Wickenburg, Arizona – Historic Old Mining Town

April 8-12, 2015

Headed to Congress AZ to get the rig weighed at Smart Weigh where they do one wheel at a time.  Wanted to make sure we were balanced.  We’re not, but there isn’t anything we can do about it.  We’ve shifted around all the weight we can, but there are simply too many permanently installed heavy things on the right rear side.  Sigh.

We took the opportunity to spend a few days camping in the nearby town of Wickenburg, an historic mining town founded in 1863.  It survived the typical hardships with Indian battles, bloodshed, drought, floods, and outlaws that most of our old west towns experienced.  When the railroad came in 1895, Wickenburg was thriving.01 Wickenburg banner

The Chamber of Commerce (located in the original train depot built in 1895) gave us a brochure for a walking tour of old town called “Out Wickenburg Way”.  There are 31 stops identifying historic buildings and a variety of bronze scultures located on some of the sidewalks and street corners.  Many of them have a button you can press for an audio presentation from the sculpture.  It was a fun little walk around town!

School Teacher at the Train Depot (see the audio button on the post to the right?)

School Teacher at the Train Depot (see the audio button on the post to the right?)

Sculpture of business woman Elizabeth Smith outside the Vernetta Hotel in the Hassayampa Building (1905)

Sculpture of business woman Elizabeth Smith outside the Vernetta Hotel in the Hassayampa Building (1905)

(Sculpture) Gold miner with donkey

(Sculpture) Gold miner with donkey

Bust of Henry Wickenburg, founder of the $30 million Vulture Mine, died penniless in 1905

Bust of Henry Wickenburg, founder of the $30 million Vulture Mine, died penniless in 1905

Cowboy and Dance Hall Girl

Cowboy and Dance Hall Girl

The Jail Tree, from 1863 to 1890, outlaws were chained to the jail tree for lack of a hoosegow.

The Jail Tree, from 1863 to 1890, outlaws were chained to the jail tree for lack of a hoosegow.

We were camped not far from the Vulture Mine, which has just recently started mining operations again after closing in 1942.  Vulture Mine is the most productive gold mine in Arizona history.  The abandoned mining town is now a ghost town with a weekly tour offered on Saturdays.  OK, why not?  We signed up for the tour.  The tour guide entertained our group with history, tales, and anecdotes.

08 Vulture Mine Tour sign16 Vulture Mine Tour - Wickenburg AZ -  5712 Vulture Mine Tour - Wickenburg AZ -  26 11 Vulture Mine Tour - Wickenburg AZ -  25 10 Vulture Mine Tour - Wickenburg AZ -  14 09 Vulture Mine Tour - Wickenburg AZ -  06 15 Vulture Mine Tour - Wickenburg AZ -  46 14 Vulture Mine Tour - Wickenburg AZ -  50 13 Vulture Mine Tour - Wickenburg AZ -  4317 Vulture Mine Tour - Wickenburg AZ -  53

We were feeling guilty about loafing in the RV one day, doing nothing but sitting on our butts.  So we had to get in a hike.  Since the Vulture Peak Trail was just down the road, we decided to go for it.  Unfortunately, by the time our guilt had kicked in, it was early afternoon and the sun was HOT.  We did a couple of miles and gave up only because we thought Lucy was getting over-heated (yeah, right).  Would have been a great morning hike, but we were leaving in the morning.  Maybe next time we’re in the area.

Can we make it to the peak?

Can we make it to the peak?

The desert is still in bloom.

The desert is still in bloom.

20 Vulture Peak Trail - Wickenburg AZ -  18

It's too hot to climb this much!

It’s too hot to climb this much!

Next stop, Cottonwood, Sedona, Prescott.  (We’re actually in Utah now.  I’m just catching up on the blog.)

Cheers!

