This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Saturday 24 February 2024

Excursion to the Soldiers Hole and Bisbee via the Hanging Tree!

On Friday midmorning we left our RV Park passing through Tombstone taking the Gleeson Road with a view of the Dragoon Mountains. That was when we noticed all these milk cans standing every few miles by the side of the road. Cattle were grazing left and right but they were no milk cows, so we figured they could not be milk cans. Well, we stopped and of course Benno had to investigate and had to laugh out loud, because what he found were rain gauges. :-)

With so many historical sites and stories of bygone days here in Arizona, one doesn’t have to travel very far to find them. In a previous post I wrote about our visit to the old jails. Thanks to Nancy, who pointed out in my comments section that the hanging tree in Gleeson, which was used to chain prisoners to it before the jail was built, still stands behind the old country store, almost opposite of the jail. It was also used as the Hanging Tree. So we wanted to stop by to have a look yesterday on our way to Bisbee. The tree is still majestic and strong in its old age. Yes, the steel cable as well as a chain are still there and are partly ingrown into the trunk.

The old general store next to the wash

While we explored the site, a local resident stopped by to retrieve his mail from one of the dozen or so mailboxes that lined the road. Benno started up a conversation with him about the tree, jail and the wash going by the property. He said the water in the wash that runs by his 32 acre property was 5 feet deep last year but the house he is presently building sits on high ground and is not affected by it. By the way, this fellow could have been a spitting image of “Ryan Black” from the “Farmer Wants a Wife 2023” series, but he said he was from Chicago, so that was a letdown.

There is a story about the “Soldiers Hole” and a marker with bronze plaque sits by the West Gleeson Road, 2-1/2 miles west of Hwy 191, about 6 miles from the Gleeson Jail. In the 1861 to 1886 years cavalry troops camped here at a permanent source of water known as “Soldiers Hole”. There is a 15 page story of its origin published and can be found here for any of you history buffs, it’s quite an interesting read. 

We drove further towards the lovely touristy town of Bisbee, but that took us through the town of Mc Neal where Al and Kelly from “Travel With The Bayfield Bunch” spent some time looking after a ranch during their time vacationing down here in Arizona and you can read about it here.

We stopped at the gas station in Mc Neal on the main road to get a snack. 

In Bisbee, the famous copper mining town is not new to us as we have been touring it a few times in the past. However, we made a stop at the Queen Mine for a bit of touristy browsing of their souvenirs and such. 

A display of  how mining was done about 140 years ago

Nice displays at the Queens Mine

Then it was time to head home as our doxies were getting hungry. It sure was another interesting tour with wonderful views of the surrounding mountains.

Thanks for dropping in again. 

Sunday 18 February 2024

Excitement early Sunday morning

  It wasn’t even 7 a.m. yet this morning when Benno lifted both dogs into our bed. I was barely awake, contemplating to fetch my iPad, when we heard a loud pop. Benno thought it came from a truck tailgate slamming shut somewhere. I thought it rather sounded more like a tire burst from our truck, which is parked next to our trailer. So I got up, opened the door and heard water gushing. It was coming from under our trailer. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news in the morning, but my discovery had Benno jumping outside in a flash and after a quick look I saw him dashing to the service post to turn off the water faucet in a hurry. 

So no water to the travel trailer and water dripping from every crevice in the under carriage. Just great. In order to source the problem we have to open up the under the frame bolted membrane or cover to see what is happening. We decided to get dressed and I took a jug to get some water from the vacant neighbour faucet for coffee. 

After making sure there was no leak or water inside the trailer we had breakfast before Benno unpacked his tools to tackle the opening of the cover. Once it was off I handed him my good Lithium powered Quantum flashlight and damn the pushbutton for the two settings of high and low beam is “On the Fritz” (kaputt, no good, broken etc.). What is going wrong next I thought but didn’t say it. Luckily we have two other flashlights. 

Benno had me lying under the trailer on a piece of cardboard he had hurriedly fished out of the park’s garbage dump bin to see where the water was coming out while he turned on the faucet. I got a full dose of cold water sprayed right in my face and jacket and now knew where the problem was located. I suggested he take a look while I turned on the water and (haha) after a little morning shower he quickly found the culprit, a popped factory installed PEX hose clamp. But the connection to the hot water is also loose. (More detail from Benno at the end)

Although Benno brought a whole box of PEX assortments and such incl. PEX clamps and crimper, it is not enough. Ken, our nice neighbour lend Benno a small adjustable wrench that we need, so we don’t have to purchase that, but Benno decided to drive to Harbor Freight and Home Depot to get the rest of what was needed. He changed into a decent shirt and took off. When he returned it’s almost time for lunch and afterwards he slipped again into a working t-shirt and set out to do the repairs. While he explained to Ken the problem, he discovered that he lost one of his hearing aids. Oh man, that had us on our knees looking through the gravel under the trailer, in the truck and everywhere else. Luckily I found them resting on the carpet, blending in with the design. Thank god we hadn’t stepped on them.

