Friday, November 03, 2017

Wickenburg AZ

I'm in Wickenburg, AZ, the southern terminus of US93, positioned to start my trek north first thing in the morning. (More about that next post.)

Wickenburg calls itself "Arizona's Most Western Town." That's a statement about its genetics, not its geography. This is a very western-feeling tourist town, well preserved and restored with just about everything relating to the old west. Two of the most prominent features are the welcome sign and the locomotive that helped bring prosperity in days gone by.

In addition to the requisite souvenir shops, restaurants and bars, there are saddle shops and everything for the cowboy. The grocery store is called a frontier market. I had the town pretty well figured out after a quick drive through, and I'm sure you get the picture now, too.

The gem of the town is the Desert Caballeros Western Museum and it is absolutely worth a lengthy visit. I breezed through the upper floor -- full of nice but not very interesting to me western art -- and spent the bulk of my time in the downstairs warren of old-town and historic displays. The town has quite a history, including gold strikes, massacres, floods from a broken dam, indian wars, etc.

What makes this museum so good is what I've said many times about museums: They should be focused, limited in content and thoughtfully laid out, not just a bunch of stuff strewn around. This little museum makes the grade. Even the old country store with all its goods is engaging rather than chaotic. Click on this panorama to see what I mean:

The dioramas are some of the best I've ever seen, laid out in clear chronological order with thorough explanations and exquisite detail. There's even a saloon that looks just like I think it ought to, if all the western movies I've seen have informed me correctly. No kidding, this is a good little museum.

Happy also found a gem in Wickenburg, a park with actual grass! After a week in the desert, walking -- and peeing -- on nothing but hot sand and gravel, she wasted no time rolling around in the cool green grass then curling up for a nice afternoon nap. Simple things rule in her world.

I've spent most of an afternoon here and enjoyed it, but that's enough for my purposes. You could spend a day or two here and in the area, but I'm ready to head north... Stay tuned!

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