Showing posts with label Fairbank Arizona. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fairbank Arizona. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 02, 2009




Heavy frost on everything this morning & I could still see snow on the Chiricahua mountains about 40 northeast of us.  I mix up the chicken feed at night now so that is all I have to do in the morning.  Just toss it out to the girls without freezing my hands up.  Might have to get some of you RV ladies to knit us up 8 toasty little warm chicken sweaters for the gals.


We have been to what's left of most ghost towns here in the Sulphur Springs valley & last Saturday on our way to Pearce's Heritage Days we came across the ruins of the once booming & bustling little mining town of Courtland.  As with all other true ghost towns there wasn't much left of anything compared to what was once originally there.  What is left of Courtland is stretched out over a mile or so along a dirt road.  A few remnants of a stone wall here, some concrete slabs there, & one heavily constructed & reinforced concrete building that once was a jail.  As with all ghost towns we have rambled around in it is hard for the mind to  imagination what actually took place at these sites.  Standing amidst rubble of tumbled walls I try to close my eyes & return to the towns heyday but all my imagination has to go on are old faded photos of ghost towns, some old Hollywood movies, pieces of pottery, crumbling walls, maybe a few weathered boards with rusting nails, & perhaps an old leather sole from an old boot long forgotten.   Underbrush overgrows what were once bustling streets filled with people.  All traces of former railroads are gone & it's difficult to look back into history across the desert landscape & see old steam engines pulling railroad cars loaded with merchandise, ore from the mines, cattle, & people.  Hard to imagine children playing in the streets, horses tied up alongside old wood sided building & folks dressed in their finery buying sugar & flour in the general store.  Miners whooped it up in the many saloons at nights.  Strangers arrived daily by horseback, stagecoach, or trains.  It is an era that is lost forever & it is only the winds in the mountains that whisper the tales of a life & times that none of us will ever know......or imagine:(( 


And below is Courtland to-day.


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We caught ourselves a break to-day when the local propane delivery truck from Wilcox brought a load of propane for Jeanie & Ray's large propane tank here at the ranch.  It's a once a year delivery & supplies the house with heat.  We had filled up our motorhome's propane tank in Douglas about a month ago & were down to about half a tank.  Normally at three quarters empty we would have to square everything away, bring in the slides, disconnect the water, sewer, electricity, & satellite dish lines & drive our house to a propane filling station either in Douglas or at the closer Double Adobe RV park about half way to Bisbee.  While the fellow was filling the ranch tank Kelly asked him if he could fill our tank as well......& he did.  Nice break & it sure saved us a disruptive hassle.



I have a habit of loosing camera lens caps & as of last Saturday my last lens cap had departed to the fair land far away where missing things somehow go.  Needed a lens hood for my smaller lens anyway plus both camera lenses were in need of UV filters.  Figured we might as well head on over to Sierra Vista where we had looked up a camera store that had all the aforementioned items.  The road to Sierra Vista is an easy wide open spaces drive that gently winds between the Dragoon & Mule mountains.  We drove through Tombstone at high noon & if I would have had my window down we might have heard some gunfire coming from the OK Corral gunfight site.  They do re-enactments there daily.  We have been to Tombstone a couple times before & it is very commercialized but I would recommend you do the BIRDCAGE THEATER if you go there.  Check out our TOMBSTONE PHOTOS.  This place has not been jazzed up & re-constructed.  It an eerie place to wander around in & it smells very, very, old.  If there are such things as ghosts I'm sure they are present in this old aging building.  Yes, there is a gift store at the back door exit but that doesn't have anything to do with what is inside that old building!!



The Charleston Road runs between Tombstone & Sierra Vista & for us to-day it was a trip down memory lane because we spent a few very enjoyable weeks boondocking in the area this past January.  It was at this time we did day trips to the ghost towns of Charleston, Millville, & Fairbank.  Took us 2 days to find the crumbling adobe walls of Charleston amidst the heavy mesquite underbrush.  If anyone is interested you can find our daily adventures in our archives.  Look back to late January of this year for our times in this area.  Also February & March for our times at the ranch & our escapades into the Dragoon & Chiricahua Mountains.



