will be a boon to commuters and long-haul drivers alike.  Of course, the people of Ahwatukee and the Gila River Indian Community, along with environmentalists who have big concerns about the road’s impact on the South Mountain environment, have expressed their own opinions about the new route.

A new Interstate has been proposed to run from Mexico to Las Vegas.  The bottom part of I-11 would run partly on existing interstate highways before going north through Wickenburg and follow the US-93 route up to I-40 and then up across the new bridge by Hoover Dam and on to Las Vegas.  Additional extensions may take the corridor all the way north to Canada.  The exact routes are still to be determined, including a possible Tucson bypass that would route I-11 west of the city, and the exact route from Casa Grande to Wickenburg is still in discussion. If it goes far enough west of Phoenix it would add an additional relief valve for long-haul traffic avoiding the metro area.

In other politics, there are fights going on over education budgets and food stamps.

El Niño is continuing to make things fairly damp in Arizona, with snow in the high country and days of rain and cooler-than-normal weather around Phoenix. The forecast for the next few months is for the pattern to continue, though there are some breaks expected.

I haven’t mentioned it since we got back, but the new Cubs spring training facility in west Mesa looks pretty sharp!  It’s right across the street from a big shopping area in Mesa and just a mile or so from another one in Tempe, with access from both Loop 101 and Loop 202.  That might be the biggest problem, actually, with the load that both of those roads already carry through the day.

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Reopening of US 89 to Page

Good news for the people passing through the northern part of Arizona!

http://www.arizonahighways.com/?q=blog%2Fus-route-89-near-page-reopen-next-week

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And We’re Back

Just a short note:  We’ve returned to Arizona and I hope to update and expand this site over the coming months.  One of my plans is to move some of the content out of the posts and into proper pages.

I’m also going to try to put in more current Arizona news as well.  We found that we wanted to know about Arizona events while we were in North Carolina, so I’ll try to add one more place to find news, especially things that might affect travel and exploration of the state.

We are so glad to be back!

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Looong Time…

I didn’t intend for a year to go by, but here it is, just shy of a year since the last update. We are still in North Carolina, but we just returned to Arizona for a very quick trip. It was, unfortunately, a trip loaded with things to do and people to see, so not a great deal of time was available for sightseeing. I started feeling like I was getting close to home about Tucumcari, New Mexico, and was very happy to get back to Mesa, if only for a few days. I ache for the beauty of the land. I miss the long views, the exotic plants, roads that go straight for miles and even have the same name, the warmth in January, the food and so very many things to do. Pass Mountain called to me, but I was committed to running in the P. F. Chang’s Half Marathon again (one of the reasons that we went when we did), so I was especially pained to have to leave without hiking the Wind Cave trail.

I did squeeze in a fast walk around the Water Ranch, and got to see some birds I haven’t seen in a couple years.  My favorites were a pair of Kestrels hunting.

Kestrel pair

Kestrel pair

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Updating the Site

It has been quite a while since I’ve laid hands on the site. There’s a perfectly good explanation for this: We’re currently about 2,000 miles east of our home in Mesa.

After trying to decide what to do, I’ve come to the conclusion that we will continue to document the cities and towns and attractions of Arizona, along with news when I come across it.  Given the national coverage of Arizona, I suspect that this will mean a little more politics will show up.  I’ll try not to let my biases show if it does.

The other thing I want to do with this post is mention some of the “bucket list” items that I haven’t been able to do in Arizona (yet!).  We didn’t expect to leave Arizona any time soon, so we left a number of places unexplored.

One of the big items yet to do for me is Monument Valley.  The iconic red buttes of the valley were made famous in several John Ford movies, starting with “Stagecoach” in 1939.  The valley is now a Navajo park.  You can explore parts of the park on your own or you can hire a guide or tour to take you through the park.

Canyon de Chelly is another Navajo park, though it is also a National Monument.  It is Navajo because it is still their home.  You can drive along the rim of the canyon and you can follow one trail to visit White House Ruins without a Navajo guide, but otherwise you must either take a tour or hire a guide to ride with you.  If you choose to use your own vehicle, you will need a good 4-wheel-drive setup.  If you choose to hike to the Ruins, plan on taking a couple of hours to go from the rim to the ruins and back.  It is a 600′ climb to get back out of the canyon, so plan accordingly and take plenty of water.  The White House Ruins are famous for the massive sandstone cliff that dwarfs the ruins themselves.

A third Navajo site is Antelope Canyon.  This is a slot canyon, with a very narrow width and a depth of up to 120′.  The canyon is famous for its beautiful formations and colors.  The challenge is to get to the right place at the right time to get the sun coming down at the right angle to penetrate to the bottom of the canyon and then to take the perfect picture in the short time available.  A guide is also required for entrance into the canyons and time is limited as well.  Beyond that, the reason it is a slot canyon is the way water flows through the canyon is a flash flood.  A rain storm miles away can drop rain that will enter the canyon without warning for the unwary.  I tried to find a good image to go with this, but there are so many that it’s impossible.  Just do a Google image search for the canyon and marvel at its beauty.

