Leaving Phoenix on AZ 60 east.
Approaching Bisbee, heading south.
We drove 217 miles yesterday, from Phoenix to Bisbee. The difference is extreme. While we enjoyed Usery Mountain Regional Park, and will return if we have a reason to overnight in the Phoenix area, I don’t see us going out of our way to do so. Too many people, too many cars and too much smog. The charms of large cities take a long time to discover, way more time than we are ready to devote. “Large town” or smaller – that’s what appeals to me.
The first glimpse of Bisbee always puts a smile on my face. Yesterday we came into town the very best way, heading south through the Mule Mountain Tunnel. I LOVE this description, from virtualglobetrotting.com: “The longest tunnel in the AZ Highway system, Mule Mountain tunnel is also known as the "time warp"....as it heads from the real world into Bisbee proper....” No foolin’!
We rolled on down the hill, then wound our way up through the Bisbee Mine Tours parking lot and up the narrow driveway to the Queen Mine RV Park (click here to read our review), our usual home in Bisbee. Coming to QMRV Park for the first time is a real adventure, especially if you miss a turn and end up driving your rig through Tombstone Canyon, the main street through historic downtown Bisbee. (You really don’t want to do this.)
When you do make the turn successfully into the parking lot of the Mine Tours, it takes a seasoned driver with a steely nerve to make the uphill turn into the rock wall lined driveway. Stan, the original owner who developed the park, knew exactly how much room to spare for a big rig… but each time we arrive I wonder if this will be the day we scrape off a headlight (hasn’t happened so far!).
Queen Mine RV Park’s 25 sites are mostly empty right now (though all reserved for New Year’s Eve), and we settled in quickly – then took off to dinner with Sydney and Frank at their house a few miles west. Ummmmm… what a nice treat after a longish (for us) travel day.
This morning, Odel had a tee time at Turquoise Valley Golf Course (5 miles south of Bisbee in Naco, on the US/Mexico border) at 9:45, and I had a date with downtown Bisbee. I love browsing in Bisbee! One of my favorite fine crafts shops, Twist, has closed… the economy? But another favorite gallery, PanTerra, has moved from their former Brewery Gulch location (off the beaten path) to Tombstone Canyon, in the center of downtown Bisbee, and expanded. Oh, I could have gone wild in there!
One of the reasons we are here for the next two weeks is to experience New Year’s Eve in Bisbee. I’m going to try to stay awake until midnight – and probably will be outdoors. Since Bisbee is over 5,000 ft. elevation, it gets COLD here at night (and can snow in winter).
My last shopping stop was a little thrift store in town where, for $15, I got a warm, oversized fleece coat with a quilted liner. That will keep me plenty warm, with no worries about any potential damage from rowdy behavior (mine or others). And I got the final touch for our outdoor Christmas decoration…
After we finished setting up yesterday, we took my big, Christmas red, sparkly hula hoop, wrapped it with a rope of multi-colored Christmas lights, and hung it on the front of Scoopy, a big red wreath. It needed something… oh, yes, a big bow - made from the tartan plaid scarf I found at the thrift store. Let the festivities begin!