Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The silver is gone, but the tourists are gold

As the story goes, prospector Ed Schiefflen came to southern Arizona looking for silver, and folks warned him that all he’d find was his own tombstone. Well, he found silver, and he founded the town of Tombstone. The town bustled for as long as the silver held out, drawing honest workers as well as no small number of criminals. Around 1900 or so, Tombstone was said to have a higher rate of homicide than New York City.

It’s under 300 miles from our home in Las Cruces, so we finally packed our cats, George and Gracie, into the RV to check it out. G & G were underwhelmed by the whole experience, homebodies that they are, but Nancy and I quite enjoyed the trip. We stayed in an RV park within sight of the O.K. Corral, where lawmen shot it out with malefactors and sent them off to Boot Hill Cemetery to rest in graves like this:

It’s a small graveyard with freshly painted epitaphs on wood markers. Like almost everything in town, it is maintained for the benefit of the tourists who keep the town alive. Now, folks can tour the town in horse-drawn wagons.

—and when they’re through, they can whet their whistles at Big Nose Kate’s, a saloon named after the girlfriend of Doc Holliday:

—or they can check out what is billed as the world’s largest rosebush, a century-old Lady Banksia that is large enough to walk under and covers about 8,000 square feet:

Above is the view from a specially-built stand that provides a better sense of the breadth of this amazing bush. Here is the trunk:

You can also pay to see fake shootouts at the O.K. Corral, but Nancy and I spent our cash on ice creams instead.

By the way, G & G would be upset with me if I didn’t show them in the RV. Here’s George:

And here is his sister Gracie:


Ruth D~ said...

Interesting! I love the history! But I have to say George and Gracie stole the show. I think the best thing about your RV is that they can travel with you. They've already surpassed my travel itinerary.

They are beautiful cats. All cat's are beautiful, but they're a cut above, ranking nearly as high as my Becky.

Carter said...

I understand perfectly the cat's getting under the blanket. You have upset him!

The trip sounds fascinating. When I was a kid I saw some good movies about Tombstone. I don't think it was Tom Mix country, but John Wayne surely was there, and I think I remember Victor Jory, one of the great sleazy actors. Thanks for the memories. :-)