Sunday, February 22, 2009

The tourists go to Tubac and Tumacacori

Saturday was a tourist day. We've been riding a bunch and our peripherals needed a break. We drove down to Tubac, a former presidio founded in 1753. A presidio is a fort. Tubac was founded when this territory was part of New Spain.
This is a Hohokam house. They would dig down into the caliche (ka-lee-chee), which is similar to concrete, and then build up walls with mortar over sticks. It's amazing how constant a temperature is kept inside of the structure.

This is one of their ramadas. They keep the sun off your head, but let the breeze through. The verticals are ocotillo ribs, quite often when you plant them, they'll root and keep growing.

Tubac is about around 35 miles south of Tucson. They have reinvented themselves as a collection of artist studios and stores. Some of the products are produced on site, a lot of it comes from Mexico. I don't think the current economy is going to be kind to them. This is probably from Mexico, photographs were forbidden so I had to sneak the picture.

One of the stores. There were many.

I'm not sure what culture these masks represent. They were kind of cool.

This gallery had some nice items. This is a wolf done in bronze.

Art by Michael Swearingin. We liked his work a lot.

Yard art. Javalinas.

More yard art. I think I don't fully appreciate this genre.

Another high end gallery. They had a lot of tables with the blue inlay. I'm supposing it's turquoise, but I don't know for sure. It was very nice work.

Then it was on to Tumacacori. The mission was founded in 1691 by Father Eusebio Francisco Kino at the request of the Pima Indians. The Pima rebellion of 1751 caused a brief abandonment of the site, but they returned after a few months. In 1756 the church was relocated to the other side of the river. In 1848 the mission was abandoned. Constant raids by the Apaches, inclement weather, the expulsion of the Jesuits, and the war between Mexico and the US were all contributing factors. It was quite the operation. They were self sustaining, which was no small feat. Enough food had to be grown and preserved to see them all through the winter. Life was hard then.
This is a passageway out to the mission. Nice shadows.

The big church.

This is an artist's rendering of how it used to look.

Today it's a ruin. There are no plans to restore it. The white stuff on the brick is limestone mortar. Limestone had to be brought in from 30 miles away, through Apache controlled territory. It was not a trip for the faint of heart. Once on site, the rock was placed in a kiln, heated until the rocks exploded, and then ground into a powder to make mortar. A lot of work.

The walls are about 4 feet thick, to control temperature.

This was the mortuary chapel where rites were held for the burials in the graveyard. They weren't able to get the roof on it before having to abandon the mission.

This is where Catholics were buried. Over the years it was repeatedly vandalized, none of the grave markers are original. After order was restored to the territory, local residents considered the ground to still be sanctified and continued to use it for burials.

The last burial was in 1916, an infant was buried here.

The back of the church.

The granary. The mission had acres of land under cultivation.

The best seed from each crop was stored in these jars for planting the next year.

Part of the structure where the priests lived. They had heat, but few other amenities.

On the way back, border control had a check point set up. If you're anglo, you're waved through. If you're not, you're not.

Some of the mountains east of I19.

We did a drive by on the Titan missile museum. Tucson was ringed by these things during the cold war, 1960s to 1986. They've all been imploded except for this one.

More mine tailings. This is a gold and copper mine. The sheer volume of earth moved just astonishes me every time we drive by them.

In the interests of getting this blog published while it's still current, I'm going to post it now. However, we do have late breaking news and photos of the great mountain bike incident that occurred today. Jim is damaged, but he'll recover.

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