Sierra Vista is a fair sized city & easy to get around in.  Every kind of store, facility, or business you need is here stretched out along Fry Boulevard.  Big box stores like Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Target, & Frys.  All the regular eating places are here too.  The driving force behind Sierra Vista is the large army base, Fort Huachuca.  We toured the Fort last March plus, Coronado Peak & Carr Canyon.  And of course it's all in our March archives.  



Hit a few thrift stores to-day & then the busiest grocery store I've ever seen.  Frys is a grocery chain found only in the southwest  & is very, very, popular.  It was our second trip to Frys this year & it must have been our lucky day because we caught ourselves another break.  Kelly had picked up a Fry's discount card last March & that saved us a few dollars but on the first Wednesday of every month it is an additional 10% off for Seniors.  We didn't know that but when Kelly went to pay, the cashier eyed me up & down with a wary eye, turned to Kelly & asked, "is he 65!!"  Guess my old torn shirt, dusty hat, & totally out of control beard must have scared her real good & she was afraid to ask me directly.  I like when that happens.  Don't ask me about the days an old girlfriend dressed me in white pleated pants, panama sneakers, pink polo shirts, & hung a gold chain around my neck. Made me wear a matching gold bracelet to my sparkly watch on my other wrist.  No, don't even go there!!  And no, the gold was not real.  It was just window dressing for her new boyfriend.  Is it any wonder I prefer to be a scruffy old sod busting cowboy these days:))  Maybe I'll do a blog on that era of my life sometime.  Maybe use some pink ink too!!


Anyway, I got kinda sidetracked again but I did find the camera accessories I needed & if your in Sierra Vista & need to do some wheeling & dealing be sure to drop in & see a friendly old guy by the name of Harvey Ross at LANDMARK PHOTO 400 W Fry Boulevard.   "Old guy' were Harvey's words not mine:))


We were back at the ranch by 4:15 just in time to get the chickens saddled up & the dog's fed.  Another fine day in the life & times of, The Bayfield Bunch:))


GROANER'S CORNER:))  Two cows standing next to each other in a field, Daisy says to Dolly "I was artificially inseminated this morning." "I don't believe you," said Dolly. "It's true -- no bull!", exclaimed Daisy.



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

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

Wednesday, September 23, 2009



The old tumbling down Adobe walls along the San Pedro river in the heavy Mesquite underbrush of Charleston Arizona marks the spot of a long dead ghost town.  A few miles up the road is the bustling main street of a town very much alive.....Tombstone.  And in the same general area are two other little western towns in various states of.....dead or alive.



FAIRBANK, Arizona was once a bee hive of activity along the banks of the San Pedro river complete with a busy 3 line railway stop, post office, saloon, general store, a school, & all the other buildings & business's that once made for a rootin tootin lively little western town.  The people are long gone now, the school has been restored, the remains of the old saloon, post office & store are fenced off for safety purposes & an old sign hangs on a sun drenched withered wooden building telling you to.....beware of rattlesnakes!!  We walked around the remains of Fairbank & it's old forgotten cemetery half a mile away on a craggy rock strewn hill back in March of 08 & you can read our blog of that day HERE & see our photos, HERE.



PEARCE, Arizona was another typical tough little  western mining town back in it's day & a few of it's buildings are still somewhat alive.  You can drive right into the town.  Gold was discovered nearby in the 1800's which resulted in a stampede of people from Tombstone.  Pearce's old mining remains are still very visible high atop a rocky outcrop southeast of town.  The lady in Pearce's OLD PEARCE POTTERY STORE on the southeast side of the intersection is very knowledgeable about the town's history.  My blog for our visit to Pearce is HERE & my photos of the town & cemetery are HEREKELLY'S SCHMOOZING IT UP WITH THE LOCALS IN PEARCE