According to Benno, the factory installer used a plastic reinforced 1/2 inch soft hose that was too large on the inside diameter to fit the PEX fitting properly. Even the correct PEX clamp swaged on would not give a good watertight fit. He resorted to fasten two adjustable stainless hose clamps of USA manufacturing that you can tie up with a screwdriver or socket driver and that solved the problem for now. When back in Canada he will change the plastic hose to a better size on this application for the hot and cold side. It would be too complicated to do here as the hoses are foamed in.

So much for today’s excitement. Thanks for dropping in again.

Saturday 17 February 2024

We went to jail

 Yep, and not just a jail, so let me clarify that: we explored three old, abandoned jail houses along the Ghost Town Trail.

Everyone knows Tombstone, which is a lovely tourist attraction. However, just a few miles further we drove in the direction of Gleeson. The road weaves through desert wilderness winding across rolling hills for about 14 miles. The scenery is beautiful with views of the Dragoon Mountains.

Gleeson was once a thriving mining town and during its heydays had a population of over 1,000. It was named after John Gleeson who discovered copper deposits. Today there are only a handful of ranchers living near the town’s limits. We stopped at its Cemetery and read the town’s history before taking a look at the graves.

A couple of Gleeson residents purchased and restored the old 1910 Gleeson Jail. We wandered around looking at the collected artifacts and thought it was a unique place. Next to it is a picnic area with a trailer for catering to visitors once a month when the Jail is open.

Here are a few tidbits: Before the jail was constructed, the constable of Gleeson chained his prisoners up to the “jail tree”, a large oak located in a nearby wash with a metal cable wrapped around it. The prisoner’s right hand would be attached to the cable and he would remain there for however long, rain or shine. When it rained, water would fill up the wash and “clean out the jail.”

The original Gleeson Jail was fabricated from wood and stood immediately in front of the current concrete jail. It didn’t last long as some inmates attempted to escape by raising the building’s tin roof. The jail was replaced by a reinforced concrete structure that cost $1,778 in 1910. The old wooden jail was sold for $25. In 1940 the county removed the metal gates and windows for use in the new jail at Benson, which left the front of the building exposed.

A mile further we made a left turn onto the Ghost Town Trail Road in the direction of Courtland. It is a dirt road but was in pretty good shape.  There are only ruins or scattered foundations left of the once 2,000 population. However it has the unrestored twin of the Gleeson Jail which was constructed a year later. Sadly inside it is smeared full of graffiti and its gates and windows also went to the new jail in Benson.

Another tidbit: While the Courtland jail was under construction and not yet ready for “guests” the original jail was an unused mine tunnel with a wooden door. During the night, the prisoner tried to break his way out by piling his bedding against the door and lighting it on fire. The smoke and fumes, having no where to go, quickly filled up the tunnel, and the prisoner passed out. He was revived when the Sheriff brought him breakfast.

 What we thought was more interesting than the jail ruins was a sign of an abandoned mine shaft we spotted along the road. So we scrambled through the thorns and brush to have a look. 

At the end of the Ghost Town Trail we reached the town of Pearce. When gold was discovered in 1896 many miners with families relocated from Tombstone where mines had flooded and with them came gangs that made it necessary to build a jail house. This concrete building was constructed in 1915 for $615.45  and used until 1938 just like the other two. It changed hands many times after that and became someone’s storage room. It was donated to the Old Pearce Preservation Association but not with the only key for both cell doors. An expert locksmith had to come to the rescue to make a new key so the jail house could be cleaned out.

Having had enough of jail houses we continued on to Cochise via Hwy 191, where the famous historic Cochise Hotel is located and where Big Nose Kate was hired to work in the hotel after Doc Holliday’s death. The hotel is now privately owned and was not open for visitors but we looked through the window. 

The return trip home via I-10 with a quick stopover at the rest area with the majestic rock formations of the Dragoon Mountains in the background rounded up our outing of Arizona’s bygone days.

Just something to smile about: After I had downloaded the following photo and showed it to Benno, he said: "Shit, this looks like I am peeing, doesn't it? I was just looking at the little solar panel and noticed someone had walked off with the battery from the info board light."

Thanks everyone for dropping in again and your patience reading to the end ;-)