Monday, April 29, 2013

Geronimo’s Castle and Bowie

 In the tiny town of Bowie, Arizona is a large teepee known as Geronimo’s Castle. In the 1940’s it was a Greyhound Bus Station, and later had a café and shop within its atypical walls. It was also once a filling station, and a bar with the motto, “Stop in for a bottle of beer”. Accounts are told that Chief Geronimo was captured on that site, but history tells another story. Sadly, the place closed its doors in 2004 and is now an abandoned place worth seeing. The owners are hoping to someday reopen the establishment and serve all the weary visitors traveling through Bowie.

The ruins of Fort Bowie

Bowie is located in southeast Arizona, Cochise County, near the New Mexico border. Just off Interstate 10 east of Tucson sits this small standalone settlement.  The community was named after nearby Fort Bowie, and was established in 1880. It survived by the activity of the Southern and Pacific Railroad which ran through the town. Today, around 600 residents call Bowie home and it is a nice place to visit. If you like hiking in the mountains through a forestry terrain, Bowie is the place to be.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Abandoned Arizona

The following are pictures from some of my favorite abandoned places I visited around the state.

Native American ruins, Tuzigoot, near Jerome
Assay Office building, Vulture Mine
Bartlette Hotel, Jerome
Domes, Casa Grande
Gila Bend

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Arizona Travels: Ancient Cliff Dwellings

Throughout the state of Arizona, there are several ancient Native American ruins built in the cliffs of the rocky mountains. They were constructed in the 12th century and made of limestone, mud, or other various materials found in the region. The cliffs offered protection from all the dangers surrounding the settlement. Many of the dwellings are remarkable well preserved and worth a visit.

 Tucked in the mountains and just outside Sedona in the Verde Valley is the site where cliff dwellers once lived. Since the building’s foundation resembled an Aztec lodging, it was therefore given the name Montezuma Castle. The remarkable structure was built by the southern Sinagua people in the 12th century. Sinagua is Spanish for “without water”. They used limestone to build their abode, which is a soft material causing varying breakage over a long period of time. Because Montezuma Castle is wedged tightly inside the rock cliffs, it has been protected by the elements and has remained intact for over 600 years. For that reason, this historic monument is one of the most successfully preserved early ruins in the southwest.
The five story dwelling with its 20 rooms is about 100 feet above Beaver Creek which was used as their water source. It was speculated that they built the structure high in the mountains because the spot offered protection from the desert elements and their enemies. Below the cliff lodgings and along the base of the rock face, sits Castle A. This structure was also constructed of limestone and is almost completely gone from being worn down by time and the difficult Arizona weather.

The Sinagua people were hunters, gatherers, and artisans. The area had an abundant supply of deer, antelope, rabbit, bear, muskrat, and duck. They gathered many of the local plants, vegetables, and cotton they grew using their skillfully constructed canals for irrigation. They made their own stone tools, fashioned rocks for grinding corn, wove clothes from cotton, and used the red rock materials for their pottery. The red rocks were abundant in the surrounding area.

 The Montezuma Castle Sinagua people lived in the high-rise rock apartments for over 400 years before vanishing mysteriously. By the early 1400’s, the cliff and Castle A homes were vacated and left abandoned by the Sinagua. One speculation for their unknown disappearance could be too many citizens living in the cramped settlement, and not enough space to move around or sleep. Some believe it was the severe weather changes causing the water to dry up which harmed their food supply. Without the water, the animals would leave, in addition the surrounding plants and all their crops would die. Another theory is that a plaque, diseases, or too many fights ending in death may have caused the Sinagua people’s extinction. Whatever the reason, they left us an outstanding place to look at and wonder about.

When the Montezuma Castle’s tours first began sometime in the 1930’s, people were able to get a close up look at the structure tucked in the cliff. You walked along a dirt path and climbed a succession of ladders up the side of the steep mountain. When you arrived at the dwelling, you are able to step inside the tiny room the Sinagua once lived in. In 1951, because of the deteriorating limestone walls, tours no longer consisted of admittance to the ruins. Now we have to admire it from afar.

