Tuesday, 7 October 2008


Parked to catch the sun and watch football

Out of sight for the night

Decision made--go see Bagdad

Bagdad seen from water tank hill

Mr and Miss Miner

A whopper of a liquor dept?

Tin Town, where the mavericks retreat to.

I NEED SUNSHINE-Emotionally and physically to power my lifestyle. So when Prescott turned cloudy and chilly, I'm out of there---driving south on 89 to Yarnell where I paused to engage an unlikely resident: A former Raider linebacker (Logan) who shared his unusual story. After his career he lived his fantasy on a south sea island; the one that Marlon Brando bought near Tahiti. He married an island girl. (showed me her picture–wow!) In three years he ran out of money. They divorced. He returned–took to drink and lost himself in this oddball town. He said it was filled with weird people: artist, hippies, drunks, gays and old cowboys. But this is not one of the two cities I’m reporting. ONWARD (to where the skies are not cloudy all day)

A thrilling 2000 ft downhill drive from Yarnell is Congress–where I paused to enjoy a chili cook off. Congress is not one of the cities either.

I could see clear skies far to the northwest so that's where I headed on hwy 93. I won't stop till I see blue skies. At the Bagdad turnoff I found sunshine; parked crossways to get a good angle on the sun, raised my panels and tuned in my satellite to watch football. Night overtook me and I settled in the desert nearby. (See photo–there are thousands of free beautiful places like this all over the west. I hardly give a thought to where I will spend the night–just glance about me when it is time to camp)

Sunday AM I let the map speak to me--staring at it a long time till at last it suggested the road's- end town of Bagdad, Az., 20 miles north into the desert. An hour later I was there "getting the story" (It's what I do you know and who I am----a story getter--and in good time --a story teller--to you my readers. It's not a grand purpose, I admit, but it will do till I generate a grander vision) Anyway, I learned that Bagdad is a copper mining town of 4,500 souls, clean, prosperous looking and friendly. I wandered around a few hours and began to feel that something important was missing. It nagged at me. And then I got it: Individualism of the fringy sort was missing. I saw nothing and no one "unusual". All and everyone was in good order. Spooky and unnerving. Then suddenly I learned the reason:
No one here owns his house! The COMPANY owns all the houses. These are all “kept” people. To give up ownership is to some extent to give up parts of oneself. To become managable and tame surrendering ones wild side. These are compliant company people; mavericks and misfits are not welcome. The flavoring they bring to a community was noticeably missing.

On a hunch I went to the grocery store and checked out the beer and liquor section: BINGO! It was HUGE big enough to account for surrendered individuality. (note photo)

I learned that when anyone acts up sufficiently, they are out on their ass, bag and baggage. Then---where do they go? Where have all the misfits gone? THEY WENT TO TIN TOWN! A community of perhaps a hundred mavericks living 9 miles away in stark desert on property they OWN. THAT'S where I want to spend the night. So I went there, drove boldly into its heart, displayed a friendly harmlessness, asked the right questions and was soon embraced by the community. A 35 yr old divorcee invited me to camp in her yard. By firelight and starlight I got her story–refugee from San Francisco–now hooked on the peace and pace of the desert. Land here is cheap: $1000 an acre but you have to make your own amenities, like water sewer and electricity. Many live in campers. She knocked on my door at 10 and we chatted till 12. (No, I didn't--what kind of guy do you think I am)

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