Thursday, January 22, 2009

Beatlick Travel #5: Urban Camping in AZ

Beatlick Travel Report #5 2009 Series

Third day out of Las Cruces, on a Monday, we woke up to snow so we curtailed our plans to linger any longer at the Old Hachita ghost town. We headed for Douglas, AZ , less than 30 miles away, and hit the Visitors Center before noon. I was surprised to find out we were only 15 blocks from the border of Mexico. Across the border lies Aqua Prieta, Sonoma.

The ladies at the Visitors Center claimed this border town has not been subjected to violence. I’m too intimidated to go to Juarez now for dental work because of the violence there. But “PR” says all is peaceful and calm over there and shopping opportunities abound. We declined shopping in order to explore our opportunities for “urban camping.”

We found our urban campsite in the city’s downtown parking lot behind the grand old Gadsden Hotel. From there I took a two-mile stroll east of the Pan American Highway encountering modest homes with charming yard art and quite a few elegant old homes closed and falling into decay. There was an enormous fountain, just beautiful, that reminded me of the grand fountain of Catalan Plaza in Barcelona.

I liked it there, looked a little like the Ninth Ward in New Orleans BK (before Katrina). The town was small and unintimidating, slow traffic, my kind of place. We passed the night in the parking lot outside the hotel and went in for breakfast the next morning. It’s an historical building with original Tiffany windows and is quite enjoyable to just look at. Lots of old furnishings give a visitor the genuine effect of the era. That made a good segue for us as we paid for breakfast, left a generous tip for some generous supplies of coffee, and headed to the old mining town of Bisbee, once the financial hub between Chicago and San Francisco.

Happy Trails!

Beatlick Pamela