Today, you walk through the visitor center to gain access to the site. Inside the visitor center you will find a museum, book store, and gift shop. After paying the fee, you walk out a set of doors to a line of pottery once used by the Sinagua people. A short distance to the right, up high and wedged into the mountain side, you will observe the incredible ruins. It is amazing how well preserved the structure looks. A short distance on the path is where you will see the site for Castle A. Not much left standing of the edifice, just partial walls. It is hard to imagine the structure as once being 6-stories high. Around the corner is Beaver Creek where you will notice the picnic area amongst the many trees. The last item on the path is a model of Montezuma castle without the front walls. This tiny recreation gives us an idea of what it was like to live in the high-rise rock apartments.

Montezuma Castle National Monument
P.O. Box 219
Camp Verde, AZ 86322
Phone: (928) 567-3322
Fees: Adults (16 & over) - $5.00
          Children (under 16) – Free
Hours: Open daily from 8am – 5pm
             Seven days a week (except Christmas day)
Directions: Follow I-17 to exit 289 (located 90 minutes north of Phoenix and 45 minutes south of Flagstaff).
*Dogs are allowed in the park but need to be on a leash no longer than 6 feet.

Tonto National Monument
There are a couple of ways to find this monument from the city of Phoenix. You take State Highway 60 (Superstition Freeway) east to Globe/Miami. From there you will turn left and travel northwest on State Highway 188. It is approximately 25 miles from the turnoff till you arrive at Tonto National Monument.
The other route is a bit rougher on your vehicle but will get you there much quicker. From Phoenix, you will take State Highway 88 (Apache Trail) and travel 47 miles to your destination. Half of the highway is asphalt but the other half is gravel. If you are planning to take the Upper Cliff Dwelling tour, this route is not an option.
Despite the fact they were constructed in the 13th to early 15th centuries, the cliff dwellings are in remarkable condition. The people who occupied the Lower and Upper rock habitats were farmers and hunters who feasted off the local animals and vegetation. They created colorful pottery and wove complex patterns on fabric which can be found around many places around the Southwest. You will also be treated with a Visitor Center museum on the premises with many of their items on display, models of the dwellings, and a history of the people who once called this place home.   
Hours: Daily, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm except Christmas Day
*Lower Cliff Dwelling trail closes to uphill travel at 4:00 pm.
Fees: $3.00 per adult (good for 7 days); children under 16 are free

Walnut Canyon National Monument
The rock apartments located in the cliffs 7.5 miles east of Flagstaff were built as far back as the 1100s. Like many of the other Native American ancient sites, the Sinagua people originally lived in these dwellings. In typical Sinagua fashion, they mysteriously disappeared sometime in the middle 1200s, and left their homes abandoned. The monument has been maintained by the U.S. National Park Service and has a couple of trails which takes you to the ruins. The Island Trail is a one mile paved trail to several dwellings where you can walk through the tiny rooms. This trek will take you an hour to accomplish. The Rim Trail is half the time and presents you with breathtaking views of the canyon and an area to sit near the rim and enjoy the scenery. The ruins are merely only part of what you will see when you visit the park. Walnut Canyon National Monument has a picnic section, a visitor center with a bookstore and all kinds of artifacts on display which were found during excavation of the ruins. Tours are given all year long by Rangers who discuss the history of the ruins and field trips are offered for groups of school children.
*The location is around 7.5 miles east of Flagstaff.  From Flagstaff you will travel east on Interstate 40 and take the 204 exit and then head south.  Another 3 miles and you will arrive at the Walnut Canyon Visitor Center.
Open: All year (except Christmas Day), with extended hours from May to October.
Hours: November to April – 9:00 am to 5:00 pm MST
            May to October – 8:00 am to 5:00 pm MST
Fees: $5.00 (7 days); Free (children under 16)

