Sunday, February 19, 2012

Wickenburg and Gold Rush Days

Thursday morning (2/16) we pulled up stakes in Benson, said a fond farewell to Drew and Marti Moehlau, and moved west on I-10 to Phoenix where we picked up rte. 60 north to Wickenburg, about 230 miles.  We enjoyed our time in Benson but were getting anxious to move on.
Actually we are north of Wickenburg in the vicinity of Congress in the Escapee park, North Ranch.  Larry, my brother, and Joanne are here and we were able to get a site next to them.  It was good to see Larry and Joanne and their traveling companions, Sadie, a dog and 3 cats.  Thursday evening Tom and I went into Wickenburg for dinner at the Hog Trough, a barbeque restaurant.  Food was good and spicy.
Friday morning the 4 of us went into Wickenburg as this was the beginning of the Gold Rush Days celebration.  This area has an old gold mine that is now being rehabbed and maybe reopened as a working mine again.  There are also numerous gold mining camps and even here at this campground, prospectors looking for gold in this area.  By the old train station/visitor’s center there was some entertainment by a female country singer being done.  After a brief stop we continued down the street to the art and craft Artisan Faire where nearly 150 vendors set up in small tents selling their art and craft products.  We spent a little time looking around and then decided we needed to eat some lunch.  We went to a nearby restaurant, The Golden Nugget, and had a nice lunch.  We returned to the art/craft faire to check out the remainder of the tents. 
Today, Saturday, we went into Wickenburg to see the parade that was scheduled to start at 10 am. It was a beautiful day with lots of sunshine and temperatures in upper 60’s to lower 70’s.  The streets were crowded with folks waiting for the parade.  We waited at an intersection that had a country singer entertaining the crowd until the parade got to our area.  An emcee was also present and when the parade passed through he announced who the various groups were.  The parade lasted about 1 1/2 hours and featured horse riding groups, civic groups, a few bands and government officials.

 As the parade ended we walked about a block to the Cowboy CafĂ© for lunch.  After lunch we drove out of town to the rodeo grounds for a rodeo scheduled for 2pm.  People were crowding into the grounds.  Tom spied a parking spot but when he attempted to park there a man block his entry into the spot saying he was saving the spot for someone that was to be coming to the rodeo.  After a few words the man continued to stand in the space and Tom stood his ground stopping the jeep  also blocking the space.  Eventually the other car showed up and decided he would park elsewhere.  The man blocking the space made some threatening remarks about flattening our tires so we made sure we had license numbers in case anything happened in that regard.   We entered the grandstand area, found seats  and enjoyed the rodeo.  A little more than 2 hours later when the rodeo ended we returned to the jeep and all was well.  A good day with a little unexpected excitement.