Sunday, January 18, 2015

God's Country Redux

Our daughter Sarah and her husband, Matt, spent the Christmas holidays with us this past year. Sarah is working on a PhD from the University of Wisconsin in German literature. One of her authors is a German by the name of Karl May. 15-20 years ago we went to Tombstone with one of our German exchange students and our girls and discovered a Karl May exhibit in the Tombstone Courthouse. We knew nothing about him abut the Germans did. Since then the exhibit had been moved to a small shop on a side street. Sarah thought it was probably closed but wanted to check it out. Anyway, we planned an expedition for a week ago yesterday.

The map above shows Gods Country, also know as Southern Arizona. We left Mesa , not shown on the map but about 100 miles north of Tucson, about 0830. Our first sight-seeing stop was San Xavier del Bac, an old Spanish mission just slightly south of Tucson on interstate 19. While visible from the Interstate, one should take the exit and visit the mission. There are three photos of the mission shown below, one an overall view, one of the door handle to the main door, and the third shows the courtyard, located behind the long white wall to the right(east) side of the mission.

From San Xavier we got back on I-19 and drove south to Tubac. Tubac is now an art colony located at the site of the original Spanish garrison or presidio in Arizona, established in 1752. There is one store there that we really like, La Paloma. They have a fine selection of pottery from Mexico, Central and South America as well as clothing and some other arts and crafts. The first photo is an overall view of La Paloma and the second of a parrot that clearly belongs at our house. I just need to figure out a place to put him. We did get a few small pieces of pottery and Sarah got a scarf.

After saying good-bye to my bird we got back on the highway and drove a few miles south to Tumacacori Natioinal Monument. Like San Xavier Tumacacori was started as a mission by Father Kino in the late 17th century. Apache depradations were so bad that it was abandoned in the mid 19th century. The photo below is taken just outside the mission office/museum.

Outside the photo to the right under a ramada a woman was demonstrating tortilla making. She cooked the tortillas on a flat metal grate over an open fire and then put beans on the tortilla and rolled it up. Umm, good! That was lunch.

We then continued south to Nogales, got on highway 82 and headed north-east through Patagonia and Sonoita to Tombstone.

The first photo below is what purports to be the OK Coral, where the gunfight took place. When I worked in Tombstone in the 1950's there was a sign stuck on a post in a vacant lot saying it was the site of the famous gunfight. Now that general area is all fenced with a high solid fence and you can see bleachers above the fence where for a fee you can watch a re-enactment of the gunfight.

The next photo shows Sarah standing outside the Karl May museum, now closed and with nothing inside. Karl May was a German writer, born in 1842 and died in 1912. He was a very prolific writer and wrote a number of novels about the American West, despite the fact that he had never been there. His best known western characters were an American Indian named Winnetou and a white man called "Old Shatterhand". He was a very popular writer. He also wrote other stories about places he had never been such as the orient. Six movies featuring Old Shatterhand and Winnetou were filmed in Yugoslavia between 1963 and 1968. These movies starred Lex Barker, Pierre Brice, Elke Sommer, Herbert Lom as well as others. Karl May finally visited the East coast of the United States in 1908, but never got near the West.

The photo below shows may favorite marker from the Boot Hill Cemetery in Tombstone.

We left Tombstone and drove through St. David and Benson before picking up I-10 and driving to Tucson. In Tucson we stopped at Molina's Midway, the best Mexican restaurant ever. Molina's is located on Belvedere, just north of Speedway. It opened in a small house in 1953, about a year after I moved to Tucson. In the photo below we are eating carne seca gorditas, carne seca chalupas, a carne seca burro and green corn tamales. Wowzer!!!

From Molina's we drove home, arriving about 10 pm. 13 and 1/2 hours and 500 miles from when we left. Nevertheless, a great trip.

Other Southern Arizona blog entries by the Old Cowboy include:

Cutting Horses I have Known 4/27/14
A Little Bit of God's Country 1/13/14
Florence...Arizona, That Is 7/18/13
San Xavier Redux 4/14/12
A Perfect Day 1/7/12
Tumacacori 4/16/11
San Xavier del Bac-"The White Dove of the Desert" 1/22/10