Navajo National Monument
This Anasazi cliff dwelling has two sizeable rock living spaces known as Betatakin and Keet Seel. Maintained by the U.S. National Park Service and present you with three self-guided rim trails (Sandal, Aspen and Canyon View) that offer splendid views of the entire area. The Betatakin guided tour is free and is a 5 mile trek. On this 3 to 5 hour round trip excursion you will visit the 135 room rock face apartments wedge deep in the cliffs. The Keet Seel jaunt takes you to the 160 room dwelling and is a 4 to 6 hour trek each way. If you are interested in taking this tour, you must make reservations ahead of time, limit your group to 20 people, and have a permit to be in the area which you can purchase at the visitor center. This tour is also limited to the months of May to early September. The Navajo National Monument is open all year long and has longer hours in the summertime. Both Sunset View and Canyon View campgrounds are open all summer. Sunset View is also open in the winter and has water.
*The location is at the end of State Highway 564 off of US Highway 160.
Phone: (928) 672-2700
Hours: Summer – May to September, open 8 am to 5:30 pm, everyday
            Winter – September to May (following year), open 9 am to 5 pm, everyday
Fees: Call for information on guided tours. Free for all three of the self-guided trails on mesa top. The campgrounds are free.

Canyon de Chelly National Monument

Just about 210 miles northeast of Flagstaff sits another Anasazi cliff dwelling ruins. These were also constructed from 1100s and 1300s. These sacred lands are deep inside the Navajo Nation and maintained by the inhabitants.  The Navajo people are willing to allow guest to walk their lands, but not all places are accessible to the populace. Those who want to take a self-guided tour of the area have three choices to make. There are two paved picturesque roads to the south and north rims and a magnificent view of the canyon. The other trek is 2.5 miles on the White House Ruins Trail and slopes down 600 feet to the bottom of the canyon. If you are interested in seeing more of the canyon, you need to acquire a permit and be escorted by an official guide.
*The location from Flagstaff – you take 1-40 east and then Highway 191 north. The visitor center is 3 miles from route 191 in Chinle, AZ.
Hours: Open daily all year, 8 am to 5 pm, closed Christmas Day
Fee: NO ENTRANCE FEE – No fee to drive around the park or hike the White House Trail. (All donations are welcomed.)
NOTE: There are several businesses in the area who will offer Jeep tours and horseback riding or enlighten you with a journey inside the canyon by a certified private guide.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Mummy in the Bathtub

This is a bizarre story of a mummified man found in a bathtub in a cottage located in Phoenix. It was 2008 when the Phoenix police responded to a call by the owners of a group of cottages. They led the police to cottage #4 which was rented out to an adult male named Larry since 1995. Larry seemed rather quiet, kept to himself, and paid his rent on time until 2007. When they went to confront him on the nonpayment, they found the cottage abandoned with his items still in the premises. Larry never returned so the owners decided to clean up the place and remove his stuff. They found the place stacked from floor to ceiling with trash, and personal items in such deplorable conditions. The smell was horrendous and for the owners it was a hording nightmare. With the assistance of others, they started removing the debris. When they finally reached the bathroom, they found the tub covered with plywood and plastic. They removed the items from the tub and found it full of dirt and sand. As soon as they started removing the dirt, a human leg was exposed and the police was called.

The entire bathtub was removed along with the man’s body found inside. The dirt and sand seem to dry up the body transforming it into the mummified state which it was found in. Upon examination they established that the person was deceased for a number of years and labeled the death as “unknown”. They did not officially declare how he died or who he was. From the evidence they found, the body appeared to be that of the original renter, Larry, but they could not draw an exact conclusion.

The story circulating was that the man who last lived in cottage #4 was either a friend or acquaintance of the original renter and possibly his killer. It is not clear if Larry was killed or died of natural causes. This man appeared to take over Larry’s identity, was cashing his checks, and paying his bills which included rent. From testimony of the other cottage tenants, they found out that a man named Ronald had been living there for a few years. As far as they knew, Larry had left and Ronald moved in.  Ronald is a person of interest in the unsolved crime, but his whereabouts are still unknown till this day.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Arizona Travels: Bisbee "Queen of the Copper Camps"

Snuggled below U.S. Highway 80, and 82 miles southeast of Tucson is the historic old town of Bisbee. Like many of the mining towns in Arizona, Bisbee was first founded because a rich vein of minerals was discovered nearby. It was in 1877 when a civilian tracker named Jack Dunn lead a small group of soldiers into the Mule Mountains. This band of military men was on the hunt for unruly Apaches reported in the area. To their surprise, instead of finding Apache warriors, they stumbled across signs of mineral deposits consisting of lead, copper, and silver. Shortly afterwards, a claim on the mine was filed and the town of Bisbee was born.

