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Bisbee - Visit to the Seibolds

Date: August 11, 2006

This weekend my wife Deanie and I had the pleasure of visiting with Bill and Marilyn Seibold, canardians of long standing (Bill built a Vari-Eze. in the dim dark past, and now flies a COZY III built by Robin DuBois). I had spoken with Bill and Marilyn at OSH about their custom built home, and since Deanie and I will soon be building a house in Tehachapi, I thought it would be nice to see what they had done with their house - Bill is an artist and homebuilder, so has some great ideas about houses. Not to mention that they had invited us down to visit, and their house is at the north end of P04 (Bisbee, AZ municipal airport).

Anyway, Friday morning Deanie and I packed up the plane with a weekend's worth of clothes, etc. and took off around 8 AM for the 500 NM flight. At 7500 ft., the air was calm and smooth as we headed south around Edwards AFB and then east along the north side of the San Gabriels past Big Bear and Twenty Nine Palms. We flew directly over Joshua Tree National Park and could pick out the roads we had driven on when we camped there last Thanksgiving. Then, a long stretch over some pretty barren land as we headed toward Blythe, CA.  After Blythe, we headed for Gila Bend, AZ - this is about 110 NM with essentially no airports between - just a few dirt roads, and I-10 for a small part of it. But it's beautiful land - sometimes it's hard to keep scanning the sky for traffic (what little of it there is - 15 minutes can go by on Flight Following without hearing anything regarding traffic within 50 miles of you - even commercial traffic up high - there's just NOTHING) when staring at the landscape.

Past Gila Bend, we headed southeast towards and over Tucson, towards Tombstone. There's something disconcerting about a town named Tombstone, made famous in so many movies, having a small paved airport. But it's a real town. At Tombstone, we turned south to skirt some restricted areas, and then swung east below some building cumulus around the hills that lie between Tombstone and the Bisbee airport (P04), which is about 3 miles north of the Mexico border.

We landed at 11:59 AM, after almost exactly three hours in the air. This was the longest leg Deanie and I had flown together, and it went very quickly due to the beautiful scenery. We taxied to the north end of the runway and taxied over to the Seibold's gorgeous house and 50 ft. square brand new hangar attached to their house. We put the airplane in with their other two (and a COZY III project that Bill's looking to sell, if anyone's interested) with room to spare.

After settling in and giving us a tour of their amazing home, Bill and Marilyn took us on a driving tour of BisbeeBisbee has a lot of history - it used to be a MAJOR mining town, and is still dominated by the Phelps-Dodge mining works, both subsurface and pit/strip mining. The tailing pile from the pit mine is mind-boggling in size (and ecological damage, not to mention ugliness). The town, however, is extremely eclectic - leftover miners, zillions (well, hundreds/thousands, anyway) of aging hippies (like me, but more-so), retirees, land speculators, developers, etc.  The whole town is nestled in the hills near the mines, and looks like the old pictures of what mining towns in the west look like, but with slightly better infrastructure.  It's now a national historic site, and is on the way up economically and aesthetically.

After the two hour tour, we relaxed a bit more and then went to dinner at a local Mexican food joint, then went back to the house and hit the hay - we were beat after a long day.

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