Saturday, March 14, 2009

03-2009 Tombstone, Bisbee Arizona and Geocaching

Tombstone AZ
Bisbee AZ

My remaining time in the Tucson area has picked up some steam as I’ve done a bit of touring and joined a Geocaching group. Along with the usual prep work required in getting the camper ready for its travels this summer.

I headed out with my neighbors Chris and Tom to Tombstone about an hour and a half drive from Tucson, The town too Tough to Die. It was a wild and dangerous town back in 1878 when it was founded. By 1881 when Wyatt Earp had his big shoot out with the Clanton gang at the OK Coral, an entire grave yard up on Boot Hill was filled with young and old who were shot dead.

This mining town founded on huge vein of silver and gold grew up overnight. The boom lasted until water started to fill the mines and they were finally abandoned. Now just think of it, a few good water pumps and you could be mining all that sliver and gold that remains in Tombstone, buried like the lawless criminals that once ruled the area. Who knows, the water may be more valuable than the gold and silver.

Searching out the history of the town though the tourist shops and privately owned “museum” one can still get a sense of what the area was once like.

The State of AZ runs a good museum in the old court house where a platform still stands out in the courtyard with two hanging nooses.

After a not so noteworthy lunch, we headed on down the road another 25 miles to the old copper mining town of Bisbee. Quite a change from the flat desert surrounds of Tombstone, Bisbee in nestled in the Mule Mountains. The main street winds its way up through mountains. Beautifully maintained Victorian houses line the sides of the mountain ranges and look down on the town below. Bisbee has become an artist “free-spirit” haven and has a really nice feel to it. Unlike so many towns close to the Mexican boarder, this one does not feel like a boarder town.

Later in the week, I finally joined the Geocaching group from Desert Trails. There were over 30 people going out in search of these hidden treasures. We were divided up into groups of 5 or 6 and given coordinates for each geocach.

If your not familiar with Geocaching, it’s a game where people all over the world have hidden little treasures in small boxes or containers some the size of a plastic film container or even smaller. The GPS coordinates are recorded on a web site with a brief description, many times with a devious clue to help you find the geocach item.

Our lead had their handheld GPS with the coordinates loaded in for a half dozen sites to find. We drove all around Tucson, getting out and searching for each geocach. We were unlucky and did not find the first one, later finding out that it was no longer there. Our group had more success finding the second one under a rock and the third one had a clue indicating that we should be careful and not “get wet”. The micro geocach was discovered in the head of a fake sprinkler head.

Friends of mine, Cloyd and Jean, who had visited me earlier in the month (we had originally met a couple years ago on one of my first trips out west) are into Geocaching. As they travel around in their camper, they go online and find geocaches in the area they are staying. It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors and have a bit of fun finding hidden treasures.

After finding the treasure, you write your name on a log that is in with the treasure. You can remove one of the small prizes, but are usually expected to replace it with something else. Wouldn’t this be a fun exercise to get kids interested in the outdoors and away from their play stations and TV’s?

Well, I have to go, I’m joining some neighbors and we’re going out to breakfast this morning at Ryan Field (a small local airport).

For more info on Geocaching go to:

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