Monday, 28 November 2011

A Ghost Town & Rattlesnakes

The remains of Courtland an old mining and once thriving town, are on the Ghost Town Trail near Tombstone, among its buildings the town had a hotel and car dealership, the mines closed and the town died.   Today there are just a few remains on a dusty road.

The remains of the old jail.

Not sure what this building used to be.

Main Street, Courtland

And on the other side of the street, the remains of a once thriving???

Rattlesnake Crafts along Gleeson Road heading towards Tombstone

is a really interesting place, full of old and unusual things, and if there is a price ticket on it it’s for sale.

Lots of interesting things made out of rattlesnake and other snake skins.

Have fun, we are!

Pink Snakes, gold and a cemetery

Gold was discovered in the historic Pearce townsite in 1895, by 1920 the population was 1,500 and by 2000 the population was only 15, we didn’t find any gold though, although there is a really nice pottery.

and an old general store that is open each year on Pearce Heritage Days.

We stopped at Old Pearce Cemetery where the sign told us that the remains of Abraham Lincoln’s bodyguard, General Sherman’s adjutant, Union and Confederate Soldiers as well as colourful characters from Pearce’s heyday are buried.        

The holes in the rock underneath the sign were created when miners from the Commonwealth Mine used it to test their drill bits.

Lovely views of the Dragoon Mountains and the Chiricahua Mountains can be seen from the cemetery.

As we arrived at the cemetery a sign warned us to watch for snakes, so as I was wearing open toed sandals, I certainly did.

That still didn’t stop me nearly going into orbit when I walked along the path and a bright pink snake whizzed past my toes and disappeared among the gravestones.

Later, with big grins on their faces and after they’d all finished wondering just how I managed to miss a bright pink snake, (so did I!) I was told it was a racer snake, (no wonder it went so fast) and that it was perfectly harmless.   Oh well!

Have fun, we are!

Do Not Enter When Flooded

Do Not Enter When Flooded is a sign often seen on roads in Arizona, sometimes in places where the road seems, to us, to be perfectly flat.
As we drove around the desert near the Dragoon Mountains, we came to a bridge across a wash that showed just why you don’t want to try crossing what looks like just a few inches of water.

This is the wash, it is still muddy although it hadn’t rained for over a week.

This mud is where the water would surge across the desert

you would be swept under the bridge,

over the concrete drop, and down into the gulley.

We have never encountered a running wash, but after seeing this we won’t ever be tempted to try and cross one.   You really would be lucky to get out of it alive.   So, when the sign says, Do Not Enter When Flooded, it really does mean Do Not Enter When Flooded!

Have fun, we are!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Driving the Dragoons

The plan, sometimes we do actually have a plan, was to follow Middlemarch Road, drive out to Council Rocks and then drive over the pass into the next valley.

We didn’t get to Council Rocks.   The forest road didn’t look too bad but turned out to be much rougher than on our last trip, although last time we were in a much smaller SUV.  So in order to save BT’s nice shiny paintwork from being scratched to smithereens we turned around and bounced our way back to Middlemarch Road where we continued our drive up and over the pass.

Partway along Middlemarch Road showing approximately where the road goes over the pass.

As it climbs to the head of the pass Middlemarch Road turns into a narrow, curvy, mountain grade road before descending into Sulphur Springs Valley.

There were some interesting rock formations along the way, although at one point we did wonder where the space ship was!

Almost at the top of the pass

Sulphur Springs Valley and the Chiricahua Mountains from the top of the pass.

We passed the dead end road leading to Soren Pass, but decided that was probably not a road for us and continued on down the mountain towards Pearce.

Not far now.

We enjoyed our drive over Middlemarch Road, but were glad we didn’t meet anyone coming the other way as there aren’t many passing places.

I don’t know if this is true or not but we were once told that Middlemarch Road was so named because it was the middle point on the march between Fort Bowie and Fort Huachuca.

Have fun, we are!

Whitewater Draw

We’re back at Tombstone Territories RV Park, in Arizona and took a trip out to Whitewater Draw to see if we could see the Sandhill Cranes.

