Apache Junction, AZ…
This small town outside of Phoenix completely stole our hearts the first time we visited in January. We only spent ONE night here and since have talked multiple times about how to make our way back. This week, we made it back (praise hands!).
The number one highlight of our first time here was a local honkey tonk called The Hitching Post Saloon. Said saloon is like a clip out of a movie… As the snow birds slowly retire, the local population grows and the night progresses. Most everyone is wearing a Stetson and boots and knows one another.
Everyone knows how to two step and hits the dance floor each time the band plays a song. The band, The Donny Grubb Band, is comprised of local celebrities. The band’s lead is an incredibly talented singer and musician, fully clad in big ole jean overalls. On Thursday nights they have rodeo practice out back and on Saturdays they open up a rodeo for free for anyone who enters the competition. Those who attend pay an entrance fee and the bull rider who wins gets cash. The local tall and lanky 14 year old wins a good bit of the time and everyone gets quite a kick out of it. The first Thursday night we came into the saloon we were lucky enough to meet two different people who made impressions on us.
One was a scruffy brooding rancher named Jim who has lived in the area for about 20 years. He must have been in his 50s. He always rides his horse through the desert to the saloon and ties his horse up outside (just like a scene from a movie, right?!). He told us about ranch life, the different characters in the bar, and what business was like in Apache Junction. He was kind enough to make us feel welcome and answer our questions.
The next local we had the pleasure of meeting and spending some time with was the owner of the bar, Tina. Tina is from the north originally and has been in Arizona since her 20s. After frying up the last batch of wings she came out from behind the bar, sat with me and we got to talking. We talked about her journey of owning a bar and developing it into a place for community and fun. She shared with me stories about her life, her six grown kids, and her past. When I told her I was from Georgia she laughed and said she could guess that from my smile, sweetness, and politeness (HA!). I so enjoyed Tina’s hospitality, openness, and mostly her grit. She has a true grit to her that is admirable and makes me want to have been able to talk with her hours longer.
While here in January we stayed at what is now a commercialized “ghost town” but used to be an old mining town back in 1983 called Goldfield. The 360 sunset we witnessed up the hill towards the back of Goldfield was glowing with pinks, oranges, yellows, and purple. The clouds truly gave off an imitation of cotton candy. It was brilliant!
The base of Goldfield looks out onto a breathtaking mountain range, the Superstition Mountains. It was one of those where you feel like you can reach out and touch the peaks yet it’s so vast you can’t comprehend it’s size.
In just one spur of the moment evening in January this town captured us. So, we made it back.. and this time with Stetsons. This week we’re spending four nights in town at the Lost Dutchman State Park - only five minutes from the saloon. Thank goodness this time we’re staying longer to enjoy the beautiful weather, terrain, and of course another visit to The Hitching Post. Can I just say, it’s just as charming as we remember. Thursday night, we made sure to get a photo with Tina and catch up. Time to two step into the night at our favorite stop so far. If you ever get the chance to visit this town, take the time to stop by the Hitching Post and meet some great folks.