Feb 11 Sunday
Linda had our schedule made up for the day even down to the time we needed to pull out of the site to head down to the dump station. When we drove away only two minutes past the time set, it earned me a 'Good Bob'. I do believe that hope springs eternal in that woman that I will someday understand the concept of being on time. Of course the only answer I can give is simply, no comment. Yet, being the wise woman that she is, perhaps she knows something that I don't.
It was a good thing for me that I was on time because we arrived at the dump station to find that we were not the only people who planned to leave the park at 10AM. Never having owned a truck camper, I'm unsure whether there is a different mentality which one acquires after having bought one, or whether it takes a certain way of approaching things to buy one in the first place. Since one of our early options was the purchase of one of those rigs, an idea which was soon discarded, I think it is more likely to be the latter. But remember, I'm only guessing, so I'll just tell my tale and let you decide.
When we pulled up, both dump stations and both water fill stations were occupied. To my logical way of thinking, given a small class C up at the dump station and a truck camper at the water fill in one line, versus a bigger class C and a class A in the other line, I opted for the former. This proved to be a bad move as the truck camper in front of us took longer to fill with water than the class A next to it. Then the truck camper moved up to the dump station. In the time it took them to dump, the class A and two class C's had dumped in the other line. Not just that, but the truck camper only had a porta-potty of all things. The way they treated it you'd have thought it was it was made of gold or something. But the best came after they dumped as they repeated flushed it out with water. Their actions only served to reinforce my earlier observations made at Quartzsite about truck campers, which is, when you see them in one line, try to get in the other.
Soon after leaving the campground we had to pass through the border patrol station. I'm not sure I like what is going on in our country in regards to our borders, but I know for sure that I didn't like the attitude of the officer who questioned us, which I would describe as beyond arrogant. I don't question that they have a very dangerous job, but still, there has to be a way to do it that doesn't belittle people.
Linda had our route laid out so that it would take us back the same roads we came down 10 days ago. Today we would be again going through Ajo, then heading north to connect up with I-8, where we would then head east over toward Casa Grande and the Gypsy Journal Rally. One thing we hadn't noticed when we had last been in Ajo was the huge piles of rock left over from the now defunct copper mines. Guess you could call it a dump station of a different kind.
The rest of the trip went by quickly, though we did take a short detour to fill up with diesel. While we were on the road over to the Pinal County Fairground, we came upon a freak wind storm. One second the road in front of us was clear.
And just seconds later everything had disappeared.
The good thing was that nobody panicked and slammed on their brakes, though I did definitely brake. I wasn't the only one as you can see in this photo taken as we emerged from the cloud, everyone was maintaining pretty much the same spacing we had when we all drove into the cloud.
We still weren't clear of obstacles however, because shortly after we passed the last of the dust, a tumble weed nailed the jeep in front of those motorcycles, then rested patiently at the side of the road for a few moments before skating across directly in front of us. Linda, ever quick with the camera even managed to get a picture of it. Maybe there is a little bit of photographer in my pretty young model after all.
As we pulled into the Fairground parking lot, we could see Richard parked off to the side, somewhat patiently waiting for us. Well maybe he wasn't exactly waiting, rather I should say he was walking towards us, arms gyrating in all directions, seemingly at once. If he was trying to get our attention, he was a little late as we had seen him before we pulled into the lot. We did have one last obstacle to circumvent and that was the rally traffic control person stationed at the entrance. It only took a seconds worth of interfacing with him to make me realize he must be either the father of, or the instructor of, the arrogant border patrol officer down the road. Jeepers creepers, it's a rally for goodness sake, but you'd have thought this guy thought the security of the nation depended on him. With Nick and Miss Terry being such nice people, I had to wonder why in the world would they put a jerk like this out front to be their attendees first contact.
In short order we were pulled up behind Richard, simply by ignoring the greeters ranting and driving over to Richard and Patsy's coach. Getting out we hoped our next weeks experience would certainly be better than this. (By the way, we ran across the same fellow several times during the week, and each time he reaffirmed our first impression.) As we stood around talking with the other people waiting to enter the fairgrounds, a tee shirt caught my eye, so I just had to take a picture.
There was one other thing we found ourselves unable to get away from, which was those darned tumbleweeds. No sooner had we pulled into our spot than one blew into the back of the coach. Being a bright young fellow, I carried it around to the front of the coach and turned it loose. In short order it was back again, the wind having changed directions, maybe it was just meant to be.