Word spread quickly of the wealthy find in the Mule Mountains and soon many traveled to the Arizona Territory in hopes of striking it rich. With so many claims being submitted, the small town of Bisbee was given the nickname as the “Queen of the Copper Camps”. The population grew rapidly and all the men, women, and children who called Bisbee home were lacking in basic needs. They worked diligently on improving medical care and fire protection along with better sanitation and cleaner water. On January 9, 1902, Bisbee grew in numbers and the town became the City of Bisbee. By 1910, the city was the largest in the territory with a population of over 25,000 people. The mine was pumping out over 8 billion pounds of copper, 102 million ounces of silver, and 2.8 million ounces of gold along with millions of pounds of zinc, lead and manganese. This growth also brought about a change in the Cochise County seat moving it from Tombstone to Bisbee in 1929.

For several decades, Bisbee enjoyed the prosperity the abundant mines were producing. By 1974, the funds for the mines had been exhausted resulting in the closing of all mining operations a year later. Many of the residents, miners, and businessmen left for other places hoping to find a better life Bisbee could no long provide. Houses and other buildings were left empty with only memories living between the quiet walls.

Today, with the inexpensive real estate, ideal weather, an extraordinary history, Bisbee has attracted various types of people who call Bisbee home. This unusual mix of hippies, retirees, investors, and artist are among the residents living in this quirky mining town. There are many homes which sit high above the main street of old historic Bisbee. From the street below, some of the houses have hundreds of stairs leading to their front doors. Some of the structures are empty and are in need of repair, but some have been restored to their former glory by the souls living in them.

The architecture and history of Bisbee has been refurbished and is kept well preserved which is apparent when you walk along Main Street. The historic buildings lining the street are filled with antique, new age and other unique shops. There are plenty of places to eat, drink, and satisfy your sweet tooth along the way. At night the streets are dark and eerie but the saloons and bars are lively with local entertainment. If you plan to spend a night or two in Bisbee, the town offers several different hotels and inns for your sleeping and dining pleasure. The astonishing history and the many claims of paranormal activity are some of the reasons this small mining town has survived throughout all the hardships time has thrown upon it.

City of Bisbee
118 Arizona Street
Bisbee, AZ 85603

Things to do and places to stay while in Bisbee.
Queen Mine Tour
478 Dart Road (south of Old Historic Bisbee exit)
Bisbee, AZ 85603
Phone: (520) 432-2071 or toll free 1 (866) 432-2071
Tour Times: 9am, 10:30am, Noon, 2pm, 3:30pm
Tour Rates: Adults - $13.00 (ages 12+)
                    Children - $5.50 (ages 4-12)
                    Children under 4 are free.
                    *Prices subject to change.

Hotels, Inns, Bed & Breakfasts:

 Copper Queen Hotel
11 Howell Avenue
Bisbee, AZ 85603
Phone: (520) 432-2216
Rates: Low season – from $89 to $129; High season – from $122 to $177
This hotel was built in 1902 by the wealthy Copper Queen Mining Company. It was first constructed for the mining camp executives and played host to traveling men, governors, and dignitaries. I have personally stayed here a couple of times and enjoyed my stay. I love how the furnishings in each room, sitting areas, and lobby are decorated in the 1920’s era. We liked spending time in the bar at night and consuming a delicious breakfast in the restaurant in the morning. My friends and I were drawn to this place because of the many ghost stories. We were not disappointed.

