Betty and Rusty's Cowboy Camp

Trip Start Nov 22, 2006
Trip End Jul 26, 2007

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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Monday, November 27, 2006

Today we left Alamo lake, but had a quick look at Alamo dam on our way out - nothing to write home about! We drove to Betty and Rusty's Cowboy camp which was just North of Phoenix in the middle of the desert. On the way we stopped at a picnic place and there were warning signs for snakes and insects, I was on my guard! We also saw a ground squirrel while we were there! On the way, we also stopped at a place called Salame, where they filmed the Kevin Costner film, Tin Cup. God knows why, there was nothing there!
We got to Betty and Rusty's and saw we were in for a real experience! These are real life cowboys who have been living like this for the whole of their lives! There is no running water, a drop toilet, they cook on the campfire and basically just live off of tourists coming to look at them. Betty was about 65 and she had been around, she had worked as a head mistress at a school of Indians, and she had so many great stories to tell about it, including one about an Indian teacher sharing weed with a group of 9 year olds on a school trip and not seeing the problem with it. Rusty was 97 and was hilarious! He just mumbled "God Damn Woman" to everything Betty said, but although he sounded old, he was so nimble, he spent the whole day with a chain saw sawing down huge trees. Betty cooked us a chuckwagon dinner which was a huge steak, jacket potato, beans and sweetcorn and the hottest sauce anyone has ever tasted in their life! Then we all sat around the campfire and had cake which she had cooked over the campfire and Betty and Rusty sang us cowboy songs and told us really fun stories! Rusty sang a lovely song called "19 Year Old Virgin" (make of that what you will). That day we went on a 2 hour horse trek through the desert, the views were breathtaking and we forgot to take our cameras, though I don't think photos could do it justice anyway. The nearest house was miles and miles away and there were just views of desert, Lake Pleasant and lots of cacti! I was pretty wary of the horses being unruly and cowboy-like, but it soon became obvious that they were on auto pilot for the whole walk! They knew exactly what to do at each stage of the walk, and did whatever the one in front of them did.
I think the best thing about Betty and Rusty's was their history. Betty was married to Rusty's brother and Rusty was married to Betty's sister, and one day they just kind of ditched the siblings and got together - that's cowboys for you!
That night we stayed up under instruction from Betty (who told us drink til you puke, and then drink some more). Although, the one rule at the camp was we weren't allowed to give alcohol to the people that worked there, as Betty put it "You are at a zoo, don't feed the animals!" So, we didn't puke, but we stayed up playing games again, and clearly sat too close to the fire as we were all very rosy in the morning! That night in the tents was the coldest I had ever been in my life (that was until we got to Death Valley)!
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