Mailman rides to Skull Valley Arizona 💀 a beautiful place with a murderous history.

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Boooobbbb .
Youve been slacking on travelogs this winter... 😏
Ok…Ok…..off I go then….😉

Arizona loves its colorful names….Tombstone the town too tough to die, Big Bug Creek, Horse Thief Basin, Bloody Basin, Hells Canyon and on and on…but if you look a little deeper into their history, you usually find out they got that name for a reason.
Today I rode to……😬
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I got up early today in anticipation of the long ride ahead of me. When I left my house it was 45 degrees and sunny. I am headed to the sleepy little ranching community of Skull Valley, I’ve been through there a few times over the years, usually when I am taking the scenic backroads to Prescott Arizona. I never gave much thought to the towns name, as I said Arizona has lots of names like that, but a while back I was reading about the history of the town and I discovered it’s grim past. It is the site of two Native Indian massacres, one of them was one of the largest ever in the state.

Leaving my home I rode NorthWest to the town of Wickenburg, then I turned due North and headed for the mountains, I immediately started gaining altitude and began to regret that I only wore a t-shirt under my riding jacket. Where I was going had gotten down into the 30’s the night before.
Looking ahead to the climb up Yarnell Hill…….
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Topping Yarnell Hill you are immediately in higher elevation natural grasslands.
Here I am passing through the tiny town of Congress,
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In the 1800’s settlers lived here at their own peril, this was all Indian territory as far as the eye can see.
Fun facts: Arizona has the third largest Native American population in the country. Indians have lived here for more than 18,000 years!
Old West Arizona had 44 US Army Calvary forts and camps to protect settlers , travelers, and freight shipping companies from Indian attacks.
Arizona is home to 22 Native American tribes. The Indian Wars were a big deal here.

Another 20 miles and the turn off for Skull Valley comes into view, turning off the highway and onto a two lane road that meanders through the hills, washes and grassy plains. Soon the road is traveling parallel to the old Santa Fe railroad tracks, still in operation today, it once was the lifeline to these remote communities.

A landmark building is coming up on my right, the Kirkland Hotel and steakhouse. In the 1800’s this site was originally a stagecoach stop. It’s a run down mess now. I’ve never been inside, but I’ve seen photos, it looks like an old West hotel with dark narrow halls and there is a giant Wells Fargo safe on the main floor. This place has its own stories of Indian raids taking place here.
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Ten more miles down the road and I start to see what I rode here for, Skull Valley. It’s still cold here and the trees aren’t yet leafed out, but in the summer time these beautiful old cottonwood trees are just amazing. Hundreds of years old, they shade the roads and homes that are scattered around this valley,
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So…..what’s the story with the name of the town you ask? Hundreds of years ago, long before white settlers began to show up, these grasslands were home to the Pima Indian tribe, they were a largely peaceful tribe of farmers and hunters. To the North of here, up near Prescott, lived the Yavapai Indians. There had been an extended drought and the Yavapais ( who were not farmers ) were starving to death.
They traveled down here to ask the Pimas for food. These two tribes were not really friends and the Pimas decided to give them just enough food to be on their way. This angered the Yavapais who went back into the hills and waited for the opportunity to raid the Pimas. The Yavapais did raid the Pimas, stealing food and taking hostages which they wound up killing. The Pimas were enraged and they ran them down to this small green valley , killed every last one of them and left their bodies where they lay.

Fast forward to the mid 1800’s and this valley began being settled by pioneers who were looking to farm this fertile little valley. And what do you think they turned up every spring when they would plow the fields? You guessed it………..💀 Hundreds of them, and all sorts of other human bones too. By the way, there was another massacre that occurred in this valley after the Indians raided a local farm. Much smaller but still….

Riding towards the center of town now and I came upon the old Santa Fe Railroad depot, which is now a local museum.
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And here is probably my favorite old building, the old gas station, which has always been boarded up, but I was pleasantly surprised to see it is now a little coffee shop! So I had to stop and have a cup of coffee on this cold morning, and some pleasant conversation with the owner.
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One last photo on my way out of town, I saw this train trestle that I could just barely ride under …..so I had to do it!
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I stopped for lunch on the way back home ( of course! ) and then headed home. 200 miles today and a lot of fun!

I went to Skull Valley and all I got was this lousy t-shirt!” 😄
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Later! Bob 😎
 
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Great pics! Only way they could be better is if they had a XS650 in them.

Ha! I had to go back through my photos, I thought I might’ve had one of my 650’s but no joy!

And THIS is what I'm talking about about!
Thanks Bob.

See what you made me do! 😄

Great pictures and commentary Bob! Thx for sharing - our riding season will soon be here (fingers crossed)🤞

Bike looks great. Those rear bags are a perfect match / fit.

Thanks! Yeah, I like them too, I’m very happy with the bikes current set up.
 
Wherever you may be, there’s something to see and a history of people before you. You just need to take notice.
I had a friend here in November. We rode two of my XS650’s to Vicksburg. That’s almost Memphis to Vicksburg and takes a little over three hours in the car. It took us all day on the bikes. We probably could have stretched it to three days.
Thanks for the ride, Bob! Same for the history lesson. I may research that.
 
Love that Santa Fe station!!

I do too! That train station is now a museum, but I have yet to be able to go in there, they only open it on special occasions.

Excellent!:thumbsup: A professional Photo Journalist could not have covered that road trip as good as you did. I always enjoy your posts. Thanks Bob.

Thank you! You wouldn’t believe the stupid amount of time I put into researching a trip like that before I go. I knew before I even left home, some specific things I wanted to photograph, and I accumulated sooo much info on old west Calvary forts and Indian battles and massacres. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to cut things off, but I figure people enjoy photos more than reading, so I try to make them photo intensive! 😄

Fabulous report and photos. The Old West! You got me looking at maps and soon came across Nothing - the town where people had faith in Nothing, hoped for Nothing, worked at Nothing, for Nothing.

