Thursday, March 30, 2006
The Bird Cage Theater is one of the few original buildings of Tombstone. Most of the original town was destroyed in one of two fires that occurred in the 1880s. The name Bird Cage came from the 13 "cribs" hanging from the ceiling where the ladies of the evening worked their magic. Boarded up for 50 years with all the original furnishings after it closed, the interior remains true to the 1880s.
Tombstone, AZ is a funky little tourist trap of a town that manages to laugh at itself and admit its hokiness. However, there is a long, long history here and you can absorb a lot of that if you check out the museums and attend the "Shoot Out at the OK Corral" and wander Boot Hill.
Tombstone got its start as a mining town after Ed Schieffelin came to the area searching for silver. His friends told him he'd find his tombstone rather than silver, so he gave the name of "Tombstone" to his mining claim. Other people soon followed to try to cash in on the mining craze and the town of Tombstone slowly developed. Rowdy and raucous, home to gunslingers and gamblers, Tombstone became famous for that shoot out at the O-K Corral between the Earps and the Clantons. Over the years, the gold and silver mines flooded with water and many folks moved on. During the war years, manganese and lead was mined in the area but afterwards the need for those minerals started to peter out and the townspeople of Tombstone had to figure out what they were going to do in place of mining. They decided to recreate the town of Tombstone into a tourist destination and the rest is history.
You can spend a full day at Tombstone just wandering the shops, but you can also tour the town in a replica of a stagecoach or a Conestoga wagon where your driver will tell you the history of the town. There is a recreation of the "Shoot Out at the O-K Corral" that's fascinating when you see the small area that the shooting occurred in, making you wonder how anyone could have walked away from that gun battle alive. Currently there's also a trick-riding/Wild West show and another gunslinger/shooting demonstration that's shown daily. You can also tour the Tombstone Epigraph newspaper building, where the oldest continuously published paper is still being printed today.
Of course, as you head north out of town you have to stop by Boot Hills to read the "tombstones" that have been recreated (the graves are real). Funny, sad and thought-provoking, the cemetery gives you a small idea of the types of folks who lived during Tombstone's heyday. Stop by the gift shop on your way out and pick up some delicious fudge for a perfect end to a very enjoyable, educational day.
To get to Tombstone from Tucson, take S/B Interstate 10, exit 303 (Hwy 80). Follow Hwy. 80 southbound for about 20 miles to Tombstone.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Denny and I have discovered that the chance of rain on moving day is inversely proportional to how much we paid to wash the rig two days previously. Washing our rig and truck is surely the best way to insure the local area gets its much needed rain. Yesterday's trip from Camp Verde to St. David, AZ was no exception to that rule, although at this particular campground they prohibit washing vehicles so the area is safe for a few days-in spite of the local forecast.
It was a long, long day for us yesterday due to road construction and a lengthy delay at the Flying J truck stop in Eloy to fill up on cheap-for-the-area diesel fuel. However, once we arrived in the area south of Tucson we were treated to the bright green growth of new leaves on bushes and trees which gleamed against the tan desert floor. Our spirits perked up at the sight of spring and the thoughts of new beginnings and new destinations for the year.
The first picture above is a close up of a cherry tree in bloom and the second one is an apple tree, both in the campground at Camp Verde. It reminded of spring in Ohio-now where are the tulips and daffodils?
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Today's "Lazy Sunday" pictures where taken from Sedona, AZ. At the request of a friend we drove up there to locate a gravesite of a family member to take pictures of the site and surrounding area.
The town was crowded with tourists as always, but the townspeople we dealt with while trying to locate a specific gravesite were unfailingly courteous, helpful and friendly. I imagine it would be irritating to live in an area so thronged with visitors jamming the roads and parking spots, but how could you leave this wondrous scenery?
The picture above is Bell Rock. There is a 1 mile walking trail leading to Bell Rock and as we passed it we saw many people scrabbling about on the hillside itself.
Saturday, March 25, 2006
In addition to the cliff dwellings at Montezuma's Castle and Montezuma's Well, the Sinagua people also built the huge, 110 room pueblo that is called Tuzigoot (too-zi-goot). Like the cliff dwellings, archaeologists date the pueblo to 1000 A.D. and believe the Sinagua abandoned the area in the 1400s. The Sinagua tribes existed by growing crops and trading with other tribes as far as several hundred miles away.
The pueblo itself is three stories tall at the highest point and you are allowed to walk through the rooms. There is a small museum/visitor center and guided tours are offered throughout the day during prime tourist season. There is a walking loop that is handicap accessible, but it would be difficult for wheeled vehicles to use the Ruins Trail.
As with all National Parks, owners of the Golden Age passport get in free. A visit will only take about 45 minutes, leaving you free to continue up the road to visit Jerome.
Directions: From Interstate 17 take exit 287 and head west on Hwy. 260 into Cottonwood. Once in Cottonwood, take Main St. north to Clarkdale and follow the signs.