500,000 bottles of sparkling wine mature in this section of the underground cellars at Cricova Winery just north of Chisinau, Moldova. Photo taken December 3, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Transnistria. The country that doesn't exist!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The most interesting thing you'll see that day.

If you visit the Gold King Mine and Ghost Town, located only a mile up the road from Jerome, Arizona, it will be without a doubt the most interesting thing you'll see that day.

We had asked the owner, Don Robertson, if we could park overnight in their big level lot and he said that was no problem. When we woke up the next morning, we waited until the 10:00am opening dynamite blast (at least that's what it sounded like!) and then we wandered over to explore.

It costs a reasonable $5 to get in. And what is it that you'll see when you get in?

Well, it's hard to describe.

This place is part junk yard, and part museum. An interesting collection of oddball things! It looks totally unorganized, and yet I think it's been done this way on purpose. It's not really a ghost town, although there are one or two buildings that have been here since the 1890's.

Here's what we saw even before we made it past the entrance...

The Ghost town.

An old Studebaker.

Hey, that little van would make a great RV, wouldn't it?!

How about this converted school bus...with a pop up roof!

Don loves his old heavy duty machinery!

Okay, so then we made it to the entrance...

C'mon in...

Somewhere around 1980, Don Robertson bought this property from Phelps Dodge Mining company and moved his collection of rusty old trucks up here. And then his collections of everything else. And he collected more and more stuff. In fact, wandering around the place, all I could think was "how does anybody collect this much stuff?"

And interestingly, none of it is for sale. For any price. Don just loves tinkering with his stuff. Much of the old heavy equipment still runs!

Kevin, with a 1918 Ford Model T 3 wheel tractor kit. Hand crank start only, and it still runs well!

Lots of rusty machinery. And chickens.

How does one collect so many old trucks?

Don says that he just loves saving old machinery from the smelter. If he sold everything for scrap metal, he'd be a rich man. And then, there's the one of a kind items that would collect a fortune at auction. But Don says he doesn't need any more money and just enjoys getting up every morning to tinker with his machinery and say hello to the folks from around the world who come to see his stuff.

I'll tell you a story about a man named Jed...

See the little chihuahua? He lives in the car.

A funny little van.

Wandering around, we came across Don in his garage. He was firing up an old 1928 Studebaker Indy Race car that he restored and built himself. Even at his age (somewhere in his 70's, we were told) he still races it!

A hand crank eight cylinder engine, and he fired it up on the first crank!

Check out Don...he looks like a grizzled old prospector. You'd almost think it's part of the show. But I'm pretty sure that's just him.

Apparently Don's an opinionated guy. If you're so closed minded that you can't accept the fact that somebody might have a different political opinion than your own, you might not want to visit.

The old mine entrance.

Don't expect a tour of the mine or anything like that. It's all fenced off and probably dangerous. However, you might come across Donny (no relation to Don), who will teach you how to pan for gold. Yep, it costs $10, but you can keep the gold you find and you will find gold!

Young Don was also an interesting guy to talk to. Sure knows a lot about rocks!

Don's car collection alone is worth a fortune.

I didn't get a picture of it, but he's got a 1902 Studebaker electric car. Said to be the only one in existence. It would get 40 miles on a single charge, and it still works perfectly!

An old shell fuel tanker.

How about this for an RV?

This is the original place from the 1890's.

That old building did a short stint as a bordello. Don says that's Virginia on the balcony. They used to call her Virgin for short. But not for long.

Don's got a sense of humor.

Don, with Ruth.

What an interesting character. And an interesting place. Certainly the most interesting thing we saw yesterday!

In the afternoon, we drove down to Clarkdale and the Tuzigoot National Monument. We used our National Parks pass to save the $5 entrance fee. Worth it for that, but not worth it in my opinion if we had to pay the $5. 

A ruins site dating back to between 1,000 and 1,400.

Then, we drove over to the Verde Canyon Railroad because we're taking a four hour train ride this afternoon! We were hoping they'd let us overnight in their parking lot, and sure enough they said that was fine!


