Thumbin' My Way to Tombstone


A poem by Chrome Dome Mike Kimbro


Please read along to my "Spoken Verse Performance".

Pic of the stage coach in Tombstone, Arizona in early April 2015, with the famous OK Corral and OK Cafe sitting in the background.





I’m thumbin’ my way to Tombstone.


That town makes you think: law and order.


I’m thumbin’ my way to Tombstone.


It’s down by the Mexican border.


Now my bank account is bare.


In Las Vegas I misjudged it.


But my muse doesn’t care,    


That there’s no money in the budget.


So I’ve gotta get down there,


To check it out, cause I can’t fudge it.


Yeah, I’m thumbin’ my way to Tombstone.


And I better not be late.









Greyhound Bus Lines Receipt & Voucher for my bus trip from Las Vegas, NV to Tucson, AZ. 

A Greyhound bus was my conveyance.


Last night, as from Sin City I traveled.


But a failed bus heater was an annoyance.


Plans for a good night’s sleep unraveled.





It got so cold that we could see our breath,


Traveling near Flagstaff and Humphreys Peak.


Photo of a prickly pear and saguaro cacti taken on Fremont Street in Tombstone, Arizona.  While adding character to the scene, the Native American totem pole does seem to be a little out of place.

A windbreaker I loaned to lovely Lisabeth.


My chivalry earned a kiss on the cheek!





I sure felt blessed with her across the isle,


Bringing her grace to that mobile hostel.


She was sweet with brains and drive, and loads of style.


Suffice it to say she wasn’t hostile.





My skill with the babes is the stuff of legend.


But “The Total Package” still makes me anxious.


So feelings of relief I kept hidden,


When Ms. Chavez disembarked in Phoenix.





It's Chrome Dome Mike proudly rocking his North High T-Shirt , representing the #1 Mustangs in the Phoenix area, also called the Valley of the Sun.



The triumphant return of the prodigal son!


That’s the title which I’ve given this scene.


I went to North Phoenix High and Emerson.


A freshman member of the cross country team.









I miss that runner’s high feeling I knew


As on the streets and canals I would run.


But things were different back in ‘72,


The year I left the Valley of the Sun.





Photo of the Tombstone Trolley Tours bus-like vehicle employed by  the Helldorado Town Wild West theme park which features panning for gold.






ASU was my favorite, but I chose DePauw.


To some that might sound contradictory.


The very first color TV program I saw,


Was the Sun Devils’ Peach Bowl victory.









Back on the bus, soon Casa Grande we pass.


If memory serves, this is myself on the left with my family including Warner Marshall Kimbro and Edna Mae Kimbro and my sister Sharon Jane Kimbro, in front of our home at 2223 North 9th Street in Phoenix, Arizona.

Lived there in ’62, have a few memories.


A cotton gin visit with my kindergarten class,


And giant ants which swarmed like killer bees.






My parents were outlaw cactus pickers


When mom went through her jelly making phase.


We thought she was crazed, choosing a fruit with stickers.


But loved Mom's prickly pear jam PB&J's.






At the Tucson depot I get off with zest.


And grab a granola bar and soda pop.


I’m given good directions, but with protest,


To an on-ramp, and a busy truck stop.







But an on ramp BY a busy truck stop,


Photo of the Tombstone Epitaph building on 5th Street in Tombstone, AZ.  It's the newspaper for the town too tough to die.

That’s a win-win in the hitchhiking game.


Where one can avoid the gaze of the cops,


And the Highway Patrol.  No, they’re not the same.





VERSE 13 - Mike's Hitchhiking Manifesto


Between the interstate and the feeder streets,


The on-ramp serves as traffic’s confluence.


It’s the best place to find drivers to greet.


Until our needs and laws achieve congruence.







But before the law of the land can be changed,


We will need to increase our influence.


Not an easy task, when folks think we’re deranged.


And have us grouped with winos and truants.







Then there’s the bigger problem which we face.


Here’s a cold shot which will make you wince.


You’ll regard your thumbing past with disgrace,


The Fallen Angel Sweet Sin Parlor serves home made fudge and Italian Gelato ice cream.

Once you’ve reached a certain level of affluence.





But ride sharing should be celebrated, dudes.


Thumbin’s not something for which we need repent.


Let’s work together until the Bill of Rights includes


A hitchhiking constitutional amendment.





Then, with the thumbing greats, I’ll be deified,


Through induction in The Hitchhiker Hall of Fame.


But until that day comes, I might be satisfied,


If an interstate on-ramp bares my name.





To the world’s drivers, here’s a word of thanks.

Photo of the Gunfighter Hall of Fame on Allen Street in Tombstone, AZ, a museum which celebrates those in the Old West who lived and died by their handguns, usually a revolver.


But it’s a shame that your kind act should astound.


To those about to join the hitchhiking ranks:


“First check out Spirit or Amtrak or Greyhound.”  :~)





I’m thumbin’ my way to Tombstone.


In the hope that my muse will be pleased.


I’m thumbin’ my way to Tombstone.


With a slight case of Grover’s Disease.


If you've ever had a muse.


You know they can get irate.


But I’m in my favorite shoes,


And the weather is great.


No point in singing the blues

Pick of the Silver Belt R. V. Park in Tombstone, AZ.


Hell, it’s all up to fate!


