On November 2nd we left Willcox and arrived in Benson where we stayed for seven days at Valley Vista RV Park. Benson is another small town, population 5,100. Because it is on the Southern Pacific Railroad route, it once was a prime distribution center for copper and silver mines. When the railroads began to decline in the 1920’s, like many similar towns Benson changed into more of a stopover for tourists traveling west and snowbirds seeking a warmer winter climate.
Saturday we made the short drive to Tombstone, known as the “town too tough to die”. In the early 1880’s the town produced millions of dollars in silver and gold mining. After seven years of mining, rising underground water forced the mining to end.
Much like Dodge City, Kansas and other western towns, Tombstone was known for lawlessness and violence. The most infamous gunfight battle fought there was between Wyatt Earp and his brothers against the Clanton brothers.
We walked the old historic streets of Tombstone browsing some of the many souvenir and western apparel shops. In one shop we met a couple visiting from Jacksonville, Florida. They had vacationed on the west coast and were on their way back home. We really enjoyed chatting with this nice couple from Bill’s hometown.
We had lunch at Big Nose Kate’s where Bill had their famous reuben sandwich. Big Nose Kate’s was from Hungary and was Tombstone’s first prostitute. She was also the longtime companion and common law wife of gunfighter Doc Holliday. No, she didn’t have a big nose. She got that name because she was always sticking her nose in other people’s business! Big Nose Kate died just five days before her 90th birthday.
The rest of our time in Benson went by quickly with laundry, grocery shopping and RV chores.
Next stop: Tucson, AZ
Arizona fun facts:
- Arizona and Hawaii are the only two states that do not observe daylight savings time.
- The Arizona Cardinals are the longest running continuous franchise in the National Football League (1898).
- Autumn is an active season for rattlesnakes because they are finding food before hibernating for the winter.