Saturday, March 29, 2008

Tombstone Arizona

What a fun day we had today! From the I-10 RV Park in Benson (which accepts Passport America 50% discounts) we visited Tombstone and Bisbee, two historic towns south of here. The I-10 park is small (only 88 sites and one park model), without all the fancy amenities of many Arizona snowbird destinations. But the people here, both in the office and campers, are very friendly. As we walked around in the evening, many people said hello. We want to come south in future winters to enjoy the weather. But we don't want the pressure of having to participate in a lot of activities. We noticed last night that people were sitting out in their own sites, not gathering in large groups. That is the way we would like to live.

Tombstone is famous for the gunfight at the OK Corral and Boothill Cemetery. Since we are from Colorado, we are familiar with historic western towns and cowboy tourist attractions. Sadly, Colorado has lost many of its historic towns to gambling casinos. Tombstone is well run, with many people in costumes and few t-shirt shops. They do charge for visits to most historic sites, but sightseeing tours are done in an old trolley and in horse-drawn stagecoaches and other wagons. Boothill Cemetery gives insight into the causes of death in the frontier 1880s—shooting, leprosy, suicide, murder, scarlet fever, pneumonia. It certainly was a hard life.

Historic Bisbee is amazing, built on the sides of a steep canyon with business buildings and housing climbing the hills at precarious angles. Who would want to carry their groceries up these steps? We enjoyed a good lunch at the Winchester Restaurant in the Copper Queen Hotel. We skipped the many art galleries and artist boutiques, but did drive up to see the open-pit copper mine. Since we didn't go to the copper mining museum, I don't know how the land will be restored when they finish mining.

Over the past couple of years, we have become big fans of the J. A. Jance mystery novels featuring Sheriff Joanna Brady of Cochise County, Arizona. That is the main reason we wanted to visit Bisbee, which is in Cochise. We felt like we already knew the area. I'm not sure we did, but we will have some new insight when we read the next novel in the series.

I am most at home in the mountains. My second love is probably the sea coast. During our time last year in southern Utah and Arizona, I have begun to have an appreciation of the desert. This week I am seeing trees and bushes begin to turn green, contrasting with the bright almost yellow of the dry grass and the soft pink of the mountains. The scenery is growing on me

As we drove north from Tucson to Denver in October, we saw large numbers of snowbirds coming south in their RVs for the winter. We must have spent most of the snowbird season in Denver, because now even greater numbers of RVs are headed north. We almost celebrate when we see one going our direction. Right now the weather here is comfortable. Tucson has been about 10 degrees above normal this week, with highs in the mid-80s, where the average is in the mid-70s. Either is very comfortable. But soon, the highs will be in the 90s and above. So most snowbirds are headed home, even though there has been snow up north this week.

This has been the first day we felt free to sightsee and enjoy living on the road. Until now we have been pushing to move south and getting the trailer fixed up and organized. Today is what this lifestyle is all about!

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