Once we were settled in, someone suggested that we go grab a bite to eat, especially since none of us had eaten lunch. One place in town which was highly recommended, at least by Richard, was Mi Amigo Ricardo, which means My Friend Richard, and soon we were pulling into the parking lot. Even though we were in Richards car, those tumbleweeds wouldn't leave us alone, though this time it disguised itself as a large piece of cardboard.
The food certainly lived up to it's advanced billing and maybe that was why the restaurant was crowed even though it was after 2 o'clock.
Back at the rally we marveled at all the different types of rigs which were pulling in. While there are many ways to arrive, this is certainly one way most people would not like to utilize.
Keeping in line with the low key nature of the rally, here was the check-in table.
We finally decided to call it a day, but with much anticipation for the morrow, as Mike and Linda would also be arriving. Is this called the post Quartzsite rally, rally, rally? What ever it was, life is certainly good.
Feb 12 Monday
Having gotten settled in, it was time today for some of the mundane tasks of living. We are not particularly fond of being hooked up to a garden hose, which is the method they use to provide water at this place, so bright and early, I was out filling our water tank. All of which begs the question, what's the difference. You can be continuously connected to the garden hose, or you can fill your fresh water tank, but either way, you still need to be connected to the water system via that same garden hose. That wasn't what turned out to be the real problem as you can see from this photo.
The real problem was that yours truly forgot about the fact he was filling the fresh the water tank until he was reminded, not so nicely by another rally attendee. I knew I had messed up, what I didn't need was him acting like the back end of a horse heading north. Maybe it was just a case of his day being even worse than mine, or maybe he was just one of those people whose lives are pure misery, a misery of their own making. What did happen was that I managed to create a mess, on the other hand, the swamp I created meant that they did not park anyone on that side of us, so maybe some good did come out of it.
One of the key things to remember about life is that no matter what your circumstances, there is usually someone else who has an even greater problem. What's a little excess water problem compared to the problems of this couple. That truck was brand new with only a couple of thousand miles on it. Earlier in the day the check engine light had come on so they stopped at a dealer. The diagnosis was that it wasn't anything important and it was okay to drive to the rally, then get it fixed afterward. They had gotten about 20 miles from the fairgrounds when the truck quit all together. Their solution was to be towed to the rally, drop the 5th wheel, then have the truck towed to a different dealer to have the problem fixed.
This will give an idea of the sites and the spacing of the RV's. The spot in the row closest to where I am taking the photo, between our coach and Richard's Landyacht is where Mike and Linda will park their RV.
Richard was interested in finding someone else who's blog he followed, so we took off in search of their coach. He finally spied it, but the welcome he got from the occupants was not very friendly. After that we walked around the Fairgrounds, finding the front entrance to be the only place were the fairboard had spent any money.
It was about this time that an idea began percolating in the fertile minds of the the two of us. In short order we were talking to Patty, one of the check-in volunteers about something we would like her to do when Mike and Linda came by to register. She was in full conspiratorial compliance with what we were thinking and we retired to the fringes of the registration area to await the arrive of the pigeons, I mean our friends.
As the reaction by Linda indicates, our plan worked to perfection.
There was only one official activity for the day which was the welcome to the rally assembly, which was led by Nick. The best part of the program and certainly the only memorable part were the facial expressions of Miss Terry, as Nick refers to his wife, Terry. Nick is one of those individuals who has the ability to be able to say anything. You know the type, you never know what is going to come out of their mouths, but then again, neither do they. Miss Terry did her best to rein him in, but it was a hopeless task. If nothing else, it's going to be rather interesting every night when we all get together.
After that meeting, the six of us had our own meeting, complete with refreshments and snacks. It was a special time with special people.
Later, it got even better as Virgil and Sharon stopped by for a visit. Turned out Linda and Patsy had run into them at the laundromat today and invited them over. If that doesn't fall into the small word category, then that category simply doesn't exist. We laughed and laughed as we relived the fun we had in Mexico and it was with a touch of sadness that we finally bid them goodbye. After all, it is a long time until next year when we can repeat our caravan south of the border. Sometimes life is great and sometimes it is really great, but always it is worthwhile.
Feb 13 Tuesday
The first morning of the Rally did not look to promising, not because of the program, but rather because of the the appearance of the sky.
