Showing posts with label Fort Rucker Arizona. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fort Rucker Arizona. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 08, 2009



Our beautiful warm sunny weather continues here in southwestern Ontario & what a treat that is for everyone as we head into the finest time of the year. A month from now we should be peaking with our splendid autumn colors. Two months from now it will probably be dull, depressing, drizzly, wet, & cold, with long gray days back to back. Three months from now Christmas will be just around the corner so who cares & four months from now if you go outside without being all bundled will probably freeze up & die!! Some of you may remember this past winter that we had ourselves a cushy little 7 week ranch sitting job in southeastern Arizona. We were located in a great area rich with western history & were able to take many interesting day trips in the car. Located just a couple short miles from McNeal, Arizona we were about twenty minutes to Bisbee or 25 to Douglas. Tombstone was about half an hour & another 15 minutes took us to Sierra Vista. The Chiricahua Mountain range started about a half hour's drive to the northeast of the ranch & that's where we headed off one sunny wild west morning in search of the elusive & hard to find old Fort/Camp Rucker. BUILDING RUINS

Before we had ever heard anything of a Fort Rucker though we had taken a drive one day along a scenic winding road up into RUCKER CANYON. We told some folks later about that drive & they said, "did you find the Fort??" We were lucky to find our way back to the main road let alone a Fort but our interest was peaked at the thoughts of finding an old army camp somewhere in the Chiricahuas. Looked on the internet for information regarding Fort Rucker's location but it was vague. FRONT DOOR TO FORT RUCKER'S BAKERY

It was a couple weeks later while touring around Coronado National Memorial (OUR CORONADO BLOG) (OUR CORONADO PHOTOS) south of Sierra Vista on the Mexican border that a chance encounter with a park ranger shed some light on the exact whereabouts of old Fort Rucker. RUINS OF THE COMMISSARY WITH BAKERY BUILDING IN THE BACKGROUND

Click on this FORT RUCKER BLOG for our search in the Chiricahua Mountains & FORT RUCKER PHOTOS for our web album of pictures that day. OLD BARN IS STILL USED TO HOUSE CATTLE

Shortly we'll have us a look at the ghost towns of Gleeson, Pearce, & Fairbank.

GROANER'S CORNER:(( A woman is like a tea don't know how strong she is until you put her in hot water!!

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.

Sunday, March 15, 2009



No improvement in the back & leg this morning but it was a nice day & I didn't want to sit around again. Kelly picked up a cane at the Thrift Store awhile back so I threw that in the car & we headed off for Rucker Canyon in search of old Fort Rucker. THIS WAS THE COMMISSARY

While at the Coronado National Park a few days I got to talking with a ranger who told me where the ruins of old Fort Rucker (formally Camp Supply) were in the Rucker Canyon. We had been through that area a week ago but didn't know about the Fort then. From the ranch we headed east about 9:30 through McNeal to Leslie Canyon. Skirted around the south end of the Swisshelm mountains into the sweeping picturesque hills of Leslie Canyon. The flat dirt road led us north until we intersected with Rucker Canyon road. We swung northeast into the Chiricahua mountains & drove until we reached the junction with Tex Canyon road. This is where we began our search. Parked the car beside a rock & boulder strewn creek bed & headed up the creek for a hundred yards or so then headed left through an area of trees & shrubs. I was glad I had the cane with me. Continued through the brush until we came to a road but still no sign of the fort. Kelly walked back to the car & brought it around to the road. We drove up a rocky narrow path into a grassy tree lined area but still no Fort. Drove back down to theTex Canyon road junction & headed south for a bit when I spotted what looked like an old adobe wall through a bunch of trees on the east side of a dry creek bed. Saw a clearing ahead & pulled over. There on a barbed wire fence hung a small faded sign that said, Camp Rucker U.S. Army 1872-1880. We had found the Fort!!

It was about a quarter mile walk from the road to the first building. An old log pole barn....with a new roof. There were cattle here as well. We could see some old adobe ruins farther on so we headed in that direction. I was surprised when we came across our first reader board. It was obvious no one had been here for a long time but I remembered the Ranger telling me there are plans afoot to restore this old Fort so I am assuming the reader boards are maybe the first step. Noticed later that a couple old buildings had new roofs on them to protect against further weather deterioration. Fort Rucker is actually in better shape than Fort Bowie because it has some buildings with actual walls still standing. One building like the officer's quarters still has glass in the windows & wooden doors . When Fort Bowie was decommissioned people came in & basically ripped the Fort to pieces for it's lumber, etc. That didn't happen here at Fort Rucker but Fort Rucker is only about a quarter the size of Fort Bowie. A much smaller outpost.


We spent the best part of a couple hours wandering around the grounds looking at the ruins. Once again, with the help of the reader boards I was able to take a lot of photos & you can follow the story of Fort Rucker through the story boards & my pictures in the web album. Standing there on the grounds it's hard to imagine what the day in a life of a trooper was like 135 years ago. There is an old water tank still standing, a bake shop, & officer's quarters still intact. Looking at the open door of the bakeshop I tried to imagine the soldiers coming & going through there. The smell of fresh bread baking in what's left of the large oven at one end of the old adobe building. Ruins of the original commissary are there & another adobe building with two rooms but no roof. No idea what that building was. The officer's quarters building is still in remarkably good shape & a person could move right in there. The tin roof has saved it from decay & the floor felt solid. A couple closet doors hung open where officer's uniforms once hung. A raised platform for the wood stove looked like it was waiting for another stove to be placed on it. It was as if the officer's had just stepped out for a moment. CATTLE BARN & CORRAL

But, the strangest building of all was the house. You will have to go to the web album & see the pictures because it's a bit hard to describe. It's an old adobe house but the interior looks like it's from about the 1930's or earlier. No reader board anywhere to tell anything about it. Might have been part of Fort Rucker & then renovated in the early 1900's or something. After the Fort was decommissioned the land was used for ranching so maybe it was built as a ranch house. Many small rooms inside & on different levels. Best have a look at the pictures. STRANGE OLD HOUSE

The temperature had dropped while we were there & a cloud cover moved in as we departed old Fort Rucker & headed back down the long dusty road through Rucker Canyon to civilization. I took a few pictures from the car window as the dark clouds moved in & before long it was raining. It was good to get back to the rig, crack on some heat, & grab ourselves a bite to eat. It had been another good day....sort of.
My leg had given me a lot of trouble for about the first 40 minutes of our hike but then the pain went away while we were walking around the old Fort's grounds. Felt so good I was bouncing around like a ping pong ball but by the time we got home & I tried to get out of the car, the pain was back full force on the outside thigh of my right leg. Seems that sitting bothers it the most. Oh well, not much I can do about it until that nerve decides to unpinch itself I guess. Maybe to-morrow I'll take Roger Miller's advice & try rollerskating in a Buffalo herd................................