Arizona Part IV

We called ahead to the Shady Dell to see if they had any space. The alternative was the RV ‘park’ by the Queen mine. Luckily they did have a spot. We got there and were greeted by a young, friendly, eclectic couple. They welcomed us and showed us our spot. It was the end spot on the row, but it didn’t matter since we weren’t there to spend all our time in the trailer. I don’t have any shots of the Shady Dell or the trailers as many others have those and you can readily find them. Naturally, being an Airstream fan, I would have liked to have seen more, or ALL, Airstreams.

We got up the next morning and decided to visit Bisbee. We knew we wanted to take the Queen Mine tour and had made reservations already so we hit that the first thing. This is an interesting tour as you sit astride a train, like the ones that were used, and you go about 1500′ into the mine horizontally. This not like a roller coaster. However it was a bit stressful on the knees in the position we rode. We made about 3 stops at various points to see historical portions of the mine. The picture below shows Roxie checking out the ‘restrooms’ they had down in the mine. No coming out to use the toilet so they put the toilet where you were, on rails. Must be fun when there was more than one with a need.

Roxie and the Queen Mine toilet

After the tour we heading to downtown Bisbee. This is town has a lot of history and it’s livelihood is now tourism. There are a few characters living around here. See the photo down the page of a vehicle we saw.

We walked around, had lunch, went in stores, watched other people, generally did the tourist thing. Since today was Valentine’s Day and a Saturday the town was pretty busy. We went back to the trailer for a short rest in the afternoon. We tried to find a restaurant but the holiday made that problematic. I was able to sneak off and get a card and some flowers at the local Safeway before. We ended up going to a Chinese restaurant south of town. We agreed that it was not to our liking. Bisbee is very close to the Mexican border and we drove down near it after dinner. Unfortunately we did not bring our birth certificates so we could not go across, which was fine with me.

A car to represent Bisbee!

The next day we continued our touristy ways and did a day trip to Tombstone. It was overcast so it was not very hot. You can imagine what Tombstone would be like if you try real hard. The historic streets are still dirt, luckily it did not rain. The courthouse is a very interesting site to see. They have a show that reenacts the OK Corral shootout. We passed on that. We walked around, got tired, had some lunch. Here is a hearse from those times:

Tombstone Hearse

We also had to stop at the Boothill cemetery. It was a bit disappointing because everything seemed new. New rocks on the graves, new signs, etc. I would think a cemetery from that time would be a bit older. Here is one such example:

Tombstone Headstone

We headed back to Bisbee and I stopped to take a picture of the Lavender Pit open pit copper mine. The picture does not do it justice. It is HUGE! The main road goes right by and around it. You can see the tracks going down it. Each of these is easily as wide as a two lane road. Trying to give you some scale.

Lavender Pit

Our last morning in Bisbee we had breakfast at Dot’s Diner that they have restored at the Shady Dell. The ambiance was very fun. We left Bisbee enroute to our next stop, find out in the next installment.

Arizona Part III

We started this leg happy. Happy to have seen our friends, happy to have the water leak fixed, happy to be on the road. Well, almost. I noticed that our thermostat was not turning on the heater as it should. So it was a short stop at a Home Depot to pick one up. It is hard to find a simple, heat-only, manual thermostat now. They had one though.

We called an RV park in Bisbee and they had a spot available for 3 nights so we took it and headed south(east) alas it was on an Interstate. We didn’t stay on I-90 for too long, we saw Colossal Cave Mountain Park. We are always up for doing some caving so we went.

The cave is not active so it makes it a bit warmer and drier than the others. There was a lot of climbing up and down, uneven ground, all in all it had what makes caving fun. There were many stories, one being where some stage robbers holed up in the cave for quite a while. The local justice of the peace camped out at the entrance and waited them out. However they went out another opening. It was a fun side trip. The most exciting part was parking the trailer. The entrance to the cave is at the top of a hill. The hill is nothing that we have not pulled with trailer but the separate down road had a sharp corner that would have been very difficult to negotiate. So there was a “widish” spot on the access road where we were supposed to park. So we did, but it was fun to turn around in that spot, a few back and fills.

So we continued on the journey. I am the kind of person that does not like to backtrack. I would much prefer to take one route to the destination and a different one back. I was about to attempt this. We headed south on SR83 to Sonoita. Follow along on the map below.

[googleMap directions_to="false"]Sonoita, AZ[/googleMap]

We went east on SR82 to SR90 and southbound. We skirted around Sierra Vista and Fort Huachuca and continued east on SR90. There is some really beautiful and desolate areas through those routes. We joined up with SR80 southbound to Bisbee. Our destination was the Shady Dell RV park! More about Bisbee and underground escapades next…