After a short stay in Gilbert Ray, we headed out of Tucson and began making our way further south. Our friends Brian and Leigh had gone to a ‘secret boondocking spot‘ outside of Tombstone and we swore to secrecy that we would not tell where it is if they told us. So don’t ask.
This spot is pretty awesome and if you know where it is, you are in a pretty elite group of boondockers.
There are a couple giant slabs of concrete which made it perfectly level. The girls were also thrilled that we will be here for a week which means razor scooters all day, every day.
Just off in the distance is a herd of cattle that uses this state owned land for grazing. They congregate at a nearby well which we were told by the ranchers that we are welcome to use to fill up our water tanks with. That is as long as we can navigate through the land mines set by the local bovine community.
Here we met a new full timer who lives in a converted van. This is Tim and he is a pretty cool dude. He spends many months a year wandering the west and the rest in Colorado where he visits with family. The guys made a day trip to a Walmart in the neighboring town for some shotgun shells, clay pigeons and made a couple of afternoons of target shooting out here. Being so close to tombstone, we were surely not the first guys to squeeze the trigger on a 12 gauge around here. I can just imagine a couple of hundred years ago, stagecoaches making their way through the southwest would not be too thrilled to see cowboys like us out here.
Besides razor scootering, Ava is now really into the jump rope. The concrete slab made it a perfect spot for her to practice.
She got really good at it and Mila is of course eager to match her big sister at every step.
Less than a year ago, Tim was staying at a Moose Lodge in his van and this little guy came up to him. He ended up taking him in and aptly named him Moose.
Mila was initially a little timid about Moose but it didn’t take long before they were best buds.
Tim, this is not making it easier for us to talk them out of getting a dog.
While Mila is enamored with Moose, Luka is doing what every little boy does best. Turning a diaper box into a robot costume.
“The humans are dead, the humans are dead. Do the ro-bo boogie.”
We did get away from the slabs long enough to do some local sightseeing for a couple of days while we were here. As much as Tombstone is a tourist trap, we just love it. Years ago we did all of the cheesy tours and now we just love hanging around Allen Street.
Tim told us about a mine that we can hike to and check out so we decided to take the short trip to check it out. There are actually tons of mine shafts around here and if you are not careful, you can easily get hurt.
We didn’t know this while we were there but later we found out that this is one of the most haunted locations in all of Arizona. It is right in this old mining cabin where a series of murders when down. Some of the bodies are purported to still be at the bottom of the mine.
An even stranger thing is that when our friend Carrie saw our instagram post of this place, she told us that she had brought us here years ago when we first visited Tombstone with her before we had any kids. There was a photo we took from that visit of an empty shell of a locust just like the one Ava is holding here. For all we know, it might even be the exact same carcass.
We made it back to camp from the haunted mine cabin without any ghostly encounters. Luka decided it was his time to snuggle up with Moose.
Back at Tombslabs, we are enjoying yet another happy hour. Those circular marks on the concrete look to be locations where barrels were stored at one point in this foundation’s life. Exactly what was stored in those barrels, we really have no idea. Let’s just hope it wasn’t anything we need to worry about.
Brian getting a little ink down by a local cowgirl.
The weather has been so awesome, we are basically doing everything outside. Including arts and crafts.
But not everyone is happy all the time. This is par for the course with life on the road with three kids.
For Valentine’s Day, Ava made this picture for Brian, Leigh and Curtis.
We went back into Tombstone for a couple of nights for dinner and one of them we decided to hit up the obligatory Big Nose Kate’s Tavern. A nice old cowboy at the bar saw us sitting there with the kids and whipped up 3 cowboy boots made of dollar bills for them. I thought that was pretty awesome. After we chatted for a moment, he told us that he owns a ranch a few miles out of town and if we ever come back through here, we are welcome to stay on his property. Can you see why we think this places is more than just your typical ole tourist trap? We love it here.
As the weekend rolled along, we decided to hop in the car and do a loop south along the Mexican border for some sightseeing. Coronado National Monument was out first stop. I am not really sure why this location was picked to be the monument as Coronado traveled extensively through modern day Arizona and even as far as Kansas. We didn’t care, it was a place for the kids to earn more Junior Ranger badges and for me and Brian to pose with chain mail.
We drove up to the peak for a better view. That hill in the distance is in Mexico.
And we weren’t the only ones taking advantage of this elevated position. This high tech Border Patrol vehicle is here 24/7. We asked the agent about what kind of technology was being used to surveil the area but of course he could not divulge. I would imagine it can easily pick out a mule deer taking a crap in the complete darkness.
After another swear-in ceremony, we headed east to Bisbee. We have always come to Bisbee for at least a couple of nights in the past when we would visit this area.
The only difference is that we use to be able to stay at one of their few RV sites at the Shady Dell.
A few things have changed since we were here last. A fence has been erected and no longer are RVers able to stay here. The only overnights are for people who rent one of their many unique vintage trailers, buses and even a boat. We had head a rumor that there was going to be a drive-in movie theater here but we were only half right. The theater is on the other side next to Dot’s Diner which apparently hasn’t been opened since we were last here. We learned all of this from the owner who was working the office and surprisingly she recognized us from Facebook.
Before we left town to head back to the slabs, we stopped for some ice cream in downtown Bisbee.
Here is another rare shot of one of us in the photo. Thanks to Mila for the excellent photography.
As our stay in Tombstone winds down to an end, we will be headed east for a little loop drive and end up back in Phoenix. We came across yet another Tombstone local at the gas station in town that happens to be from Marlene’s home town. He retired as a longshoreman and moved here a few years ago and loves it. For now, Tombstone, we bid you adieu. You know we will be back.
over and out,
Leigh · May 26, 2014 at 9:56 am
Great photos. We loved our Valentines (even if they were a day early!)