Oliver House (B&B, Hotel)
24 Sowles Avenue
Bisbee, AZ 85603
Phone: (520) 432-1900
Rates: $75 to $97 per night
Located in the historic district and built in 1909 by Edith Ann Oliver, wife of Henry Oliver (a mining tycoon). This 12 room house was originally used as mine offices and later became a boarding house for miners. This place has a history of murder and violence.

Inn at Castle Rock
112 Tombstone Canyon Road
Bisbee, AZ 85603
Phone: (520) 432-4449 (for room rates, details and reservations)
Rates: Rooms start at $89 per night, double occupancy.
The inn is located in downtown old Bisbee at the foot of Castle Rock. It was built in 1895 and was called the Muirhead House, named after Bisbee’s first mayor, John Joseph Muirhead. This building was the largest wood structure in Bisbee and used as a boarding house for miners. In 1948 the place was turned into apartments until the 1980’s when Jim Babcock bought the place.  By 2007, it was shut down and left abandoned. Two years later, Chris Brown bought the place, changed the name to the Inn at Castle Rock and renovated it with plans to restore it back to its former glory.

Bisbee has many other places to lay your hat while spending a night or two in town. To see all this town has to offer check out the Greater Bisbee Chamber of Commerce website: or call (520) 432-5421.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Rocky the Frog

When you travel up Arizona's Highway 89 from the town of Wickenburg to the back roads of Prescott, you will see a bizarre site on the mountains along the way.  Not far from Congress sits a rather noticeable green frog-like structure perched high on the mountains.  It appears to be looking off into the distance perhaps waiting for a giant fly to buzz by so it can zap it and have a meal.

The story is told that it has sat there since the 1920's when an artist, Sara Perkins, and her two boys hiked up the side of the mountain to paint one of the boulders.  Apparently the threesome saw the rock as a giant amphibian and painted it green.  They added other colors to give the frog its life-like form so that all can see what they envisioned.  During this era when the boulder was painted, Highway 89 was the main route between Phoenix and Prescott.  Many people saw and enjoyed the Perkins sculpture.  It became a popular roadside attraction and brought many to the nearby town.  This was great for the Perkins family who owned a nearby service station known as the Arrowhead.

Today, some of the towns individuals are still maintaining the frogs appearance.  They hike up the mountain with their green paint and give the old boy a new look.  Somewhere along the way, the frog was bestowed the name, Rocky and still sits proudly on top of the mountain along Highway 89.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Back in Time

I wrote this four years ago with the title, "It Was All They Knew".  In honor of the coming hot summer months, I thought I would post it again for those who missed it the first time.

As I sit watching “Back to the Future III” for the hundredth time, I wonder how this modern woman, would be able to survive traveling back to Arizona’s Wild West. It is simple, I wouldn’t! Let’s not forget all those crazy notorious cowboys and women that might shoot you for looking at them wrong, but no air conditioning, asphalt roads and ice water, how barbaric. I am curious on how in the hell they survived the extreme Arizona heat in the summertime. I know that these dusty hot conditions were all they knew, but if they had a taste of what we have nowadays, they wouldn’t want to go back to the Wild West era.

I can relax on my comfy couch, flipping through the cable channels to find something interesting to watch on TV. Next to me you might find my cell phone, laptop and a glass of iced coffee all while enjoying the central air cooling down the house. The Wild West houses were probably made mostly of wood, stone and mud or stucco, with no air conditioning units on the roof. Some of their homes might have some type of fan blowing, but during the high humid months, those are virtually rendered useless. The windows would be left open so the uncomfortable hot stale air would blow through the house in hope to cool the occupants down. Yeah right, that would never happen, but it was all they knew.

Most houses didn’t have electricity or a fridge with bottled water and iced tea inside to quench your thirst. The drink of choice in most places was whiskey. If you wanted water to drink, you would have to stick your head in a horses’ trough providing that the horse was willing to share. If that wasn’t bad enough, try shitting in an outhouse when the temperature is over 100 degrees. If the smell didn’t get to you, the heat would. I don’t even want to know what they wiped their asses with, maybe sandpaper? But again, it didn’t bother them because it was all they knew.