We will be returning to this ghost town area of Cochise county late next month when we head back to, 'The Ranch.'  We will once again be ranch sitting for RV friends Jeanie & Ray while they head off on a 3 week cruise with friends Rosanna & her Mother, Carol from the Paws & Hooves Ranch which we visited last March.  I will blog about & post some photos about our 7 week ranch sitting job & the Paws & Hooves gang earlier this year in a later blog.  And I will get Sergeant John & his Hudson Hornets in there too:))PEARCE CEMETERY

 Picasa 3 has just released it's 3.5 version & I downloaded it last night.  Biggest advance is in the 'face recognition department.'  For you folks who take a lot of people photos this is probably a good thing.  You can read about & download it here.  PICASA 3.5  DSC_1701

Last night's video is only the 3rd video I've ever put in the blog in the past 2 years so just want to assure our 'air card' readers that it is not something I make a habit of.  We use an air card while traveling as well so know the frustration involved in watching those precious Gigabytes been chewed.  A Verizon store manager in Casa Grande, Arizona last winter told us he figured because of the evolving technology that Verizon would be taking the cap off the 5 Gigglebyte limit sometime this winter but I'm a little skeptical of that!!

SALOON, POST OFFICE & GENERAL STORE IN FAIRBANKLoaded up Max & Checkers this morning & we took the big wheels for drive up to Wal-Mart in Goderich & back.  I was lucky enough to get myself smartened up this time & stay with the rig while the engine was running.  Three weeks ago I started it up in the driveway, forgot about it & left it running for nearly 5 hours.  In my world, some days just aren't quite as forgetful as others....sometimes:((

MANY A FAIRBANK TOWNSFOLK WALKED THIS ROAD TO THE CEMETERY ON THE HILL GROANER’S CORNER:))  To-day I have an original groaner written by myself.  But, not to worry.  I won’t make this a habit. SANDRA over at the Nightly News had mentioned seeing spider webs a few days ago on her walk & that reminded me of something.   I wrote this following piece back in 1969 & it is called:

                INCIDENT IN A FOREST

The spider spun his silken vines

Back and forth in magical lines.

First he went up then he went down

Then he came back and went all around.

Soon it was done and paused in the breeze

Enchantingly silent among the still trees.

The night passed on and gave way to the sun

But the spiders work wasn't quite done

For a passing fly in all innocence flew

Straight into the web & mornings still dew.

The spider advanced with caution and stealth

To claim his victim of bountiful wealth.

The fly in desperation struggled but knew

That for him this was his final adieu.

A struggle ensued in the morning light

A struggle that lasted on into the night.

First they went up then they went down,

Then they came back and went all around

Finally it was done and they paused in the breeze

Locked in death among the still trees.

Al Bossence 1969


So there ya go……..told ya it was a GROANER!!


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

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.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


