Wednesday, December 09, 2009




I heard Belle's welcome before I even saw her.  "Come in, come in" came  the voice from behind the old wooden door as we made our way to the white stucco & Spanish arched Silverado ranch house.  "Hello" she said as she pushed her wheelchair back from the doorway.  I knew from the instant I saw her that this was a very special lady.  Her eyes sparkled & her faced beamed a smile that made you feel welcome regardless of who you were or how you felt.  Belle is a vibrant 83 year old young cowgirl with a mighty big positive attitude.  She was dressed in a bright yellow outfit with a touch of western wildness to it.  Had her cowboy boots on too.  She made us right at home & had us sit down there by the door.  Within minutes of talking to her I could tell she was truly one of the those wild west characters we have all read so much about many years ago.  I could see the mischievous fire in her eyes & hear that young cowgirl passion for life in her voice.  It's all still in her despite having fallen & broken a hip this past August.  She is in a wheelchair now but her mind is still alert, alive, & still out there riding the open range.



We needed a few groceries to-day so had decided to slide over to Douglas Az for a few things plus pick up some extra apples & carrots for a stop at Belle Starr's Silverado Ranch on our way home.  We had read a bit about Belle & received a couple emails from other RV'ers who had stopped there.  One person said to take some food treats for the animals & that is what we did.


We visited with Belle for a bit & met Hogan, a fellow from over near Naco who helps Belle & keeps an eye out for her safety.  More about Hogan later.  Told Belle we'd slip out & feed the gang our apples & carrots & then drop back in before we left.  We then headed out to feed the many donkeys & horses.  The majority of donkeys & burros are little fellers & it wasn't long before Kelly & her bag of apples & carrots were swamped along the fence line with a multitude of hungry little donkey faces pushing & nudging each other for the coming snacks.  Many horses including miniature breeds  right up to a big Clydesdale were busily munching a good feed of afternoon baled hay.  A colorful plumaged Peacock strutted about keeping an eye on us while many pigeons fanned the air from overhead.  A white Peacock & Golden Pheasant shared a pen with chickens & doves.  A pair of Geese honked their protests behind us much of the time.




A replica of the original Belle Starr's cabin is on the property along with other weathered western artifacts.   This is not a commercial looking fancy pants tourist type place.  This is a down to earth realistic & rustic western ranch with prickly cactus, stones underfoot, a good deal of Arizona dust, & probably a sprinkling of rattlesnakes in the summertime.  Belle is unable to get out & tend her 'kids' now & has to rely on friends & volunteers to help out at the ranch.  Boondocking RV'ers are very welcome here.  No full hook-ups but water & a dump station are available & Belle does have Wifi.  There are boondocking spots close to the ranch house plus farther back on the ranch property.  If any of you boondockers out there are looking for a unique experience then Belle Starr’s Silverado Ranch is the place to head for.  Come on out & give Belle a hand around the ranch for a few days or weeks.  This is a very special lady & any help she can get would be very much appreciated.  We will be dropping by to see her again & are seriously thinking of stopping in there for a week when we leave the ranch here in January.  I don't know how to ride a horse, can't hammer a nail into a board straight & changing a light bulb is still a big challenge for me but I'm sure there is something we could do there to help Belle out for a week or so.  I'm pretty darn handy with a shovel I have got myself mighty darn good at milking there!!



Belle has lived a full life with a colorful past to boot so I will put some links in here for anyone interested in reading about a feisty young gal from Kentucky who made Arizona her home after challenging worldly travels.  And it only took her 45 minutes to buy the ranch after she saw the 'For Sale' sign on it while driving by many years ago.  And, this gal not only rode horses, but rode motorcycles to boot!!

Belle Starr....... what a lady!!







Hogan is a friend of Belles & lives over near the Mexican border at Naco.  I'd say he's about my age & has himself a business of selling old classic cars.  They're not exactly in great or even good condition but he's got a pile of them with parts to spare.  Check out HOGAN'S CLASSIC CARS.  He may just have a little something for everybody over there.  And Sarge, if your reading this, I noticed on his site he's got himself 3 1953 Hudson Hornets in there amongst other things.....even a 55 Studebaker truck & a 51 Ford Coupe.



GROANER'S CORNER:((  You have to stay in shape. My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She's 97 today and now we don't know where the hell she is.



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

MY SMUG MUG SITE  (I am finally working on updating this site)


  1. Belle and her ranch have been on my radar for a few years now,but I haven't had the chance to visit yet.Your post gives a great picture of what the ranch and Belle are like.Thanks.Hope to see more coverage if you go back to stay for awhile.

  2. What a memorable day for you two the will never be forgotten.

  3. Al, you find the best places! We admire your enthusiasm for getting out and experiencing the world, and we appreciate your sharing that experience with us temporary shut-ins. When we get back on the raod, we'd love to follow your example of poking into everything!

  4. Thanks for another great tour and story, Al - plus the great pics, as usual. Belle sure sounds like a great character - a true original!

  5. A great experience for you. Hope some of the snowbirds will be able to help out at Belle's ranch.

  6. Ooooh you guys, I am SO jealous you got to meet her! As a wanna-be cowgirl and motorcyclist, she is one of my top ten Sheroes of all time!

    When we went to see you last year, we had to bypass her ranch and I was so bummed. Now that I know she needs assistance more than ever, Jim and I are definitely headed over there in February. Thanks for the wonderful post.

  7. There, now you are in charge of milking the chickens if and when you go to Belle's. Be careful, you are going to be in great demand when the word gets out.

  8. Wonderful story and to think it's in our own back yard, We will have to visit The Silverado Ranch.

  9. This is a fabulous story! I'm so intrigued and awed by those "old-time" cowgirls. Just love that spirit. My grandmother was one of those in the 20s.

    Thanks for a good post.