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Phoenix Trotting Park, AZ
mini location map2012-01-22
18 by photographer avatarskatchkins
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Phoenix Trotting Park, AZ 
Phoenix Trotting Park, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 22 2012
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Sometimes I think a part of me asks my friends if they want to join me on an adventure just to add a voice of reason into the decision making equation. I always forget though, I don't have those kind of friends. The last time I almost drowned:

This Sunday after church I got an itch to get out but didn't know to where. I looked around on the west end of town for something to drive to and maybe take some photos at. I was looking around the Gila river when I remembered that old racetrack out there. I called a friend (an old bible study teacher) and asked, "You want to go break into an old abandoned building?" The answer was quick, "Yeah, I can be at your place in an hour." That gave me some time to figure out some approach plans, especially since at the south end of the property is an old folks trailer park where I read they have nothing better to do than scan the horizon for movement on the private property. Upon further reading, I learned the Goodyear cops seem to be pretty responsive to the area- guns drawn, small town, we have nothing better to do, this is fun to us kinda stuff.

Steve showed up and as we headed out we discussed plans and routes. One problem is that the area is mostly just flat desert with lines of sight for days. We reconned a bit and then picked a spot pretty far away, stopped on the road side, popped the Xterra's hood for effect, and began hiking. We came around the overpass to find a service truck on property in our path so we retreated for a different approach. We finally picked another off the road side spot where after 1 minute of walking we could continue most of the rest of our journey in a gravel pit/dump situated well below sight-line. Steve opined that a nondescript white truck would be awesome to have right about now to avoid suspicion amongst all the No Trespassing signs.

We did our bail out, then felt pretty good as we traversed our low approach path. We popped out really close to the building but there's still a good flat, let's make no sudden movements time to be had before reaching cover again. We made it behind concrete giddy but unsure of how much unfettered free time we'd have alone.

History if you don't already know it:
The Phoenix Trotting Park was built in 1964 by developers with mob money. It was supposed to cost $3 million but the futuristic design ended up topping $10 million. Other problems such as its distance from Phoenix, desert heat and flooding led to its quick demise and abandonment. It still sits mostly due to the fact it's full of asbestos no one wants anything to do with.

Pretty much the whole of the building was used as a bomb in the 1996 Sheen and son movie No Code of Conduct.
The good explosions and the really good acting begin at the 1:42 mark:

The explosions took out all of the glass which is pretty much all the south end of the building is. If you read more on the event, you'll find that the explosion killed a couple hundred birds and there's even a site with sad music playing over it describing the work to help the wounded. Steve and I only saw pigeons, so we held back out tears.

The birds are back in force. There's inches of old poop on the floors in some areas and there are plenty of birds hiding about to give you a scare as they unsettle things or flap away unexpectedly.

Anyway, we began exploring and were probably in there around 4-5hrs. You might find that odd until you find out for yourself how many levels there are in this thing. The basement area was a highlight as it was super dark and water was pouring out of somewhere adding to the echoing noises below. The escalators and elevator shafts were pretty freaky and a must see.

We also found the room sized safe. A hole had been torched in the door to the thick concrete room. More impressive when you review that the door was 4-5" steel. The 2'x1' cut out piece on the floor could not even be moved. All the big bill money wrappers scattered about added to the intrigue. Inside there wasn't much to see but we did find some old receipts listing the cash put in and taken out along with betting sheets.

We finally made it up to the roof and the press box that looked out over where the track had been. It was close enough to sunset to stick around for it and it turned out great.

Only once while on the exposed stands side did I have to duck for cover as a golf cart meandered very slowly by. Once when we split up, Steve called my cell and scared the crap out of me and I missed the call. That was ok, because the same thing happened to him when I called him back.

We left the building with some dusk to offer us cover and made it back to the parked Xterra, no foul play or tickets to be seen. We explored In & Out on the way home.
May he guide you through the wilderness : protect you through the storm;
May he bring you home rejoicing : at the wonders he has shown you;
Armchair Crisis Design
HAZ Member
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