Tucson – Catalina Mountain State Park
We have friends in Tucson, so we made a stop. Catalina State Park (northern Tucson) was stunning. Soaring mountains next to abundant cactus filled park, the skies were breathtaking. I am not sure which was more spectacular, the sun rise or the sunset.
We also enjoyed some damn good Mexican food; it was a treat for us.
I majored in history in school. I think I know a thing or two about American history. However, it is interesting to reflect on how Hollywood has influenced my perception of events in our past. A perfect example is Tombstone.
Tombstone is a classic historical town, rich in history and the true western feel. Locals who greet the tourists are all dressed in 1850s style gear. I expect to see Kurt Russel and Sam Elliott any minute now.
Big Nose Kate’s Saloon was a classic western bar, full of guests having fun. The one grizzled greeter was originally from La Pine (just south of Bend) and now dresses the part a couple days a week, and mines for gold the rest of the time. I scored a cool rock from him with gold streaks.
We enjoyed all the other tourist attractions too, including stagecoach ride, the reenactment of the shoot-out of the OK Corral, Boothill, and tour of the Bird Cage Theatre. The only thing we missed was the tour at Tombstone Brewery (they were closed). The Tombstone IPA was an awesome beer too, enjoyed at the Crystal Palace Saloon.
We made a Saturday day trip to Bisbee, about 30 minutes away. Built around a huge copper mine, the city hugs the side of the copper pit. Damn hard mineral to mine, and scars the landscape.
Saturday is farmer’s market day in Bisbee and we struggled to find it. Set in a brown grass park, speckled with leafless trees, they had about 5 vendors. But the vendors that were there offered some real treats. Fresh lettuce for example, something that has been VERY hard to find since leaving Bend. So many of small towns seem to be at the end of the produce trucks route. Nothing grows in much of the desert area, so we were happy to have any local food at all. We also scored some queso fresco, fresh tortillas and salsa too.
We went to lunch at Santiago’s Restaurant, run by the Page family, as it was highly recommended. I had chili rellenos there, probably the best ever. They also served craft beer and had an interesting tequila menu for Jeff.
OK, so we went to a saloon everyday while in Tombstone. My pants are getting tight.