Showing posts with label Millville Arizona. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Millville 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)

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.

Thursday, January 29, 2009



WEDNESDAY JANUARY 28/09 (Computer seized up a couple times Wednesday night so couldn't upload the blog. About half the web albums made it & I'm uploading the rest of the pictures right now....Thursday morning)

The thermometer in our bin said the temperature dropped to 36F last night but it must have been lower because there was a layer of thin ice on a large vat of water nearby used for watering cattle. Didn't seem as cold to me on our morning walk as the morning before though.

A chance encounter with the older couple while on our walk this morning led to some better information as to where the elusive ghost town of Charleston could be found. We had been close the day before, but not close enough so we decided to go back this morning & have us another look.

Started off on the other side of the San Pedro river this time heading for another ghost town called Millville. Charleston & Millville were separated only by the river but Millville was going to be much easier to find because of paths, directions, & reader boards. The brochures & the BLM officer yesterday told us there wasn't anything left of Charleston except a few old adobe foundations. That information is misleading. The brochures also state there is more left of Millville than there really is. Again misleading. It's obvious the BLM authority do not want people finding the ruins of Charleston so all the emphasis is put on the Millville ruins..........of which there isn't much left aside from a few old stone foundations scattered amongst the thick underbrush. The Gird House is one of the few recognizable foundations left.

We knew the old ruins of Charleston were somewhere across the San Pedro river & we also knew there was an old rail bed running along the north side of the river between Millville & Charleston so we figured if we could find a way through the heavy underbrush bramble & many mesquite trees we should be able to come across the rail bed. From there we had a pretty good idea where to go because of the information the older farm couple gave us. From the Millville path we headed into the thickets & managed to find our way through to the rail bed. (check to-day's web album for pics) It was not easy going & we got ourselves full of prickles & small scratches. Had to carefully crawl through a barbed wire fence as well.

Once up on the railbed we finally found the bridge over a dry wash the lady had told us about so we knew we were getting closer. She said to turn northwest & cross the San Pedro river at this point & then head straight for about a quarter mile to the ruins of Charleston. We made our way down the bank to the river & then made the mistake of heading up river a bit to find a better crossing. Turns out the best crossing is right there at the large graffiti infested concrete culvert. We searched for a narrow spot in the river but didn't find one so finally picked a spot to cross & away we went......after removing our shoes & socks & rolling up our pantlegs of course. And yes, the water was icy cold!! We then made the second mistake of walking downriver a bit looking for a path which we couldn't find. We knew the ruins had to be on our left somewhere so headed into the underbrush again. Luckily we blundered onto a path & after a bit of searching we followed a second path up a slight rise. The mesquite trees were very thick here. Kelly stopped & pulled a peanut butter sandwich out of her pack, tore it in half & handed me a section. I stuffed it in my mouth, turned around, took about 3 steps..........and there off to my right, through the mesquite brambles I spied an adobe wall. "Walla" we had just found the ghost town of Charleston:)) It immediately became apparent there was far more to see here than in Millville just back across the river, but first let me explain something about ghost towns. CHARLESTON RUINS

The words "ghost town" conjures up old wooden buildings with broken windows, doors ajar, wooden sidewalks, some rusting tin roofs on the buildings, rooms inside with old paraphernalia, etc. etc. Kind of a Hollywood looking ghost town with streets & alleys. Some are manufactured ghost towns for the sole purpose of attracting people & commercialism. These are the ghost towns we most often think about & see in our minds. And these are the ghost towns in namesake only. Real ghost towns as a rule look nothing like any of the above & so it is with Millville & Charleston. These & other places like them are the real ghost towns of the old west. MANY ADOBE WALLS STILL STANDING IN CHARLESTON

We spent about 40 minutes in Charleston to-day & I took a lot of photos. So many in fact that I'm only going to include a few in to-day's web album because I have already uploaded all the Charleston photos into their own album. All's you will see is sections of adobe walls with a lot of trees & grass growing in & around them, but for anyone who has an interest in this sort of thing, they might enjoy the photos. We didn't count, but we think we saw between 15 & 20 structures. I will include some links here that give the history of Charleston & Millville.......

We finally left Charleston to it's ghosts & memories around 1:30 & headed back to the river. Off with the shoes & socks & away we went again, tippy toeing through the shallow & icy cold waters of the San Pedro. Shoes & socks back on, up the bank & through the graffiti infested cement culvert to a wide wash on the other side. Followed this back for aways until we picked up the Millville trail again which in turn led us back to the parking lot & our car. We had been gone about three & a half hours. Boy, was it great to sit down in those comfy car seats at last.

We were back to the rig in about 5 minutes & spent the next couple of hours resting up. Around 3:30 we took a short 3 mile drive over to Tombstone. Just wanted to check out where to get gas & propane when we leave here Friday morning. Parked the car & walked over to Tombstone's gunfigher street. Looked the same as when we had been there before just a couple of years ago. Only to-day we were lucky enough to catch Wyatt, Doc, & the boys out on the mainstreet just hanging around before the big OK Corral shoot out at 4 p.m. Cracked off some photos before the guys all sauntered over to the OK Coral building. If you want to see guns blazing & bodies dropping, you have to pay to see that inside the building, so needless to say we just kept walking. GUNFIGHTERS ON THE STREETS OF TOMBSTONE
My main purpose now was to find the Crystal Palace. A few days ago Kelly had started a thread in the RV Net Forum with some queries about the area & several people answered & have kept the thread going. Yesterday we actually met one of those fellas. This morning a message arrived from a fellow by the name of Len who remembered the Crystal Palace in Tombstone. So Len, Kelly & I went into the Crystal Palace about 4:15 this afternoon & raised a silent toast to your old departed friend, Buck . I took some photos inside for you as well & you will find them in to-day's web album.
RV Net Forum...

We were back to the rig by 5 & that was about it for another fine day in beautiful sunny Arizona........:))