“Dead” seems to be a popular theme among southern Arizona’s roadside attractions. Not far from The Thing in Dragoon is infamous Tombstone, Arizona, home of the OK Corral and legendary gunfighters now dead.
Usually, I tell you all about fun places or sights that will make you smile. While Tombstone is rich in history (and now touristy souvenirs), the off-the-beaten-path roadside attraction struck me as a ghost town on life support.
The town itself seemed “dead” with an eerie feel about it, an emptiness only enhanced by the burnt-out and unenthusiastic customer service personnel in the myriad gift shops. This general lack of enthusiasm was not evident anywhere else I shopped in Arizona.
I got the impression no one wanted to be there, with one possible exception: an over-zealous person selling an over-priced tour. Far pushier than any street-side vendor I encountered while in Mexico, this person proceeded to follow me down the street as I desperately tried to get away.
However, the side trip wasn’t a total loss. The best parts were Boothill Graveyard and the flirty and quite attractive cowboy actors reenacting the famous gunfight at the OK Corral. Their flirting was the highlight of the trip. There’s nothing quite like the charm of a cowboy.
Boothill Graveyard, aka Boothill Cemetery
Surprise, surprise, you have to pass through a gift shop to get to it. Fear not the ghosts of the dead, but beware the unhappy shop personnel. The Boothill Graveyard website has this to say about the graves:
“Because of the many violent deaths of the early days, the cemetery became known as Boothill Graveyard. It is possibly a true symbol of this roaring mining town of the early 1880s. Buried here are outlaws with their victims, suicides, and hangings, legal and otherwise, along with the hardy citizens and refined element of Tombstone’s first days.”
Gunfight at the OK Corral
A sign at the OK Corral reads:
“On this spot, the Earp and Clanton factions met on October 26, 1881, to settle the West’s most famous feud. Doc Holliday stopped on Fremont Street a few feet from where indicated. Here, Frank and Tom McLaury finally dropped on Fremont Street. Billy Clanton died where he stood. Virgil and Morgan Earp were wounded.”
Despite the charming cowboy actors, I did not see the show. By then, I was already feeling the wearying effects of the customer service personnel and didn’t want to pay the fee. I kind of wish I had, if only to get the charming cowboy’s phone number.
If you decide to go to Tombstone and see the gunfight, maybe one of you can get it for me?
Tag along on my next adventure, when I bring you to friendly Willcox, Arizona, the burial site of Warren Earp (Wyatt’s brother), Rex Allen, and Koko the Horse.
To see many more photos, follow more of my weird, wacky, and wonderful RV adventures on Flickr.
My next stop: Strange RV Encounters: The Rex Allen Museum and Koko the Horse in Willcox, AZ.
Read how it all began: Strange RV Encounters: An Introduction.