Monday, June 10, 2013

Chiricahuas or Bust -- Day 2

Day 2 – Fairbank to Douglas
64 miles, 5:30, 11.8 avg

Well, here I am sitting in the Gadsden Hotel restaurant waiting for a burger. I came in right after a group of eight ranchers ordering steaks (and one salmon?), so I have plenty of time to savor this rich Budweiser. The server asked what kind of beer I wanted when I asked her what they had. “IPA”, I said. “No, we don’t have that.” Really? What a surprise. So, Bud it is.

The Gadsden has seen better days, that’s for sure. 1920 maybe? Pretty shabby now, but it’s fine for me despite the funky smell, motor noise and a stunning view out my window of the brick wall next door. But no TV remote?? That’s very hard for me to deal with right now! I’m tired and my body aches. Maybe I’ll see the Gadsden headless ghost tonight, although it supposedly inhabits the basement. I ain’t going down there. The hotel still has lots of cool old west style artwork everywhere, and the lobby is impressive.

I'll be there tomorrow! But not in a stage coach.
As for Douglas, the downtown area seems pretty rundown right now. The main street has no restaurants and many buildings are shuttered. This afternoon the streets were filled with shoppers from Mexico, but now the stores are closed and the people are gone because there’s nothing else to do down here. I don’t mind staying downtown and soaking up the Gadsden atmosphere, especially since the other nearby option was the Motel 6 next to the jail. I’d love a good ol’ RV park right now, but no dice in Douglas.


Last night along the San Pedro was great, even though it was much cooler than anticipated. Good thing I decided to bring the sleeping bag at the last minute! So much wildlife down there it kept waking me up! Especially the calls of some frog that sounded like a human groaning. I don’t know what it was! (Later found out it was a Sonoran desert toad) The birds were amazing in the morning, even had a tyrannulet singing to me. Bird of the day has to be Bullock’s Oriole. I heard them everywhere today.

A quick tour of the Fairbank cemetery on the trail out, then I was off and climbing out of the river basin. I also scared up a couple of javelinas sitting in the bushes next to the highway. Not too bad of a climb at all and I was soon cruising the now-paved streets of Tombstone. Grungy, sunburned re-enactors carrying rifles were interested in my ride. Very strange little town; left 10 minutes before the next “gunfight.”

Couldn't resist!

Davis Rd. turned out to be a great little two-laner through the middle of nowhere. I decided to stop in McNeal for lunch, hoping for the usual: restroom, water, shade, and maybe a Coke. If it wasn’t for the kind man at the sad antique shack willing to spare me a cold water, I would have struck out on all counts. Even a spot in the shade was hard to come by, but eventually I found a large cottonwood in front of the old school. 

Along Davis Rd.

Lunch in McNeal, AZ
Off on the mostly straight as an arrow highway to Douglas, and the wind is becoming a problem and the shoulder is wrecked with uneven pavement. Mentally tough those long, straight roads, especially in adverse conditions. I toured the surprisingly busy streets of Douglas which were filled with shoppers from Mexico. I hear there’s a chance of rain tomorrow, can’t wait to get to Portal!

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