Old Mine. Whorehouse. Trains. Flat Tires. Sounds Like Goldfield!

Once we pick a direction in which to travel, we Google everything from Los Angeles to the destination to find interesting places in which to stop.  This time, our search led us to Goldfield, Arizona.

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Starving, as we always are, we high-tailed it to the ghost town’s restaurant, Mammoth Steakhouse & Saloon and ate our faces off while listening to a musician rock some tunes.

We schlepped down a little hill and went to the gold mine. Jumped into the old and rickety elevator and went down down down deep into the old mine.  Our guide told us what all the tools were used for and other stuff that went on there. Our GuideHe was fantastic!! When the tour was done, we were made to walk up ALL the stairs to the top.

 

I will go ahead and say that bringing high heeled shoes on a road trip – as your only pair of close-toed shoes is really dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

The Mystery Shack was near the gold mine so we walked on over and went in.  IMG_2576(Okay. Really. The whole town is near everything in itself.) It is a shack built into a hill and everything is at a 45 degree angle. The guide had people demonstrating how f-ed it makes your sense of balance. Like walking to one side and back… And he had Sara sit on a chair – then put a ball on some wood thing on the wall. The end of the wood thing would make the ball fly right at the person on the chair.  So, even though we all knew damn well that thing was not going to really hit the person – was fun to watch the chair sitter freak out and jump up. HA!  I didn’t get to try anything because of my freaking high heels.

There was a reptile exhibit, so that had to happen. Even though I live in California, I have never seen (and never want to) a rattlesnake in the wild, so a zoo or exhibit is the closest I will ever get (I hope!)

The next attraction we checked out was the whorehouse, of course. (p.s. My spellcheck just made sure to correct me that whorehouse is one word and not two. Phew!) Lu Lu’s Bordello. It cost a few bucks to take the tour and it was a nice quick one as well. What we learned was that whoring back then was even ickier than what ick we assumed. The girls had to bring flipping buckets of water to the house so the smelly dirty ass miners can bathe. So, the first miner got the clean water and the rest of the miners after were in nastier, dirtier & shittier water. Mmm Yes. Bathing in the same water all night long. What does that even say about the guys at the end of the night?  Eww and Ewww.. Get there earlier. The girls also wrote letters home for the men.  The newer girls were in this particular bordello, til the madam trusted them. Then, when they were nice and broken in, they went across to the saloon.

Only Sara and I were on the tour.  But, our tour guide, dressed as a “Floozy,” projected as though she were in a room with 50 people as soon as she started on her memorized schpiel. But, if one of us talked to her, she spoke in her normal voice. At the end of the tour, we were encouraged to hang out and take pictures. There was a bathtub. (I don’t know if it was a replica or an original tub.) (Okay. I hope replica because, otherwise.. EWW!)

IMG_1026Sara put her foot in it to pose and it made the loudest noise, like it was breaking or something.  We were sure they would come back upstairs and reprimand us, but they didn’t. Yay, Us! We broke Goldfield and got away with it!

 

The last thing we hit up was the train. It went around the town. It was the last ride of the day and was during sunset, so the lighting was amazing.IMG_1045

Before we ditched out towards Tucson, we browsed the gift shop. I have a few friends with awesome children, for whom I love to buy interesting presents, so a little bit of shopping is a must sometimes.  I also bought candy. For me. And did not share it. Ney!

 When we exited the parking lot, Sara’s tire died.  I have changed many a tire in my life, but was in no mood. But, before I even had a chance to call Auto Club, a truck pulled up and a man, that is one of the train conductors, stepped out and saved the day. He had the best name. Whiplash.  He put on the spare. Posed for a picture and sent us to a WalMart. And nothing says “Old West” like WalMart.

whiplash

For girls that always lived in cities – the products in that WalMart were.. uh.. interesting..  IMG_2596

When the tire was fixed (which was very quick), we said “F it!” and went all the way to Tucson. Tombstone was on our minds.

