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By Staff | Feb 11, 2009

Dear Editor,

Recently we took our annual trek to Tombstone, Arizona. It takes about one and a half to two hours to go, as you “can’t get there from here.”

There is no direct route through the Santa Rita Mountains. Thus you either go north to Tucson, east to Benson and south to the 0 K Corral site; or you go south to Nogales and then east to Tombstone. We chose the former route.

Tombstone is one of those bustling places that we have visited many times. It’s called ” the town too tough to die.” It has survived many gunfights-including the famous gunfight at the 0 K Corral.

Legendary lawmen like Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and others still roam the streets-portrayed by modern want-to-be actors. If you ignore the cell phones, automobiles, the modern day tourists, and let your mind wander back to the 1880s, you can almost believe you’re actually there.

This visit was not for the tourist scene, rather, we came to have lunch in the saloon and do some shopping in some stores.

Having completed our little sojourn we started for Green Valley and home. However on the return trip I decided to put my trust and faith in “Maggie,” my Magellan GPS system. Before departing Tombstone I instructed Maggie to select” the shortest, non turnpike route.”

Three miles after leaving Tombstone there is a Border Patrol Check Point. As we approached the checkpoint, Maggie directed me to turn left There was a small, narrow, two-lane road here. I wondered about not going through the check point. Would the Patrol think we were “suspicious carriers of illegals” and give chase? Not to worry, nobody came. This was my first hint of things to come.

Hint number two came a few minutes later. The road did seem to become even narrower, and all of a sudden we encountered a herd of cattle: on the left berm, on the right berm, and even more in the middle of the road. The road was also covered with cow pies, thus giving the indication that they (the cows) had been using this road for a long time.

Maggie said continue, so on we slowly drove. Suddenly we came to a “Y” in the road. The left fork seemed to narrow and disappear. Maggie said to turn right; however this road was dirt-hint number three!

Although dirt, the road seemed to be passable and was reasonably wide, so on we went. We encountered a sign that read Madera Canyon. This bit of information had a calming effect on us.

Gradually the dirt road became very narrow and quite bumpy, more stones than dirt. By this time we could not turn around. We prayed that we would not meet anyone coming toward us.

The road was not only narrow but we were now finding numerous switch-back turns. We were going up, and over and down through a mountain pass that was suited to travel by horseback. We could only hope our SUV station wagon with its “city tires” would bold together and pull us through.

It was with a huge sigh of relief that we finally came to a stop sign-a wonderful object of civilization. We entered onto a paved road and within minutes were very close to home. From a trip that only took (2) hours, we came back after driving three and a half hours. Thanks “Maggie” you did what I asked you to do- only next time “shortest distance” will mean paved, civilized highways.

P.S. Today I met a man who took that same road-twice. Once out of curiosity, to see where it went and later (by mistake). “Never again,” he said.

W. Corson