Our Wild West peeps were living and pooping in sweltering structures, but it didn’t matter because their clothes didn’t keep them cool anyway. The dresses, pants, shirts and blouses were heavy and were layered with a petticoat or long johns underneath. The shoes and boots looked uncomfortable with either a hat or bonnet on their head for protection or just for looks. I am telling you that someone would have made a killing selling sandals, flip flops, cotton tees or tank tops and sun glasses to those Wild West folks. But I’m sure that riding a horse wouldn’t have gone well with flip flops. I also wonder how many of them suffered from heat stoke wearing all that thick clothing during the summer months. I’m sure that it was uncomfortable, but that was all they knew.

Let’s talk about their modes of transportation. They either bounced around on a horse for miles or rode in a wagon with wood wheels over the rough terrain being tossed around like rag dolls all while traveling. They didn’t have paved roads to drive on with their factory made cars with rubber wheels. There was no air conditioning cooling them off or listening to their favorite tunes on the radio. Their way of traveling may have been a bit crude by modern standards, but they didn’t complain because that was all they knew.

Would I want to go back in time to Arizona’s Wild West period and miss out on all the things that I need to get me through the day…..hell no! (This is all I know.)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Arizona Travels: The Mining Town of Globe

Globe has been hit hard by the mines closing and merciless economy. The population has dwindled over the years and many businesses have closed their doors in the historic district. Even though the town has been hit hard, there are still reasons to visit Globe. In the historic district you will find antique shops, and great places to eat. Since the city has lots of history, there are many places to tour and take in the sites.

The Old Dominion Mine is now open for tours and can be seen from the highway. You will be able to hike the trails and check out the new amenities. There are plans to open more of the mine at a later date with various other attractions.

The Gila County Historic Museum is another place to see while in Globe. This wonderful place has photos, artifacts, and other information on the history of Globe.
Gila County Historic Museum
1330 N. Broad Street
Globe, AZ 85001
Phone: (928) 425-7385
Open: Monday – Friday

A couple of other places to visit and take in their tours are the Gila County Courthouse and Jail. Both places have many Wild West photos and artifacts from Globes interesting past. Outside, between the two buildings and above the ground is the metal bridge where prisoners would walk to the jail after being sentenced in the courthouse.

Gila County Courthouse
1400 E. Ash Street
Globe, AZ 85501
Phone: (928) 425-3231

Gila County Jail Globe
1100 S. South Street
Globe, AZ 85501
Phone: (928) 425-4449

A great place to lay your head for a night or two is at the Noftsger Hill Inn. This building once was an elementary school and sits high atop of a hill overlooking Globe. Today, it has been remodeled and converted into an impressive Bed and Breakfast. Inside, you will see lots of evidence of the old school house with class-size rooms, high ceilings, large windows, and in some rooms’ original chalkboards still hang on the walls. Included in the price with your night’s stay is a delicious homemade breakfast. Also, if you like sleeping with ghosts, this is your kind of inn. My friends and I have had some paranormal experiences while staying there.

Noftsger Hill Inn
425 North Street
Globe, AZ 85501
Phone: (928) 425-2260 or 1(877) 780-2479

One other place I highly recommend while you are in Globe is the Besh-Ba-Gowah ancient ruins at the edge of town. Today, many of the buildings and walls are still standing. The passage remains and takes you between the skeletal leftovers of the dwellings to the central plaza. Some of the structures have been restored to their original status for visitors to get an idea of the living conditions of the Salado people. The wood ladders have been re-created for visitors to climb to the second floor where many of the pottery pieces found in the excavation are now displayed. When they dug up the area, they found ladders, pottery, utensils, jewelry, and other furbishing items in remarkable shape. From the second floor you will see another ladder leading to the roof of the pueblo.  They used the roof as another way to walked from one structure to another. Also located on the site is an Ethno-botanical garden with an amazing variety of desert plant life, and the Besh-Ba-Gowah museum which displays artifacts of the Salado, a model of the ruins as it probably appeared in the 13th century and a wonderful variety of gifts.