Earlier this year we saw them at close range, this week we weren’t as lucky.
We could certainly hear and see them circling high overhead, but they landed so far away from the viewing areas we could barely make them out.

We did see two Great Horned Owls.

A few Coots

and there were some great views across the valley.
Have fun, we are!

Chiricahua Skies

While we were at Rusty’s RV Ranch we saw some absolutely beautiful skies over the Chiricahuas.

Not to mention fabulous sunsets.

Along with a cute little bird that we think is a juvenile western meadowlark.

Have fun, we are!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Shakespeare Ghost Town, New Mexico

Shakespeare is an authentic ghost town and a National Historic Site.   During its lifetime its been known by several different names, Mexican Spring, Grant, Ralston and finally Shakespeare.

It was named Shakespeare in 1879 by William George Boyle the “Famous English Mining Engineer” who held all the claims to the town he also named the main street, Avon.

In 1935 Shakespeare was purchased by the Hill family to work as a ranch, people were interested in the old town and so the tours began.

We visited the Grant House saloon which has  bullet holes in the walls.

During prohibition the saloon became a cafĂ© but as there were very few revenue officers in the area stills abounded and you never quite knew if it was going to be whiskey or tea in your cup!   One enterprising man even painted some milk bottles white so that he could deliver whiskey with the milk.

The saloon leads into the Butterfield Stage Station, the floor might look like concrete but it is the original adobe floor.

A new dining room was added to the front of the stage station, however as there were no large trees in the area the room had an unusual dual purpose.  

The hotel, the Stratford was on Avon, need I say more?   At one time the partitions between the rooms were made of muslin tacked from floor to ceiling, so ladies had to extinguish their candles before undressing.

Shakespeare is just south of Lordsburg in south west New Mexico and is well worth a visit, opening times and re-enactment dates can be found on

We really enjoyed our visit and when we’re next passing through that area hope to be able to visit during a re-enactment weekend.

Have fun, we are!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

A quiet day around the Chiricahuas

We stayed at Rusty’s RV Ranch,  in Rodeo, New Mexico earlier this year, it’s a lovely place, very quiet with fabulous wide open views.

Early morning over the Chiricahua mountains of Arizona to the west.

The moon rising over the Peloncillo mountains of New Mexico to the east.

Since we were here last Rusty has installed a swim spa which I’m hoping to try out while we’re here.

The plan was to do a short hike along an old mine road all we had to do was find the parking area among the trees. 

We took the narrow, well graded dirt road from Portal, AZ heading towards Paradise, AZ it’s a nice drive following Turkey Creek, but the parking area eluded us.

Instead we arrived at Paradise Cemetery you can’t be buried in Paradise unless you’re actually from Paradise, or so we’re told, it’s a beautiful, peaceful spot.

Driving back we did find the parking area, but by then the idea of a walk had died a natural death so instead we took a slow driving tour, here are some photographs.

Forest Road FR42A

The South Fork of Cave Creek

Leaves in Cave Creek

Have fun, we are!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Out of the Cooler

At 5,900ft, (which is twice as high as Mount Snowdon one of the UK’s highest mountains) Silver City has been getting colder and colder at night, the water hose has needed to be drained and the furnace has been working overtime in our fifth wheel.   Funny how we never noticed the cold so much in a hotel room?

So despite being in a very nice, friendly campground, Silver City KOA, we decided it was time to leave and head back down to the desert where hopefully once the winter storms to the north of us have passed through it will warm up considerably.

Sunset from our site at the KOA.

Moonrise from the same spot, and yes it was cold!

Gorgeous tiled steps along Broadway in the historic district of Silver City.

More photographs from the historic district.

It's nearly Thanksgiving in the US and we saw him outside one of the shops, isn’t he cute?   I really, really wanted to take him home (although to be honest I don’t know what on earth I’d’ve done with him), but DB assures me that he definitely won’t fit into my suitcase, ah well!

Have fun, we are!

Fort Bayard National Cemetary

Dating back to 1866 Fort Bayard also has a military cemetery which became a National Cemetery on 5 July 1976.

The National Cemetery contains memorials to Veterans from all the different services.

It is a very moving place.

Have fun, we are!