Thursday, June 28, 2018

EASING BACK INTO RV LIFE IN THE US: Bisbee, Arizona and the Queen Mine Tour

We Finally Toured the Queen Mine, a Historic Copper Mine
    Returning to the United States after eight months in México can bring on major culture shock so we try to ease back into the madness. We find spending our first three days in Bisbee, Arizona is a good way to transition back into American life. This historic town moves slowly and, in many ways, still appears to be stuck in the early 1900s. It’s a perfect place for our shift from laid-back Sayulita, Nayarit to RV life on our way to Oregon.
View of Historic Bisbee, AZ from the Queen Mine RV Park

     We always stay at the Queen Mine RV Park, set on top of a hill above the old copper quarry, overlooking historic Bisbee. The entrance to the RV park is just past the Queen Mine Tours Visitors Center. Every time we pass the Visitors Center I say we should check out the tour. This year we decided to do it.

     The tour into the now closed copper mine was well worth the $13.00 price of admission.  After we were each outfitted in a reflective vest, hard hat, and mine light, we climbed aboard the mine train.
We Were Outfitted and Ready on the Mine Train

     Our tour guide, Pete, explained the safety rules and that once the train was inside the mine shaft, he would stop the train and make sure each of us was okay with being underground. The narrow tunnel is not a good place to be for a person who is claustrophobic.
Entering the Narrow Queen Copper Mine by Train

     Pete then climbed onto the orange battery-powered train engine, rang the train’s bell, and we moved forward toward the mine entrance. When the train was entirely inside the tunnel, the doors to the outside mine slammed closed and Pete stopped the train. He walked along each train-car, checking that all passengers were okay with being underground. Then he climbed back on the engine and we proceeded deeper into the earth.
Pete Climbed Back on the Engine After Checking All Passengers
     Pete is a retired miner who had actually worked for years in this mine and had some wonderful stories to tell us. Not only did he explain the process of mining the copper, he had many personal stories about the fun-loving pranks the miners played on each other.
Pete, a Retired Copper Miner, Told Stories of Pranks They Played 

      He told how in the early years, they trained mules to haul the ore out of the mine, and how hard the young guys worked to exceed their weekly quotas of ore in order to receive bonuses.   
Mules Hauled Four Cars at a Time, Loaded with Oar

     He explained that the focus was to extract the high percentage of copper, with silver and gold as byproducts. 
Stunning Azurite, One of Two Copper Carbonate Minerals in Nature
     Back in the Queen Mine’s museum area, we saw samples of the many ores, not just copper, that were extracted from this mine, including the stunning Azurite, one of the two copper carbonate minerals found in nature. There were also old mining tools and the mine’s Safety Scoreboard, emphasizing the importance of safety to avoid lost time accidents.
Queen Mine's Safety Scoreboard

History of the Mine from Bisbee’s Website:
Bisbee’s Queen Mine was one of the richest copper mines in history. The mine opened in 1877 and eventually closed when Phelps Dodge discontinued mining operations in Bisbee in the mid-1970’s. The Queen Mine opened once again as a tour for visitors in 1976, nearly 100 years after the mine originally opened.

     I invite you to SIGN UP for my Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico Newsletter, published monthly with stories about our latest adventures, my recent blog articles, and news about my books.

Terry L Turrell, Author

Follow me on: My Facebook Author Page

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting Terry, enjoyed it a lot.MOM