After wrapping up in Bisbee we were off to yet another historical Arizona town, Tombstone. Tombstone is well known for its former silver riches and the classic story of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. The town, while modernized to a certain degree, still has a very old west feel to it. On mainstreet you’re likely to find a horse and carriage and a few cowboys walking around, as we did. One of the local police officers (known as a Marshall in Tombstone) patrolled in a Hummer H1, which somehow didn’t seem at all out of place in such an old fashioned town.
The following day, after touring an aircraft museum, we made our way towards Mt. Lemmon through Tucson. Tucson is generally awful for driving, as it's very spread out and lacks a central (read: useful) highway/freeway system, but it is home to one of the greatest roads on this side of the state, Catalina Highway. Catalina Highway is twenty-five miles of turns and scenery up Mt. Lemmon, leading to the small town of Summerhaven. Having driven the road many times in my years in Tucson, getting to go up with all the incredible cars from the rally was a fantastic experience. Some of the cars struggled to make it up the nearly 7000 feet of elevation change, I recall one sputtering outright as it was rolling in to the checkpoint parking lot (to a round of applause).
The last day of the rally was an easy drive north back to the Phoenix area for the finish line. Our drive took us through many of Arizona’s smaller towns like Mammoth, Oracle, and a slightly-less-small town called Globe. 150 miles and a couple of overheated rally cars later, we ended up at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum. A question I heard more than once was “what’s an Arboretum?” Turns out it’s a botanical garden with a focus on woody plants, a great place to eat our lunch for the last day of the rally.
The final leg of the journey was a quick 70 mile drive to the finish line in North Phoenix where anyone who wanted to could get the 1000 miles worth of bug splats and dirt washed off their well exercised vehicles. Reaching the end of the rally was bittersweet. On one hand, I was pretty worn out from 4 days of driving. On the other, it would be a whole year before I might have the chance to do it all again. After an excellent dinner and awards ceremony, we viewed a slideshow of photos from the journey. It was a great way to wrap up four of the most enjoyable days I’ve had. With the gorgeous scenery of the southwest, the incredible assortment of fascinating and beautiful automobiles, and the excellent company of a group of like-minded and good-natured individuals, the Copperstate 1000 is easily one of the best ways you can spend time behind the wheel.