October 9, 2008 — First thing that we tried to do today was to see the Shakespeare Ghost Town that is very close to this hotel. We had decided that we wanted an easy day so we thought the ghost town and then what looked like a 90 minute drive up to the Gila Cliff Dwellings.
I don’t know why this is, but every time we say we want an “easy” day, we jinx it. Since we’ve been on the road, I would call today our least successful day. But on the other hand, who’s complaining? The weather is perfect. The scenery is interesting no matter where we go!
So the Ghost Town was a bust. It is private property and the owners will only give tours at 2 specific times of day — but none of this is mentioned on the sign post as you drive to the property. While we were trying to figure out what to do, there were two men from England on rented Harley’s wondering the same. I was hoping that the live person on the other side of the fence might decide four people was worth stopping his chores and giving us a tour, but not so. So we snapped photos and left.
So then we headed north up 15 to Silver City and then onto to the Gila Cliff Dwellings.
Just before coming into Silver City, we found another open copper mine pit, the Tirone Mine owned by the Phelps David Mining Company (they owned the mine we saw yesterday until sometime last year). This one is being reclaimed, meaning they are trying to hide the tailings. Major expensive project and will take years. But hey, I’m sure it is providing plenty of jobs for those in Silver City.
We didn’t spend anytime in Silver City because we still assumed that we would be back down quickly and we see it for lunch.
Well, never assume (as I’ve said in this blog before)!
Even though we only had to travel about 45 miles, the GPS reported that it was going to take us about 2 and half hours to arrive. What? We thought there was something screwy with the GPS. But after it took us 18 minutes to travel 5 miles or so, Carl started questioning if we would arrive in time for a tour! Whereas we have encountered many switchback roads on this trip, this one was the ultimate. It was more like slalom skiing, with edge of the road driving. We certainly did not run into many other cars or trucks on this road. It is a National Park and there were camp grounds scattered throughout. I think it would be a beautiful place to go tent camping. I don’t think you could drive or tow anything else for camping, up there.
Seeing this Apache land and what we did with it — all the mining — it gives a little more clarity to the Apache wars.
When we got to the end of 15 and took the turn to go up to the Cliff Dwellings, we were dismayed to find that we still had another 15 miles to go at an estimated 45 minutes. This was more than we had bargained for when we set the day’s agenda. Of course, if we had looked on the Internet first, we would have known that we didn’t want to to this. First, the parking lot is 2 miles from the cliff dwellings. So, it is a good thing that we turned around! But first we took one great photo.
So we headed back to Silver City for lunch — but we took the easier, but longer (in theory only) highway 35. You know, though, every road is interesting and worth the drive.
Silver City, of course, was a disappointment. So goes the day! We could only find one (rather expensive) place to have lunch despite what appeared to be a rather bohemian historical section. I think this is supposed to be an artist’s town — or at least a college town — but we must not have been in the mood to appreciate it.
So we left to come eat at the “other” restaurant in Lordsburg. It was also too expensive.
Tomorrow is Friday and if we want to get a room we are going to have to get up and out. We can either go back to Tucson or go to Las Cruces. Let you know what we decide….