Besh-Ba-Gowah Archaeological Park
1324 S. Jesse Hayes Rd., Globe, AZ 85501
Phone: (928) 425-0320
Fees: Children (under 12) – FREE
          Adults and Teens (12-64) - $5.00
          Seniors (65+) - $4.00
Hours: Open 362 days a year, 9am – 5pm
             Closed: Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Years Day
*The park is owned and operated by the City of Globe, AZ

There are many abandoned places all around Globe for that urban explorer. To get to Globe from Phoenix, AZ, you drive up U.S. Highway 60 (Historic Old West Highway). Globe is along the highway about 90 minutes east of Phoenix.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Arizona Travels

I am currently writing an Arizona travel book titled, “Arizona’s Back Roads: A Travel Guide to Ghosts, Outlaws and Miners”.  Here is a description of what is in the book:

“This book is a tour guide through some of the remarkable past and perplexing conundrums that make up the state of Arizona and the southwest desert. You are first taken to the Native American ruins where the tattered decomposing walls of their dwellings is all that is left along with pottery shards, handmade tools, astonishing petroglyphs etched on boulders revealing the stories of what life was like many centuries ago.

I focus on six southwestern mining towns and the history of their establishments. What would bring people to the southwest with the danger of Indian attacks, extreme heat, and a wasteland of little water?  It was the minerals found in the soil and the hope of a better life that drove the families, businessmen, and greedy bastards to a life in the desert. The mining towns prospered in their heyday and enjoyed a booming population. When the mines dried up, most of the people moved away. Today, these settlements are either abandoned, considered ghost towns, or surviving by the tourists and handful of residence that call these places home.

Arizona has many mining towns where the law was kept by marshals and sheriffs. There were many outlaws who laid there hat in some of these Wild West towns while raising havoc. I focused on some I thought had more interesting stories to be told. They left their mark in history as thugs, thieves, and murderers. Life was not easy for these Wild West sinful men and women who survived by any means possible.

Some of these outlaws were buried somewhere in the southwest desert. The old west cemeteries were once well maintained and thriving with beautiful carved headstones. Many decades later, these cemeteries are neglected, forgotten with broken headstones and rusty fences. The shrubbery is overgrown and hiding many of the grave sites.

Along with the cemeteries, there are many places around Arizona and the southwest which are now abandoned and falling apart. What many might see as a mess, I can see the beauty in what is still there. The history and stories of these places are just as interesting as the decaying walls and missing ceilings of the structures which fell between the cracks of time.

The southwest is vast and so are the many mysteries found in the barren lands. There are ghosts wandering the desert, along with fascinating mummies, and fossils buried in the dirt. These urban legends have been told for many decades. The mountains hold many mesmerizing stories of lost treasures and castles made of reclaimed items.

You will get a tour of all the places with stories of their past, and what you will find if you visit them today. I will map out the locations of the ruins, mining towns, abandoned places, and the streets the outlaws once walked upon. I would like you to enjoy all the amenities that the southwest and Arizona have to offer while seeing it all from your car.”

Since summer is quickly encroaching and already feels like it here, my future posts will be some of the places for you to visit if you choose to check out Arizona.  As you know, I have done lots of traveling around the state and have a firsthand knowledge of the lesser known stuff to check out.  This state has so many interesting places to see with beautiful scenery and a Wild West history.  Look for my book to be out this fall or spring of 2014.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Tour the Abandoned Motel

The view from the road.

The view from the inside.

Black Hawk down!

Adjoining rooms.

The bathroom.

Furniture art.

The closet.

A room with a fireplace to keep warm.

Inside a room (very airy and open).

Monday, April 8, 2013

Cactus N Stuff Antiques and Metal Art

Sharon and I came across an usual antique and rusty metal art store in Gila Bend.  The Cactus N Stuff shop has a great variety of antiques, Arizona items, and hand-made metal western art.  Next time you travel through or stop in the town of Gila Bend, be sure to drop in and check out the Cactus N Stuff shop.

Cactus N Stuff
404 W. Pima Street
Gila Bend, AZ 85337
(928) 683-2411