Willcox and it's Historic District

Trip Start Feb 09, 2013
Trip End Jun 30, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wednesday, April 3. We left the winery and headed on interstate 10 (the same 10 that ends in Jacksonville, Fl) to Arizona.  Along the way we saw so many signs warning us of dust storms and how dangerous they are and to get off the highway if we see one.  We drove in the morning to try to avoid the storms that seem to blow more in the afternoon.  George and I knew that AZ does not have daylight saving time so we were thinking we would lose another hour and instead we gained another hour.  Stopped at the first rest stop in AZ with information about the state and headed for Willcox.  Willcox has a historic district that we stopped at and visited some of the museums -not all were open since this is a down town with the snowbirds going and the school not out yet.  We saw a number of snowbirds heading east on interstate 10 since many of them leave the campgrounds after March 31 after staying three months or more.  Some of the stops we made;

Cochise Visitor Center – very informative visitor center with a lot of information for the whole state of AZ.  Some exhibits!

Chiricahua Museum – Collections and exhibits of historic artifacts, including a Geronimo Exhibit is part of the museum.  Actually they don't have enough volunteers for this museum so we could not get in.

Friends of Marty Robbins Museum -  This was not open either but we could look into the windows etc.  He was a big country singer but was also NASCAR’S Rookie of the Southern 500 in 1972.  He received Grammy Awards for best country and western recording.  Some of his songs were El Paso, My Woman, My Woman, My Wife and he was voted man of the decade in 1970.  He is in the Songwriters and Country Music Hall of Fame.

Depot – This is now the town hall with exhibits of the town history.  Interesting and very well done.

We did go into the Rex Allen Museum and Cowboy Hall of Fame.  This was his home town and he is famous for singing cowboy records, movies and TV shows.  He had a 35 year career recording for Decca Records.  Some of his hit records were Crying in the Chapel, Streets of Laredo and Tiny Bubbles.  What was really interesting is that he has pictures with so many famous people, Ronald Reagan, country singers, Roy Rogers and most of the other famous cowboys.  He attended most rodeos and shows with his horse "KO KO"  who is buried in front of his big statue in Railroad Park in the Historic District.  The horse was beautiful and at first he was buried on his ranch in CA but when he died he was moved back to his home town of Willcox and his real heart was placed inside the statue.  That way his heart would always be left in his home town.  What was really interesting is that he was the voice of Disney for many years – the narrator for the original Charlotte’s Web, Toad and Tortoise and other characters.  He was the voice of the father for the Carousel of Time? in Disney World and Land.  This is the one that was in the New York World’s Fair and then brought to all the Disney Parks.  Always one of my favorites!

Willcox is also the place that Warren Earp was killed at a young age gunned down in the saloon.  Geronimo used to shop at the store in the Historic District which is the oldest in AZ (also for sale).  He would buy sugar!  He was the most famous of all Apache leaders even though he was not a chief.  When the Apaches were moved to the San Carlos Reservation in the middle of AZ in 1876, he had many followers.  Over ten years he left the reservation many times and waged war with the settlers but would also live there and be peaceful.  His final surrender ended the Apache Wars.

Now Willcox is also within an easy drive to the following:

Fort Bowie – These are the ruins of the fort that was the guardian of Apache Pass but it is a difficult drive for anything bigger than a car and the last mile and a half you have to hike in.  There are mountain lions in the region so we did not go.

Chiricahua National Monument -  This is a natural wilderness with a visitor center, scenic drives and some primitive camping.  This is an isolated mountain range rising above the surrounding grassland sea.  There are meadows and then cypress, pine and fir woodlands as you drive up the mountains.  There are rock pinnacles looming over the road like guardians of the forest as the Apaches called them “Standing up Rocks”.  Don’t attempt to drive into this area with anything but a car!

Cochise Stronghold – Southwest of Willcox is Cochise Stronghold which is another favorite hiking area.  There is a granite fortress used by the Chiricahua Apaches under Cochise’s leadership.  The hidden tomb of Cochise is located somewhere in this stronghold.  There were never any pictures taken of Cochise but there is a portrait based on written descriptions and facial features of his sons.  Actually he was not hostile to the settlers until he was falsely accused of theft and kidnapping of a young boy.  He escaped and then there was a decade of destruction and death throughout southern Arizona.

Heading for some  Caverns tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 3 – Ft. Willcox RV Park, Willcox, AZ    This was a passport America campground for us so it cost a little over $19 for a night.  It is on the outskirts of Willcox with gravel and stone sites.  Not much for shade but it was a good stop for us since we had to do laundry.  The campground has cable, dump station, fitness center, full hookups, horseshoes, pull-thrus, showers, and Wi-Fi.  It is two miles away from the historic district of Willcox with the Chiricahua Museum, Rex Allen Museum and Friends of Marty Robbins Museum.  One can drive to the Chiricahua National Monument, Cochise Stronghold and Fort Bowie Historic Site.  We used it for an overnight but some of the other campers stayed for a couple of days to travel to visit these other sites.
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