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by Lloyd Treichel
Dateline: March 2, 2002 -- Tucson, Arizona
Snow birding in Tucson ... I arrived here the last day of January and have been exploring the Tucson area in detail. Wandrin Wagon is parked at Rincon Country East RV Park while here.
Tucson's Old Pueblo Archeology Center provided one of the high points of my Tucson stay. For the price of $38, I was trained to work in the dirt and excavate Indian dwellings dating to 900-1300 A.D. This dig was located along the Santa Cruz River northwest of downtown Tucson. I found this work to be pure fun; it was a search and solving of puzzles. There were several crews of three working the many approximately six foot square plots. In the particular plot I worked, we found potsherds, flint knapping residue, stone tools, items carved from shells, and stone points of varying sizes. One was of obsidian about an inch long and a quarter of an inch at the base. I had no idea something so fine could be made of stone.
After the first day, I took a membership with Old Pueblo so I could do it a second day and then again for two days two weeks later. I've never had so much fun (as an adult) getting so dirty.
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument is an archeological site that dates to about 1250 A.D. and the picture is of a structure that was at one time four stories high and was built of mud and adobe. The foresight of a person in 1892 helped preserve one of the few of these structures that remain.
Water and changes in annual rainfalls seem to be the most frequent explanation for the Indians of that time abandoning these villages or relocating to other areas of the southwest U.S.
Is there a message in the human history of Arizona?
The Kartchner Caverns is part of the Arizona State Parks. This cavern was found in 1974, kept secret until the State bought it and surrounding land to develop a park. After ten years of development it was opened to the public just over two years ago. The cave was found via a hole about 24 inches in diameter. In order to keep this a "living" cave with only that single hole to the above ground environment, the entrance to the developed cave is through a series of air locks. Tour group sizes are limited and reservations are a good idea.
The experience was one that I would find difficult to describe. What the senses experience is difficult to put into words -- so I will not try. Come see for yourself.
Southwest Indian Fair is held on the University of Arizona on the lawn in front of the Arizona State Museum. Many tribes are represented here and they bring their art in the form of jewelry, pots, baskets, stone sculptures, and wood carvings. The later is my favorite and they had some beautiful pieces.
I also toured the Museum and its presentation of the lives of the Indians of the Southwest through their Paths of Life exhibit. This exhibit details the historic record of the Indian communities in the area from their earliest inhabitation through the 20th century. A very educational presentation that was over whelming in the depth of the knowledge presented.
Old Tucson Studios was used as a movie set beginning in 1940 and continues to this day. There is an extensive list of movies and TV shows that have been filmed here.
When it isn't used as a movie set, it entertains the tourist (for a price) in staged gun fights in the streets and saloon. These actors also demonstrate the stuntman's craft.
After the fake bullets "fly" and the actors get up once again, I wonder what impression this has on the young mind. Of course he sees it on TV in two dimension, but here it is in three dimension with no commercial interruption.
A visit to Tombstone's Boot Hill produced this clever epithet:
Since I continue to research my genealogy, I checked the "resident" lists for any distant relatives. No luck here!
A disappointment ... Since Arizona has had little rain fall this winter, there will be few desert blooms to enjoy this spring.
A jury summons ... was in the monthly accumulation of mail that I received on the 7th of February.
For over forty years, I have been a registered voter, registered cars, owned property and I have never had a jury summons. Now that I only have a mail box in Weld County, Colorado and only a vehicle registered there -- and I really do not reside there -- I get the jury summons.
I responded with an email explaining my wand'rin' status and requested the removal of my name from the jury pool. The request was honored.
Note on mail. I use a street address at Mail Boxes Etc. so that I can register Silver Slug. Once a month I send an email to have them package the mail and mail it to me via "UPS Ground". I started out using USPS Priority Mail, but that could be any where from three to seven days before it showed up. UPS is there within three to four days -- every time.
Hiking ... in the desert continues to challenge me.
To get what I thought would be a beautiful picture, I went off the trail and in the process I managed to get a bunch of prickly pear thorns in my leg through the Levi's. In order to get those things out, I had to lower my pants to any hiker who came along the trail. I really did not care. Ouch! I will learn!
So far, I have been able to avoid the very vicious cholla cactus.
Cinnamon Roll Search ... I've run into a dry spell on this. I suppose that I could resort to an area favorite of Indian Fry bread with honey and cinnamon. But... it isn't a cinnamon roll.
A few bakeries were found here in Tucson, but some had no cinnamon rolls. When I did find a bakery with cinnamon rolls, I did purchase one in spite of the price of $1.75 for a rather small roll. I couldn't finish the roll. There was another spice included with the cinnamon which I was unable to identify, but it overpowered the cinnamon flavor. Thumbs down on that. I had considered going back to ask about the flavor, but I decided that I did not care.
Since I knew that the Safeway grocery had one that I liked, I bought one. However, this particular store appeared not to be into the flaky "filo" type rolls that I had become used to. This one had nothing more than Danish dough used for the cinnamon roll. That is really bad! It tastes like a Cinnamon Danish -- actually worse.
And so I continue my search....
In the how come department ... On I-19 south of Tucson, distances are stated in kilometers while the speed limit signs are posted in miles per hour.
An annoying commercial ... Am I the only one that is annoyed by the Aflac duck? The one thing that I can say for the message is that I do know what they are selling.
Tucson acquaintances ... Visited with Dennis and Bonnie Haight over dinner and we talked of past and present. Dennis and I were co-workers at StorageTek years ago.
Latest Read ... "In Siberia" by Colin Thubron. There are a lot of places on this earth that I will never get to visit -- and really -- I have no desire to go there. Siberia would be one of those places. A solo traveler, Thubron travels in the mid 1990's to see Siberia via trains, boats and car. Some of his stops included the infamous Siberian Gulags where millions died during Stalin's paranoid reign. With few hotels along the way, he is welcomed and stays with some of the people of this vast land mass and relates their lives, loves and dreams -- before and after Communist rule.
Vanity Plate ...
"TEACHRN" -- a teacher of RNs ... or ...
Bumper sticker ...
"Monkeys Steal My Underwear At Night" ... I am puzzled by that one. Perhaps there is some personal joke or maybe some TV show. I really have no idea, but it did get my attention.
Quotable quote ...
"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then rest afterward." - Spanish proverb