#1158. What I did on my Covid Vacation – Part 2

By Paul Barclay | Travel Photography

Dec 10

My apologies to everyone for dropping out for so long. I hope to get this series back in gear as well as bring new images from the summer in the next few months.

The sub-title for this article is; “A Day of Tourism!”

Because, aside from the natural wonders of Southern Arizona, there are some tourist destinations that one simply includes, even if it is for keeping the peace in the family.

Our first stop is a place that needs an introduction, because it does not stand out in the tourist imagination, even if it has historical importance. This place is Bisbee, Arizona. Bisbee started as a town supporting the local copper mine and historically it is important because this is where open pit mining was first developed and it was an important location in the effort for Voting Rights for Women in Arizona.  Today the city is trying to survive on tourism based on mining history and being an artist community. Though on the day we visited, it more closely resembled a ghost town, with only a few businesses being open; if it wasn’t for the Bisbee Brewery we might have cut the day short.


Even though the town was empty, it does have one interesting feature for photographers, and that is the “Art Alley”.

For three or four blocks between two parts of town there is an alley that is filled with art, and it would be easy to spend a couple of hours studying the works on display.


Not far from Bisbee, is Lowell, Arizona. Lowell, is an historic district that is like walking back in time to the 1950’s. Unfortunately, none of the businesses were open during our visit. So I can’t say if my experience is unusual or normal.


Our last stop on our day of tourism was Tombstone, and it lived up to my expectations of a tourist destination. We arrived too late to get tickets to the last reenactment of the Shoot Out at the OK Corral. Though, it was a worthy place to visit, and go back to (someday). My favorite locations were the Bird Cage Theater, which is the only building in town to have survived both fires in town, and the Historic Court House with its gallows in the side yard of the building.




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  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    Paul, this is a wonderful gift. Places I would never have the opportunity to visit in person, to see for myself – but I can see them through your eyes, through these photographs.

    I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before on DS – when I was a kid, the couple over the back fence had spent their honeymoon in and around Banff, and then in the Yosemite area, as well as the area with the magnificent sequoia forests. And they had crates of stereoscopic black & white images of fabled places they’d seen in their travels.

    Different locations of course here, but equally fabled places. Who hasn’t heard of Tombstone? – the suffragettes? And open pit mining, once established, spread – very extensive examples here in Australia!

    Lowell seems to have been turned into a kind of “period museum” – frozen in a bygone era – the era of my childhood actually – those gas pumps are so familiar, and the cars are the same as the ones my father and his friends drove, 60 or 70 years ago.

    • PaulB says:


      Thank you for your comments. I am happy to share my travels.

      Lowell is definitely a period museum that is just open for us to walk in.

      Being there took me back to my youth when we would visit my Grandmother in Southern Colorado. She lived in a small town that had buildings that just didn’t keep up with other places. In Lowell, the gas station, gas pumps, store fronts, and the Greyhound bus reminded me of visiting her. At the end of one trip my Mother and I took a similar Greyhound bus from Colorado to Las Vegas, that was a long two days.


  • Lad Sessions says:

    Paul, So glad you’re back! Thanks for these evocative images. I haven’t been to these places, so it was good to get a sense of place. We have been to Ajo, Arizona, also once a massive open-pit mining and now an artist enclave, and it resembles Bisbee quite a bit. The old vehicles in Lowell took me back to my childhood (although some of them pre-dated my awareness). Again, thanks!

    • PaulB says:


      I’m glad to be back. And you are welcome.

      I haven’t been to Ajo, AZ, but I may need to go. It is not very far from Tucson, and I am going back again this spring. Organ Pipe National Monument is close to Ajo, so that might be the excuse to make the drive.


  • pascaljappy says:

    A few years ago, we spent a blissfull summer month in and around Phoenix, where my sun was learning to fly light aircraft. Arizona blew my mind. The names you mention, the colours you show all remind me of that time.

    Although we never made it to Lowell, places like Globe remind me of it. And, of course, there’s the great Lowell observatory in Flagstaff, in which Percival Lowell devoted his life to finding Planet X, leading to the discovery of Pluto shortly after his death.

    I also remember Native American ruins, horseback trails through Canyon de Chelly, craters … Such a wonderful place. I envy your visits and thank you for your photographs 🙂

    • PaulB says:


      A “blissful summer month” in Phoenix!?! You must be a dessert rat at heart like me.

      Arizona is a special place. I’m glad I could bring back some memories for you.

      We stayed in Flagstaff for a few days so we could visit Sedona and the Grand Canyon, but these are subjects for a future article.

      We wanted to visit the Lowell Observatory, but it was closed due to the pandemic.


  • Nancee Rostad says:

    Thanks for Part 2, Paul. Your images of Bisbee are so intriguing that I’ll have to visit it on my next trip to Arizona. You’ve captured the colors and vintage buildings in such a way that I can feel the heat from here! All those 1950’s cars in Lowell would make that a must see for my husband. Tombstone is interesting to see, even if it’s quite touristy, but chock full of history.

    • PaulB says:

      Nancy, thank you. Your husband would probably love visiting Lowell. He can see and touch almost everything.


  • DL Manning says:

    Nice photo tour Paul. “Please Check Your Guns At The Door”…it’s embarrassing that there’s still much resistance to this idea a hundred years + later.

  • Bob says:

    Have been to Bisbee and Tombstone many times, starting about 1970. They are both good photography sites. Once you’ve been to the actual Birdcage Theater, it’s fun to rewatch the movie Tombstone. The theater boxes and the walkway behind them are far larger than actual size in the movie.

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