Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Chloride

Colourful abode in Chloride, AZ...
Vintage Chloride, AZ...
After our rafting trip we pushed westward to reach Death Valley, CA. We stopped at a Walmart in Kingman, Arizona to stock up on food and ice. I'm going to go on record as saying that we have never seen so many morbidly obese people under one roof ANYWHERE. Seriously. It was disgusting/shocking at how many people were waddling about wearing bib overalls because that was likely the only thing that would fit them.

We got our goods and left pronto, but it was late in the day and we had to stop soon. I saw a highway sign for RV and tent-trailer camping and on a spur of the moment we followed the directions and soon found ourselves in Chloride, Arizona.

It turned out to be one of the most unusual and entertaining stops along our route.

It's one of those off-the-main highway backward towns that might feature in a Stephen King novel, or maybe one of those giant bug sci-fi movies from the 50s. The entire town consists of only a few hundred people and maybe eight square blocks of dusty unpaved streets and beat up homes.

Our campsite was a sweet deal, or so we thought at first. For $10 we found ourselves in a large gravel lot that backed onto the hills surrounding the town. Except for a row of empty RVs being stored we had the lot to ourselves. The amiable owner did tell us to expect to hear wildlife and he wasn't kidding. The coyotes passed by all night long just a few feet from our tent-trailer, yipping and howling constantly.

We spent the next day exploring the town. It was a photographer's dream, full of old and abandoned homes and businesses. What was unusual was the art junk that was hanging from trees and piled up along the front yard fences. Broken glass bottles, old appliances and cookware... it was all thrown together in such a way that it was clear it was considered 'decor'.

At one point, a local -- looking every bit the vintage hillbilly with his missing teeth, scraggly facial hair, and unkempt hat and clothing --  came hobbling up to us on a cane. He regarded my camera then said to us:"If you go around that gas station you can get a real nice picture of a cactus in a bowl." He smiled a semi-toothless smile, then shuffled off down the street.

Leona and I glanced dubiously at each other, but we decided to check it out. On a crappy green plastic table in small chipped blue pot was a half-drowned cactus barely clinging to life. We're pretty sure that Festus was having fun with the 'city slickers' but, you know, we found it funny just the same.
A cattle skull hangs outside a home in Chloride.
Looks like an album cover...
Rusty pots and pans hang from a Chloride tree.
Hang your crap from a tree and call it art...

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