Despite the ominous clouds, I took my lawn chair in hand and headed off to the seminar on geocacheing, something we had never done, but which certainly sounded interesting. I guess that since you normally engage in this activity outdoors, it stood to reason the seminar would be held in that location, outdoors. The only problem was that with those clouds moving in, something else had also come along. For the past three weeks we had been enjoying wonderful warm weather, but today that was changing. Those clouds were being born on winds, not just any winds, but rather on very cold winds. I wrapped up, hunkered down and tried to stay somewhat comfortable during the program. It was a good basic introduction, but the cold and the winds conspired to make for a less than outstanding experience. I left not knowing a great deal more about geocacheing than I did before, but at least I learned a few things about buying a hand held GPS unit, something we have been considering.
I'm not sure what the other people in attendance thought of the program, but when it was announced that because of the cold, windy, threatening weather, they would not be doing a demonstration, I heard more than one or two grumbles. To have us sit outside and suffer through the cold, then not give a demonstration did not make for a bunch of happy campers.
The next seminar we attended was the one on personal safety, given by Dave and Sandy Baleria, and was the same course we had taken at life on Wheels last year. Still, it was good to sit in on it, getting a refresher course on what is actually mostly common sense, but is far too easily overlooked. At least this time we were in a building, however it was a Quonset hut which had a heater, but it hadn't been turned on, so other than being out of the wind, once again it wasn't the best place to be.
There was also the nightly get together in the big room, though tonight there was also prize drawing. After the tenth bottle of black tank deodorizer, it got to be a little old, but Nick's ever present line of banter and the fact the man can not stand still kept us entertained.
The last thing on the program was the movie, RV, starring Robin Williams. It was a real hoot sitting in a room full of people who either live in their RVs or spend most of their time in them. Before the show they asked the question, "Lets see a show of hands for those who have never seen this movie?" Not a single hand went up. Then they asked how many of you want to see it again, and it looked like every hand in the place shot up. There were times we had the walls reverberating with our laughter. In fact there were times people were laughing before it got to the good part, simply because they knew what was coming. If you ever get a chance to watch this movie where the crowd is all RVers, you'll have a good time. Heck, I remember the first time we saw the movie with Roscoe and Carolyn on the weekend it came out in that little theater in Marion, North Carolina. It was just as much fun then as it was tonight. It's one of those must see movies and RVers are must be with people.
That was my favorite scene and I can still remember the first time we ever dumped our tanks. We were in our first RV, on its maiden voyage, driving over to the dump station in the middle of the day and hoping no one would there. We were driving at that odd time, not because it was a time there was likely to be no one there, it was because the shower had backed up and was overflowing. I was just hoping no one would be there and horror of horrors, that no one came while we were in the process of dumping. We lucked out, but every time I see that scene it brings those memories flooding back. Life, meant to be lived.
Feb 14 Wednesday
Just another day at the rally but with a difference, Today is Richard's big day, so there will be a celebration of sorts to hold in addition to the normal goings on that are scheduled.
That was Dave and Sandy Baleria, who teach a class on personal safety giving a demonstration on what to do if an undesirable person were to approach you. It turned out I wasn't the only one taking photos of what was happening. Just to show you that great minds think alike, here is our host, Nick Russell of the Gypsy Journal reporting on the event.
The morning sessions passed quickly and as we headed back to the coach, alright, we cut out early for a good reason, but still as we headed back we were surprised when two of our Daily Journal readers, John and his wife, Alice stopped us and introduced themselves. Unfortunately we had only a brief time to talk because we needed to leave for town. The purpose of which was to beat the lunchtime crowd to Ricardo's restaurant.
The reason for the "rush to restaurant" was to celebrate Richard's birthday. He had done his best to conceal it, but as always, word somehow leaked out, so the six of us, Richard and Patsy, Mike and Linda(1), and Linda(2) and myself were soon seated at a table with gargantuan platters of food inundating us. We found that none of us had any room left for dessert, but Richard had a duty to perform, so he sucked it up, of course with as much as he has it was more than anyone but a superman could do, but suck it up he tried, then with mucho gusto he attacked his flan and churros. Since we were eating in his restaurant, after all his name was on the door, we had the real Ricardo come over and pose with Ricardo, the impostor.
