One of the places we were looking forward to visiting on this trip through Arizona was Tombstone. We are both fans of Western History (I have a romanticized idea of the Old West thanks to books by Louis L’Amour, the Brat Pack stars of Young Guns and movies like Tombstone~”I’ll be your Huckleberry” and Silverado) so it was only natural to want to make a special trip out to the middle of nowhere.
We had decided to move to a new campground slightly closer to the ghost town. We found a great spot at Valley Vista RV Resort in Benson Arizona through our Passport America membership for only $12.50 per night. We stayed 12 days and although the limit for the P.A. discount was supposed to be for 7 days only, the staff was more than accommodating and honored the discount for the additional days. Although there isn’t a ton of ‘stuff’ in Benson, it was a fantastic park with huge sites and closer than Tucson to some of the other areas we wanted to explore.
|The Mutiny at Valley Vista RV Resort.|
But it was still bitterly cold…so cold that one night our water pump froze (it dropped to 11 degrees Fahrenheit). That lead to an hour long side trip to the local hardware store to buy supplies and half a day rigging up the RV bays to stay above freezing. Thanks to Gone With the Wynns blog post How To Prepare Your RV for a Winter Adventure we knew exactly what to do. We followed their advise to a T and had no further issues despite the below freezing temperatures.
|Cold weather supplies.|
After making sure the rig wouldn’t freeze up we felt it was safe to go adventure around the area. Of course the first stop was Tombstone. It was cold…and the place was quite touristy…and most of the buildings had been turned into stores that sold t-shirts. But it was still cool to take a walk in the footsteps of history and try to image life back then.
|We watched a pretty interesting reenactment of the Gun Fight at the OK Corral.|
|and visited some historic sites.|
I had read some Yelp reviews and so we decided to take the long drive (about an hour one way) to Bisbee…and fell in love. Bisbee was founded in the 1880’s and produced about 3 million ounces of gold and 8 billion ounces of copper. As a matter of fact, if you have time you should definitely take a tour of the Copper Queen Mine. We didn’t and regret it to this day (but that just means we will have to go back, right?). The town is nestled in the Mule Mountains and although it is practically in Mexico it gets snow in the winter.
|Bisbee hosts a great race through the city that covers 1000 stairs scattered throughout the historical town.|
|The town still holds it Old West charm and is home to many local artists.|
|The Dog Park.|
|The always awesome Copper Queen Hotel|
Anyone who knows me also knows that I love coffee…let me clarify…I love good coffee, so when I read the rave reviews of Old Bisbee Roasters I knew that we would have to give it a try. Turns out it lives up to the hype. I now order whole beans from them (they have very fast and free shipping) whenever we are somewhere we can receive mail. Seth Appell roasts small lots and is dedicated not only to fine coffee but responsible farming, clean water and reforestation efforts efforts. Even if you never make it to Bisbee I highly recommend ordering a sampler package from Old Bisbee Roasters…you won’t be disappointed.
|Is this really a coffee shop or did we just enter Heaven??|
Another surprise we found in Benson was Singing Wind Bookshop run by a lovely lady named Winn. The place is utterly overwhelming yet still has a homey feel…and it should since it’s actually located inside Winn’s house. If you can find this little sweet shop you might want to block off a couple of hours from your schedule because you won’t want to leave. No one but Winn understands the cataloging so be sure to ask her for the tour. And trust me, she knows every.single.book inside that store. You’ll find everything from South West History (one of the best collections around) to Shakespeare, Hindu religion, Presidential biographies, loads of fiction as well as children’s books. There is also a great collection by local authors.
|If you find this house you are in the right place…go on in!|
|You’ll need a map…or at least a tour from Winn.|
|Clark saying hello to Winn’s donkey…bring her some carrots or apples and she’ll love you forever!|
If your in the area it only makes sense to stop at the lovely Holy Trinity Monastery. Even those without religion can appreciate the tranquil gardens and peaceful setting. The grounds are beautiful and very inviting for meditation and reflection (and great photo ops). Look for the little signs around the cemetery that are actually markers for a short and informative hike. The monastery hosts retreats through out the year (some of which are silent) so be sure to be respectful and leave your beer in the car.
|Holy Trinity Monastery|
|Frozen pond behind the Monastery.|
I’ll save the other adventures around the are for another post…in the meantime, I hope you enjoy the photos here.