Then we hung out with strippers and skydived into the Grand Canyon in wetsuits, holding cardboard..
haha. Yeaaahhh Noooo…. Just making sure you are still paying attention!

 

– Jenn

© 2013 Dart and Map All Rights Reserved – Copyright notice by Blog Copyright

 

 

 

 

Tombstone: The Town Too COOL to Die

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Pew! Pew! Pew!

Last year, Sara and I went to the Travel and Adventure Show in Long Beach. There were booths with Tourism Bureaus and tour companies. They encourage travel to their cities and countries. Of course, we want(ed) to go everywhere, but that day, Arizona won. We set off a few days later without any agenda.

At one point, we realized that Tombstone is in Arizona. I probably squealed. Sara probably squealed. Lots of squealing. We couldn’t get there in one night so we stopped in Tucson and found a nice quiet hotel far from the downtown area. We ate at some sandwich shop that Sara had seen on a food show. They have a huge sandwich that is free if you eat the whole thing in a certain amount of time and don’t throw it up. MMMM
We did not eat that sandwich.

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Hello, Tombstone!

So, we got to Tombstone and we just freaked out for it. Fricken WYATT EARP was there!! WYATT! EARP! DOC HOLLIDAY! I’ve been to ghost towns and historical places, but some resonate with me more than others. This was one of those places. So, we HAD to see the “shoot out” at the OK Corral.

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Grrr
Don’t mess with me, buddy!

There are several shows a day. Luckily, we got there in time to catch the last show of the day. We saw the players walking down Allen Street to the OK Corral. Doc tipped his hat at Sara (which made her SWOON.) We were so sold. We watched the gunfight. Re-enactments are so cheesy, but I LOVE them. We waltzed into the OK Corral, site of the famous gunfight, and grabbed our tickets to the show.

I knew the basic story, but the shoot out sorta confused me.
We watched it, then got pictures with the Gunfighters.

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I fit right in!

 

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Oops!

We had not planned on spending the night but as we ate dinner at Big Nose Kate’s, we realized we HAD to spend the night in this town.

Here is a thing about Sara that always cracks me up. She yelps everywhere we go. We were once in Bufu, Idaho and she tried to Yelp a place to eat. We stopped at a divey bar/restaurant and she said “There are no reviews.” Well.. Of course there weren’t. People there probably did not know what Yelp IS. The people at the tables around us were all discussing people they knew in prison. It was that kinda place. But, I digress. This particular night, Sara’s Yelping was just fantastic. She was lying in her bed at the hotel and found Doc Holliday’s Saloon. A reviewer mentioned that, sometimes, the actors from the shootout went to the bar, dressed as their character. That was all she needed to see. As soon as we walked in, I started talking to a man named Jim. Everything he said was interesting. And then I babbled “Blahblah Blah blah..” Paused for a new drink. Jim and I talked for a while longer. Then he told me he hosts karaoke, but not usually on that night. He asked the owner (or manager) if he could whip out his equipment and do a karaoke night right then. I have had myself a few karaoke nights in LA. It’s not a big thing. Just some crappy speakers and a monitor. Honestly, I did not expect much from someone in a small town. BOY, was I wrong. Jim starts to unload and set up. It was like the Transformers. Holy crap! Big ole monitors. All hi-tech and shit. Everything was set up pretty quickly and suddenly I became Miss MC. Now, he IS the Karaoke guy in Tombstone (and maybe other towns. I can’t recall.) but I like to think that it was extra magical because I was there. Yea. I used the word magical.

I grabbed a mic and had people sing with me, brought the music books around, and made sure to remind everyone to tip. Hope he made a lot of tips that night! I sang my little heart out. Unfortunately, there is video and it actually sounds like I am spitting my heart out. Not good. At least I know where it is. : )
We loved every minute of it. So so so glad Sara found that place and so glad we met Jim.
You are just DYING to know if Doc and Wyatt were there. Aren’t you?
No. Damnit. No. They were not.

