|Before leaving on my journey last fall, I Googled things to see in Arizona, and the name Arcosanti popped up. I jotted it down in my notebook (which is a hodge podge of stuff) and promptly forgot about it, only to rediscover it while looking for something else. Its name comes from the term “arcology”. Here is a brief blurb from Wikipedia:
“Arcosanti is a projected experimental town with a molten bronze bell casting business in Yavapai County, central Arizona, 70 mi north of Phoenix, at an elevation of 3,732 feet. Its arcology concept was posited by the Italian-American architect, Paolo Soleri.”
I mentioned it to some of the “tribe”, and Virgil, who is a retired glass-blower from Asheville, NC, said he'd like to see it too. We agreed to meet there on Tuesday. After boondocking Monday night in the parking lot at Rock Springs Cafe in Black Canyon City, I drove north on I-17 to Arcosanti.
Virgil drove up from Wickenburg, but we both arrived in time to join the 10:00 am tour conducted by Tim, one of the residents of Arcosanti. By luck this was the only tour which included getting to see the bronze casting. We had to be silent while they worked so that if anything went wrong they could communicate without distraction. Tim was a great guide and answered all of our questions about how the community got started, what it's like to live there now, and what they plan for the future.
After the tour we were given passes so we could explore on our own. We visited with a friendly young woman who was carving designs in the ceramic bells. She was from Rome and had lived at Arcosanti for two years. The grounds and buildings are very interesting, but you can see from the pictures that you have to be willing to climb a lot of stairs and walk up and down hills in order to live there. I had booked a room for Tuesday night for a mere $45, including breakfast the next morning. The room was spartan but clean, had an electric space heater, and the shower was hot. They allowed Virgil to stay in his van overnight in their parking lot for $5. We had dinner at their cafe' that night which is always buffet style for $12 (for lunch and dinner. Breakfast is $5). Everyone has to contribute to the community, so different people cook. That night it was simple but good, and there is always a vegetarian entree. I never thought about putting dill in black-eyed peas, but it worked.
The next morning we drove to Montezuma Castle National Monument to see some ruins of the Sinagua tribe. We had lunch at Johnny Rocket's in the casino, then Virgil headed south to parts unknown while I checked into Distant Drum RV Park in Camp Verde, which was also owned by the local tribe. That night it started raining. It was still raining the next morning and the forecast was for rain all day, so I decided to hunker down in Wanda and stay another night. Flood alerts started pinging my phone that afternoon but luckily the RV park sat high and dry. When I left Friday morning I could see the swollen creeks from the highway.
There was snow on the peaks outside Flagstaff and it was cool and breezy, but I decided to stop at Walnut Creek National Monument anyway. There are more Sinagua ruins there, but they are different than Montezuma Castle. The Island Trail brings you down into part of the canyon right next to the ruins. Once again I had good timing as I was able to catch up to the ranger's tour. It's a beautiful canyon and as long as you don't mind going down and then back up about 750 stairs, it is well worth the stop.
I continued on to Lyman Lake State Park near Springerville, AZ for the night and was once again happy to have electricity for my space heater. I am slowly making my way back to CO and expect to be back to my little chateau by next Saturday. Then on to Denver on March 1 to crash with my the kids before heading to Loreto, Mexico on March 17. Life is good!