It contains Tombstone of course but also Bisbee, home of the largest silver mine in the state for many years and it contains Fort Huachuca, a large Army Base that has played a special role in defending the surrounding area and the US since the late 1800's.
At first glance this area is a vast desert scrub land. An area easy to simply 'drive through' on your way to some other destination.
With the exception of Tombstone, of course. Who hasn't heard about Tombstone, the Boot Hill Cemetery and the fact that Tombstone was one of the most lawless towns in the country/territory for many years. It was a dangerous place to live, work or visit.
The name Tombstone calls like a beacon for many people, especially when you hear that every day the good people of Tombstone re-enact the gunfights on the same streets and alleys that made Tombstone famous/infamous many years ago. Plus the town of Tombstone is still home to some 65 original buildings from the late 1800's.
In fact, the town of Bisbee, 25 miles south of Tombstone & home of the largest copper mine in Arizona, has well over 100 original buildings including the Copper Queen hotel.
Let me just say this about Tombstone -- it's so commercial it hurts. And it's kind of hokey -- at least for us now. It would have been great when when the kids were younger (back in the days when we actually traveled with our kids). The cowboys, dance halls, stagecoaches and gun fights had the children wide-eyed and captivated their imaginations. We saw lots of children wandering the streets with toy guns and holsters, riding the stagecoach or enjoying the horses ridden by the cowboys.
As I said, for us it was too commercial and a little hokey. We did enjoy the fact that many of the buildings along main street are the original design and have been maintained/rebuilt fairly accurately.
That said, the name Tombstone packs them in everyday.
However if all you did was visit Tombstone you would miss an incredible variety of landscapes and history. As I said, Bisbee has much more to offer if you are a fan of the original architecture. There are more small museums than you could visit in a month of weekends, many of them free or minimal charge.
Not to mention the very scenic roads in the mountains of southern Arizona.
Now most people think the bad behaviour only occurred during the days of the wild, wild west around the turn of the century however that's just not so. The bad behaviour continues today. In fact, I'm a little embarrassed to tell you just who has been exhibiting some of this 'bad behaviour' so identifiable with this part of the country.
Yep, you guessed correctly -- my wife Mary Lynn.
You see, as we travelled the southern deserts parallel to the border of Mexico, a strange and compelling bad behaviour developed within MLA. And it just continues... I've done my best to contain this bad behaviour but the spell cast by the Southwest is just too great...
As we started hitting consistently warm weather, warm at least during the day, the weather routine has been similar every day: Cool at night; usually in the upper 30's and lately in the 40's. Then it slowly warms up until, in the afternoon it's t-shirt weather. And since we have been in Arizona it's been shorts and t-shirt weather. High 70's usually.
Then the sun goes down & it cools off quickly. People who had just a few hours earlier been enjoying the pool in a swimsuit are now walking the streets of the RV park in long pants and a coat or sweater.
Mind you, I'm not complaining that it's warm, not in any way. Especially with the rest of the country experiencing frigid temperatures and winter storms. MLA and I really appreciate the weather and just how lucky we are to be here.
However, MLA's bad behaviour is just getting worse and worse you see, and as I said it's more than a little embarrassing. She has become a, well, the only term I can think of, and I don't think it's even a word, well, she's become a 'gloater'. Every time I turn around she's on the phone 'gloating' about how great the weather is here in Arizona. It started slowly with the warm days in New Mexico and has grown into this embarrassingly bad behaviour.
Every day she succumbs to this urge to behave badly and calls several of her closest friends and family members, just to 'gloat' over how nice it is 'here' (here being a variable based on our travels). And every day I have to tell MLA to get off the phone when I hear her 'gloating' about the warm weather.
Nope, not a pretty sight. My normally mild mannered, sweet, bubbly wife really enjoys 'sharing' the current temperature.
Sure, it starts innocently enough: Your phone rings and you see it's MLA calling and your happy to hear from her. It's been awhile; you have a little time to get caught up so you pick up the phone.
At first it's great to hear her voice and her laugh. However, shortly after asking about each others family and maybe discussing a little 'over the fence' news, it happens. Quickly, almost imperceptibly, the gloves come off and she can't wait any longer. She hits you with a "Oh, I had to change my clothes; it so warm here, I needed to put on shorts and a t-shirt". There, she's said it and now she downright gleeful. Nobody enjoys getting out of the cold weather like MLA.
She's an equal opportunity 'gloater' too; she will gloat about the weather with anyone at anytime. This has been especially painful for our youngest daughter who hates cold weather with a passion. Repeatedly I have to beg MLA to stop gloating. Sure, call friends and family as much as you want, but no gloating. No one will want to take her calls.
Her gloating, while painful to watch, would not bother me so except, sometimes she gets tricky and calls people on my phone. Soon people will not want to answer when they see my phone # pop up on the caller ID.
What's that, how is the weather here in Southern Arizona? Marginally acceptable, barely worth mentioning. I'm not gonna say the exact temperature however you can check the weather channel or possibly catch the info during the weather portion of the news. Just don't get mad at me and refuse my calls -- I'm not gloating at all, no sirree, not me.
Until next time -- See Ya!