The next morning, Sara and I wanted to walk around a bit more. There is a place with old timey guns you can shoot (that shoot paint) so naturally, we had to do that. People came up to us and made comments about the night before. (Apparently, we were really fun.) We would looPew Pew Sara_Tombstonek at people with blank stares. No recollection of meeting them or interacting with them. Very grateful we were well behaved.

So, we ate. We shot the old timey guns. And we avoided the actors on the streets trying to get us to see other re-enactments. Ultimately and reluctantly, we left. Sedona was on our radar. We were only stopped once by Immigration agents; asking from where we were coming. Tombstone is really close to the Mexican border. Since we were not hiding anyone in our dashboard, we went on our way.

. . .or were we?

I am very pleased with my purchase of Wyatt Earp’s autobiography from the OK Corral gift shop. I love stories about cowboys and western history. Everyone wants their own version of history to be told, despite how bullshit their version was/is. But, I think it’s fantastic. I can’t wait until it is time to read Wyatt’s version of his life. I don’t care if it’s bullcrap. It’s Wyatt. And Wyatt is good with me!

Later,
Jenn

© 2013 Dart and Map All Rights Reserved – Copyright notice by Blog Copyright

3, 2, 1, Blast Off!

If you’re seeking some relief from the Arizona heat I suggest a Cold War era flashback for a pretty cool pit stop. On our way from Tucson to Tombstone Jenn and I made a visit to the Titan Missile Museum in Sahuarita, Arizona.  This former top secret site is now a national historic landmark.  You, too, can take a tour underground to see the only remaining Titan II missile site open to the public up close, and even stand on its launch duct,

Jenn on top of the world and the launch duct

without any special clearance required, just a reasonable admission fee, and a hard hat if you’re tall like me. (Those beams are low and the walkways tight in these close quarters!)

Safety first for Sara

Following a brief film on the history of the site you are led by a tour guide to the formerly restricted grounds featuring exhibits of rocket engines.

Feeling the heat

Our tour guide was an engineer in this field, and like many others who work there, volunteers his expertise as he directs you past signs stating “Explosives”, “Safety First”, and “Danger RF Radiation” as you head to the access portal.  These, of course, are all leftovers of a bygone era as we were assured no nukes remained.  And to be sure of that we were told that due to agreements set in place post Cold War between the U.S. and former Soviet Union they are visited unannounced by our now comrades to double check. These former foes have even embraced the art of the American business trip, often showing up during the height of the golf season in Arizona to check the site and hit the links.

Going down

We descended 35 feet below ground into the missile complex, and of course captured a few fun photo ops. It’s what we do.

Who needs a hard hat when you have a cowboy hat?

 

Entering the launch control center is like stepping onto a sci-fi set from the 1960’s.

The oversized computer panels still stand and you can even hop into the command seat to re-enact a launch, or refrain if you prefer to avoid Armageddon.

What if I push this button?

 

 

 

 

 

 

The final stop is the missile itself, standing majestically in its silo.  For this part of the tour we were handed off to another expert, a bit more serious in composure, and I’m not quite sure he appreciated the glee Jenn and I emitted as we posed for more pics.  He seemed to be stuck in the Cold War mindset vs the appreciation of nostalgia we enjoyed as we took in its impressive anatomy decorated with the letters U.S.A.

 

 

 

 

 

 

But we got off our shots and gave it a salute, grateful it was never used, as we made our way back above ground.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

T minus zero.

-Sara

© 2012 Dart and Map All Rights Reserved – Copyright notice by Blog Copyright

 

Babes Behind Bars

beAconvictIf you follow our adventures on Facebook then you know how much Jenn and I enjoy checking into prisons during our travels. And sometimes we even get to check one out. Bam!  These two babes got behind bars at Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park.

During its thirty-three years of operation the prison housed 3,069 prisoners, including 29 women. But on this particular day these 2 sassy lasses proved they were bad to the bone.

The local townspeople called the prison The Country Club on the Colorado River. The convicts referred to it as a hellhole.

