A Travellerspoint blog

Oct 10 - 13 - Bisbee, Tombstone, Naco, Mexico

Shootout at the OK Corral, Bisbee - Bisbee, a cool little town, Naco, Mexico

sunny 27 °C

We left Tucson around 9:00am heading just 175 miles south, to Bisbee AZ. We were targeting an RV park in Naco AZ, right on the border with Mexico. It turned out the Turquoise Valley RV park was not looking for much business...a gravel yard, across from a golf course. They wanted $38 plus tax a night, which would have been OK if the park had been worth it. No picnic tables, and no real shelter from the sun.

We ended up at the Queen Mine RV park in Bisbee, $35 a night incl tax, good wifi. We are road weary and Jenny is in need of a good haircut. I'm in need of a massage and we need these things sooner rather than later. We went to the visitor center and got a map of Bisbee as well as directions to both a masseuse and a haircutter, right next to each other in the same building. We booked appointments for the following morning, did a short exploration of town, which included a visit to the Bisbee Brewing Company for a shared pint of Ale. Very good.


Bisbee is a great little town, with a mining history. The mine, right in the middle of town, closed in 1975, but you can still get a mine tour, which we will do later this week. The town is built on rolling hills and the narrow street wind up and down. The main street dates back to the 1890's and early 1900's.

Our supper at Screaming Banshee Pizza was pretty good. Wood fired pizza oven, 10 good micro brewery beers on tap, in a funky old gas station. Our tab, just $28 plus tip for pizza and beer. Over supper we decided to stay here for 4 nights. There is enough to do, we like the town and we need some down time.


Oct 11 - Jenny got the haircut, I got the most thorough massage of my life. She looks pretty good, and I feel much better physically. All this before lunch time. We appear to be eating out a lot, all of a sudden. We had lunch at the Bisbee Coffee Company. A shared BLT and coffee.


The masseuse said I should take it easy the rest of the day, so that is what we did. We hung out at the campground, read, got some stuff up to date on the computer and visited with the neighbour's cat. The neighbour, who manages the park, lives in 1976 motor home, which still runs and is in excellent shape. The cat has taken a liking to Sully and sits on the car's hood while he receives attention from admirers. The RV park, with just 25 spaces, is perched right on the edge of the open pit mine that dominates the centre of town.


The weather has been perfect once again; sunny with highs in the mid 80's F and night time temperatures right around 50 F. A very quiet day for us, which was just what the doctor (or masseuse) ordered.

Oct 12 - We started our day with an early morning walk through old town Bisbee. The buildings are pretty cool, as is the statue of the copper miner, which stands at the center of town. I'll bet not many miners looked this buff back in the day!


Across the mine pit is the remains of Lowell AZ, all of it is the one small strip of city street shown in these photos.


We gassed up Sully and headed for the tourist trap that is Tombstone, AZ, home of the gunfight at the OK Corral.

Now, I have read extensively, over the years, of the shootout. It lasted 30 seconds, and took place about 3:00pm on October 26, 1881, almost 146 years ago. Brothers Virgil, Morgan and Wyatt Earp and their friend Doc Holliday, were on the white hat side, opposed by these bad guys...Billy Claiborne, Ike and Billy Clanton, as well as Tom and Frank McLaury. About 30 shots were fired over 30 seconds. Billy Clanton and both McLaury brothers were killed. Virgil and Morgan Earp were wounded, as was Doc Holliday. Billy Claiborne, Ike Clanton and Wyatt Earp were unharmed.

Stories surrounding the gunfight indicate that the black powder used in the cartridges fired from the Colt pistols so obscured the combatants that it was hard to see each other after the first shots, even though they were only 6-10 feet apart.

Later, in December Virgil Earp was ambushed and severly wounded, and in the March the following year, Morgan Earp was murdered. Wyatt then went on a vendetta, killing at least 3 other men involved in the shootings of Virgil and Morgan, with the assistance of Doc Holliday.

So, on to Tombstone we went. The town essentially died back in the middle of the 20th century, but has been brought back to life as a place to re-enact the gunfight, in three different locations, 5 times a day. There are stagecoach rides which take you through the town and explain the local history.


It was fun to walk the streets and see where this all happened. Interestingly, when you read the actual history of the event, and see the map drawn by Wyatt Earp, you learn that the shootout actually took place on a street about a full block from the corral. Calling it the Gunfight at the OK Corral was something Hollywood did back in the 1940's.


Again, a quiet afternoon back at the trailer, writing the blog, napping and reading. In the late afternoon we wandered on down to the Bisbee Brewing Company for a beer, then picked up supper at Safeway. The peace of a few days of doing very little is resting well with us.

We did see some rain this afternoon, bringing to an end our 48 straight days of sunshine. Even though the rain only lasted about 15 minutes, we did have to turn the wipers on in the car.

Oct 13 - We decided to check out Naco, Mexico this morning. We headed over about 10:30am, planning on spending a couple of hours exploring the little town, then having an authentic lunch. Turns out we went over too early. There is virtually nothing there to keep us occupied for 2 hours. We walked about a mile into town, along the main street. Sleepy, a few statues.


By the time we walked the mile back to the border it was only 11:15am...way too early for lunch. We decided to forgo waiting around and headed back to the USA. Just 45 minutes in total. We can't recommend Naco as a place to visit. A few pharmacies, a couple of cut rate dentists, and a bunch of closed stores.

Naco used to be one of the main points where people could illegally cross into the USA. We learned that many had died trying to walk across the desert. In 2006 the US built a wall here to control the border crossings. Seems to be an effective way to control at least this part of the border.


We used the free time from our aborted lunch visit to Mexico to do our laundry and get ready to depart Bisbee tomorrow.

We also did the Queen Mine Tour, which is directly beneath our RV park, and yes, we mean directly beneath the RV park. The tunnel into the mountain is massive. Over 90 years 8 billion pounds of copper was taken out of the local mountains. One of the largest copper mines in history. In addition, massive amounts of gold, silver, lead and zinc were mined here. They take you into the mine on a train and show you how the place worked. The mine tour costs $13 a person and is worth the price.


After our mine tour we headed back to the Old Bisbee Brewery where we sated our thirst, once again. This is the third time we have been back to the brewery in our time here. One of our very favourite micro breweries.


We finished our stay in Bisbee with supper out a Roka, consistently ranked as one of the top restaurants in Arizona. Jenny has sea bass, I had the beef short ribs, and we both had the restaurant's signature margaritas. Our most expensive meal out on this trip, at $90 including tip, but it was worth it.


We strolled back to TaJ through the streets of Old Bisbee, one of our favourite stops on our tour of the US. A good stop for us and our road weariness is gone, for the moment.

We head onward tomorrow to El Paso Texas.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 07:09 Archived in USA Tagged tombstone lowell bisbee naco old_bisbee_brewing.

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Jenny's haircut is great! Glad you enjoyed Bisbee. Too bad about Naco.

by Karmen Reid

You don't mention the stairs at all.... that was the main impetus for us to head there one year when we were in Scottsdale .... there are some 1000 stairs. We enjoyed Bisbee, only having spent an afternoon there and hope to return one day. Safe travels.

We were aware of the stairs Bev...just didn't think to include them. We looked at them, we went and had a beer :)

by BevH

Your both looking fit and rested. Jenny's hair style certainly brought a smile to both your faces. Weather here is typical-- warm days chilly nights then warm all 4 hrs.

Enjoy the Micro's

by Steve Banks

I love, love Jenny’s haircut!

by Penni Cox

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