Saturday, January 5, 2013

Tombstone Road Trip ~ Tombstone Day Two ~ Nov 10, 2012


We're off to explore today. We headed up Hwy 80 to catch Hwy 82 West but missed the turn off. An oops of good fortune, as we got to chase some morning rainbows and discovered A Gallery of Dreams in St. David, just south of Benson (http://www.agalleryofdreams.com). 


There was a small art show out front and we met two gentlemen educating visitors about the Buffalo Soldiers. The gallery is home base to Tim Trask, an incredible sculptor, who is working on a clay model of what will be two life size bronze statues to commemorate the history and service of Buffalo Soldiers. We donated $20 to the project and were able to add two chunks of clay onto the forms he would use to cast the sculptures.

Next stop was the Fort Huachuca Museum to find out more about the Buffalo Soldiers (http://huachucamuseum.com/). It's a great little museum, very informative, but totally off the beaten track. It was hard to find tucked in the back corner of an active military base. Looking into their storied history was an amazing journey.

Mr. Trask's sculptures will reside in Tombstone instead of Fort Huachuca where the soldiers were stationed. Three blocks of Tombstone's Allen Street are permanently blocked off to traffic and over a million people visit there each year. Having the statues in Tombstone will provide an incredible teaching and learning opportunity. From the Civil War through modern times the Buffalo Soldiers served with honor on many fronts.
Next stop is Kartchner Caverns just southwest of Benson. The caverns were unknown until 1974, when cavers Gary Tenen and Randy Tufts found a narrow crack in the bottom of a sinkhole. They followed a source of warm, moist air toward what ended up being more than 2.5 miles of pristine cave passages. Hoping to protect the cave they kept the location a secret for fourteen years.


Working with the Kartchner family they decided that the best way to achieve the goal of protection was through development as a tour cave and they approached Arizona State Parks. In 1985, then-Governor Bruce Babbitt secretly left the state capitol with two bodyguards and spent three hours crawling through the cave's tight passages to reach the cave's showcase chambers.  The discovery of the cave was finally made public in 1988 when the landowners sold the area to the state for development as a park. The state spent $28 million on a high-tech system of air-lock doors, misting machines and other gadgetry designed to preserve the cave. Put this stop on your bucket list. For more information go to http://www.explorethecaverns.com

We emerged from the caves in late afternoon for the short return trip to Tombstone. Time for a walk about before sunset and a light dinner before heading back to the Bordello.

Dinner View

The Heart of the Matter ~ to be continued