Gerry and I have been wintering in Tucson for the past 5 years and have thought about going to Douglas, AZ to check it out for a long time. We finally decided to make that trip today and Judy & Steve went along with us. Actually, we went with them since they were driving and I had the opportunity to ride along and sightsee.
We left the park around 9am for the 240 mile round trip up there and back. The first stop was in Sierra Vista at the Farmers Market to pick up some homemade salsa and vegetables. The market opened at 10am and we were among the first customers of the day. It wasn't as large as I thought it would be, but more vendors were coming in as we left Sierra Vista. The picture to the right was taken through the back window of a van parked in front of me. I thought it turned out very good.
It was a beautiful day and warm enough to travel with the windows down on the truck. Steve headed for Bisbee and then on to Douglas for our visit. Once we got past Bisbee the land leveled out and it looked like it may have been a huge lake bed at one time. There was a huge cloud along the Mexican border that looked like dust or fog, but since it was dry as a bone out there, it must have been dust or smoke.
Douglas was larger than I thought it would be with 14,000 residents and more homes and buildings than it looked like on the map. We drove up and down some of the main streets and then stopped at the Gadsden Hotel for lunch. What a marvelous old hotel and it was in great shape for being 83 years old. The original hotel was built in 1907 and burned in 1928 and then rebuilt into the present hotel. The owner was in the lobby and filled us in on the history of the hotel. He said when they rebuilt it they used metal studs between the rooms to make it more firesafe. Evidently they did the job very well, since it is still standing.
The elevator in the hotel is manually run by an operator, rather than by individuals. It dates back to 1928 and has been in use daily since that time. It has the old hand crank to operate the door and which floor to stop. I think the last time I saw an elevator like this was at the old State Dept Bldg in Washington, DC.
The lobby was beautiful and very spacious with stuffed chairs spaced out in a sitting area. The chair sort of reached out and grabbed you and made it difficult to get up from it. The lobby is majestically set with a solid white Italian marble staircase and 4 soaring columns. Each column is decorated with 14K gold leaf worth $20,000 in 1929.
We had lunch in their restaurant and the meal was great. Judy & Steve really enjoyed their meals and said it was one of the best they have had out here in the Southwest. I had my usual Club Sandwich and it was very good also with a lot of bacon on it. Gerry had a shredded beef enchilada and thought it was great also.
We left there and headed up to Elfrida and then on to the ghost town of Gleeson. It was a mining town that died out when the ore played out. We saw a few old buildings, old mines on the hillside and not much else. There were some geocaches along the way and we stopped along the way to pick them up. Steve found his first one and Judy found her first find at the next stop. I think they enjoyed the geocaching part of the trip.
Since we were so close to Tombstone, we kept driving on the dirt road until Tombstone appeared on the horizon. Judy and Steve suggested we stop for a beer and headed for the 4 Deuces bar on main street and sat outside drinking a few brews. There were two horses tied up outside the bar and a number of the patrons were dressed in old west outfits. I think they work in Tombstone as performers and were enjoying a beer at the end of a long day.
It was getting late and we started the long drive back to the park. Hunger pangs overtook us and we stopped at Montgomerys restaurant in Vail for dinner. We missed happy hour by 3 minutes and they have strict cutoff times, so we settled for water. We all enjoyed our meal there and finally headed for home. It was a 10+ hour trip from start to finish and we were all tired out. At least I was very tired out and happy to get home.
When we went through Benson we waved to Jerry & Suzy, Our Life on Wheels, but they didn't respond. The thought went through our mind to stop there for a beer, but we came to our senses and just waved. You lucked out today Jerry, but we still want to get together for lunch one of these days.
To cap off this interesting day I managed to break out in hives about 30 minutes after we got home. There must have been something in the weeds or bushes to set me off. Since this happens every so often, I recognized the symptoms and immediately took two Benadryl pills and jumped into the shower. They started to clear up a couple hours later and I am almost back to normal.