Scellsolo
Got my back against the wall
Jdoor2
Caged but not conquered

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Syard
Striking the prison yard stance

 

 

 

 

 

 

You don’t have to be married to be stuck with the old ball and chain, if you tried to escape the prison and were caught you were blessed with one of those too.

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Girl on the run! Jenn makes a break
for it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sladder
The only way is up to escape

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jguard
Foiled by the guard. It’s Jenn’s evil twin!

Not everyone made it out alive, in fact there are 104 prisoners buried in the cemetery grounds. Some say you can hear their ghosts at night still calling out for justice.

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Back to the cell Sara goes.

 

 

 

 

Jsolocell
Doomed to dwell in the Dark Cell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have the ladies learned their lesson?  We shall see… until next time… when they are released to the open road!

-Sara

© 2012 Dart and Map All Rights Reserved – Copyright notice by Blog Copyright

Venturing Into The Vortex

If I had gotten a T-shirt as a souvenir from our trip to Sedona it would read, “I went to Sedona and all I got was this lousy T-shirt, oh, and lost in the vortex.” Not that there is anything lousy about Sedona, Az., in fact it is absolutely stunning and mystical in nature, we were just hoping to absorb some of that mystical energy ourselves, instead we got lost. But can you truly be lost when you know where you are? See how this city can play with your mind?  More about that later, first we had to check-in to a hotel and fuel up for the night.

Room with a view!

Once again we arrived without any reservations and were treated to a vacancy at Wildflower Inn whose sign out front boasted, “Best Views,” and it was no false brag. We were treated to a room with quite a view.

It was early evening when we got to Sedona so dinnertime beckoned.  Our next discovery we were treated to was The Silver Saddle Room’s menu at the Cowboy Club. Prickly pear is a local ingredient well utilized in both their margaritas as well as the dipping sauce that accompanies the must-have unique appetizer nopalitos cactus fries. Three words: nom nom nom!

Perfectly prickly

The next morning we headed to Bell Rock, the majestic red formation looming just outside our hotel window, for a hike and to encounter one of these infamous vortexes we’d heard about.  I’m all about energy and any additional good vibes are most welcome.  Touted as well marked we entered the park and began our trek on the trail, feeling just a rush of this anticipated energy.  The beauty is overwhelming and that alone is enough to give you a buzz, but we were determined to ingest more. We passed purple and green cactus and a remote stream along the way. We soon found ourselves on the backside of the rock, but yet to feel anything that would create a tingle or even raise the hair on our arms.  We forged on. And on. And on. And seemed to be further out in this path that circled and should, according to the map, return us to the starting point.  If we continued on we should simply arrive at the place where we started, so we did, but only continued to feel more distant.  We passed others along the way and could even see some folks scaling the rock itself, so we weren’t alone on this adventure, but we were getting tired and a bit frustrated. We weren’t lost exactly, the rock was still right there, we could freaking see it, but somehow getting to the other side seemed impossible. We found signs on this well marked trail, several in fact, and they started to contradict each other, pointing us back to where we had just come from, and after over two hours to get to where we were, we weren’t going back, so we went forward, it seemed to be the sensible route.  Finally we found ourselves scaling the rock itself, just like the others, but with no end in sight, even though we knew there had to be a way around, let alone the front side where we had started.  Perhaps we had encountered the vortex after all, we were just lost in it! The energy had taken its effect but so had our patience. We might not be able to see the path that led to the end but what we did see was the road off to our right. The same road which led to the entrance and lot where our car was parked. What survival skills I did have told me to head for the pavement, so we did. We scaled back down the side and eventually opted for the white lines along the highway to lead us back.

But we weren’t done. Jenn was not going to leave this other than place without anything other than encountering the vortex itself.  So after we regrouped and rehydrated with some water at the car we went back in.  With map firmly in hand we found the vortex. Turns out we had already been by it, so this time we stood our ground on this sacred ground and summoned it with all our might.  Can’t say we really felt it though, or what we thought we would feel, but we were in it and it had affected this journey one way or another, maybe just not how we expected.  But isn’t that the case with the unknown?

