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Marfa, El Paso, Tombstone

Flying the Edge of America

Sunday, September 14, 2008: Marfa and Alpine, Texas

The only nice building in Marfa, and it is so out of place.

After leaving Big Bend this morning and driving from pristine deserts and mountains we slowly but surely returned to cattle lands and eventually ended up in Marfa, Texas.

We were told by the cabin owner in Big Bend that Marfa was worth a visit but I am not sure why. It was a typical small country town with an over evolved artist community. But really there is nothing in Marfa, not even a good restaurant.

Monday, September 15, 2008: El Paso, Texas

More nasty weather. When will it end?

We drove from Marfa back to Alpine this morning and made the one hour and a half hour flight to El Paso in Texas. This is the fourth stop we have made in Texas which should give you an idea just how large Texas is.

The astounding west Texas countryside.

The weather was filthy, low clouds, rain, high terrain, all this when all my weather sources indicated it would be a clear day. Just goes to show you can never believe any weather predictions. Julia made the flight valium free which was a major milestone seeing how awful the weather was. Julia has made many flight without the aid of valium but none as bad as this one. The flight was uneventful and ended with a clear landing in El Paso.

We drove to downtown El Paso just to have a look around. We found El Paso to be a very large and thriving city although not very attractive; mostly freeways and strip malls. But in downtown we did discover a performing arts center, science museum, and art museum. So there seems to be some culture El Paso too.

El Paso Flight Video

Tuesday, September 16, 2008: Tombstone, Arizona

Finally we had no weather.

We flew out of Horizon airport in El Paso, Texas in beautiful blue and mostly clear skies. This has been such a rare situation for us we hardly knew what to do.

Just as we crossed the New Mexico border to Arizona we encountered some weather, there had to be some, but then it was nothing compared to what we have seen on most of our flights. The clear skies gave us spectacular views of the southwestern desolate tract and how green it has become with all the rain lately.

Here is real evidence of a UFO hitting the earth.

While we were flying through the clear blue skies of Arizona we saw a UFO. In the distance, towards Roswell Arizona, we saw a white semicircular object just hovering. We took a few photos but none of them came out.

Finally, I called the controller and he said he knew what it was. He said something we could not make out. My guess is it was a weather balloon; but then again who really knows. Julia and I were not probed after the experience so that was a good thing.

The real Daleks, exterminate!

It did not take long and we found our Tardis, 51-Juliet, had placed us at Tombstone airport which is in the middle of nowhere. We had some confusion with time zones too, Arizona is in the same time zone as California while California is in daylight savings time, so we arrived one hour earlier than we had expected; hence the reference to the Tardis.

Julia and I do find that traveling in 51-Juliet is very much like a Doctor Who episode. Each day we find ourselves in a new place, with new people, on a new adventure. If you think of the weather as a Dalek (our arch rival) then we really have been in a Doctor Who episode.

Welcome to Tombstone airport.

There is no one at the Tombstone airport it is just a landing strip, three Nissen huts, and a locked gate. Julia tried to call our pre-arranged pick up and found she had no cell phone coverage.

Where all cowboys end up.

As an aside and a small complaint I have to let you know that I have gotten cell phone coverage with the same phone on top of the Andes Mountains in Chile and in the remote Mkuze Game Park in South Africa but not in Tombstone, Arizona or the Oakland Hills in California. Anyway, Julia finally was able to get through by standing on one leg and swirling her left arm in an anticlockwise direction. Soon thereafter we found ourselves at the Tombstone Historic District.

Tombstone is about as close to a real old west town as you will ever see. Its main street has been preserved in an old west fashion. We visited Boothill, the famous and infamous cemetery. Some of the folks killed at the OK Corral shootout where laid to rest here as with many other interesting characters of the time. We drank a beer at the Crystal Palace Bar which is where the Earps and the Clantons used to hangout. It is staffed these days by some very voluptuous women. We also attended the staged reenactment of the famous shootout which is conducted at the actual OK Corral. But the best part was wandering up and down the main street as it was easy to feel you were back in the 1800s.

Tombstone Flight Video

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A buxom girl at the Crystal Palace Saloon.

Last night, on our way back to the motel from dinner, we happened to walk past the Crystal Palace Saloon where we had met the buxom servers earlier that day. As we peeked into the window we saw two of the girls draped over a pool table in their little outfits while a man took photos. It was at this point we realized some things remain the same in Tombstone to this very day.

After breakfast this morning we took the tour of the "Good Enough Mine". This is one of the mines that started it all. Its discoverer Ed Schieffelin found silver and gold and the town of Tombstone soon followed. The guide was a really interesting character and proved that at least one aspect of the cowboy persona is still alive and well in Tombstone; you have to see the video. The guide was very knowledgeable but I must say the mine really did not make me feel very safe. It seemed miners were more interested in extracting the minerals than making the mine a safe place. But the tour is worth the risk, I guess.

It looks like we have good weather for our trip to Yuma tomorrow, here's hoping.

Tombstone Video

Trip stats

Obama: 23

McCain: 6

Undecided: 8

Miles Hiked: 174

Miles Flown: 9,000

Flights Flown 39

Hours Flown 66.03

States Visited: 28

Towns Visited: 50


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