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Bisbee, AZ

2019-03-16 – Airstream Caravans Travel – Day 4 – Las Cruces, NM

We rolled out of the Queen Mine RV Park at about 9:30.  Today we are heading to Las Cruces, NM.  We are traveling in southeast Arizona in some of the most remote areas we have ever seen…

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Some of the mountains are still covered in snow… There is also “snow” or the slushy remnants of hail, alongside the road…

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We stopped at a monument commemorating the surrender of Geronimo, the Apache chief, to the US Army in 1886.  He was the last Apache chief to surrender…

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New Mexico welcomed us!

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There was even more snow on the ground in New Mexico!

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We pulled into Sunny Acres RV Park in Las Cruces at about 3:30.  In, connected, and paid for…

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Happy Hours ensured… And an enjoyable time was had by all…

And, as is our custom on travel days, here are pictures of our great grandchildren…

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2019-03-15 – Airstream Caravans Travel – Day 3 – Bisbee, AZ

Once again we awoke to sub-freezing temperatures.  But between the fireplace, the heat pump, and the furnace we were able to keep warm and keep the pipes from freezing…

We began the day with a tour of the Queen Mine…

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We were outfitted with hard hats, miner’s lights, and safety vests… We mounted the mine tourist train and headed into the mine…

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About 700 feet into the mine we dismounted and walked up some wooden stairs to a large cavern…

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We were told about the various jobs going on in the mines at any one time.  Our tour guide worked in the mines for about 15 years, starting two days after he graduated from Bisbee High School…

 

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We were told about the various ways to make the holes for the dynamite and how these methods changed over the years, from hammering a steel spike in 1915 to pneumatic drills in the 1960s… Every few years improvements were made to efficiency and safety…

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Sometimes the shoring seems a little improvised…

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These are the ore cars and the chutes from above where the ore is dumped…

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The supervisors traveled up to 10 miles per day around the mines, mounted on these rail-cycles…

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After another train ride we dismounted at the 1,500 mark and walked down a cross-tunnel…

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There are fire doors every 500 feet or so…

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Next was the lesson on where to drill holes and how to set off the dynamite to get the largest cavity possible…

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Finally we saw a typical 11-man elevator cage…

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And the porta-potty…

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Tour over, we walked back to the train and we were returned to fresh air…

After lunch we spent more time walking about the town. We visited The Bisbee Mining Museum, and enjoyed browsing the many vintage, antique, and junk shoppes…

This evening we returned for an anniversary dinner – It has been 51 years since our first date… The town was lit up and it was a beautiful sight…

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We had asked all over town for recommendations for the best fine dining, white tablecloth restaurant.  Every person we asked stated, without hesitation, “Roka”.

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They were right.  Great service, interesting, innovative food, and a lovely bottle of Turley wine…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-03-14 – Airstream Caravans Travel – Day 2 – Bisbee and Tombstone, AZ

Overnight in Bisbee the temperatures dropped into the mid- to high-twenties!  This is ridiculously cold for us Californians.

We began the day by walking down to the Queen Mine and made reservations for tomorrow for the mine tour.  Then we walked into Old Bisbee and explored.  Since most businesses were not open it was very quiet.  We walked up and down hills, looking at anything that seemed interesting.  It’s a great little town!

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There is the “Copper Man” sculpture, in honor of copper’s importance to the town, sharing a small plaza with a telephone pole…

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There are several churches, this one seeming to be the most prestigious…

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The County Courthouse…

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The County Administration Building…

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Lynda found a comfortable chair at a gas station-turned-restaurant…

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The old cinema is now an event venue…

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The Grand Hotel…

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What we found very interesting were the number of stairs leading up and down the hills, providing shortcuts between streets and access to houses far above or below the street…

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Adjacent to the stair pictured above was this lovely sculpture garden, or some such thing.  It appears to be a private space…

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There are quite a few partially demolished buildings, but with remnants of walls, doors, and fireplaces remaining…