The final event of the day, and the perfect end for sure to this day was the Gypsy Journal Beauty Pageant. Ms Terry has scoured the ends of the earth to find a selection of beauties who would appeal to Nick, and we were going to get to select the queen from the eight finalists. After taking a look at them, we could only try to imagine what the contestants looked like who were eliminated in the original round of auditions, or are we getting reality confused with the fake reality of the the so-called reality TV shows?
In case you're interested, the winner was the one in the blue swimming suit next to the end on the right side. With that, and it was more than enough, we will not only say good night, we will also say it was a good day.
Feb 15 Thursday
The last day of the Rally and the crowds were gathering early. What for we had no idea, but gathering they were.
We did have one very important thing we wanted to do today and Linda plunged right in. We had been discussing what we wanted to do with the rest of out lives, well maybe not that, but at least what we wanted to for the next couple of months and with a little detective work had discovered an opportunity before we left for Mexico. Application had been made, but we had been unable to connect with the person we needed to. Today was going to be the day Linda made contact.
This is a woman who has a parallel train of thought with her husband. When there is something she really wants, nothing can keep her from it. I watched from a distance, because I do have a delicate constitution and some of the phraseology she uses when she gets upset has been known to blow away people made of far sterner stuff, just ask any of the construction workers she butted heads with in her last job. All the while a melody and the accompanying words to song kept trampolining through the tendrils of my mind.
There wasn't no keeping her from her mission, and though it took a long time, I thought I detected a change in her demeanor.
It was shortly after this photo was taken that the call ended and when she saw me, she called out in her best Meg Ryan imitation, Yes, Yess, YESSSSS. Which I took to mean that we had the volunteer position, either that or something else took place that I had completely missed out on. As I strongly suspected, it turned out to be the former and she excitedly told me that we would be volunteers at Petrified Forest National Park for two months starting March first and continuing through the end of April
We were so excited that the rest of the day just flew by. The rally was now officially over, though many people weren't leaving until the next day, our gang of six included, so what better to do than go out for one last meal, this time at Chili's where we all stuffed ourselves once again. Linda, that's my Linda, ever the trooper adhered to the tenets of the South Beach way of eating, while I opted to celebrate. Both of our meals tasted great, it was just that Linda was feeling great the next day while I was suffering from fat and starch overload. I promised I wouldn't do it again, until the next time.
In case you're wondering who that is in the picture above Linda(2)'s head, the consensus was that it had to be a distant relative of Richard, though there was a great deal of disagreement on just how distant of a relative. It seems four of us felt that it was at least a second cousin if not closer, while two, the loyal wife included, were certain it was a more distant relative. I think the key point is that no one, including the subject of the debate, felt it was not a relative of at least some kind. Now, is this the kind of man you would want to meet on a dark night over a dim campfire and decide you wanted to spend most of the next several weeks with him, including a trip out of the country? I sure wouldn't, but that's exactly what we did, go figure.
We ended the night in Richard's usual manner, filling our faces with food, this time using our discount coupons at the local Cold Stone Creamery. Does the man do anything other than eat? Given those dollar off coupons, everyone threw caution and diet to the wind and pigged out. It was the perfect ending to one of the most pleasurable times we have had since we became senior dropouts. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Don't be afraid to take a chance, LIFE is indeed very good.
Feb 16 Friday
Yesterday was the last day of the Rally, but today is the last day we will see our new friends for quite some time.
Rather than be sad at the departure of Mike, Linda(1), Richard, and Patsy, we are celebrating the fact that we were privileged to have been able to spend the past several weeks with them.
Truer words were never spoken.
Feb 17 Saturday
We needed to shift gears today, leaving the party mode, and getting into the work mode. Linda had a few odd jobs which had been added to her list over the past few weeks, so before we set off to drive over to Coolidge and visit our niece, Jo and her family, it was honey do time.
That may have been what we did in the early morning, but that was not the main thing we were going to do today, rather we were going to drive a short distance and see Jo and Mike's new home. We were really excited to be able to visit them as we would be the first members of Jo's family to see the house. But even more impotant, they are a career Air Force family and this is their first ever house. We had stopped by last year when they were living in base housing and Jo had taken us down to Coolidge to see where the house was going to be built. All that was visible then had been a concrete pad and a load of lumber. Now we were going to see the final product of their dreams.
