April 10th - 13th
Butterfield Station enroute to Sierra Vista, Arizona.
An Arizona rest area - the rocks are to put behind your tires when parking on the hill!
John and Sissy just before entering Mexico. We can't decide whether to take a shopping basket or not!
Ringo Starr, Garth Brooks and Billy Joel in person south of the border - just kidding!
Bird Cage Theater in Tombstone, Arizona - this building is the only original (inside and out) remaining in town. Notice John in the lower right of the pic with his new hat!
We didn't hate to leave Demming because we wanted to get to Sierra Vista and visit Sissy's brother Jerry and his family (Cindy, John, Dan, Chris and Amber). Early up and on the road again we were after getting fuel for the truck.
In this part of Arizona we planned to spend 4 days with Jerry and Cindy, and then a day with Krystal and a day with Rick in Tucson. But first, let me tell you a little about our first visit.
The first day it was visiting, socializing or whatever with the relatives. Then, it was time to head for parts unknown. Jerry drove the van that everyone had piled into, and we headed for Douglas, Arizona and then Mexico. The plans were to get something to eat on the other side of the border, but nobody spoke Spanish and we were out of luck. Besides, the restaurants were empty so we decided to play it safe. Sissy and Cindy did find some places to buy stuff, and we ended up buying liquid (to quench the thirst), cigarettes and booze (some for John and some for Sissy).
After an afternoon walking around Mexico and its tourist shops, it was time to head back for the border. Wouldn't you know it, Cindy forgot to bring her ID with her. John was all chuckles (of course), but Cindy was a little concerned. John's thinking to himself (maybe they'll do a strip search or something) but no luck. There was a Custom's Agent, a Border Patrol, a U.S. Army soldier and a Security Guard at the border checkpoint, but none of them suggested such a search. Go figure - John's out of luck again!
We hunted for a place to eat in Douglas, Arizona and finally located a New York Pizza place owned and operated by a chinaman. Again - go figure! The buffet was good but nothing spectacular. After lunch, we headed for the historic Gadsden Hotel where Poncho Via rode his horse inside and had a beer. That was really nice, and the hotel was actually a National Historic Site. The hotel was still operational for tourists and visitors, but we were able to walk around, take pics and view the displays in the lobby area.
After Douglas, it was time to head for Tombstone, Arizona after passing through the town of Bisbee and seeing the copper mine and its 50's era hippies. The town was a throw back from years gone by. Mod colors covered homes (permission from City Counsel required), vehicles and people. Punk rockers, hippies (young and old) and retired folk were everywhere. John wondered why the youngsters were so skinny, buying ice cream/zig zag papers and talked funny. Do you think it had something to do with being so close to the Mexican border?
When we stopped for coffee (Jerry and Cindy), slurpees (Dan and John) and water (Sissy and John) John noticed a sign which reminded him of Virginia Beach. It read something like "$500 fine for playing a vehicle radio audible for more than 50 feet outside the vehicle. 1st offense fine - 2nd offense fine and 30 days in jail!"
Bisbee's copper mine was closed down due to the falling price of copper, but there was still a hole in the ground and a tourist viewing area. We pulled into the parking lot and took pics from the edge. Boy, was that a big hole in the ground. And just think, it used to be an entire mountain. Copper mines are plentiful in this area of the world, but they are all closed down resulting in layoffs everywhere. The clerk at Butterfield Station told us the mines open and close down depending on the price of copper. What a way to live!
We had two final stops before heading home to Sierra Vista: Tombstone and Boot Hill. Tombstone was a very nice little western town with actors, saloons, shops and theaters. We walked up and down the streets (wooden sidewalks) taking pics along the way. Tours were conducted by stage coach and covered wagon drivers, actors walked the streets in era clothing and locals spent the day participating in the action. Of course Sissy and Cindy had to visit each and every little shop for gifts while John and Jerry just browsed around reading signs and enjoying the sights. John did find a palm leaf sombrero complete with a stampede strap for windy days (or motorcycle riding), and he wore it everywhere!
Finally, it was onto Boothill Graveyard; the actual cemetery where many famous people had been buried. Entering through the gift shop (of course) we were brought back in time to the grave sights many of which were marked "UNKNOWN", but many others "KILLED" by so and so. There was even one marked "HUNG BY ACCIDENT." As grass doesn't grow very well in these parts, the walkways were dirt and the graves themselves were covered in gravel.
We've decided to create 2 web pages for our time in Sierra Vista to include more larger pics for you to view and to narrate all 4 days of our sightseeing. Click here to visit page 2.
All photographs are Copyright @ 2002 - 2008 by John T. VanderHeiden.
For information concerning your usage of any photographs, please see our User Agreement.