We set out last weekend headed for Pearce, Arizona, an all but Ghost Town in Cochise County. Pearce was the site of the Commonwealth Mine, a gold mine. Now it is part of the flourishing wine business in Cochise County. We had recently become aware of a new winery in Pearce, the Four Tails Vineyard. It's called Four Tails because they love their dogs as much as their wine. Tickets had come available for a small event at the vineyards to coincide with the now subdued Willcox Wine Festival, a festival that has grown immensely from year to year for the past 6 or 7 years. This year, because of the virus, the venue had changed to having to drive your cars to different wineries to enjoy the wine.
Anyway, when tickets became available to the event at Four Tails, I purchased them, thinking that the virus was subdued enough to venture out a bit in what was touted as an event where it was easy to socially distance oneself, plenty of space. About a month earlier, we had reached out to Four Tails for a one on one but received no reply. When the day came to go, we were faced with a choice. Be completely safe having heard that the numbers in Arizona were rising, or venture out.
We decide to go early, get there when they opened and see what was up, taste the wine and see if the country had changed any. Following is our newest adventure. Click here to Read More
Heading out from Tucson on Interstate 10, exit the Interstate at the Texas Canyon exit and head towards the near ghost town of Dragoon. There is still an Antique Store there called the What Not Shoppe. We believe the Art Gallery is closed. At one time it was run by an Apache Indian.
The first place you will pass is the Triangle T Guest Ranch, where 3:10 to Yuma was filmed among other B films. It is an excellent rustic cowboy experience in the wonderland of rocks that is Texas Canyon. Bring your RV and your horses; or stay in one of the comfortable guest rooms.
You will next pass the Amerind (Native American Indian) Foundation Museum. It is a world-class museum and research foundation and is as of this writing, open to the public. Cochise County has lifted its mask requirements as of September 5. It could change at any time. There is a small but worthwhile Western Art Museum there as well. Don't miss it.
We then came across a new point of interest, the Rattlesnake Ranch. Several years ago, in this area was another rattlesnake ranch, John's Rattlesnake Ranch, a wonderful place you could wander about and check out all the things he had collected over the years as well as purchase items of rattlesnake paraphernalia. We have a beautiful knife to remember that place.
I digress. The New Rattlesnake Ranch is full of giant metal sculptures. I would call them whimsical, but most of them are of scary, dangerous things, Apache warriors, dinosaurs, rattlesnakes, and the like. Worth a 15 minute stop, and a dollar donation.
As you round the curve over the railroad tracks in Dragoon, if you make a right at the ruins of what looks like a Mercantile, you will find the road to Dragoon Springs Butterfield Stage Station. About a quarter-mile down the road you will find a gate maintained by the State Land Trust. The gate is not locked but it does say permit required. At the end of the road after a turn to the south, you will find the ruins of Dragoon Springs Stage Station.
Golden Rule Vineyards was the next point of interest on the way to Pearce. Stop in, say hi. Good wine. Nice people. Ask them about their Black Diamond Wine.
When you finally arrive at the Ghost Town of Pearce, will see the old Jail on the right that they finally got the key for and opened. Turn right at the Mercantile, and head past the Pearce Cemetery for a couple of miles. Four Tails is on your left. We arrived shortly after they opened at 11 am. Parking the car in a dusty lot we offloaded Jim's scooter. There were a few people there already. Most people did not bother with masks. We came with masks being from more populous Tucson. Our hostess/proprietor Barbara donned her mask when she saw that we were approaching. We had 10 drink tickets each. There were three wineries represented and Udderly Natural Products, goat milk lotions and soap.
I started with the local favorite red wine, the Tempranillo. Our friends started with the Petit Syrah. Reds wines are the preferred wines in this area, although there are a few good whites. We sampled none of those today. Both the reds were very good. Wines have improved since we began visiting 15 years ago.
As to the Goat Milk lotions, I have not been out that way for several months. In that interim, Marcia's Garden in Pearce has gone out of business. She passed her goats on to Udderly Natural Products nearby off Kansa Settlement Road. I ruminated that since I loved Marcia's lotions, this lotion should be good too. Finding it difficult to smell the different flavors of lotions through a mask, I briefly had to forego my self-imposed protocol. I ended up with my go-to favorite, Lavender. There were many others that were very good as well, but at $16 a pop, one was enough for now.
We spent about an hour and a half at the mini-festival, complete with music and a food truck. The french fries were tops. When the lines got long enough for the various vendors, we decided to leave. We never could tolerate lines or crowds even when there was not a pandemic. No point in pushing our luck. Besides, drunk before noon, did not appeal to any of us.
When we got back to the car, we realized, (remembered) that we were pretty much out of gas. Big OOPS! Tombstone was 30 plus miles away, as was Benson and Willcox. So, I got out of the car and inquired of the locals as to a station that might be closer. Yep. Mustang Mall, Sunizona, Route 191 just minutes away. Big sigh of relief. I had meant to go out early that morning and get gas but, it totally slipped my mind.
I recalled that a little further down the road just before the turnoff to 181 was a very good "Home Cooking place", called Sandy's. It looks like they are still in business for takeout. Order a pie to go. They are very good or at least last time we were down there, they were. If you have an RV, stay the night and explore the area. Whitewater Draw, further down 191 in McNeal is attracting the Sandhill Crane migration right now.
Just below Sandy's, Route 181 will take you to Johnny Ringo's grave and Lawrence Dunham Vineyards. LDV also has a Pearce postal code. Go figure.
So, back to our trip, not having paid not much more for gas than your local Costco, we headed back to the Amerind for a picnic among the mesquite and rocks of Texas Canyon. It was a lovely day. We had the place to ourselves. The restrooms were open and clean. Having enjoyed a delicious end to our Saturday road trip, we headed for home. Just be careful out there.