Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ride to the Ruins

View Case Grande Ruins in a larger map

The Freewheelers had a ride last Sunday to a national monument just north of Tucson.  I've included a map of our ride above.  The monument is called the Casa Grande Ruins.  Casa Grande is Spanish for 'great house' which was the name given to the structure by the very first European to see it, Father Kino back in 1694.  It is/was a 4-story, 11-room building built about 700 years ago by the local natives.  Pretty impressive considering the lack of building materials at hand at the time.  But enough of my park ranger tour skills.  Just read up on it yourself:

National Park Service Website


As usual we met up at the local Starbucks.  It's not a real ride unless you're fueled up on caffeine and scones.  We're talking tough as nails bikers here.  I hear Hells Angel's always stop at Starbucks when possible.

This was a much smaller group then the weekend before.  We probably had 11-12 bikes total.  The ride up was uneventful except for one moment when I almost dropped my bike at a stop sign.  We were about half way into the ride, when the group came to a halt and I quickly put both feet down to lift myself off of the bike for a stretch.  I got a little over eager with the leg bends and the bike started listing to one side.  It took every ounce of strength to keep it up right.  Would have been pretty embarrassing dropping the bike at the front of the pack with everyone behind me rolling their eyes at the noob.  Here we are at the parking lot of the ruins.

 The Bonnie can be seen dead center in the photo below.  What a sharp looking bike!

It was five bucks per person to get into the monument.  I didn't have to pay as some of the other older members bought national park passes which allowed the younger crowd to get in for free as "guests".  I guess the passes really work out in the summer if you intend to tour the states and camp at the various national parks.  Paying every time you arrive at a park tends to get a little pricey from what I hear.  The visitors center had tons of various displays with information on the site.  Here are a few photos of what you can see.

Then you get to go outside and explore the ruins.  The large metal structure was built back in the thirties to help prevent weather erosion.

Nice self shot if I don't say so myself.  How did Kiri ever hook up with someone as handsome as I am?

One of our fellow riders.  His name is Kenny and he rides a Harley Sportster that only has a 2 gallon tank.  It's sort of the running joke at all the rides, as he can only go 90-100 miles between fill ups.  He loves the bike though, so we just make sure we plan the gas stops accordingly.

There was graffiti etched all over the walls of the ruins.  Some of them quite old.  Man's eternal quest to be remembered.  Here's an example of one that seemed to read 1887.

The building was made with mud and Caliche.  If you've ever lived in the Southwest and tried to dig a hole you find out what Caliche is pretty quick.  You can click on the photo below to make it readable.

Time for the group photo op!

After the ruins we drove over to a Chinese restaurant for lunch.

Another great ride.  I believe it was roughly ~170 miles round trip.  This weekend I'm on-call so no rides for me:(  Let's hope for a quiet week pretty please.

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