We spent the day visiting, sharing memories, laughing and remembering the past. There was also time for loving as there is a great deal of it in this house. It seems like everybody gets into the act, all you have to do is sit down and in a few seconds something will appear in your lap.
It was only a little over a year ago that we had visted Mike, Jo, and the boys, and can I recall how much love there was in that little apartment. This year they are living in their own home, but somehow the word house does not do it justice, plus the amount of love we saw, had also increased. We are so lucky to be able to reach out and touch our family like this. Sometimes the best things are the very thing that we take most for granted.
Feb 18 Sunday
Just one day removed from the party mode, we were plunging right back into it today, planning on spending the late aftrnoon and evening with a former coworker, Tressa and her husband Bruce, plus their good friends, Russ and Kay. We had emailed back and forth several times and selected the menu based on the fact that Bruce makes the best beer butt chicken we have ever eaten. Of course it may also be the best because it is the only beer butt chicken we have ever eaten. Though I will state that our beerless butt chicken, made with root beer, was also top shelf, though not comparable to Bruce's.
Feb 19 - Monday
As long time readers know, every once in a while I take a brief break from the daily journal, then flog myself over the next week or two while I desperately try to catch up. That is where I found myself yesterday, but then I realized what I was doing was not what I want to do, flogging myself that is. Time to just live life and when things get caught up, they get caught up. Consequently I have decided to do 'catch up' differently from in the past. Before, when I got behind, I would work from the last day I had posted forward to the current day. This time I'm going to keep current and then work back to the oldest day. I'll get them all done, but it's going to take a while. Just watch the newsflashes on the home page for what's been put into the archives. Guess you could say Linda's gentle comments about our receiving emails asking what's up have finally gotten to me.
I am amazed at the number of RV's that are staying here at the Pinal County Fairgrounds, having counted 38 on my early morning walk. I guess $12 a day for water and electric with a dump station only a few hundred feet away appeals to a number of people, but it has come time to move on down the road, not too far, but at least as far as Tombstone. Southeastern Arizona is one single county, Cochise County, which is loaded with history and what looks like interesting places, so we plan to spend the next week doing a combination of sightseeing, resting and also touristing. One thing that certainly didn't look to inviting this morning was the weather.
The photo does not do justice to the other weather effect we were feeling, which was the wind. I had trouble taking this photo, having to wait for the wind to die down and the dust to clear from the air. It was one of those déjà vue all over again things like Yogi Berra supposedly used to refer to. Fortunately it was only threatening clouds and wind whipped dust which filled the air, and other than a few drops which fell as I was putting away the electric cord, the rain stayed away. Our planned route was to take I-10 south and east of Tucson, then heading south towards Tombstone on AZ-80, ending up at Tombstone Territories RV Resort. Least you think we've gone upper crust, they may call it it a resort, but why we're going is because it is a Passport America park for around $15 a night. We did have one last thing to do before leaving and that was to make a birthday card for our grandson. Linda wanted our picture on it, so we had to set up for that with Linda not only being herself, but also substituting for me. I'm not sure if there is a hidden message in this photo, but I guess I might question her choice of hat to use in place of me.
It was probably just her way of getting back at me for not telling her to smile before I took the shot (which was just a test shot, but somehow found it's way into the journal). That wasn't the only strange thing we saw and we never did figure out just exactly what this thing was. It looked something like a giant fog horn, but somehow or other I don't think that was what it was.
The drive was uneventful, Tucson traffic was light and the town was soon behind us. The terrain changes once you are east of Tucson, becoming rolling, as opposed to the flat desert which lays between Phoenix and Tucson. Benson, where we would be turning south, lies in a huge bowl and the scene that spread out before us was one we hadn't seen for a long, long time.
Tombstone Territories RV Resort was out in the middle of nowhere, which was probably why it was a Passport America park, but after the crowded and/or dusty parks of the past month, it truly was a resort in the desert, with nice sized gravel sites, full hookups and wide paved park roads. They had both 30 and 50 amp sites, but since there won't be any need to run the air conditioners, Linda opted for 30 amps, plus it saved a buck on the daily cost. The sites were all pull thru's, but rather than take my usual view from the front, I decided to take photo of the view out the door.
The other thing that really pleased us to no end, was that the site was actually level. Maybe there is something to these 'resorts' that we should look into. Soon the electric, water and sewer were hooked up and we were settled into our home for the next week. The wind, by now, was really kicking up and once the MotoSat was deployed we checked the weather, finding out there was a high wind advisory in effect until 7PM. At the same time the clouds to the west looked just as threatening as they had this morning in Casa Grande, so we decided that now was the time to check out the park in case it started to rain later on.
