Saturday, February 25, 2012

Day 6 - Arizona

Started the day heading west on I-10 out of Las Cruces.  The temperature was in the 50s, but the winds were 25 mph and gusting to 50.  Not as bad as yesterday, but the winds demanded concentration on the driving, especially through the passes. 

Oh, by the way, yesterday’s mystery plant was identified by reading through a small book on desert plants.  It’s a soap tree (Yucca elata) and was used by Indians for many things, including soap!  Here’s more information:  (You never know, someone might actually be interested!)

More fun roads!
First stop of the day was the Shakespeare Ghost Town near the Arizona border.  Mona got to drive on some very interesting roads (reminiscent of Taos sans the snow) but she persevered and we made it safely….only to find the town was closed.  (How do you close an entire town!?!?)  Damn!  But it wasn’t a total loss.  There was cache nearby so we decided to find it.  Signs in the area said that it was infested with rattlesnakes, but we decided it was too cold for them….luckily we were right…at least we didn’t see any! 

What is The Thing?

Back on I-10.  Kept seeing signs about “The Thing” at exit 332.  Had to stop and check it out.  Paid our dollar each and wandered through the three buildings, seeing things like Hitler’s limo, till we finally came upon The Thing.  Shades of Roswell!

Boot Hill - Graves of the cowboys
killed in OK Corral Shootout

About an hour off of I-10 is Tombstone, famous for the gun fight at the OK corral.  First stop was Boot Hill with about a hundred graves.  Amazing how many say, “Shot”, “Killed” or “Murdered”. 

Then on to the corral itself.  Several little mini-museums in the complex with lots of interesting exhibits about the Old West.  (You would not believe what we learned at The Crib museum!) Finally, we made it to the corral.  It’s a space about 18’ x 30’ and there are 8 animatrons depicting the 8 fighters, 4 “lawmen” and 4 cowboys.  Each is placed as they were during the battle as described by witnesses.  It’s amazing how close they were to each other…less than 10 feet apart.  The gunfight lasted about 30 seconds and there were about 25 shots fired.  Three cowboys were killed and their graves are on Boot Hill.
O.K. Corral Shoot Out

We got to see a 45 minute mini-play of the gunfight at a stage adjacent to the corral.  Very realistic and what we liked best was how it depicted the cowboys as normal people…a little drunk, but normal human beings.  The highpoint of the play was Doc Holiday…if you’ve seen the movie “Tombstone” you would know this character immediately.  He played the part just like Val Kilmer…poems and all.  (Didn’t hear anything about Huckleberry though.) 

Had lunch at Big Nose Annie’s…girlfriend of Doc Holliday…in the original building.  Not the best food in town (which is realistic, I suppose) but the staff were all in period costumes and there was Art and memorabilia all around.  The table next to us was full of loud cowboys talking about politics and the good old days...made the experience all the more realistic!

Visited the courthouse and learned about silver mining and Faro.  Odds in Faro are hugely in favor of the house…no wonder it’s not legal anymore.

Hot Shot!
Last stop in Tombstone was Big Iron.  This little place is where you get a chance to fire a Colt 45 with paint rounds.  This was Mona’s first time with a big gun and she is an amazingly good shot!  I’m thinking of a link up with Tiffany at the STL firing ranges!

Back to I-10 heading towards Palm Springs.  Just after we got through Tucson Mona got to see her first saguaro cactus.  I told her to keep looking at them to see them wave.  She’s still looking!

Nice evening.  78 degrees, new moon with Venus and Jupiter shining brightly.  Palm trees swaying in the gentle breeze....ahhhhhhh!

Next is birthday day…and Palm Springs!


  1. Your blogs are so detailed - I feel as though I'm on the trip too! Enjoying following along! Continued safe travels to you both and looking forward to another day's excitement! :)

  2. Sounds like you walked onto the set of a western movie. Cool!