Exploring the history of Phoenix, Arizona, just for fun. Advertising-free, supported by my patrons on Patreon. Thank you!

How to do history adventuring in Phoenix IRL (In Real Life)


I just love history adventuring in Phoenix, and while I usually do it in my imagination, with the help of old photos that I find, sometimes I like to do it IRL (In Real Life), which is what I'm gonna do today with the help of a fellow adventurer (who calls it "Urban Spelunking").

Of course, just being in the Phoenix area I see a lot of stuff. I know that the moment my feet hit the ground, even in my house in Glendale, I'm walking where the Hohokam people walked - every inch of this valley belonged to them, not just the tiny preserved area around 44th Street and Washington. I also know that I'm looking at the mountains that the Apaches protected, and the routes that the gold miners struggled on, especially north of me here in Glendale. When I pedal over to the Fitness Center at my local community college, I go through the Sahuaro Ranch park, past some impressive history there.

But today will be special, as I will be covering more ground that I usually do. The plan is to do a loop that includes Tempe. My fellow adventurer, whom I'll call Mick (because that's his name) has worked out a map that will allow us to go to places without having to zig-zap back and forth. It's good to have a plan, but of course if we don't get to all of the places marked, that would be OK, too.

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In preparation for this I've created a little snack bag, and have checked to see that I have some cash in my pocket. I've always had the tendency to forget to think about food (which is why I was such a sickly, skinny kid) but I'm older and wiser now and I know that I will need to interrupt my fun every once in a while to refuel my body. Most people plan their adventures around food, I have to stop and think: food. With any luck today there will be a cheeseburger at the Chuckbox, too!

One of things that I just love to do when I'm doing this is to create a "then and now" photo. I have tried doing the search command on my phone, but it's more trouble than it's worth, so now I set aside a photo or two that I'd like to match up. Today in Tempe I'd like to do a "now" photo by one of the original buildings on campus to match up with a "then" photo from 1915. So I've sent the photo to Mick, and we'll both have it on our phones in our message app. Nowadays I don't need to remember to bring a camera, it's already in my pocket, as part of my phone. I just love new technology!

I just love this kind of adventuring, and I'm grateful to have someone to drive. I love looking out the window, and have no real interest in traffic lights, left turn signals, that sort of thing. I like looking at mountains, and have given over the driving to airplane pilots, shuttle drivers, buses, Light Rail, friends, and hopefully in the future, self-driving cars.

I promise to report back on this history adventure IRL! This is too much fun, and I love to share it!