Rain later on was exactly what happened, with the light patter soon replaced with what was most certainly a drumbeat to say the least. The wind gusts were rocking the coach, the rapid vibrations of the slide toppers adding to the din, when it quickly tapered off to just a gentle rain. In just a few minutes the sun started peeking out from beneath the clouds to the west and it dawned on us that the combination of rain and sun usually mean only one thing.
I'm not sure what it is that draws us out to gaze upon a rainbow, but whatever it was, it sure did give us a sense of life. The camera can never do justice to the combined powers of eye and mind, and so it was here. Eventually the rainbow became an entire arch in the sky over the valley below, intensifying to rival the brightest rainbows we ever remembered seeing. That would have been more than enough, but as it began to fade, a second rainbow appeared next to it and we stood, watching in awe as the clouds slowly enveloped them. Maybe it was all symbolic of the fact we are now finished with one phase of our winter adventure in Arizona and are about to embark on the next which will take us to new places and experiences over the next 75 days. The sky was not quite done yet, and the sunset was another of those special moments.
Linda was the one who noticed the really special nature of what we were watching, pointing out the 'silver lining'. Maybe we really do have some extra special things which will happen to us in the next few days.
Didn't take long for the first 'thing' to show up, because just after returning to the coach we received a call from first one and then our other daughter that my 89 year old mother had fallen at the care home where she resides and was being taken to the hospital. The silver lining was there, because a while later our oldest daughter called from the hospital, saying, grandma was okay and would be going home tonight. May there also be a silver lining in the clouds of your life.
Feb 20 - Tuesday
Having arrived here and gotten settled in, plus being almost blown away by the storm yesterday, we were planning on seeing some of the area today. The first thing I did this morning was something I hadn't done for a little over a week, wrote the daily journal and posted it, looks like my writers vacation may be over. It was hard work, but I was certainly well fortified as Linda made a pot of oatmeal with dried Michigan cherries. It's soon going to be two years since we lost all those pounds by eating this way, but I still can't get over the fact that these wonderful dishes we fix are not only so delicious, they're also healthy. Maybe it's the chopped walnuts and cinnamon that does it, but whatever it is, I sure love it.
Talking of food also reminds me that Linda's recipe for Chicken Mushroom Stew has been posted in the recipe section. If you want to take a look at it here is the link to the page, just scroll down to view the recipe. I was pretty lucky on this one, as it was supposed to have gone up more than a month ago when Linda had written up several recipes to be posted. Two things transpired against me on this one. First she writes them as plain text files and not as html, which means that if I post them the way she writes them they are one solid mass of words with no formatting. Second she gave me three recipes to put on the website, two were desserts and one was this soup. Guess which recipes found their way onto the worldwide web back then? It's not that I don't like this soup, in fact it isn't a stretch to say I love it, it's just that I love oatmeal cherry cookies and pumpkin fluff a little more.
I first tried to tell Linda that I had done it ready, but had just not posted it to the web, a notion that she quickly debunked. Next I suggested that maybe it was a case of her not putting the file in our shared folder. Why I make these stupid comments I'll never know, but suffice it to say that in very short order I was not only properly chastised, I was hard at work converting the plain text file she had placed in the shared folder over a month ago, into html, then uploading it to the server. Just understand that when you click on some of these links on the site, there may be more to the story than first meets the eye. Though the way the moral of the story usually gets impressed upon me, it generally doesn't happen more than once.
Today was not forecast to be one of those Chamber of Commerce days, so we decided it would be our Tombstone day, since it is only a few miles into town. Plus, if the weather turned out to be miserable, it would be an easy drive back. We had both done some reading about the town and so, had an understanding of what was there, but I must say the commercialization was more than I expected. To me, Tombstone was one thing, and one thing only. Something that was burnt into my being back in the '50s by the late Hugh O'Brian's portrayal of Wyatt Earp in the old black and white TV series, "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp". My other memory was the movie, "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" starring Burt Lancaster, which I watched with my Grandfather at the Grand Theater in Salem, Ohio on a Saturday afternoon, also in the late '50s.
