Saturday, October 24, 2009

OCT 24 - TOMBSTONE, ARIZONA

Left Las Cruces and crossed large desert area surrounded by mountains. I love the wide-openess of the desert, especially when it has mountains in the distance.We stopped for gas at the Akela Flats Trading Post which had a large selection of items. Really like these two critters - the one on the left is named "Marshall 'Dillo" and the right is "Lush Adillo". I bought a basket and a piece of pottery.
We drove through Cochise country where the Apache used the bluffs as lookouts and lived in the canyons of the scenic Dragoon Mountains. Cochise is rumoured to be buried somewhere nearby in the Stronghold area.
We were surprised by an area where large boulders suddenly appeared and looked like they had just dropped out of the sky. Arrived in Benson before noon and headed to Tombstone which is only 25 miles away.
Tombstone sprang up around the silver mines discovered by Ed Schieffelin in 1877 and was dubbed "The Town Too Tough To Die". Ed had previously been told the only thing he would find in that area would be his own tombstone and that is how the town was named.
Tombstone is truly an authentic 1800's western town and many people are dressed in the complete western attire (right down to spurs!). When I asked about this, I was told that people are completely accepted here living as cowboys of the bygone era of the Old West. We passed the famous OK Corral where actors reenact the famous gunfight of Oct 26/81 where Marshall Wyatt Earp, his 2 brothers and friend Doc Holliday shot it out with the "Cowboys" a ruffian group of the Clantons and McLaurys. At about 3 pm the gunfight began. About 30 seconds and 30 gunshots later, it was over. There is dispute about who fired the first shot but in the end, 3 of the 5 cowboys lay dead and all but Wyatt was injured. There was a trial for the Earps but they were found not guilty with the judge saying they were “fully justified in committing these homicides.”
We had a great time at "Big Nose Kate's Saloon". This 1880 building was originally the Grand Hotel and during its first few years often housed some of Tombstone's most famous residents including Wyatt and Virgil Earp, Doc Holliday and the Clanton gang when they came into town. In fact, Ike Clanton and the two McLaury brothers were registered guests the night before the famous gunfight at the OK Corral. Big Nose Kate is believed to have been the first prostitute in Tombstone. However, her biggest claim to fame was the fact that she was also Doc Holliday's girlfriend. We had a great time having a cold beer and listening to the honkytonk singer who was a lot of fun. Posting these videos as it was such a good time. Just click on them to listen. video video

The Sherriff seemed to think I was ok; must have been my cowgirl hat.
Boothill Cemetery is very close to the town and was named so because of the many violent deaths of the early days as often they "died with their boots on". Buried here are outlaws and their victims, suicides and hangings (legal and otherwise) along with early citizens of the town.
Graves of Billy Clanton, Tom and Frank McLaury shot Oct 26/81 at the OK Corral. I asked if the graves, with the rocks on top, were what they would have been originally and was told yes, as graves could only be dug 3-4 ft deep as it was clay, so rocks covered the grave so critters didn't get in. There are only 3 graves that were 6 ft deep, one due to small pox and two due to leprosy.


"3-Fingered Jack" Dunlap shot by Jeff Milton. Jack had been part of a band robbing a train when he was shot by the express car guard. He was left by his friends to die but was found and brought to Tombstone where he lived long enough to inform on his friends.
"Here lies George Johnson - Hanged by mistake 1882 - He was right, we was wrong, but we strung him up and now he's gone". I like the way they are "straight shooters" about the facts. This guy had innocently bought a stolen horse and suffered the consequences.
Made it back to the campground just as sun was setting.








Different cacti in the campground.











One of the other campers pointed out this tarantula hole in the dirt and said that it comes out at night. Unfortunately, he was very shy and this is the only photo I could get of the spider even though Lana tried to coax it with a bug.
A beautiful sunset ended another great day.





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