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Off the Beaten Path

Lotsa photos ahead.

We did the first leg of our photo-centric road trip Tuesday, heading south toward Tucson. Stopped short of the big city, hitting all the tiny outposts along and off the highway. I knew some of these towns existed, but hadn’t ever been there. Keep in mind we went hunting for old and crumbling edifices, and not all the homes we saw were as bad as the ones I’m posting. Many of these places nonetheless qualify as “ghost towns”, because  they grew to bursting around mines, then the mines ran out and so did the neighborhood.

Our road trip was in honor of G’s birthday, which is today. The featured cake picture is also from today.

Click on the smaller photos below to see them embiggened.

This boarded-up house sits in a place called Winkelman. Its downfall was a one-two punch: the mines ran out, and their tax dollars left with them. Unfortunately the little community had just voted in a huge school bond, saddling this type of home with thousands of dollars of property tax, far out of proportion for what it should have been.

Thia little row of cabins was too perfect not to  photograph. They’re situated in Oracle, Arizona, just a smidge north of Tucson.

Not everything in these little communities were in ruin. This barber shop was neat as a pin. Contrary to what you might think, the roads are paved, though they’re certainly nothing fancy.

This building collapsed, its roof unable to hold its weight any longer.

This is the inside of the abandoned service station. The outside  of the building is several photos down.

When we stopped at the Tom Mix monument, we were struck by the enormity of the crows Those birds are HUGE.

Stucco failed after decades of neglect

This used to be the local equivalent of DQ. Now it’s dry milk – and everything else.

The reverse of the Dairy Fresh sign.

Most of our trip was open desert like this – except power lines. At no point did we hit a point where there were no power lines in view.

This empty edifice was also in Winkelman.

Late as it is in the summer, we were surprised to see fruit still clinging to cactus. Usually some critter or another would have feasted on it by now.

Different type of cactus, but still more fruit. And yes, most cactus fruit is safe for human consumption. You can buy cactus jelly and cactus candy at several little stores statewide.

This old stone garage actually houses an equally dilapidated Toyota pickup. I simply couldn’t put all 200+ photos on the blog page!

We went from patches of all brown, to sections like this where greenery prevailed. There were a few plants still in bloom, after 120 degree weather a couple of weeks back.

As the sign says, this chopped-off trestle marks the entry to the town of Hayden. It was getting late enough in the day we didn’t have time to drive into  Hayden, unfortunately.  That’s an adventure for another day.

Desert wildlife? Well… not technically wild. G tried to pet this gorgeous creature, but the horse wasn’t having it.

An altogether different critter here. This  man-sized kachina sits outside an antiques and collectibles store in Oracle. He’s one of hundreds of amazing and kitschy outer ornaments on site.

There were several places in town where old mining equipment was on display. This little tractor was in front of a business.

This is a tiny part of the Ray copper mine. The tailings from this massive open-pit operation stretch miles.  The hillsides look like patchwork quilts, with sections of different colors throughout. This photo was taken at a visitor outlook, showing just one small section of the mine.

This monument commemorates Tom Mix. He died here in the 1940’s. His car was caught in a flash flood.

This is adjacent to the Ray mine. It shows the state of the landscape before mining stripped everything away.

Not far from the Tom Mix monument. I’d been all over the state before, but hadn’t ever driven this particular stretch of road until this week.

Another view of the mine. Hard to capture the scope. It’s gigantic.

This little cowboy teapot was inside the antiques place at Oracle. (Yes, I know the pictures are all disorganized. So sue me, lol.)

Not falling down, but definitely bright yellow with purple trim. You can’t ignore bright yellow with purple trim.

Not just the houses were abandoned to the elements.

This is the sign outside the abandoned gas station. This spot is near Florence, Arizona, at the earliest leg of our journey.

Inside the antiques and collectibles store. Anybody want a ginormous metal spider? Est. 36″ across, give or take.

These two smokestacks rise above the landscape. Can’t recall their exact location -maybe Mammoth, AZ?

And I’m finally getting around to showing you the gas station I’ve been talking about in other photos. The door was collapsed to one bay, leaving the building open to the elements.

And more outside the antiques and collectibles place in Oracle. Love the welded skeletons and other “people” statues scattered over the property. Big skeleton,  in this case!

Another view of the kachina man and his surroundings. I think he’s the sentry for his corner.

Not sure where we saw this old tractor. I think it may also have been in Oracle, but not sure it was at the antiques and collectibles site. There was an old mining vehicle nearly everywhere you looked in that little town!

One last shot from the exterior of the antiques and collectibles spot. Most of this stuff is for sale, if you’re in the market for kitschy antique-ish goodies.

I believe this brilliant orange tow truck still operates. It certainly brightens up its corner in Dudleyville!

Do you remember the abbreviated train trestle at the Hayden sign, above? This is its other half, across the street.

Love that the green paint on this wagon has survived the Arizona sun, for who knows how many years.

In other news, the job interview was kind of a bust. I drove the 30+ miles this morning, only to get a call saying the interview was rescheduled to 3:30. I started back, only to get ANOTHER call saying no, now it was 12:30. Then when I arrived and signed in with the security guard (who took my photo for a badge, one he put my name on). A few minutes later a woman came on to ask if I was there. The guard said no. Luckily I overheard and corrected him.

The interviewer had NONE of my information, had the personality of a cardboard donut, and about the same attention span. I won’t rule out a job altogether, but not holding my breath. This was someone clearly not prepared and who just as clearly didn’t want to be there. For this I’d been rescheduled not once but TWICE in the same day?? I emailed the temp agency recruiter and told him as much, for what it’s worth, and asked him if he had any other openings for me, because I felt like this company didn’t have it together at all.


  1. Hil Hil July 7, 2017

    Zooomygosh! LOVE the photos, I feel like I went on the trip, too. Although we are thousands of miles apart, we have a similar situation here…mine closed, economy tanked, houses fall down. I don’t take many pictures of dilapidation, but for every beautiful vista, there is a falling down building behind me, most likely. As for the job, sucks. But if you get a bad vibe, that is VERY telling. Usually the interview is where a company tries its best to impress.

    • leilani leilani Post author | July 7, 2017

      Thanks, Hil. Now I need to figure out why the links didn’t work. The photos should’ve popped up into the bigger versions, and that didn’t happen!

  2. Terri Tinkel Terri Tinkel July 7, 2017

    Sure sorry the interview didn’t go well. Shocking that a company that is dedicated to helping others can’t get it together for an interview. Hope you have better luck next time.

    • leilani leilani Post author | July 8, 2017

      Eh, everything happens for a reason. I understand some of the disorganization, but for them to have that many failures to connect in one day, with one person, doesn’t say much for them.

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