Bumble Bee to Cleator to Crown King

It was another beautiful day in paradise this past weekend so Les and I took a drive over to Crown King for another art day. For years, people have been asking if we’ve been yet and telling us that we are missing out and it’s so beautiful and yada, yada, yada.

Bumble Bee, Cleator and Crown king are recognized as three of Arizona’s many ghost towns due to the demise of the mining operations in the mid to late 1800’s.

We never actually got out our art supplies on this trip. We did take a few pictures that I used as reference for my art journal when I got home.

It’s true that the day trip was beautiful. There are lots of desert flowers in bloom right now so that was cool. Plus, driving anywhere in Northern Arizona is beautiful as far as I’m concerned. The dirt road as far as Cleator was fine – no wash outs or potholes to speak of. Viewing wide open vistas is always a favorite of mine.

We came upon Bumble Bee first. It has a really cool welcome sign as you see here. Bumble Bee is small. Just a handful of cattle ranches and private homes are all that remain of this once thriving stage stop.

Cleator was the next town that was along the route. We were surprised at how many visitors had come up for the day. The town bar was hopping. The yacht club was in full swing too. Yes, you read that right. They have a yacht club! It had lots of chairs and pick-nic tables with a ton of people talking, laughing and having a good time.

Les stopped in to check out the yard sale that looked like it never closed. We actually liked Cleator better than Crown King even though it is way smaller. It was definitely more interesting to us.

Pretty vistas surrounded us, but I had to keep telling Les to keep his eyes on the road. he was scaring the be-jeebers out of me.

The road on up to CK was pretty hairy. It was narrower and rougher. At times it narrowed down to a one car road. You had to pull as far to the side or back up to allow passing. I did not like that at all and was a nervous wreck by the time we got to the town.

Crown King also had hoards of people milling about but the atmosphere seemed creepy somehow. Well, two things that I don’t like (besides scary roads) are crowds and drunks. I don’t know if it was a special event or if every weekend brigs so many off-roaders, but it was evident that many had been drinking it up and were pretty rowdy. We were happy to get out of there!

To be fair, I heard one guy say to another that it’s always a zoo around there on the weekends. He said that during the week it’s like a ghost town (which kind of made me chuckle to myself.) So if you get on over to my neck of the woods, the shake down is as such: Bumble Bee= cute, Cleator= interesting and Crown King= thumbs down (unless possibly during the week).

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