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After our walk around town we returned to the Villa and drove to Tombstone, about 25 miles away.  It contained all the requisite tourist venues, and lots of historic buildings…

The main street is nicely car-free… the streets around town are very busy and parking is hard to find, even on this mid-week day…

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You can take a tour around town in a stagecoach; (we didn’t…)

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In its heyday there were over 110 saloons and many 24 hour gambling parlors…

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You can watch a “humorous gunfight re-enactment”; (we didn’t…)

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We saw the County Courthouse from the days before the county seat moved to Bisbee…

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You can have lunch and drinks at Big Nose Kate’s Saloon; (we did…!)

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After lunch we returned to the Villa and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon; about 4:30 we walked back into Bisbee and had cocktails at two of the town’s many bars…

First was Room 4 Bar, located in the Silver King Hotel.  It has room for four!  It bills itself as Arizona’s smallest bar.  Great fun.  For most of the time we were the only patrons there, and then three others came in.  It was packed!

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Next stop was the Copper Queen Hotel…

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It was fun and relaxing.  We walked back to the Villa, enjoyed a light supper, and retired early once again…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-03-13 – Airstream Caravans Travel – Day 1 – Bisbee, AZ

We’re off!  We left Redlands at a very leisurely 6:00 am.  We are heading east to Arizona and New Mexico for a week or so, then on through Texas to Louisiana, where we will meet up with the Cajun Country Caravan, starting March 26.  Interestingly, the Airstream Club is running this caravan twice this year because it is so popular and the waiting list is so long.  The first run started March 5, and we have been reading blogs and seeing posts on Facebook about it.  Sort of a “sneak preview”, so to speak…

After the Cajun Country Caravan we will wander around the south, mostly looking at Architecture and visiting friends and relatives.  April 25 we will meet up with another caravan – Springtime in Kentucky.  After it is over we will meander home, expecting to return sometime in mid-June…

But for today, we are driving through the desert.  It’s amazing how much traffic there is at 6:00 am…

The desert is always a boring drive, but today, at least, we were seeing a lot of green, due to the unusually heavy rains we have been having lately…

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We crossed over into Arizona… The Grand Canyon State welcomed us!

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As is our custom, we stopped once per hour to stretch our legs and keep our Apple watches happy. Sometimes we used rest stops, sometimes we simply pulled of on the side of a road.  A short walk was always in order…

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We were making good time.  Our original idea was to stop for the night in Mesa, AZ, but we weren’t really ready to stop.  We made a few telephone calls and changed our destination for this day to be Bisbee, located in the far southeast corner of Arizona, about five minutes from Mexico and about one hour from New Mexico.  It made for a long day, but after a brief nap it was no problem.

About 4:30 pm we pulled into the RV park in Bisbee, the Queen Mine RV Park.  Not surprisingly, it is located directly adjacent to the Queen Mine.  It is a pretty basic park – nothing but gravel, and only 25 sites.  We found RVs from 11 different states and four (4!) Airstreams!

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Since it was late in the day we set up quickly and settled in for dinner. We walked about the park and enjoyed the views of the strip mine and the town of Bisbee…

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Bisbee is located in Cochise County, Arizona, 92 miles southeast of Tucson.  The population of the city is 5,575.  The city is the county seat of Cochise County, having been moved here from Tombstone in 1929. 

Mining in the Mule Mountains proved quite successful: in the early 20th century the population of Bisbee soared.  Incorporated in 1902, by 1910 its population had swelled to 9,019, and it sported a constellation of suburbs, including Warren, Lowell, and San Jose, some of which had been founded on their own (ultimately less successful) mines. In 1917, open-pit mining was successfully introduced to meet the copper demand during World War I.

The mines were all closed by 1975; the town struggled trying to reinvent itself.  Today it is a popular tourist destination with many art galleries, restaurants, tours and other attractions.

After our long day we turned in early; an enjoyable time was had by all…

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