A Nice, Long Visit With Friends and Family in Phoenix

Three weeks in one campground is a long stay for us.  It was nice to just hang out and enjoy leisure activities with friends and family in the Phoenix area (Cave Creek to be exact).  But before I get to all that, I need to fill in from where I last left you, which was in the Chiricahua Mountains.  From there, we headed to Tucson for a week of boondocking at Snyder Hill BLM.Snyder Hill BLM, Tucson AZ -  04

 

We did the easy hike to the top of Snyder Hill for this view.Snyder Hill BLM, Tucson AZ -  19Mike enjoyed a day at the Pima Air Museum.  He took many interesting pictures of airplanes (interesting to him anyway) but when I wait this long to do an update, I have sooooo many pictures to wade through.  Mike’s pics ended up on the cutting room floor.  Well, ok, here are two.Pima Air Museum, Tucson AZ -  07Pima Air Museum, Tucson AZ -  57Many people may not know that Tucson is surrounded by five mountain ranges (Rincon, Tucson, Tortolita, Santa Rita, and Santa Catalina).  In addition to the excellent hiking that this offers, there is also the beautiful Sky Island Scenic Byway to the top of Mt. Lemmon at over 9,000 feet.  From Snyder Hill on the southeast side of town, the drive takes a couple of hours allowing for some photo ops at several of the scenic pull-outs.

Sky Island Scenic Byway

Sky Island Scenic Byway

Sky Island Scenic Byway - 02We had packed a picnic lunch, but then we were seduced by the thin air and indulged in some fresh out of oven berry cobbler a la mode at the Cookie Cabin.  Yummmmm.Sky Island Scenic Byway - 03Sky Island Scenic Byway - 04

 

The Escapee’s RV Club annual Escapade Rally was taking place in Tucson while we were there, so we headed over to the fairgrounds to take a look.  We bought a few things from the vendor’s booths and that’s always fun.   Mike loves his new wheel covers because they are more pliable which makes them easier to handle.  And they have a deeper pocket over the top of the tire which makes for a more secure attachment.  We also bought a mesh sun shade panel that can attach to our large awning in case the sun is coming in from the side.  It will enable us to sit outside on those occasions when we are exposed to the setting sun on the patio side.

In mid-March we traveled up to Ben Avery Shooting Range Campground in Cave Creek (near Phoenix).  Mike’s mom lives with his sister Diane and her family in Cave Creek, so we love to visit this area as often as we can.  Plus, our friends Ingrid and Al were also staying at Ben Avery.  You must be a shooter to stay at the campground (Mike and Al both meet that qualification).  If you are a shooter, they offer great weekly and monthly rates.  They went out on several different days to shoot pistols, rifles, and shotguns.  Mike and Al were joined by Mike’s son and Al’s son, as well as Mike’s granddaughter for a day at the pistol/rifle range.  I could shoot them for not taking pictures that day.  OK, I guess that’s the wrong expression to use here.  Here’s a pic from another day where Al is coaching Mike on the fine art of ‘sporting clay shooting’ using Al’s really nice shotgun.

I was able to capture the shotgun shell ejecting as well as the clay target exploding.

I was able to capture the shotgun shell ejecting as well as the clay target exploding.  Mike had a fun day!  Al really knows his stuff when it comes to sport shooting.  Mike got a lot of great tips.

We enjoyed some hiking and happy hours, too.

Hiking Thunderbird Trail with Al and Ingrid

Hiking Thunderbird Trail with Al and Ingrid

Ingrid's perfect nachos

Ingrid’s perfect nachos

Mike whips up the Margaritas

Mike whips up the Margaritas

Spending time at Mike’s sister Diane’s house and visiting his mom was a priority for us. We went there close to every day and we have the extra pounds to prove it.  Diane planned big family meals with all the trimmings every night, including totally decadent desserts!  I don’t want you all to think that I’m a total slacker.  I cooked a few of the meals and contributed a side dish here and there, but really, Diane’s Italian heritage comes through loud and clear when her family shows up.  Mangia!  Mangia!

