March 2 – March 6, 2017
It felt wonderful to be away from the city of Tucson, but I’d decided to avoid exploring the Santa Rita Mountains like I’d originally intended. My friend who lives in Tucson is an outdoor woman, and a climber, hiker, backpacker, camping type, and she told me she would feel better if I didn’t go into the Santa Rita’s alone. She told me there was an awful lot of drug smuggling through that area, and some man on his own had been killed by one some years ago and that she had seen one herself. She said she used to camp out there all the time and hike on her own, but in recent years it has grown very scary and she wouldn’t dream of it now.
So taking the advice of a local, I skipped the Santa Rita’s and drove down 83 south, and 82 east instead, which brought me to the famous town of Tombstone.
According to Wikipedia; Tombstone is a historic city in Cochise County, Arizona, United States, founded in 1879, by Ed Schieffelin in what was then Pima County, Arizona Territory. It was one of the last wide-open frontier boomtowns in the American Old West. The town prospered from about 1877 to 1890, during which time the town’s mines produced US$40 to $85 million in silver bullion, the largest productive silver district in Arizona. Its population grew from 100 to around 14,000 in less than seven years. It is best known as the site of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral and now draws most of its revenue from tourism.
I didn’t spend a lot of time in Tombstone. The only touristy thing I did was walk up and down the streets and take pictures. I didn’t want to spend my money on tours, and haunted houses or museums. I think that would be fun to do with someone, but when I’m on my own I’d rather save my money for gasoline and food. The less I spend in towns, the longer I can stay on the road until I have to get a job for the summer.
Therefore, I’m just going to let the pictures tell the story.
And then there was the graveyard…this is just a hint of what it was like.
I went into Tombstone on my second day as well, things were pretty much the same.
I spent my first night in a horrible little spot just a short way down Middlemarch Road. I’d checked out the boondocking spot that the visitor center and the police had told me about, which was a parking lot by a bridge down Charleston Road, but I didn’t feel comfortable there. A lot of people were pulling in to walk their dogs or go into the bushes and pee. One man had been a little suggestive while changing into his cowboy clothes. The spot I found on Middlemarch was supposedly BLM lands, but I later learned it was actually owned by the town. It was just a sliver of a spot, and there was trash all around me, but despite that, I felt better there than right along the highway by the bridge.
For my second night, I decided to go out to the same spot again, but as I pulled onto Middlemarch Road, a car came up behind me. I pulled over to let them pass so they wouldn’t have to eat my dust, but they pulled over as well and just sat there behind me. It creeped me out, so I started to drive again. About another half-mile down the road, I saw a little dirt two-track, so I stopped just past it. Then the same car pulled up behind me again and this time the driver turned on it’s flashing lights. It was the Marshal.
I told him I’d pulled over to let him pass, and he said I’d done nothing wrong, but he wondered if I had any illegal drugs like marijuana in my vehicle, because I had Colorado license plates. Well, I could honestly say “no” to that question, because I don’t smoke anything or take any drugs, even prescription ones (except in rare circumstances). I later learned that people with Colorado plates get stopped more often near the border because marijuana is legal in Colorado. However, this was my first time. He had deliberately followed me without pulling me over because I’d passed by him parked along the highway on my way out of town.
After they checked my plates, license, insurance and peered inside the vehicle to see if I was harboring any illegals, they told me I would have to drive all the way into the national forest for the night, which was seven miles. It turned out to be closer to eleven miles though. I was actually on the west side of Cochise Stronghold by then.
I could have gone and explored the rocks up there, but to be honest, I wasn’t in the mood, and I was in a high traffic area for illegal immigration. Although I didn’t let it make me paranoid, I was aware of that fact, especially as I was on my own.
I left Tombstone after two nights and went even further south.
I hope you have enjoyed this installment of my travels during the winter of 2016/2017, and hope you’ll continue the journey with me. Please visit the HOME page to find more articles, and feel free to share, sign up and leave a comment. Also please visit my YouTube Channel. Until next time…remember to step outside of your comfort zone as often as possible and watch it grow.
Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature
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