Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Tres Rios Wetlands

Down in the southern and western section of Phoenix, AZ, sits 500 acres of pristine land known as the Tres Rio Wetlands.  The manufactured property is next to the Estrella Mountains and where you will find Great Blue Herons, beavers and bobcats that roam freely throughout the land.  The sanctuary for native trees, wetland vegetation and animals was constructed as a proficient way to eradicate nitrogen from the wastewater running from the sewage treatment plant which sits next to the refuge.
Many of these wetlands, marshes or riparian are located around the world.  They aid in flood control while providing a place for many different animals and water-rooted plants/trees to thrive.  There are at least 1,000 of these engineered wetlands all over the country.  Most of them are located in the southwest where reclaimed water flows for irrigation of non-edible crops such as cotton.  
With its many indigenous trees, wildlife, birds and mammals, the Tres Rios Wetlands draws many visitors to its land.  School kids, photographers and even researchers enjoy taking pictures and learning about the wildlife and how they regulate the water flow.  The refuge even has distinctive mosquito-eating fish, species of birds, bats and ecological chemicals that manage those pesky insects.
Today, they are constructing more parking areas, benches, trails and viewing areas for more places to observe the wetlands.  For more information about the Tres Rios Wetlands, check out this website:  http://phoenix.gov/waterservices/tresrios/index.html .

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Blooming in My Backyard


Can't wait for them to flower.



Grapevine.  Waiting for the grapes.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Domes: We All Fall Down

A view from above several years ago.

I have been to the Domes a couple of times.  The back dome was unsafe and crumbling back in 2010.  I am not surprised that it finally collapsed.  I found a video of what it looks like now from a witness of its demise.  I posted the history of the domes.  Here is the link: http://www.echoesofthesouthwest.com/2010/09/secrets-of-domes.html

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Etsy: Bottles, Frames and Message Center

I just added these five items to my Etsy shop. (Getaway Keepsakes)  I am going to take a break from Etsy projects for a while to get other things done that I have started.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Goat Canyon Trestle

Parts of California are like Arizona with the harsh weather, poisonous critters, and sandy grounds.  In the early 1900’s, San Diego was looking for a faster way to travel to the lively town of El Centro which was the most prevalent settlement in Imperial County.  Along with the other features of Anza-Borrego Desert, stands a massive bridge which extends across the Carrizo Gorge.  The railway passage was named the Goat Canyon Trestle but denoted “The Impossible Railroad” by many naysayers.  By 1919, the insufferable railroad was finished and ready for use.

It wasn’t an easy task to operate through the assemblage of 17 tunnels and 14 key trestles arching within the Goat Canyon in Carrizo Gorge.  The final length was 11 miles and it took 12 years to finish.  The massive viaduct was 200 feet tall, loved by railroad fanatics, and a huge achievement.  Alas, the immense structure couldn’t withstand the brutal winds of hurricane Kathleen.  She tore through that gorge crumpling tunnels and destroying trestles.  After careful examination, Southern Pacific Railroad thought it would be best to shut it down and leave the line abandoned.
Today, the immense giant sits alone in the canyon and has become a place for hikers, mountain bikers and those train loving people take the 12 mile hike to admire the 750 foot wooden spectacle.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Atomic Cannon

“Yuma, Arizona Atomic cannons, designed and deployed at the white-hot height of the Cold War (1953-1963) but never fired in battle, are displayed at a number of military installations and museums in the US. The intent of the 280mm cannon was to hurl a nuclear shell a tactical distance so the artillery crew -- which took cover during firing in slit trenches -- wouldn't be killed by blast and radiation, the Atomic Cannon resides in that sweet spot between nightmarish nuclear missiles and really dumb atomic hand grenades. An Atomic cannon was test fired in 1953 in Nevada. The Yuma Proving Ground, north of the city of Yuma, offers easy viewing of an M65 280mm atomic cannon at the entrance gate, along with other retired weaponry that includes tanks, rockets, and a 200mm gun-howitzer.”  (From www.roadsideamerica.com website)

Read more about it on their website:  http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2102

Friday, May 5, 2017

Old Plank Road

I always love it when I discover unusual things about Arizona and its surrounding states.  I was watching a show about abandoned places and structures on the Science channel.  They noted the history of how these things began, and what happened to them.  I thought the story about the OldPlank Road was fascinating.
The Old Plank Road was constructed in 1915 by a businessman and road builder “Colonel” Ed Fletcher.  It stretched over the Algodones Dunes in an east-west direction from southern California into Arizona.  Basically, it was the means of travel between San Diego and Yuma.
In the early 1900’s, San Diego wanted to be known as the pivotal part of the southern California’s roadways since Los Angeles was the last stop for the transcontinental railroad.  Ed Fletcher was called to task by the Los Angeles Examiner, and was up for the undertaking.  In October of 1912, he and a reporter would run a road race to determine what was going to be the finest path to take between southern California and Phoenix.  Fletcher chose the area through the sand dunes with its unstable landscape.  He had a team of horses dragged his car through the unforgiving sands and won the race in about 19.5 hours.

With the support of the newspaper, he procured enough money to buy 13,000 planks for his road.  They started laying the planks on February 14, 1915; two parallel plank tracks, 25” wide, spiked to wooden crosspieces which were placed beneath the planks.  Some of the workers were paid, but others were volunteers.  It took two months until completion and was about 6.5 miles long.  The road took a beating with the mule-drawn scraper that constantly tidied up the ever blowing sand, but still was thought of as a momentous achievement.
A year later, improvements were constructed on the road with 8’ wide manufactured wood sections and at every 1000 feet they doubled the road width for turnouts.  The sections were put in with a crane and brought on site by horse-drawn wagons.  For over 10 years, the maintenance staff did their best to keep the plank road opened, but the harsh blowing sand made it impossible.  Because the road only allowed one car at a time, that was a problem too.  On August 12, 1926, a 20’ wide asphaltic concrete roadway was built on the uppermost region of the sand embankment to replace the Old Plank Road.  The road was named U.S. Route 80 and later became Interstate 8.
Today, there is only a portion of the old road that lingers in the sandy desert and is safeguarded under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management.  What is left of the old road can be seen on the frontage road south of I-8 and west end of Grays Well Road.  There is also a 1500 foot monument of the road constructed out of the remaining fragments.