I had tried to prepare myself for the bursting of my bubble so to speak, but it still got the best of me. I'll just say that maybe I acted somewhat like a little boy who had just found out his hero wasn't anything like he thought he would be. (To save the editor from having to type in something to the effect that I was even worse than that, I'll just admit to it and do it myself.) Here is the view of Fremont Street (the main street in the old town) looking toward the O.K. Corral.
Telephoto shot showing the sign for the O.K. Corral.
We chose not to go to any of the staged gunfights, but instead spent our money to visit the Old Courthouse which is operated by the State Parks Department and turned out to be a wonderful museum. They've even got a real life display of a young, handsome, brave town marshal and his old wife astride their horses.
Going down a stairs and out a door puts you in the jail exercise yard, where the actual hangings of those condemned to die by the juries in the Courthouse took place. I just wonder what was going through the minds of the men who looked up and saw this as their fate.
The displays were all very well done and brought to life what the past had really been about. I especially enjoyed the section devoted to the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, getting a better understanding of the confusion, both at the time and in later years, that has surrounded that famous incident. There are also displays that delved into the reason why tombstone was founded, silver.
Linda was particularly intrigued by the gambling displays, especially the Faro table, wondering who had stood where she was, placing bets.
Back outside the Courthouse we walked over to 4th and Fremont where the gunfight took place. Try as I might, I just couldn't put myself back into the days when the Earp's and Clanton's were there. Whether it was the crass commercialization of a place that a little boy once thought of as almost a sacred place, or the knowledge I had just gained that things were not as I had once thought (heck, this was apparently the first gunfight Wyatt Earp was ever in), the moment was gone forever and somehow just knowing that these people had walked these streets was good enough.
Linda had one place she really wanted to go, and that was out to Boot Hill.
Of course you just can't walk into Boot Hill, you first have to pass through the gift shop and while they don't charge for admission, donations are suggested, something we can relate to after volunteering at the lighthouse. One little nifty item that they have is a booklet giving additional details about who is buried there. A $2 donation gets it and we really were glad we had it as it made our visit a great experience. You don't need it to find the McLaury's and Clanton's, but what it does have are the little tidbits that make the other graves become something other than just piles of stone.
For example, you walk by a grave and see the following: Seymour Dye, '82, killed by Indians
Without the booklet it would just be like virtually all the other graves that are here. But on page 8 in the booklet you suddenly find that Seymour Dye becomes a real person to you. "Dye, aged 35, and Harry Curry were wood cutters. This day they were bringing in a load of hay, when they were shot by Indians, who after the victims had fallen from the wagon, dragged them for about 150 feet."
Other times the booklet made us reflect on things we had already seen, such as the earlier photo of the Courthouse gallows.
Other times the epitaph was humorous.
Before we leave Boot Hill, here are two more comments from the booklet. "Johnnie Wilson, shot King. Two gunmen's discussion of the fastest way to draw, ended here." and finally, "Killen, shot by Frank Leslie, 1880. The results of a disagreement over Killen's wife. Leslie married the widow."
After returning to the coach, we sat outside and enjoyed peanut time. Our neighbors have a feeder which attracts quite a throng of birds, several of which are new to us including the Pyrrhuloxia, which has a resemblance to the female Cardinal. Of course we don't have any photos of them, but there was a good reason, the windows of the coach were very dirty from all the dust and rain of the past week. Linda decided to do some thing about it and was soon up on the ladder, busily making our view of the world a little better. It was while she was cleaning the windows on the side toward the feeder that the neighbor lady came out. Linda was about to remark that we were really enjoying their bird feeder, when the lady asked, in a quite testy tone, "You're not washing your coach are? You're not allowed to do that." Any thought of the nice compliment Linda had in her mind instantly vanished, to be replaced with thoughts that cannot be repeated in polite company, or impolite company for that matter.
Later as we talked about the incident, we wondered if the fact they have a tiny little 5th wheel, can't be any longer than 24' and no slides to boot, could have something to do with her attitude. I remember that when we had our 24' Class C with just about the same amount of room, that it certainly wasn't the most livable abode. Whatever the reason, I'm just glad we're us and not them, but then maybe if the RV's in which we live were reversed, it wouldn't make any difference. We'd still be enjoying life and they'd be miserable. Speaking of enjoying life, later in the evening Linda baked a zucchini chocolate chip cake, which made our wonderful world even better, and after all, isn't that what Life is all about