Wednesday, 2 April 2008

The good, the bad and the beautiful...

I have two things to blog about today, as I haven't written a post since we left Bisbee. From Bisbee we headed not very far to Tombestone, that famous town (made even more famous by the movie) where Wyatt Earp and others had the renowned shootout at the OK Corral. Anyone into Western films will completely know what I'm talking about, and would just love this place. The town in itself is a museum. It has been preserved just the way it was 130 years ago. It is not one of the many film sets that you can visit over here, but a proper working town. Visiting Tombestone is like walking back into the wild west 130 years ago.

Our first stop was to the Boothill Cemetary, where many infamous names can be found on the gravestones, and many more interesting names such as 'cowboy bill', 'six shooter Jim', 'Stinging Lizard', or 'Cherokee Hall'. The graveyard has been restored by members of the local community and is an extremely interesting place to wander around. Some of the graves tell of how the owner died, and some have some strange messages on them. Most of the people in there were shot or hanged. Its truly a real wild west cemetary with many of the residents having been 'shot in a pub brawl' (one man shot over the colour of his shirt), or 'lynched from the county jail by an angry mob and hanged from a street light'. There are many more photos from Tombestone and the cemetery in Arizona Album 1.

We spent the afternoon wandering through the old streets of Tombestone. The bars were authentic looking, and all the buildings had wee gift shops inside them. Occasionally someone in period costume would wander past. We met 'Wyatt Earp' wandering the streets and he was kind enough to pose for a photo. At certain times during the day the shootout at the OK Corral is re-enacted. We didn't buy tickets for this, but the actors start out in the street before heading inside for the paid show, so we able to experience a little of what it was like.

We did however, pay to take a wander around 'The Bird Cage Theatre', a theatre/bar/brothel which has been perfectly preseved just the way it was. It was amazing to wander around and I really felt I'd been taken back to 1880. This house of ill repute still had its original stage, back stage, front stage, basement bar for customers of the 'working girls' and bedrooms that the girls worked from. There was a room with photos of all the girls that worked there over the years, each with a caption of how they got into the profession (eg - husband forced them).

We could have spent a week wandering around Tombestone but it was time to head on. We drove northwest slightly to an area near Tucson - the Saguaro National Park. Home to the giant Saguaro cactus, the symbol of the American west. We stayed 2 nights in an RV park nearby, which had a pool, much to the kids delight. Yesterday we spent the day at the Saguaro National Park, taking the 8 mile loop drive through the Sonoran Desert, and stopping every 2 minutes to get out and look at the amazing scenery. We felt truly as if we had reached real Arizona with these giant cacti literally everywhere. The kids put their heart and souls into completing the junior ranger programs (we do this in all the national parks as they are very educational). I think Dan could have spent the rest of his life wandering around the large cacti. He was in his element photographically. The photos from this trip are in Arizona Album 2.

1 comment:

Tammy said...

Those pictures are amazing!! They look just like a post card. I really enjoyed them. ♥