We knew it was going to be hot to-day so we made an extra effort to get ourselves out & about earlier than usual. Had hoped to be the road by 9 but it was after 10 before we got ourselves mobile. Filled up the Santa Fe in McNeal & headed west on Davis Road to Tombstone. Our destination was the old ghost town of Fairbank located west of the San Pedro River on highway 82. The historic town of Fairbank used to be a very important transportation hub. Three railroad lines passed through Fairbank including the New Mexico & Arizona which connected Fairbank to Benson & the Mexican port of Guamas. In the 1880s, at the peak of the silver boom in & around Tombstone, Fairbank served as a central point of entry & exit for miners, prospectors, materials, & ore. Tombstone was not connected to the railway until 1903 so passengers had to take a stagecoach from Fairbank. Passengers who stepped off the train in Fairbank in the 1880s would have seen an elegant hotel and restaurant, a post office, railroad depots and several other businesses. And so it was that we pulled off the highway into a dirt parking lot & down around a short road to what was left of the once booming little town of Fairbank. Well, there isn't much left but a sign tells us that it is probably one of the last authentic places with some original buildings intact. The old schoolhouse has been restored & is now a museum but it was closed to-day. There were 3 wooden buildings of which 2 were locked. The small open building was probably for horses years ago. A handwritten sign on another building said for us to stay back because of rattlesnakes. The largest building is completely enclosed by a wire fence with a no admittance sign. This was the General Store, Saloon, & Jail years ago. Plans are in the works to restore this building & a new steel roof has already been put on to protect what's left of the interiors. The San Pedro River & old railway line run along a short distance west of the buildings. It was Fairbank's old cemetery located about a half mile north of the town down a narrow dusty mesquite lined road that interested us the most. The cemetery is located atop a rough & rock strewn hill with a narrow footpath leading up to it. As we walked up the path I imagined how many of Fairbank's residents had been carried up this rocky stretch to their final destination. I also thought of all the people who flock to Tombstone's Boot Hill & believe that to be a real authentic cemetery. Oh sure, there are people buried there all right, but anything you see above ground has been manufactured & jazzed up for the tourist trade. I wonder what people would think if they ever saw a real western cemetery, untouched by human hands for over a century. I'm sure a lot of folks would find it boring with it's piles of stones, brambly mesquite trees, decaying old wooden crosses, & rusting gates & fences. No fancy or humorous inscriptions on the tombstones, because there are no tombstones. Just piles of rocks & stones on the gravesites with a few old tattered & broken wooden crosses that have stood the winds of time. Anything inscribed on a piece of wood has long been weathered out by the Arizona sun. There are no flowers here, no manicured trees, no finely mowed grass. Just piles of rocks marking the end of someone's life. No one to remember, no one to care. And so we made our way back down the hill of forgotten dreams & walked the half mile back to our car for some much needed water. Tucson tied a heat record to-day at 91F which was first set back in 1910. We probably topped out somewhere around 85F in our area & by the time we made it back to the car from the cemetery Kelly had a headache from the heat. The sun just seemed to ignite your skin everytime it touched you. I've heard it called a dry heat down here but I think it's more like a fry heat. Thank heavens for A/C in the car. The heat must have been brutal in the old days in these parts. Hard to comprehend people out in the hot sun digging holes in the hardened ground searching for silver, gold, & copper, day after day. I'm sure it led many to early graves. From Fairbank's we headed west to Whetstone where Kelly had seen a pottery place advertised on TV. Browsed around in there for awhile & thankfully came away empty handed. Headed back down highway 82 past Fairbanks, through Tombstone & south to Bisbee. Stopped along the highway in Bisbee at a scenic look-out & took a few more photos of this picturesque little town in the mountains. And, it seems everytime we go to Bisbee it seems to expand it's boundaries. To-day we stumbled into a little town once known as Warren, but has been annexed by Bisbee so falls under the Bisbee name now. A couple of weeks ago we came across San Jose which is another little town also now under the name of Bisbee. So, for anyone going to Bisbee, be aware that it is made up of 3 separate little towns. Or is it 4. There is another little section on Erie Street that seems to be a whole street complex unto itself & if you find The Bisbee Breakfast have found Erie Street. The BBC -

Well actually we didn't quite stumble into Warren, I was directed there by someone who has a nose for values & of course an ulterior motive for searching out new places. Before I knew it I was hauled into & dragged through 2 Thrift Stores. Well ok, this time I went willingly.........sort of!! Of course Kelly didn't buy anything & I ended up with 2 Teddy Bears for .75 cents & a $5 lamp. Hey come on, we needed the Teddy Bears to sit on the dash of the motorhome & I was never happy about the reading lamp we had beside the chair in the rig. From the Thrift Stores it was over to Safeway for a few groceries. It was well past my 2 o'clock coffee by this time so grabbed a coffee at Starbucks. I should have known better because I've had their Charbuck coffee before & to me it's just about the worst coffee of ever. And then to add insult to injury they charged me $1.74 for a small cup. No wonder they are closing their stores across the country. Bad coffee & bad prices!! I'll be glad to get me a good old Tim Horton's coffee when we get back to Canada.
Finally made it home to the ranch about 3:45 & it was soooooo hot that the water coming out of the garden hose to water the trees was turning to steam before it hit the ground.
Well, almost....................................................................