Braless In Bisbee

Ever since our trip began, one of my favorite pastimes has been to picture my elegant and notoriously high maintenance cousin, Louise, in improbable situations. Imagining Louise responding to some of the circumstances we have been in while traveling across the country in a trailer is the toned down version of what my best friend Renee and I would do with her nerdy sister’s Barbi Dolls.

“I wonder how Louise would like these eggs?” I ask My Royal Consort while holding up a forkful of runny eggs covered in day-glow orange shredded cheese.

“I dunno, she might be OK with the eggs as long as she can get her hands on a good white wine”, he replies without skipping a beat.

Sunset from the Queen Mine

Sunset from the Queen Mine

There are a lot of people who would think that hanging out in a gravel parking lot overlooking an old copper mine and living a 15’ space with another person would be hellish, but I love it.

“I think Louise would prefer to stay up at the Copper Queen”, I opine, and My Royal Consort nods in agreement.

We couldn’t wait to get back up here to the Queen Mine Park, even though as RV Parks go, it isn’t luxurious by any stretch. What makes it so great is the nice woman who runs it, its’ commanding view of old Bisbee, and the fact that you can walk everywhere.

Bisbee is an oasis of blue for liberals in Southeastern Arizona. When we were here over Christmas in 2012, I knew that I had found my people. Obviously, I am not the only one who feels this way because nearly everyone who lives here is originally from somewhere else.

Looking downtown from one of the hills.

Looking downtown from one of the hills.

Tourists long on weight and short on  imagination will only take a cursory stroll through the area of town that is flat, while the more adventurous will walk all over the town and up into the steep hills that surround the downtown. Most people lacking imagination will miss St. Elmo, the best bar in town, or fail to really take in the murals, the metal work, or the visual jokes that are stashed in plain view all over the city.

St. Elmo, since 1902

St. Elmo, since 1902

I’m guessing that Louise would probably prefer a different bar than St Elmo where I recently danced barefoot and drunk on rum and coke to an eighties cover band. St. Elmo is dark, the people smoking outside are not necessarily wearing clean clothes, the décor is highly offensive and the bathrooms are of the sort that make you not want to wash your hands after using the toilet because then you would have to touch the sink. Despite outward appearances, or maybe because of them,  interesting and educated people sit shoulder to shoulder with the small town

Rough Rider!

Rough Rider!

Something nice from the treasure chest.

Something nice from the treasure chest.

casualties at St. Elmo.

“Do you think Louise would want to buy a Rough Rider or pick out something from the Treasure Chest?” I ask My Royal Consort.

“You never know”, he answers enigmatically.

The Queen Mine gets its fair share of older mid-Western snowbirds in land yachts, some of who will never leave the park. Today, I had one of those home bound days myself, beginning with a shower, then spinning outward to dish washing and laundry. I was a vision of domesticity and tranquility as I went about my chores because they have finally gotten to be easy, unlike when we first started traveling and ordinary tasks felt awkward.

Inside the trailer, we have a tiny gas range with three burners, a sink that we use as a fruit basket, a decent sized fridge and a bathroom that we use as a pantry. We never got around to adding water to our rig because it seemed like a pain in the ass, and it was often below freezing when we started traveling.

If you must know, I pee in a 5-gallon bucket from Tractor Supply at night and then dump it down the sewer in the morning because out west there are no convenient bushes for nighttime use, and I have never worn pajamas in my life.

“Louise, try leaning against the wall and thinking about waterfalls”, I offer.

The secret to living in a space smaller than my horse’s box stall is organization, tidiness and cleanliness. Each night our dinner table becomes part of our king-sized bed; candles get blown out, dishes stashed in a plastic box and stowed under the bed until morning, every stitch of clothing gets put away, and the morning coffee is prepared.

Laundry day at the Queen Mine

Laundry day at the Queen Mine

Today, our laundry initiative was hampered by a lack of quarters. Instead of wasting money we didn’t have paying for a dryer, My Royal Consort fashioned a clothesline for his stuff inside the trailer with string and a series of curtain hooks, while I hung my clothes off a fence.

Ever since I first noticed that other girls kept their nipples battoned down inside their shirts, I have never dared to go out in public without a bra, yet today I brazenly walked all over town, unmoored, while my clothes dried up at the campsite. This speaks volumes about what kind of place Bisbee is.

Louise, I really don’t think anyone is going to care!

The best way to live in a tiny box is to spend very little time it. We are busy every day with important things like hiking, looking for cake, hunting for interesting rocks, visiting local history museums, shopping for clothes at thrift stores, taking pictures and getting beer. To save money, we keep an LL Bean canvas bag in the truck full of inert foodstuffs such as peanut butter, Nutella, apples, crackers and nuts so that we won’t have to eat Mexi-glop (my mean name for what passes as Mexican food outside of Mexico) too often.

When we get home at the end of the day, My Royal Consort has to sit down on his side of the bed so that I can make magic with the stove. I am very proud of some of the things I have conjured up using nothing but a cheap Teflon saucepan and a chef’s knife.

“I think Louise would enjoy this asparagus risotto immensely”, I gush to My Royal Consort, and he agrees.




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  1. Kathy says:

    We had a pull camper 2 seasons, but only used it a couple of weeks, and the small size (and maybe the 3 small kids!)
    made me crazy! Glad you two have figured it out, because your adventures are worth it!

    1. admin says:

      I’m imagining you (or me) with three kids in a travel trailer!

  2. Al Fermeglia says:

    I am proud to know you!

  3. Carin says:

    Funny and horrifying at once. I think I’d like Louise.

    1. admin says:

      We all have our inner Louise! Mine gets green around the gills when it comes to most restaurant food (unless it is vegan/vegetarian), and hotels/motels unless it is a really nice hotel. I get grossed out by the idea of other people’s bare feet on the carpet and the concept of the bedspread. I try not to even consider bedbugs. Imagining restaurant kitchens gives me the creeps. My father was the Louise who would refuse to go to a restaurant unless they served a good martini. Anyway, this style of traveling works for me because I like having my own space and being able to cook, but mostly I enjoy the adventure that comes with just going where the wind blows you. I should also say that as one of my oldest friends, you probably remember the unmoored days of my youth!

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