Sherman, parked up at the Verde Canyon Railroad station parking lot.

So? Was that the most interesting thing you saw today??

As always, thanks for doing your Amazon.com shopping through our links here at Travel with Kevin and Ruth. You pay the same price you would anyhow, plus we make a small commission. It helps keep gas in the motorhome!




30 comments:

  1. I just love old cars, would definitely like that place for sure!

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    1. Well if you love old vehicles then this is a definite must see!

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  2. You won't regret your train ride tomorrow. I took it a few years ago and really enjoyed it. Have fun!

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    1. You were right, it was a beautiful and the weather was perfect!

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  3. What a fun place to visit! I love the little van with the huge windows in the front. You two are doing great finding places to overnight. Good work! I've heard about that train ride but never knew anyone that made it. It'll be fun to hear of your adventure today. Looks like you're lovin' AZ! Grace (in Tucson)

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    1. I think the "funny little van" might be Sherman's long lost little brother!

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    2. It was a really neat place to visit. Well worth the trip up to Jerome, plus I know you would love the town itself.

      The scenery on the train ride was beautiful, you'll be able to see for yourself once Kevin's done writing the blog post about it.

      Yeah, Dugg he's "A brother from a different mother", LOL!

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  4. Like you we brought our Damon motorhome over Mingus Mountain to Jerome as well. A great little artsy place for sure but we didn't get to see that old ghost town. From Congress we can easily make that a day trip so maybe on our list for next year. Love wandering around taking in all that old rustic stuff from yesteryear. We weren't too knocked out by Tuzigoot either. Let us know how that train ride goes. We considered it but alas decided not to go........maybe next winter.

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    1. We liked the town of Jerome but have to admit that we aren't much into the artsy stuff so we really enjoyed the Gold King Mine more. Certainly a very interesting place to visit, especially if you like old rusty stuff. Don Robertson was also a neat old character too, I am sure you would love to chat with him.

      Kevin will posting shortly about our train ride.

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  5. Sounds like my kind of place and my kind of guy. We may not see eye to eye but we would sure have fund discussing it.

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    1. Chris you would love it here! Actually there were times when Jerome and the Gold King Mine reminded us a bit of Real de Catorce, maybe because it was an old mining town and also built up in the mountains.

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  6. we are in Bisbee now so almost everything we see is interesting...

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    1. We didn't make it to Bisbee this time around but yes, we heard that it is also an interesting place. Enjoy your time there!

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  7. LOL, I was sure that Don Robertson was the exact same sales pitch guy George Yates mentioned yesterday---and that you had gotten the free train tickets the exact same way!

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    1. Nope, he was not even close to a sales pitch guy, LOL!

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  8. Most interesting thing I saw today? Easy! A rare desert tortoise, upside down on a nearby trail. I righted it and we both went on our merry ways.

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    1. Very cool, I am sure he was happy you came along to help him out. You're such a nice guy! :-)

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  9. Replies
    1. Then you would love this place Kenny and Angela!

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  10. just found your blog....great reading and great pictures!
    keep up the good work!

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    1. Thank you very much Chuck and thanks for taking the time to comment!

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  11. We enjoyed the quirky things there too. Enjoy the train ride.

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    1. Yep, it sure wasn't hard to spend a few hours there wandering around all that old stuff.

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  12. My husband could be a "Don". He loves to collect things. Parting things out before we hit the road FT was the most difficult part for him. Especially selling his 1930 Chevy pickup that he had begun to restore.

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    1. Yes, I am sure it would be hard to part with things if you are someone who likes just about everything. I remember us going through all our "stuff" when we decided to fulltime but once I started I found it pretty easy but then neither Kevin nor I collected a lot. Even Kevin would have had a hard time selling that 1930 Chevy pickup truck!

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  13. Another great tour, thanks for the flashback!

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  14. Wow, what a perfect life Don has, and I love the hat!

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    1. He sure seems to love his life and it really shows when you stop and talk to him about it.

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  15. This place looks like a lot of fun! And I love all of the old vehicles that would make great RVs, especially the little van.

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