These towns are too tough to die...

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February 18th 2009
Published: February 21st 2009
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There was certainly a wild west theme with our visits on this trip and we were trying to figure out ways to incorporate "Giddyup!" into normal conversation similar to the "meow" scene in Super Troopers.

Old Tucson Studios, Tucson
Wild West theme park and working movie set. Having not watched any western movies, the only movies I recognized that were filmed at Old Tucson Studios are 3:10 to Yuma & Little House on the Prairie. This place was pure cheese and I loved every minute of it. Well, actually thats a lie. I was excited for the PG-rated burlesque show called "Miss Kitty's Can-Can" until we actually sat down to watch it. Having seen Moulin Rouge in Paris, I now realized that was the show to rate all others by (despite its cheesy intermission acts and awkward drum rolls). The only redeeming feature of Miss Kitty was her fabulous burlesque costumes. Some can "can-can"... others can "can-can't".

This town was supposedly one of the deadliest regions in West back in its day. The historic district still has wooden buildings, dirt roads and gunfight re-enactments. We didn't spend a lot of time here as we were previously at Old Tucson for awhile but we were entertained on the drive out of Tombstone when we were stopped by border patrol searching for illegal stowaways from Mexico. We apparently looked harmless enough and were waived through after only showing our drivers licences. We did get asked a trick question by the patrol officer: "What country were you born in?" If we hesitated too long in answering... was that grounds for search?

Phoenix still clings to its Western past with its Rawhide Western Wild West Town complete with burro rides & old fashioned portrait photos. Keely had nostalgic memories of this place and was convinced there were still performing chickens playing the piano or shooting basketball hoops. Sadly, they must have been forced into retirement as we were only entertained by the mock gunfight in the town centre. The culinary highlight of the stop was battered & deep fried rattlesnake. The meat was chopped into little pieces so it resembled and tasted like popcorn chicken from KFC. Funny how everything seems to taste like chicken no matter what it is...

Jerome, ghost town & current art colony
This town was the highlight of our trip despite a four hour commute through rush hour traffic in Phoenix and steep windy roads in the mountains. The town has undergone a transformation over the centuries from copper mining boom town -> ghost town -> art colony and national historic landmark. The town is built on the side of the mine/hillside and the windy streets are filled with galleries, pottery studios and restaurants.

Random note:
There's a curious theme amongst western areas and the myth of the Jackalope. Part rabbit, part goat/deer... could this be a type of killer rabbit stereotyped in Monty Python: Search for the holy grail?

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