You have some epic rides where you live, Bob.

Thanks Raymond! We all enjoy seeing different parts of the world eh? Here’s another good Arizona town name,
Why Arizona……where the lizards outnumber the people. The story behind the name is, a long time ago there was a fork in the road at the edge of town. People got used to saying that they lived “ at the Y” the name stuck. 😄
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Beautiful pics....thanks for sharing!

Thank you! 👍🏻

and my wife wonders what I find so attractive about that part of the country... :heart:

The open space and mountains have always been appealing to me. 😉
 
Wherever you may be, there’s something to see and a history of people before you. You just need to take notice.
I had a friend here in November. We rode two of my XS650’s to Vicksburg. That’s almost Memphis to Vicksburg and takes a little over three hours in the car. It took us all day on the bikes. We probably could have stretched it to three days.
Thanks for the ride, Bob! Same for the history lesson. I may research that.

Yeah you live in a history rich environment for sure, pretty country too! 😍
 
Ok…Ok…..off I go then….😉

Arizona loves its colorful names….Tombstone the town too tough to die, Big Bug Creek, Horse Thief Basin, Bloody Basin, Hells Canyon and on and on…but if you look a little deeper into their history, you usually find out they got that name for a reason.
Today I rode to……😬
View attachment 263155

I got up early today in anticipation of the long ride ahead of me. When I left my house it was 45 degrees and sunny. I am headed to the sleepy little ranching community of Skull Valley, I’ve been through there a few times over the years, usually when I am taking the scenic backroads to Prescott Arizona. I never gave much thought to the towns name, as I said Arizona has lots of names like that, but a while back I was reading about the history of the town and I discovered it’s grim past. It is the site of two Native Indian massacres, one of them was one of the largest ever in the state.

Leaving my home I rode NorthWest to the town of Wickenburg, then I turned due North and headed for the mountains, I immediately started gaining altitude and began to regret that I only wore a t-shirt under my riding jacket. Where I was going had gotten down into the 30’s the night before.
Looking ahead to the climb up Yarnell Hill…….
View attachment 263158View attachment 263159

Topping Yarnell Hill you are immediately in higher elevation natural grasslands.
Here I am passing through the tiny town of Congress,
View attachment 263160View attachment 263161View attachment 263162View attachment 263163

In the 1800’s settlers lived here at their own peril, this was all Indian territory as far as the eye can see.
Fun facts: Arizona has the third largest Native American population in the country. Indians have lived here for more than 18,000 years!
Old West Arizona had 44 US Army Calvary forts and camps to protect settlers , travelers, and freight shipping companies from Indian attacks.
Arizona is home to 22 Native American tribes. The Indian Wars were a big deal here.

Another 20 miles and the turn off for Skull Valley comes into view, turning off the highway and onto a two lane road that meanders through the hills, washes and grassy plains. Soon the road is traveling parallel to the old Santa Fe railroad tracks, still in operation tosday, it once was the lifeline to these remote communities.

A landmark building is coming up on my right, the Kirkland Hotel and steakhouse. In the 1800’s this site was originally a stagecoach stop. It’s a run down mess now. I’ve never been inside, but I’ve seen photos, it looks like an old West hotel with dark narrow halls and there is a giant Wells Fargo safe on the main floor. This place has its own stories of Indian raids taking place here.
View attachment 263167View attachment 263166View attachment 263165


Ten more miles down the road and I start to see what I rode here for, Skull Valley. It’s still cold here and the trees aren’t yet leafed out, but in the summer time these beautiful old cottonwood trees are just amazing. Hundreds of years old, they shade the roads and homes that are scattered around this valley,
View attachment 263168View attachment 263169View attachment 263170View attachment 263171View attachment 263172View attachment 263173

So…..what’s the story with the name of the town you ask? Hundreds of years ago, long before white settlers began to show up, these grasslands were home to the Pima Indian tribe, they were a largely peaceful tribe of farmers and hunters. To the North of here, up near Prescott, lived the Yavapai Indians. There had been an extended drought and the Yavapais ( who were not farmers ) were starving to death.
The traveled down here to ask the Pimas for food. These two tribes were not really friends and the Pimas decided to give them just enough food to be on their way. This angered the Yavapais who went back into the hills and waited for the opportunity to raid the Pimas. The Yavapais did raid the Pimas, stealing food and taking hostages which they wound up killing. The Pimas were enraged and they ran them down to this small green valley , killed every last one of them and left their bodies where they lay.

Fast forward to the mid 1800’s and this valley began being settled by pioneers who were looking to farm this fertile little valley. And what do you think they turned up every spring when they would plow the fields? You guessed it………..💀 Hundreds of them, and all sorts of other human bones too. By the way, there was another massacre that occurred in this valley after the Indians raided a local farm. Much smaller but still….

Riding towards the center of town now and I came upon the old Santa Fe Railroad depot, which is now a local museum.
View attachment 263175View attachment 263176View attachment 263177

And here is probably my favorite old building, the old gas station, which has always been boarded up, but I was pleasantly surprised to see it is now a little coffee shop! So I had to stop and have a cup of coffee on this cold morning, and some pleasant conversation with the owner.
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One last photo on my way out of town, I saw this train trestle that I could just barely ride under …..so I had to do it!
View attachment 263181

I stopped for lunch on the way back home ( of course! ) and then headed home. 200 miles today and a lot of fun!

I went to Skull Valley and all I got was this lousy t-shirt!” 😄
View attachment 263182

Later! Bob 😎
Great read, thank you
 
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