Tuesday, March 03, 2009


We knew it was going to be hot to-day so we made an extra effort to get ourselves out & about earlier than usual. Had hoped to be the road by 9 but it was after 10 before we got ourselves mobile. Filled up the Santa Fe in McNeal & headed west on Davis Road to Tombstone. Our destination was the old ghost town of Fairbank located west of the San Pedro River on highway 82. The historic town of Fairbank used to be a very important transportation hub. Three railroad lines passed through Fairbank including the New Mexico & Arizona which connected Fairbank to Benson & the Mexican port of Guamas. In the 1880s, at the peak of the silver boom in & around Tombstone, Fairbank served as a central point of entry & exit for miners, prospectors, materials, & ore. Tombstone was not connected to the railway until 1903 so passengers had to take a stagecoach from Fairbank. Passengers who stepped off the train in Fairbank in the 1880s would have seen an elegant hotel and restaurant, a post office, railroad depots and several other businesses. And so it was that we pulled off the highway into a dirt parking lot & down around a short road to what was left of the once booming little town of Fairbank. Well, there isn't much left but a sign tells us that it is probably one of the last authentic places with some original buildings intact. The old schoolhouse has been restored & is now a museum but it was closed to-day. There were 3 wooden buildings of which 2 were locked. The small open building was probably for horses years ago. A handwritten sign on another building said for us to stay back because of rattlesnakes. The largest building is completely enclosed by a wire fence with a no admittance sign. This was the General Store, Saloon, & Jail years ago. Plans are in the works to restore this building & a new steel roof has already been put on to protect what's left of the interiors. The San Pedro River & old railway line run along a short distance west of the buildings. It was Fairbank's old cemetery located about a half mile north of the town down a narrow dusty mesquite lined road that interested us the most. The cemetery is located atop a rough & rock strewn hill with a narrow footpath leading up to it. As we walked up the path I imagined how many of Fairbank's residents had been carried up this rocky stretch to their final destination. I also thought of all the people who flock to Tombstone's Boot Hill & believe that to be a real authentic cemetery. Oh sure, there are people buried there all right, but anything you see above ground has been manufactured & jazzed up for the tourist trade. I wonder what people would think if they ever saw a real western cemetery, untouched by human hands for over a century. I'm sure a lot of folks would find it boring with it's piles of stones, brambly mesquite trees, decaying old wooden crosses, & rusting gates & fences. No fancy or humorous inscriptions on the tombstones, because there are no tombstones. Just piles of rocks & stones on the gravesites with a few old tattered & broken wooden crosses that have stood the winds of time. Anything inscribed on a piece of wood has long been weathered out by the Arizona sun. There are no flowers here, no manicured trees, no finely mowed grass. Just piles of rocks marking the end of someone's life. No one to remember, no one to care. And so we made our way back down the hill of forgotten dreams & walked the half mile back to our car for some much needed water. Tucson tied a heat record to-day at 91F which was first set back in 1910. We probably topped out somewhere around 85F in our area & by the time we made it back to the car from the cemetery Kelly had a headache from the heat. The sun just seemed to ignite your skin everytime it touched you. I've heard it called a dry heat down here but I think it's more like a fry heat. Thank heavens for A/C in the car. The heat must have been brutal in the old days in these parts. Hard to comprehend people out in the hot sun digging holes in the hardened ground searching for silver, gold, & copper, day after day. I'm sure it led many to early graves. From Fairbank's we headed west to Whetstone where Kelly had seen a pottery place advertised on TV. Browsed around in there for awhile & thankfully came away empty handed. Headed back down highway 82 past Fairbanks, through Tombstone & south to Bisbee. Stopped along the highway in Bisbee at a scenic look-out & took a few more photos of this picturesque little town in the mountains. And, it seems everytime we go to Bisbee it seems to expand it's boundaries. To-day we stumbled into a little town once known as Warren, but has been annexed by Bisbee so falls under the Bisbee name now. A couple of weeks ago we came across San Jose which is another little town also now under the name of Bisbee. So, for anyone going to Bisbee, be aware that it is made up of 3 separate little towns. Or is it 4. There is another little section on Erie Street that seems to be a whole street complex unto itself & if you find The Bisbee Breakfast Club........you have found Erie Street. The BBC - http://www.bisbeebreakfastclub.com/

Well actually we didn't quite stumble into Warren, I was directed there by someone who has a nose for values & of course an ulterior motive for searching out new places. Before I knew it I was hauled into & dragged through 2 Thrift Stores. Well ok, this time I went willingly.........sort of!! Of course Kelly didn't buy anything & I ended up with 2 Teddy Bears for .75 cents & a $5 lamp. Hey come on, we needed the Teddy Bears to sit on the dash of the motorhome & I was never happy about the reading lamp we had beside the chair in the rig. From the Thrift Stores it was over to Safeway for a few groceries. It was well past my 2 o'clock coffee by this time so grabbed a coffee at Starbucks. I should have known better because I've had their Charbuck coffee before & to me it's just about the worst coffee of ever. And then to add insult to injury they charged me $1.74 for a small cup. No wonder they are closing their stores across the country. Bad coffee & bad prices!! I'll be glad to get me a good old Tim Horton's coffee when we get back to Canada.
Finally made it home to the ranch about 3:45 & it was soooooo hot that the water coming out of the garden hose to water the trees was turning to steam before it hit the ground.
Well, almost....................................................................

OUR PHOTO ALBUMS http://picasaweb.google.com/stargeezerguy/