Monday, January 21, 2013

Welcome to Bisbee, Arizona

January 21, 2013:

Last Friday at noon, after a round of goodbyes, we pulled out of Desert Trails RV Park, heading for Bisbee, Arizona to start another chapter.  It was a bit sad and kind of weird, like we were leaving the comfort zone and going back out again into the great (mean old world) unknown.  Once on the road for an hour, the scenery started changing a bit, and the thrill of seeing something new again took over.  Route 80 to Bisbee took us through the interesting towns of Benson and Tombstone and then into the mountains as we approached the town of Bisbee. 

Our destination, the San Jose Lodge, is just a few miles south of Bisbee and only 3 miles from the Mexican border town of Naco.  In fact we can see the border fence in the distance from our RV. The San Jose Lodge has a restaurant, a lounge and full hook up RV sites in the rear.  It is not crowded, there are only four other RV's here and one of them appears to be a permanent set-up.  The campground is adjacent to the Customs and Border Patrol complex, so we feel pretty safe.  The cable TV connection and the WiFi are both free and are the best we have had since leaving New Jersey.

Bisbee is very artistic with a rough and rumble, wild west heritage and as the tour guide said, a bit quirky, and they hope to keep it that way.  This town is nestled one mile high amongst the mountains and old mines.  Bisbee in its boom years claimed to be the largest city between St Louis and San Francisco. The Copper Queen mine was one of the richest Copper mines in its day.  The mine eventually became less profitable and was closed in 1975, other jobs were scarce and most residents fled town, Bisbee was then in danger of becoming a ghost town.  This changed in the early 1970's when an influx of hippie artist types from California moved in, many as squatters, and starting fixing up the old buildings and opening shops which resulted in a todays art colony atmosphere.

On Sunday, we took a ride north to the city of Sierra Vista , stopping along the way at the Coronado National Memorial, which had interesting exhibits on the Spainish Coronado expedition of 1540-1542.  They had traveled through this area from Mexico searching for silver and gold and the lost cities of Cibola.  We did a short but steep 2 mile hike there on the "Cave Trail" to an actual cave that you can go into and explore for a few hundred feet. I had no flashlight and didn't know what to expect inside, wild animals, desperadoes, etc, so I didn't go in.  However, on the way back down we passed several hikers and I latter saw photos showing school kids inside a large room inside the cave. Next time we go in !

On the way back to Bisbee, we stopped at the historic, 100 year old, Brown Canyon Ranch which was very interesting and original.

Stay tuned, more to be revealed latter.

Twinkles at one of the famous stairs in Bisbee

The oldest continuously operated bar in Arizone

Bisbee Mural

Bisbee Mural

Sculpture on Bisbee roof top

Bisbee Sewer cover

The smallest bar in Arizona, holds 4 people

The Miners and Merchants Bank in Bisbee

Bisbee Mural

Road to Sierra Vista, Mexican border in distance

The Corando expedition

Twinkles at the Cave entrance

The historic Brown Canyon Ranch

View from the Cave Trail

Windmill at the Brown Canyon Ranch

Sunset from the RV doorway

The corral at the Brown Canyon Ranch

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