Monday, 27 February 2012

Dixie Goes Down Under

Travelling south and east from Ajo, we passed through some interesting grasslands with Soap Yucca
growing everywhere. Some interesting roadkill: a cow that was being devoured by a coyote and vultures and a Javelina (wild pigs that roam around here, somewhat like a cross between a pot bellied pig and a warthog)

It would be cool to see a live family of these! Many hillsides were loaded with Saguaro cactus that looked like forest-fire remnants in Canada, bare hills and hundreds of "poles". We also had a break at the side of the road to wait for an "OVERSIZE LOAD" to pass by, that occupied both lanes. We passed many small towns and villages comprised of shacks and pueblo designed homes, some with a school or gas station; most with dusty yards and grand collections of old rusted trucks and junk.

Kitt Peak Observatory was a twelve mile drive up the mountain. We parked, locked up CC and drove up in the SUV. We spent a few hours wandering the grounds and checking out the various huge telescopes. One is the world's largest solar observatory! There are scientists and astronomers from universities all over the states that study here. The mountain and valley views were gorgeous even if somewhat hazy. It was much cooler at 8000 feet but the sun made the temperature just perfect for trekking about. Dixie found a few patches of snow and entertained some of the visitors with her snow-passion, rolling around in the white stuff. Unable to stay for the dusk tour but learned a lot from the Information centre. The valley towns, nearby such as Tuscon have to use special downward facing lighting to eliminate night light that would interfere with the observatory.

Camped at Justin's Diamond J RV park and enjoyed an authentic barbque dinner at 'The Brushfire' in Tucson. Up early and travelled to the Tombstone Territories RV Park. After having our credit cards refused at a couple of places, we learned that our bank had sent new cards to all its customers (they are moving head office) and they cancelled all the current cards! What the **** ??? Here we are with a US account so we can avoid the large exchange rate and the bank cancels our cards WITHOUT notifying us and sent our new cards to ONTARIO! So we are now waiting for the UPS truck to deliver our second set of banking cards here to the RV park. Luckily there are many things to do.
Tombstone itself is a famous mining town where the Earp brothers were Marshalls. The Town is famous for the shootout at the OK Corral with the Earps and McLaurys. We watched a great reenactment of the historic event. We lunched at "Big Nosed Kate's Saloon" the gal who loved Doc Holliday. The streets are closed to traffic with the exception of horse-drawn vehicles. Lots of costumed folk help add atmosphere to Tombstone. We learned a lot about the history and mining and saloon-life in the museums, packed with old and dusty artifacts and curled photos.

We cooled off on an underground tour of the old Tombstone Silver Mine. Dixie was allowed to join us and learned about how the early miners used hand tools and candlelight to bore holes for dynamite to blast out the rock. Dixie loved the smells that had been building up down there since the 1800's. She especially liked it when the tour guide asked if the dog was enjoying herself ?

Another hike, took us around "Boothill Cemetery" a stony graveyard filled with outlaws, miners, unknowns,
prisoners, lawmakers and saloon entertainers.

We travelled south to another former mining town called Bisbee. Chris played good samaritan on the way and changed a flat tire for a stranded couple. The old town has been renovated and is very colourful and quaint. The miners are gone and the artisans have taken over. We discovered many great galleries and shops, all with unique and creative art and crafts. How they make a living is questionable.


  1. Nice that you got up to Kitt Peak. I really enjoyed my walk around up there a few years ago as well. Noticed you toured the Bird Cage in Tombstone as well. I remember it as a quietly spooky place. Lot of interesting old west history in that whole area. Lots of great hiking & Jeeping in the surrounding area. We have so many great memories in that part of Arizona over the past few years.

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