Saturday, February 13, 2010

Tombstone & Boothill

Our first stop at Tombstone was at the Boothill Graveyard, the final resting place of some famous gunslingers. Admission was free, but access was thru this store trap which was filled with the typical touristy souvenirs.

Here lies Billy Clanton, Frank and Tom McLaury who were killed in the OK Corral gunfight on Oct 26, 1881. I suspect that had it not been for Hollywood, this old west town would have just faded away like so many others.

Unlike any other cemetery I have seen before, this style of piling lose rock over the grave made me wonder how deep they actually dug the graves.

The grave marker reads, "Here lies George Johnson, hanged by mistake. He was right, we were wrong. But we strung him up and now he’s gone."

There are artefacts scattered around this old town, like this old covered wagon frame. Someone brought their family accross the country in this contraption.

There is a lot of history in this picture. Someone drilled a well, set up this windmill and lived in these houses which are over 130 years old and barely standing.

About three blocks of the main street were blocked off from cars and trucks... and people could walk up and down looking into shops selling all manner of merchandise from western wear and jewellery to souvenirs and food.

No successful tourist trap would be complete without horse drawn carriages or stagecoach rides, narrated with historic dribble about the town. There must have been close to a dozen of these working the day we were there.

We went into a pub for some grub and this painting of Wyatt Earp caught Shirley's eye. They tell us that he came to these parts in search of silver and gold... but he made history as the law man of the town.

We were both pleasantly surprised how much we enjoyed our tour of this old historic courthouse. It was full of interesting memorabilia like an eight foot piano that was brought from Boston around the horn to San Francisco and then carried by wagon to Tombstone.

The details on the corners and under the eaves were not part of the original construction, but were added after this building was taken over as an historic monument and designated as a park. Unfortunately, due to the financial crisis, this building along with several other park sites will be closed the end of March.

It was sobering to stand and look at the gallows back of the courthouse. Justice was not slow in those old days. If the jury found you guilty you could be taken out back and hanged right away.

This lady with her burro and dog on top were soliciting customers to come to their "Wild West Show." Suckers that we are for a good show, we came to their rather underwhelming performance. The redeeming feature of it all was that we were sitting next to a couple from Alberta. I inquired about his EE hat... Edmonton Eskimos. We learned that his wife was from Vulcan, where Shirley lived when we met. So Shirley and Patty Love had a really good chin wag seeing how many names they knew in common. It gave purpose to having wasted 45 minutes and $8. Later we learned that Patty's older brother was in the same class as Shirley's sister Marilyn. Small world.

A Cowboy's Guide to Life...

1. Don't squat with your spurs on.

2. Don't interfere with something that ain't bothering you none.

3. If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging.

4. Always drink upstream from the herd.

5. Telling a man to git and making him do it are two entirely different propositions.

6. When you give a personal lesson in meanness to a critter or to a person don't be surprised if they learn their lesson.

7. If you're riding ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it's still back there.

8. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back in your pocket.

9. If you get to thinking you're a person of some influence, try ordering somebody else's dog around.

10. And never, ever, miss a good opportunity to shut up.


  1. Love hearing about your travels and seeing the pictures too! And it's always fun to have reinforcement in the "it's a small world" arena, too, isn't it?


  2. I used to love those old towns...we had one near where I grew up in Vegas. The cowboy rules are hillarious...and wise!