What I did know was that we had gotten in a heck of a workout and it was time to leave the vibes behind us and fuel up on some food.  Next stop was Javelina Cantina to store up on some Southwest fare and a toast to our survival.

 

 

 

 

 

Video in the vortex!

Cheers!

-Sara

An Ode to BBQ

Along with the adventures we’ve embraced on the road, one of the mottos I live by is to “taste life” and there is no better time to do that than when meal time rolls around.  Pizza is a pretty perfect food item. Growing up on the East coast I tend to prefer the flat crust New York style pie whereas Jenn, a Chicago gal, goes for the deep dish.  But our explorations of the West together have increased our exposure to the cuisine of BBQ.  On a trip I once took to Texas I attended the BBQ Cook-Off at Rodeo Austin. My initial goal was to kiss a cowboy, which I accomplished, (just a little cheek action) but I then topped that by kissing a clown. Those actions were soon overshadowed by the Cook-Off and the assortment of barbecue available including dry rubbed cuts of beef, smoked sausage rolls wrapped in tortillas, and BBQ brisket Frito pie.  For a girl who grew up in New England with grilled chicken brushed with barbecue sauce from a bottle counting as BBQ I soon tasted what I had been missing out on and it created an appetite for more.

In California Jenn and I took off for a day in Pioneertown.  The town originated as an Old West set and even includes a mock gunfight by the local re-enactment performers. After taking in the gunslingers (Pew! Pew!) we popped into Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace to get some grub.  On the way in we were greeted by the BBQ smokers out back and a cast of characters inside- a mix of locals, tourists, cowboys and bikers- who were even more entertaining than the shoot-out show on the street.We preferred to pose rather than draw our pistols A jukebox fills the air when a band’s not on stage, pool tables are available for a game to pass the time, although we didn’t play this time around, and drinks come served in mason jars. The friendly staff makes you feel at home as you indulge in an assortment of Tex-Mex tacos loaded with thinly sliced tri-tip, baby back ribs smothered in tangy sweet BBQ sauce, savory homemade chili poured over pinto beans and mesquite grilled chicken capturing the smoky spicy flavors of the Southwest.

Now if you want the true taste of mesquite then you have to go there, so we did. Mesquite, Nevada was a pit stop where we found a pig roast fresh off the spit. Jenn sticks with chicken and I’m partial to a slab of ribs slathered in sauce but at The Smoke Shack I opted for the pulled pork. The pig on the table might be enough to make most cringe, and I apologize to my PETA peeps and those of the vegetarian persuasion, but even Charlotte would have climbed down from her spider web and chowed on Wilbur too, if she knew he tasted this good. The Shack is focused on the food. You order up at the counter, grab a seat in the dining area to enjoy your BBQ which is simply served in a basket. After lunch if you’re feeling lucky head on in to the attached casino.

In a sea of strip malls in Phoenix, Arizona we discovered Bobby Q, offering up both tasty BBQ and an adjoining nightclub, the Q Lounge. After consuming some super creamy mac n’ cheese, pecan coleslaw, roasted corn or ranch beans among the side choices you can select to accompany one of their great big barbecue platters you can shake it all off as you dance next door. You’ll need to once the sugar rush hits from the fresh warm complimentary donut they serve you to complete this mega meal. And if dancing’s not your thing you can play some beer pong or get bottle service in their VIP section and be a voyeur as the smoke machine and laser lights create a pseudo-Vegas styled atmosphere as the patrons hit the floor.  We even made some fun new friends before finally succumbing to the food coma and calling it a night.

Other BBQ breaks we’ve enjoyed include The Smoking Apple, an unexpected Utah treat in Lindon, the Toll Road Restaurant in Death Valley where I got a rack of ribs and afterwards Jenn racked up the points playing me in pool at the Badwater Saloon next door and in case you think that BBQ can’t be classy well the Wild West Cowboy Steakhouse in Buckeye, Az serves up barbecue along with suggesting that you keep up the art of meal-time conversation thanks to their guide posted at each table.