Mike’s son Sean and the kids drove out from Santa Clarita, California on our first weekend there.  Then his whole family came out again two weeks later for Easter weekend.  The grandkids really loved teasing Lucy into jumping in the swimming pool.  It didn’t take much to get her to do it, again and again.  Lucy loves children!

(clockwise) Mike, Sean, Keni, Diane, Glen, Perry, Cole, Nana, Brady, Kailyn, Linda

(clockwise) Mike, Sean, Keni, Diane, Glen, Perry, Cole, Nana, Brady, Kailyn, Linda

Lucy is thinking about it

Lucy is thinking about it

Lucy is airborne with front paws in dive mode.

Lucy is airborne with front paws in dive mode.

Lucy makes sure that Brady is ok

Lucy makes sure that Brady is ok

Glen gets some ribs going in the smoker

Glen gets some ribs going in the smoker

Brady ... just kickin' back

Brady … just kickin’ back

Diane's front yard confirms that it is Springtime in the desert

Diane’s front yard confirms that it is Springtime in the desert

Our fun little excursions included a day at the Cave Creek Rodeo and a day at a major league Spring Training game.

Cave Creek Rodeo

Cave Creek Rodeo

Cave Creek Rodeo AZ -  12Cave Creek Rodeo AZ -  42

Angels vs. Mariners

Angels vs. Mariners

Spring Training Baseball Game - Angels v Mariners AZ -  04

Ingrid and I enjoyed a day at the Sonoran Desert Museum.  Seeing all the possibilities that the desert offers in one place is amazing.  We both took so many pictures and it is absolutely impossible to capture all the beauty with just a few pics.Botanic Gardens, Phoenix AZ -  169Botanic Gardens, Phoenix AZ -  171Botanic Gardens, Phoenix AZ -  04Botanic Gardens, Phoenix AZ -  112Botanic Gardens, Phoenix AZ -  165Botanic Gardens, Phoenix AZ -  32

We were able to reconnect with some friends that we haven’t seen in years.  Jeff and Mike worked together before Mike retired.  After Jeff retired a couple of years ago, he and Elaine built a home at The Trilogy in Peoria.  Jeff and Elaine invited us to lunch at V’s Taproom overlooking the golf course at the Trilogy.  It’s a beautiful resort type of community with a plush country club and spa.  Very nice.  It was great to get together with them again after all these years.  Plus, we’ve been offered a room with a private bath if we ever feel the need for a vacation from our permanent vacation in the RV.  Thanks guys!  Love it.

Mike, Linda, Elaine, Jeff

Mike, Linda, Elaine, Jeff

And then my friend Debbie and her husband Dan invited us to dinner at their beautiful home in Paradise Valley.  The weather was perfect for enjoying their gorgeous yard and the full moon looked amazing over the glow of the outdoor fireplace.  We love spending time with them and hope to see them again soon when we visit Prescott.Dinner with Debbie and Dan, Phoenix AZ -  04Dinner with Debbie and Dan, Phoenix AZ -  26Dinner with Debbie and Dan, Phoenix AZ -  19Dinner with Debbie and Dan, Phoenix AZ -  22

Debbie, Dan, Linda, Mike

Debbie, Dan, Linda, Mike

We’re currently in Cottonwood enduring some pretty high winds.  This is a good test for our new weather station which measures wind direction, wind speed, rain, temperature in and out, humidity, and moon phase.  It’s especially fun to be able to accurately measure the wind speed and wind direction, but I told Mike that we’re going to look like the Beverly Hillbillies if we attach any more gadgets on the RV.  We’ve got the satellite dish, TV antenna, solar panels, bike rack, and now the weather station.

The new weather station is taken inside when we are driving.

The new weather station is taken inside when we are driving.

Well, that almost brings us up to date.  We spent a few days in Wickenburg before coming to Cottonwood.  But I will wait a few days before doing another post.  Cheers!