Pambling Roads ~~ New Mexico to Arizona
Welcome back to Pambling Roads, where we are documenting our travels in the United States (and Canada) to “Meet the Americans”. So far we have written articles about ~~ Texas ~~ Louisiana ~~ Alabama to Florida ~~ Ohio to Mississippi ~~ New Hampshire to Niagara Falls, CA ~~ DC to RI to Maine ~~ Williamsburg/Jamestown, VA ~~ Washington, DC ~~ Georgia and South Carolina ~~ West Coast of Florida ~~ Key West
We were expecting to meet people from all over North America. It has been a wonderful adventure of a lifetime. We have met people from all over the world.
Carlsbad, New Mexico
We stayed at the Econo Lodge. The pool wasn’t working there either. Mid-nineties and the pool isn’t available. Ayyyye
Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
We arrived in the late morning to a wonderful surprise. They were holding a mineral and gem show. We walked around a bit, checking out the vendors before we went back to the desk to purchase entrance into the zoo and gardens. The garden specializes in native plants of New Mexico and the Chihuahuan Desert. It’s a beautiful walk through sand hills and desert uplands.
As you walk about, you will view an aviary with several types of birds including a bald eagle, golden eagle, and roadrunner. There is a nocturnal and reptile exhibit. You will see Bison, Pronghorn, Mule Deer Elk, a cougar, bobcat and several other animals that are native to the area.
All the parks personnel were wonderful, pleasant, and welcoming. We spoke for a while with the gift shop ladies. They greeted us as we entered the room and were pleasant to visit with as well. One of the ladies was familiar with Florida and we chatted about the hurricanes and the differences between New Mexico weather and Florida weather.
Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico
Carlsbad National Park
Absolutely fascinating. Wear a jacket, it gets a bit chilly down there. If you have any physical issues either be prepared to be hurting, take the elevator, or pass on the harder tours. Don’t forget to stop at all the pullouts, you will miss a lot of fascinating geological sites if you skip them. Bring water so you can stay hydrated while you are outside walking some of the trails.
Ocotillo Bar and Grill
Yummmmmm delicious, great food, great prices! Cheery, happy waitresses!
We were going to eat there again the next night but they closed the restaurant at 6 pm and we were too late.
Lincoln National Park
Sitting Bull Falls and Recreation Area
WOW! Right smack in the middle of a desert the 150-foot waterfall gracefully falls to pools of cool water. This is a movie-worthy mirage moment that is real. It is a beautiful oasis with green plants and cool water for swimming. There are places to sit under natural curved rock for shade. Standing near the falls, one can just feel the power and beauty of the earth.
There are trails that can be hiked, picnic tables, pavilions, fresh water, and bathroom facilities at the park.
Driving through New Mexico we noticed that in many of the smaller towns there were a lot of houses with bars on their windows. It’s not that I haven’t seen it before. There are a few homeowners in Florida that do that.
I’m not sure I would want to live in a town where I didn’t feel safe unless I had bars on my windows. It always strikes me as prison-ish. They may be barring themselves from thievery, etc., but they are barring themselves in, making themselves prisoners in their own homes. I found it odd to see so many like that.
We stayed at the Best Western in Benson, Arizona. We know we can’t go wrong with Best Westerns.
The history buff in both of us wanted to visit an authentic western town. Tombstone was a must and did not disappoint in any way from the moment we entered the town.
Tombstone “The Town Too Tough to Die”
Driving into Tombstone feels as if you are driving into any small town USA, until you turn the corner to go to the historical district. As you walk toward the main street, you feel as if you go back in time with every step you take. All the employees in the historic district wear period clothing. I’m not sure about my husband but I felt as if I wasn’t dressed properly. We had time-traveled to another time, another place.
You will hear about Big Nose Kate, Wyatt Earp, and his brothers. History rings with stories of Doc Holliday, the gunfight at the OK Corral, and the controversy behind the gunfight.
Tombstone started out as a silver mining town and thrived for several years until the mines started to flood and they could no longer work the mines. Once the opportunity was gone for mining the town slowly declined from 20,000 resident to under 200 residents. Tombstone is still a small town with about 1200 residents.
The horse drawn narrated historical tour was excellent. It is definitely something you do not want to miss. This is a very informative ride where you will learn the history and some trivia about the area. The tour probably lasted about fifteen minutes and every moment was chock full of wonderful historical content.
Lunch was at the Crystal Palace Saloon
The Bird Cage
The Bird Cage was once known for being a brothel, gambling hall, and theatre. There are claims that the place was haunted and I believe the clerk at the gift shop mentioned that there have been ghost sightings.
The tour of the courthouse was fascinating. It is a two story Victorian architectural masterpiece. It features quite a bit of Tombstone history from artifacts, the mining history, pioneers, and cattlemen’s stories. A reproduction of the courthouse and replica of the gallows in the courtyard was intriguing.
The Epitaph Museum
If you like anything about printing, journalism, etc. this is definitely a must-see. It is free and you can receive a copy of the newspaper that printed the original story of the gunfight at O.K. Corral. It has original equipment and presses on exhibit.
The O.K. Corral
The gunfight at the O.K. Corral is probably foremost on most peoples’ minds when they hear the name Tombstone. Of course, we were thrilled when we realized they did a reenactment.
The fight actually took place in an empty lot near the corral. The area has a portion of the gunfight site cordoned off where you can see where a part of the gunfight had taken place. Mannequins are positioned and strategically placed where history and research has put the original lawman and cowboys.
There is a theatre area where they reenact the gunfight, a blacksmith’s, stables, the original corral office, and Fly’s boardinghouse where Bid Nose Kate had witnessed the gunfight.
We look forward to returning to Arizona and plan on making the trip again this year to the Tombstone area. Maybe we will stay at the Tombstone Bordello, a real 1880’s bordello that is now a Bed and Breakfast.
Saguaro National Park
Oh, the saguaro were flowering and it looked absolutely gorgeous. Picture perfect. We never realized how big they could get! It was the middle of the day, so we didn’t do too much walking around. We stopped at the visitor center and absorbed all the information we could. On our way to the car, we stopped and spoke with a young man (from Texas) who was biking across the state as part of his “break” from college. Good for him, we hope he had a great time and arrived home safely.
Border Patrol between Arizona and California?
Yes, they do! Seriously, we thought we had made a wrong turn. At the California and Arizona border we had to stop at Border Patrol and answer a few questions. While we were in line I was scrambling for our passports. Luckily, we brought them just in case we decided to go into Mexico or Vancouver. They never asked for our passports but requested our driver’s licenses. To this day we are not sure why there is a border patrol station at the California border.
There was a truck, pulled over to the side where a BP officer was speaking with a couple of men. They didn’t look very happy at all.
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Have you been to any of the places I have mentioned? Do you have stories to tell as well? We want to hear them. Do you live in any of the areas I have written about? There is a comment section below and on all the Pambling Roads article pages for you to tell us all about it.
Thank you for taking the time to read about our adventures traveling the United States. Our goal? The 48 states! I tried, really I did, I tried really hard to get my husband to agree to drive to Alaska. I didn't win that one. Maybe the next time.
It has been a great adventure, meeting the Americans, and meeting people from all over the world. Share with us, we want to hear all about it! Take advantage of comment section below and tell us your stories.
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