I can’t help it … whenever I say “Arizona,” in my head I hear Mark Lindsay singing the song from 1969.
Arizona, take off your rainbow shades 🎶
Arizona, have another look at the world, my, my 🎶
Arizona, cut off your Indian braids 🎶
Arizona, hey won’tcha go my way 🎶
It has nothing to do with the state, it was apparently a girl’s name. Now the song will be in your head, too. You’re welcome!
One thing about this song is true … rainbows. We have never seen so many rainbows! It was raining off an on (mostly on) Tuesday, and there were shots of drizzle Wednesday morning. We are located between a couple of mountain ranges where the landscape is pretty flat, so as the rain clouds move through you’ll have sun shining and rain at the same time. We saw about 5 rainbows between Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning. No telling how many were out there while we were sleeping! 😄
We’ve been boondocking at the home of a very nice guy named Doug. We’ve said before that we love traveling this way, boondocking on the property of friendly folk. Doug has two acres of fenced in property on a dirt road called Rascal Ranch. Doug and his husband built the home, which has a traditional Spanish courtyard between the house and the huge garage. Bob’s been drooling over the garage, which has is large enough to house Doug’s big fifth-wheel trailer.
Doug has a couple of roadrunners that have kept us company out here as well as a small flock of Gambel’s quail, which are very fun to watch as they run around the motorhome. We hear coyotes every evening and morning, chickens and a rooster just close enough to be entertaining but not so close as to be annoying. There are also donkeys somewhere nearby as we hear them braying every now and again.
We decided to stop in this spot because we wanted to visit Tombstone and the town of Bisbee. Everyone knows Tombstone (unfortunately, it’s not what you expect … it’s just a tourist trap now), but you’ve probably never heard of Bisbee. We hadn’t, either. Bisbee is an old mining town very close to the Mexican border. Copper was discovered there in the 1800’s which resulted in a big mining operation run by Louise’s former employer, Phelps-Dodge Copper Products Company. By 1975, the mine was fairly well depleted and the mine was closed. The mayor of Bisbee at the time had the foresight to know that they would have to do something to keep the town alive once the miners left, so he approached Phelps-Dodge about turning the mine into a place that people could tour. With the help of Phelps-Dodge and many volunteers, they made sure the mine was a very safe environment for tourists and began allowing tours for a fee. Many of the tour guides even today are former employees of the mine. The idea kept the town alive and as miners moved out, artists and craftsmen moved in. Someone on the internet said, that they think all the former hippies from San Francisco moved to Bisbee!
We paid a visit to Bisbee, found it to be very touristy with lots of tchotchke shops, but it is very well-kept with brightly painted buildings sitting on the side of a mountain. Just too many people walking around and too few parking spaces for us. The mine was interesting, and we accidentally discovered a very interesting street. We saw an old greyhound bus parked on this street as we drove by, so we circled around and found this … the old historic town of Lowell, which had been absorbed by Bisbee in the 1950’s. In order to expand the mine, most of the town was demolished, but this street remained. A group of volunteers decided not to let it rot, and they have been maintaining this 1950’s – 1960’s street for a couple of decades now.
As an aside, the day after we were in Bisbee, they had a winter storm warning with a prediction of 8-16” of snow in the higher elevations. Bisbee sits at 5,500 feet, which is only a thousand feet higher than where we are staying. We don’t know if they actually got the predicted snow.
The next day, we visited Tombstone in the rain. Fortunately, there are a lot of covered sidewalks! Because it’s so famous, you sort of have to see Tombstone when you’re in this area. But, it’s mostly shops and saloons. And, while the saloons may be the original buildings that stood in the late 1800’s, and the Earp brothers may have thrown back a whiskey or two at those same bars, they hardly look the same with back-lit stained glass windows and a cowboy singer playing along with a loop pedal. But, it was still fun to sip a maple whiskey at the bar! LOL.
The biggest surprise of this stop was the town of Sierra Vista. We were very impressed with this town. Most of the retail area looks new with wide streets that are easy to navigate. There are older neighborhoods and newer ones, several parks including a dog park. We always look on realtor.com to see how much houses go for when we find an interesting city, and we were shocked to find that you can buy a brand new 1,500 sf home in a gated 55+ community with pool, gym, activities, etc., for $130,000. Locals that we’ve met say the climate here is very temperate, not as hot as Phoenix in the summer, just enough rain to allow for some greenery, but not as much as we’re used to, and an average of 1” of snow per year. This place might be worth a second look.
Today we move further west, to the town of Why, Arizona. Why Why? Why not?!