Monday, September 07, 2009



We have always found the history of America's old west fascinating & it is one of the many things that draws us back to the southwest each winter's season. One of those interests we enjoy is searching out old ghost towns. Real old ghost towns & not the commercialized fabricated ones. Ghost towns can be disappointing if your expecting to find the Hollywood version. Sometimes it's only a pile of stones from an old wall like in Millville, other times complete buildings like an old crumbling saloon in Gleeson. Fairbank has some buidlings restored but the forgotten cemetery high on a ridge is the same as it was back in the mid 1800's. Some ghost towns are easily accessible & others can almost be almost impossible to find & hard to get to. Pearce, Gleeson, & Fairbank were all easy finds on paved roads but Millville & Charleston were much harder......especially Charleston!! ONLY CRUMBLING ADOBE WALLS LEFT OF THE TWENTY OR SO BUILDINGS

While boondocked just west of Tombstone, Arizona earlier this year we set out in search of the elusive old mining town of Charleston long hidden in the scrub & bush along the banks of the San Pedro river. We first hiked north along the San Pedro one morning from the Charleston Road but couldn't find anything. Found out later we were only about a quarter mile from finding the town. A few days later we decided on a different approach which actually began with another ghost town on the east side of the river called Millville. Click on our blog that day here..... FINDING CHARLESTON. Web album photos for that day are HERE & even more photos for the ghost town of Charleston are HERE Another thing that was very special about these ghost towns is the fact we never encountered any tourists. Tombstone is a good example of what happens to an old town when it is commercialized, but then again a lot of people like that razzle dazzle sort of Hollywood spin. We don't!! Walking through the site of an old lost ghost town & it's overgrown cemetery with only the ghosts of past residents to accompany you is quality time to us. Just the folks, your thoughts, & the desert wind. SOME OF CHARLESTON'S WILD WEST HISTORY

We later found the ghost towns & cemeteries of Gleeson, Pearce, & Fairbank in the same area. I will include those towns over the next few days. Also found the hard to find ruins of old Fort Rucker up in the Chiricahua Mountains as well & I'll include that blog & photos shortly. Our drive & hike into historic Fort Bowie through Apache Pass was another good day for us which I will also post shortly. THE CRUMBLING SALOON IN GLEESON WHERE JOHNNY RINGO WAS LAST SEEN AT THE BAR

Just so much to see & do in the American southwest & with every mile comes a new vista. No excuse for getting bored in this kind of country & the west has a real habit of growing on people & anyone we've come across traveling's it there. We met a fulltiming RV couple last winter in Yuma who are now beginning a trek across country to Florida for a wedding. They have just spent the last few months in Oregon & Colorado. This is an excerpt from DOUG & JOANNE'S blog about how they feel about having to leave the west for awhile. They were both originally Floridians.
(Quote)"Tomorrow we head out across the plains heading for Lee’s Summit Mo.(on their way to Florida) Neither of us want to leave the west and in particular Colorado. We know we are westerners at heart and love the wide open spaces and sheer beauty out here. To head back to the land of wall to wall condominiums, convenience stores at every intersection and big bill board advertising will be quite a let down for us but it will be nice to see friends and family." (Unquote)


A few weeks ago or so I posted a blog about our solar system for boondocking. I had a few inquiries about that but didn't have the exact details in front of me. I came across that paperwork this afternoon so if anyone out there is interested in what you need to get set up for solar just email me & I will send you all the detailed nuts & bolts info including cost of everything. We had our solar installation done by THE SUN WORKS in Slab City, California in December 07. Solar Mike is the fellow you want to talk to.

Stayed tuned for more ghost towns in the days ahead.


GROANER'S CORNER:(( What do prisoners use to call each other while in jail........Cell phones.

The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now...AL.


  1. WOW,,,,,,You have a SUPERB Blog!

    I wish I knew how to do mine like you do,,, Love it. The heading picture of the overnight stop in Calif is OUTSTANDING!

    Good Work...


  2. Great pics, Al. Looking forward to more installments of the 'wild west' ghost towns.

  3. We agree with Mike, but we are learning how to do that wider, brighter, larger-font blog. Just have to screw up the courage to put what we've learned into reality.

    Al, can't go look at your ghost town posts and photos right now, but we sure would like to tail behind you into that part of the Arizona history. Heck, we live within 50 miles of all those places!

  4. Thanks so much for your excellent blog and photos. I have followed you for some time now,,when are you heading out again?
    Thanks Ted

  5. Don't miss Castle Dome Mines Museum off Highway 95 in the middle of the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. Allen Armstrong, who has rebuilt about two dozen buildings on the site, is a fascinating guy.

    Here's the listing from the 2010 Yuma Visitors Guide:

    Castle Dome Mines Museum
    Off Highway 95 north of Yuma

    At one time, the population of Castle Dome City far exceeded that of Yuma. But when the mining boom faded, so did the once-rowdy town. Now Allen and Stephanie Armstrong have re-created a ghostly mining town of nearly two dozen buildings in a pristine desert setting surrounded by nearly 700,000 acres of the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. Each building – from hotels and saloons to a blacksmith shop and general store – is pretty much a self-contained museum, filled to the rafters with authentic artifacts. The Armstrongs’ labor of love is truly one of Arizona’s hidden gems!

    Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, closed Mondays (call ahead between April and October). Admission $5 for adults, $2 for kids 6 to 12, under age 6 free. During the winter, there’s guided hiking tour at 10 a.m. Wednesdays or by arrangement for groups. To get there, take Highway 95 north to Castle Dome Road (mile marker 55) and continue east for 10 miles.