Saturday, October 17, 2009

Tombstone, Arizona

One of the many printing plates found at the
Tombstone Epitaph, the newspaper of the old west.
Note: This picture was flipped for legibility purposes!

One of the great things about living in Arizona is that every day you can take a step back into the Old West—while enjoying the amenities of the future, like air conditioning, penicillin, and modern vehicles. Tombstone, Arizona was our destination for a day of buffalo burgers—OK, I had a BLT; no beef—and a walk along the wooden boardwalks of old Arizona.

The boardwalk and lovely "old timey" signs.
I love this style and walking along the boardwalk
in a nice pair of boots elicits a magical sound.

For those not familiar with the place, Tombstone is where the historic gunfight between the Earp brothers and "Doc" Holiday versus Frank McLaury, Tom McLaury, Billy Claiborne, Ike Clanton, and Billy Clanton—the lawless villains of the old west—on Wednesday, October 26, 1881. In reality it's hard to tell the difference between those on the right side of the law and those on the wrong side.

"Walk Where They Fell"—that's a little morbid, right?
They have closed off the original lot where the shootout occured
because—I can only guess—they can make money by putting on a show?

Tombstone is a city very well aware of its own kitsch value, and it plays up to this fact with great effect. Don't go there looking for the real west—if that's what you are after I suggest old Bisbee, some of the old mines like Winkelman and Christmas; which are mostly ghost towns in this era. Outside every doorway is a man or woman in full western wear soliciting you to see their show, stop by for goods or just enjoy a drink on this fine hot afternoon. It feels like being solicited by prostitutes in Vegas; i.e. a little weird.

While in Tombstone you can visit famous Boot Hill, the original cemetery where so many of the west's famous names were buried. It's a little strange, and very fake feeling to me for most of the markers, but there are a couple of genuine burial sites within. It also allows a nice view of the valley down into Mexico behind the city.

Take a ride in one of the many stage coaches around
town and learn about the way the west was.

Don't stop too long, Big Nose Kates' might employ you in their house of burlesque!

Below is the slideshow of the rest of the pictures I took on our little mini vacation.