I will hold up here and add additional bucket list items in another post.

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Pima Air & Space Museum

We visited the Pima Air and Space Museum the end of April and the biggest problem that we had was getting it all covered!  It was a beautiful day and an awesome time!  The biggest problem that I now have is to figure out which of the many pictures to post here – I shot something over 400 of them and isn’t digital wonderful!?!

The museum is located on the south side of Tucson and it’s easy to find.  If you’re not concentrating on the exit from I-10 over to the east you might just spot the giant Guppy looming up over the rest of the planes.  I actually saw it while heading back to Mesa and just passing through Tucson, the first time I caught a glimpse of it.

The Guppy

It’s hard to realize just how big this aircraft is until you are right up to it!

I’d strongly recommend good walking shoes, a fairly cool day without rain, and plenty of time and water!  There are a number of hangars with exhibits, but you’ll want to take the tours.  The guides have a ton of information on the different planes.  Before I forget, one tour that we didn’t make is the one to the 309th AMARG at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base to visit “the Boneyard”.  That’s where a large part of the older Air Force inventory goes to get mothballed or recycled.  We just didn’t have enough time!

The exhibits at the museum range from a copy of the Wright Flyer to multiple B-52s to fire-fighting planes to helicopters to space gear.  Take a look at the pictures below and then go see them!  I found that I’d rushed some of the inside pictures too much in the lower light, so most of these are outside.  However, the planes in the hangars are the best of the best.  Make the effort to go see the B-29, the B-24, the B-17, and all the rest in the outlying hangars!

F-101 Voodoo

F-101 Voodoo

F-107

F-107

F-105 Thunderchief

F-105 Thunderchief

Gooney Bird

Gooney Bird

B-36 Peacemaker

B-36 Peacemaker

TWA Constellation

TWA Constellation

C-124 Globemaster

C-124 Globemaster

Fairey AEW Mk. 3 Gannet

Fairey AEW Mk. 3 Gannet

B-52 Stratofortress

B-52 Stratofortress

B-47 Stratojet

B-47 Stratojet

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March Snow 2012

It’s the middle of March and Arizona is getting smacked with a late winter storm.  Even here in Mesa the temperature is only in the mid-40s and looking east I can see snow capping the Superstition range.  Just yesterday the high was around 78 degrees, so the snow won’t last long around here. In town, we’re getting rain, with predictions of an inch or more in some locations.  It rained quite heavily here for a couple hours this morning, but has stopped for the moment.  More coming tonight and tomorrow, they say.

Up in Flagstaff, the temperature’s at 25 degrees and the snow is expected to continue falling through Monday night.  Brr!  The Snowbowl reports 19″ of new snow for today.  Snow is falling over on the White Mountains to the east, as well, but I don’t have totals there.

Snow on the Superstitions

Snow on the SuperstitionsSaguaros and Snow

Saguaros and Snow

Saguaros and Snow

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Presidential Primary – 2012-02-28

Arizona Republicans go to the polls today to select their choice for Presidential candidate.

Leading up to it, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum came to Mesa last week for one of their many, many debates.  After the ASU Symphonic Choral sang the National Anthem, they got down to it.  Oh, the drama!

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Happy Birthday, ya ol’ Arizona!

In case you might have missed it, February 14th is not only Valentine’s Day, it’s also the anniversary of the state of Arizona.  This year, in particular, that has significance because Arizona turns 100 years old.  For a centenarian, the state’s not doing too shabby!

To celebrate, there have been a number of events and activities around the state, but the big blow-off is coming in the next week.  Starting with the weekend’s big party in downtown Phoenix and wrapping up with events on the 14th itself, there will be big doin’s here!

For Saturday and Sunday, there will be a party – the Arizona Best Fest – with areas focusing on the fine arts, science, sports, energy, the military, Hispanics, American Indians, the Western, wineries, craft beers, a food court, storytelling, and more.  Oh, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, too!

Among the other things going on, there will be a P-51 and B-25 flyover, a couple biplane flyovers, fireworks, George Benson, shootouts including an Earp/Clanton reenactment, Flamenco dancing, a ton of different American Indian dances and presentations, and the giveaway of a copper-plated Arizona Centennial chopper cycle.

As if that weren’t enough, the party continues with a Sunrise ceremony on the morning of the 14th on the steps of the State Capitol.  A reenactment of the walk by Governor Hunt from City Hall to the Capitol follows the sunrise ceremony.  The US Post Office is offering a new stamp, with first day cancellations, as a commemoration. Later, Wayne Newton will perform and at the end of the day there’s a big Fandango (tickets are $250 a pop and dress is “Arizona Black Tie”).   All-in-all, it’s going to be quite a party!

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