Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ruby Arizona, A Ghost Town


Two weeks and counting.

Ruby, A Ghost Town, AZ

I’ve been working on my project a day schedule and have completed most of my prep work for getting back on the road.  A new tire installed on the 5th wheel camper, Checking air pressure in all the tires, topping off the batteries in the camper, oil and filter change in the truck and defrosting the fridge.

With all that done, it was time to join the Photography club for our outing to Ruby AZ.  It’s considered the second best preserved ghost town in Az and is only about 4 miles from the Mexican boarder.  We piled into about a dozen trucks and started our caravan down Ajo hwy to three points and headed south on 286.  A lonely road through dry desert landscape with brown bare mountain peeks off in the distance, including the famous Kitt Peak with it’s National Observatory on top.

We passed a number of white boarder patrol vehicles, a check point and even saw the Wackenhut busses used to collect all the illegals crossing into the U.S. before bringing them back across the boarder.  A helicopter landed on an desert outcropping overlooking a deep wash, probably spotting a group of illegal’s hiking through the desert.

I was in the lead vehicle and providing directions.  Didn’t bother to turn on my GPS because we only had a few turns to make.  Opps, we missed the turn off and almost ended up in Mexico.  After a quick turn around, with all the trucks following us, we found the right road leading into Arivaca, A T-tiny town with a bar, local artisan shop, gas station and Mercado.  After a quick stop, we continued SW on 5th Ave which eventually became Ruby Road… we were almost there.

The pavement ended a couple miles out side of Arivaca and we were on a surprisingly smooth dirt road.  Actually we passed the grader along the way so we were in luck to have such a nicely graded road.  Well as much as is possible as the road dipped up and down and around hills, following the old wagon train route.  At most every dip in the road, we crossed over running water as it had rained out in the past couple of days.  The washes were all hard gravel and our trucks had no trouble getting through even the bigger washes filled with running water. Water and mud splashing up and over everything.   I’m sure the illegal’s were happy to see running water, as many die out here in the desert on their way to finding a better life.

We passed a few more white boarder patrol vehicles and even saw a group of folks doing some panning for gold in the fresh runoff streams.

Then after about 10 miles on the dirt and gravely road, we entered Ruby.  Started around 1854 as the Montana Camp, as it grew and became an official town, that’s when a post office is established, it was renamed Ruby.  You can check out the history by doing a search on Ruby AZ.

Our photography group, all 29 members, started off by listening to a gray bearded nomad that is the current caretaker of Ruby and goes by the name of Sun Dog.  After a lengthy (but informative) talk which was spiced up with dramatic descriptions of the bandits, killings, and daily life of the Ruby miners we were all eager to head out and explore the old mining town.

Check out my Picasa web site to see all the pictures I’ve uploaded.  What a great place for all of us amateur photographers to take some awesome and stunning pictures of adobe houses, mining buildings old school houses and wood planked structures.  We all scattered in every direction so no one had to worry about people getting in our “perfect” shot.

My favorite shots and views to just enjoy even without taking a pictures were of the long slide at the school house, the adobe structures and looking through windows out into open skies and mountain ranges off in the distance.  The two man made lakes were great to see in a dry desert community.

Really nice to be able to share a location with fellow photographers.  Pointing out favorite view points and perspective for shooting the perfect picture.

After a few hours of shooting pictures, each vehicle went their own way back to Tucson.  Our group went back through Arivaca and had a drink in the oldest continually operated bar in AZ.  It was once a barn for the Buffalo Soldiers horses before being purchased by a gypsy and turned into a saloon.  The town has the oldest continuously operating one room schoolhouse in AZ as well.

This is one of those experiences that make traveling and exploring this country so much fun.

14 days and I’m back on the road again.  Ready to send you all some great stories of places to visit and see along the open road.


Buffalo Soldier 9 said...

Keep telling that history:

Read the novel, Rescue at Pine Ridge, "RaPR", a great story of black military history...the first generation of Buffalo Soldiers.

How do you keep a people down? ‘Never' let them 'know' their history.

The 7th Cavalry got their butts in a sling again after the Little Big Horn Massacre, fourteen years later, the day after the Wounded Knee Massacre. If it wasn't for the 9th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers, there would of been a second massacre of the 7th Cavalry.

Read the novel, “Rescue at Pine Ridge”, 5 stars Amazon, Barnes & Noble and the youtube trailer commercial...and visit the website

I hope you’ll enjoy the novel. I wrote it from my mini-series movie of the same title, “RaPR” to keep my story alive. Hollywood has had a lot of strikes and doesn't like telling our stories...its been “his-story” of history all along…until now. The movie so far has attached, Bill Duke directing, Hill Harper, Glynn Turman and a host of other major actors in which we are in talks with…see at;

When you get a chance, also please visit our Alpha Wolf Production website at; and see our other productions, like Stagecoach Mary, the first Black Woman to deliver mail for Wells Fargo in Montana, in the 1890's, “spread the word”.


gumo said...

I am glad to see you online again. It will be fun following your travels again. Thanks for sharing with us!