Sunday, August 13, 2006

Tucson Tales, Part III

Any trip to Tucson requires a visit to Tombstone. We decided to make the trek the day after we arrived, since a nameless blogger really wanted to go. Kevin and Deanna said it was about a ninety minute ride. They weren’t kidding. The first thing I noticed was that the town is in the middle of nowhere. How settlers found this site boggles the mind.

Although it was a cloudy day, I was assured by our hosts that “It never rains in Arizona.” I doubted their mantra as we exited our vehicle. It was cold and overcast. Not the best conditions to see the O.K. Corral gunfight re-enactment. Kevin again told me not to worry.

Editor’s note: When Kevin tells you not to worry, you’d better worry.

The town, although plastered with stores and shops, is teeming with realism. Cowboys and lawmen walk the streets in 1880’s attire, and the sidewalk is still just a stretch of boards. The street is covered in dirt, but in a move right out of Philly government, some jackass thought it would be nice to pave over the original street. The townspeople revolted, and dirt was put back on top of the asphalt. Idiots.

Kevin showed us where the gunfights would take place, and just as I was getting excited, the skies opened up. Good one, God. The monsoon pelted the town for our entire visit. No gunfights, no clear pictures, no gunfights! Damnit.

While we didn’t get to see shots fired, the history buff in me was more than satisfied. We toured The Birdcage, the town theater which is the only building in town that was not restored. Everything inside is exactly as it was in 1880 and the tour guide showed us bullet holes in the walls and ceiling, courtesy of some rowdy cowboys.

We also checked out The Oriental, where Wyatt Earp dealt Faro, and Big Nose Kate’s Saloon. Kevin bought an awesome wooden sign for the space above his fireplace that read, “Tombstone Territory Cemetery,” and I talked the wife into letting me buy an artist’s print of Wyatt, Morgan, Virgil, and Doc Holliday walking to the O.K. Corral on that fateful day.

All in all, it was a terrific day – even with the rain.

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