This is just the beginning of what I sense to be a long-term love affair with true barbecue and there are so many regions yet to travel to and try. Bring it on and any suggestions for some future finger licking good places we should go to.  Mmmmmmmmm!

-Sara

© 2012 Dart and Map All Rights Reserved – Copyright notice by Blog Copyright

I thought I was in heaven, but found out it was Spring Training


I have always wanted to check out Spring Training, but assumed it would be extremely expensive. Why did I never even LOOK at the prices? Oh. Because I am a total dufus. I was so convinced I would be disappointed that I was afraid to even look! DUH! Ticket prices  depend on the ballpark/team, but the parks are small and there are no bad seats. The cheapest is $8… EIGHT DOLLARS! Double DUH to me! Nay, triple duh.

Due to a car accident (someone else caused), I had a free rental car from Enterprise for a week (unlimited mileage!!) and decided it was time to see some baseball in Arizona!  Sara and I arrived in, uhm, beautiful Glendale, Arizona with no hotel booked. (See? Still have not learned our lesson.)  We drove around the endless strip malls aimlessly for a bit, until we decided on Ramada Arrowhead Towne Center for the night.  When our stomachs started to growl, we met up with a friend of mine at The Lodge in Scottsdale, AZ. They had fried pickles. You heard me! FRIED FRICKEN PICKLES! The food was great and the view of the good looking baseball players sitting next to us was great, too.

The next afternoon, we were off to the Peoria Sports Complex for the Chicago White Sox @ San Diego Padres. I was in such an excited daze that I liken my behavior to a pinball machine. Thankfully, Sara was there to keep me from running into things.  The stadium is crazy small. We had seats behind HOMEPLATE for only $20!! Are you kidding me!?!?!?! Oh.. And check out our view!

Yea. That’s the White Sox and they were that close to us!  In front of us were a lot of scouts with their radar guns.

This ballfield was a bit on the quiet side. I am used to loud music to get the fans pumped and that wasn’t happening here. I still LOVED it, even though Sara and I were sort of reprimanded for leaning on the railings and standing on the wrong side of the walkway.

 

I even ate a hot dog!

That evening, we ate at Bobby – Q. I definitely recommend this place! It was delicious AND was NOT in a strip mall! We made two incredibly awesome new friends there that kept us laughing all night. There is a lounge in the room next to the restaurant. Not at all my type of music, but WOW was it crowded for a Tuesday night!

Ramada only had one night available, so we switched to Thunderbird Executive Inn. I highly recommend this place! Very nice! It is on a college campus, which is different. It was clean, quiet and close enough to the ballparks for us! We got free passes to use the very nearby YMCA for our morning workouts, too. Rock on, Sara, for this find!

The next day was Anaheim Angels @ Chicago White Sox at the Camelback Ranch. This felt much more like a regular game. There was music to get everyone excited for the game and it was noisier.. Oh, and the Sox won. : )

After the game, there was a Senior Stroll. As in Senior Citizens. So you can understand why this photo is so hilarious!

I hated leaving the ballpark, but…

alas.. there was one more game to attend that day…

Colorado Rockies vs. Arizona Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields.

We high-tailed it to Talking Stick and grabbed our tickets. My friend works for the Rockies and was able to take us on a tour of the facility. We got a behind-the-scenes tour that rocked!

We trained hard where the ball players train hard.

 

 

 

 

And we learned hard lessons about

not following the rules!

 

The last day, I was DETERMINED to meet the White Sox. It seemed logical to me that they would warm up at the ballpark at which they were to play. I was wrong. Duh, again. We did find them at their own park, watched them do batting practice and patiently waited for them to pass so I could meet a few.

This was a very amazing experience. Watching baseball on tv or even at a big ballpark is absolutely awesome, but seeing them in small parks and having access to actually meeting them is priceless. I highly recommend this trip for everyone that loves baseball!!

aaaaaaaand PLAY BALL!!!!!!

Jenn

© 2012 Dart and Map All Rights Reserved — Copyright notice by Blog Copyright