It’s Friday, February 27th and time to leave Tucson. We had been here 4 days and had way too much fun but it was time to head to Las Cruces, New Mexico for the night and then to Alamogordo, New Mexico.
But wait, let’s check the weather first. Oh my gosh – you’re not going to be believe it? What? There’s 3 inches of snow forecasted today in Las Cruces!
Yahoo – it’s a snow day! We’re staying home one more day – in Tucson.
What to do? Well, there’s the old Mission in town or we could drive to Tombstone? We did both!
A National Historic Landmark, Mission San Xavier del Bac was founded by Father Kino, the Jesuit pioneer and explorer in 1692. The church as it is today was built between 1783 to 1797, and is considered to be one of America’s finest surviving example of Spanish Colonial architecture. Statues dating to the 1750’s, vivid baroque alters and original paintings adorn the interior. Over $10 million has been raised and spent for the purpose of restoring and preserving the church but more remains to be done, including the $3 million restoration of the east tower. This continues to be a working church with the Franciscan pastor providing spiritual leadership to the parish while the Sisters of Charity continue a tradition of educating local students that dates back to 1873. Today’s K-8 school is the home of 135 San Xavier students.
Following a quick lunch outside the Mission of homemade tacos by some local street vendors we drove to Tombstone, about 70 miles SE of Tucson. Tombstone is an historic western town, founded in 1879 and was likely made famous again with the release of the western movie in 1993 starring Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer. Chuck had been there before and I really didn’t know what to expect – and when we got there – I really didn’t know what to think…
But, it’s a real-life original western town with kitschy tourist souvenirs, stage coach guided tours at $10/person, tickets being hawked for re-enactments of the shoot-out at the O.K. Corral and tours of the brothel, dance hall and theatre. The saloons were crowded and there was one particularly rowdy saloon that we walked in and immediately back out of. Maybe it was a free re-enactment?
The most intriguing was the no cost visit to Boot Hill – if you can call a graveyard intriguing!
The most famous graves are those of Billy Clanton, Frank McLaury and Tom McLaury – the 3 men killed by Wyatt Earp, his brothers and Doc Holliday during the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. The actual gunfight on October 26, 1881 lasted 30 seconds and 30 shots were fired.