Sunday, January 27, 2013

A busy week in Bisbee

January 27, 2013:

A very busy week here in Bisbee and trying to get back on a more healthy diet, planning to hike more often as we both seem to have gained about 5 pounds at the last campground, Desert Trails. The town of Bisbee is built right into the mountainside with the houses sort of built on steps and they have these long stairways going from one level to the next.  In October, Bisbee has a very popular event called "The Bisbee 1,000", The great stair climb.  It is sort of an ironman competition, racing all over town climbing the stairs.  This may become part of our workout plan ?
On Monday we did the Copper Queen Mine Tour where they take you into the mine on the old mine train.  You get to wear a bright yellow jacket, a helmet and a flashlight.  They have old miners actually working this tour who explain how things were done.  They told everyone before starting in the tunnel;  If your helmet starts to come off, just let it go, don't try to catch it.  No, this didn't happen to us, but Twinkles did somehow manage to drop her purse inside the tunnel.  Luckily it didn't go under the wheels and was not damaged.  I had been giving her some grief about bringing her purse on the ride, and tapping her helmet in the tunnel, so somehow, it was my fault ?  

On Tuesday a hike, about 6 miles, on the the "Miller Canyon Trail" and the "Clark Spring Trail" through a forested area that had burned a year or so before.  It was a unusual hiking through the blackened trees, but the colors and starkness was somehow beautiful.  On the way back we stopped at "Jimmy's Hot Dogs" near our campground.  It is a bright yellow building with a small Airstream trailer (takeout window) attached and it features Chicago style hot dogs.  It was great, Twinkles says, best homemade potato chips ever !  It goes on the Favorites list !

Wednesday I went to Erie Street to take some photos of the really cool old buildings, old chevy dealership, automotive and Indian motorcycle shop and old signs.  Erie Street is on the other side of the Lavender open pit mine from downtown Bisbee.  I noticed a couple of signs on buildings saying "welcome to  Lowell, Arizona" and wondered why, never occurred to me that it could be a separate town.  Latter I googled Lowell, Arizona and to my surprise it was referred to as a ghost town ?  It seems that Lowell is actually a separate town that was deserted years ago.  It now has several businesses open again, so I don't quite understand the ghost town status ?  One thing for sure, it is a step back in time and has really cool stuff, like one of Indian Larry's motorcycles.

I visited the infamous St. Elmo Tavern in downtown Bisbee to catch the open acoustic jam session.  The St. Elmo claims to be the oldest continuously operating Bar in Arizona, since 1903, another step back in time.  It is also a very revered dive bar and locals hangout.  I had nice clean jeans and shirt on and I felt a little over dressed.  The reviews of the St. Elmo on the web are great reading!  

On Thursday we went for a hike to the "Cochise Stronghold" in the Dragoon Mountains north east of Bisbee.  The famous Chiricahua Apache chief "Cochise" and his followers hid out and evaded the US Army for a long time back in these mountains.  The Apaches were a very hard core group, who pretty much terrorized everyone around them.  We hiked on the Cochise trail (a real indian trail), three miles in to the "divide" then back out.  As we were hiking in we encountered the hiking group from our last campground, Desert Trails, (the odds of that are like winning the lottery), I should go buy a ticket ? 

Friday night, I was back to Bisbee at the Copper Queen Hotel to see a couple of the local Bisbee musicians, Terry Wolf and John Cordes.  I planned to only stay for an hour, but I really liked their stuff, Terry's singing and John's fiddle playing were perfect together and I ended up staying until they finished.  I also met a nice friendly couple from Scottsdale at the bar and went with them to the St. Elmo where a rock band was playing. It was a fun night. 

Saturday I went to Tombstone, Arizona and walked around town, took many photos, went to the amazing Bird Cage Theater with so many old artifacts from the wild west period.  I also stopped at the Tombstone Epitaph newspaper building, started in 1880, which is still published and learned the incredible story of John Clum, the newspaper's founder.  I then had to go into "Big Nose Kate's Saloon" for a beer, a real tourist trap.  There is so much interesting history in this town, but sadly the stupid shootout in the OK corral gets most of the attention.  On the trip back to Bisbee, I detoured over to the San Pedro River riparian conservation area where at the "San Pedro House" there is a huge Cottonwood tree with a 36 foot circumference.  This area is considered a world class birding area. 

Sunday, was a breakfast day at a highly rated restaurant called the Bisbee Breakfast Club.  It was beyond  expectations, I had a biscuit with my meal that was a meal by itself, lasted me all day !  Add another one for the favorites list.  Now down for the day !

I suggested to Twinkles that we go "unplugged" for a few days to practice boondocking here prior to our next stop in Quartsite, Arizona.  Her response was , No way Jose, or something to that affect !!! 

That's all that fits.

Into the Copper Queen mineshaft

All a board the Copper Queen mine train

Geo Cache I found on top of rocks off the Clark Spring Trail

Bisbee's Copper Man statue

Jimmy's Hot Dog's near our campground

View from the Clark Spring Trail, note the burnt trees and snow in the mountain

Art Deco Cochise County Courthouse in Bisbee

Old gas pump in Lowell, 33 cents a gallon

Indian Larry on display in Lowell window

The Shady Dell Motel in Bisbee where you can stay in a classic Airstream trailer 

View from Cochise Trail in Cochise Stronghold

Bird Cage Theater in Tombstone - original

The old Butterfield Overland Stage at Tombstone - original !

View from my seat at Big Nose Kate's Saloon

Great cloud view along route 90 outside Bisbee
I can't believe I ate the whole thing !

Huge Cottonwood Tree at San Pedro House

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