So I’m thumbin’ my way to Tombstone.


On my return to the Copper State.





Anxious to shift into hitchhiker mode,


I follow the gent’s directions to the letter.


At the on-ramp at I-10 and Silverlake Road,


I hold my thumb out, and feel much better.



Chrome Dome Mike hitchhiking in Tucson, AZ on the onramp to I-10 and I-19 which lead to El Pase and Nogales respectively.



A sign would help to further the process.


A piece of cardboard serves as the canvas.


I draw the T’s in Tombstone to look like crosses.


So that folks will know I’m not a badass.





To “The Law” I am a person of interest.


As I stand at the I-10 and 19 split,


Might just be curiosity, more than distrust,


Since I doubt they have a mold which I’d fit.





Oh crap!  A black SUV comes to a stop.


Now I start to feel a wee bit paranoid.


The markings on the side say it’s a cop.


This situation I had hoped to avoid.





As the ‘official vehicle’ count increased


I felt as if, on my head, there was a bounty.


Arizona, but it's a dry heat is a common theme in my collection of refrigerator magnets.

How could I know I was a half mile East,


Of the jailhouse for all of Pima County?






You’ll soon learn that, in this part of the nation,


Low humidity’s appeal has its limits.


I brought extra water to avoid dehydration.


But not enough, it's gone in thirty minutes.





Caught a look from a filly passing by.


Was she assessing my conjugal fitness?


Come on baby, there’s no reason to be shy.


It's not like I'm a Jehovah's Witness.





I’ll outfit with skill on my next Tucson trip.


For White Chicks I’ll have bags by Versace.


For my stylish kicks the Sisstas will flip.


For Latina’s, just one word:  “Mariachi.”




Pic of Bed and Breakfast named after Wyatt's brother Virgil, which also sits on Freemont Street in Tombstone, AZ.


I’m thumbin’ my way to Tombstone.


And have come to a fork in the road.


I’m thumbin’ my way to Tombstone.


Would she notice that my progress had slowed?


Sometime soon this poet will arrive,


Where the famous OK Corral is.


Not taking I-19 will only deprive,


Me a chance of seeing Nogales.


But doing so means I might not survive,


To see my children back in Dallas.


So I’ll keep thumbin’ my way to Tombstone.


Via the I-10 interstate.



Photo of Tombstone Harley-Davidson and T. Miller's tombstone Mercantile and Hotel, which sells antiques and collectibles from the Old West from it's location at 530 E. Allen Street, Tombstone, Arizona 85638.



I had a good feeling as a King Ranch passed.


Looked around in time to see it slowing.


Sure was surprised to get picked up so fast.


It helped the driver knew where I was going.






The driver earns his living in hydration,


And is proud of his Chickasaw descent.


Pic of the sign for the Bella Union Restaurant in Tombstone, AZ.

I’ve spent lots of time on their reservation.


When I’m flush, Winstar Casino’s where I went.





Most think of the desert in shades of tan.


But it’s full of color in the early spring.


Check out the Chihuahuan or the Sonoran,


And you’ll soon find beauty in all things.





I grab a Subway Sandwich in Benson.


Pic of the statue of Tombstone Sheriff Wyatt Earp on Fremont Street in Tombstone, Arizona.

Then Roy drops me at the Highway 80 split.


I doubt the police would grant an exemption,


For seeking a ride without a permit.





In less than 5 minutes up pulls a van,


Driven by a landlord whose name is Eden.


She calls her husband to let him know she plans


To rent a room out to me for the evenin’.




Sign for The Depot Steak House and Mexican Restaurant and infamous Johnny Ringo's Saloon.



The rents are high during snow bird season,


At The Grand, The Mercantile and the bordellos.


But the low rate Eden gave me was the reason,


We both ate real good at The Depot.





Here's the Bird Cage Theater in Tombstone, Arizona at 535 E. Allen Street.  Formerly a brothel and gambling hall, it's said to be haunted.






The afternoon is spent seeing the sights.


I do the old Allen Street shuffle.


But all along I feel that something’s not right.


My search for inspiration is a struggle.





I should have taken a nap to clear my head.


Cause all I feel now is a little depressed.


Could have stayed home and watched “Wyatt Earp” instead.


Or “Tombstone” or “John Holliday, D.D.S.”





“Wyatt Earp” or “Tombstone”, which is the best?


Photo of the author wearing a sweat top with the trident logo of the Arizona State University Sun Devils.

Men ask this, as if they don’t already know.


While I'd rather not say, if I were pressed,


I’d go with “Open Range” or “Silverado”.





With the release of “John Holliday, D.D.S.”,


Old preconceptions are about to come down.


Sounds like “Tombstone 2”?  Well, take another guess.


You might say there’s a new sheriff in town.





First, Doc learns his T.B. was misdiagnosed.


The coughing started when Kate bought a cat home.


What made him cough and wheeze was asthma, at most.


A one way hunting trip fixed the problem.





Doc was Cochise County’s badass dentist.


He’d fix your teeth, after putting you in a comma.


His lone employee was his hygienist.


A handsome woman whose name was Wynonna.





But the Tombstonites were getting mugged and robbed.


And they really needed a Chief of Police.


Wynonna was looking for a second job,


Her low salary Doc wouldn’t increase.





You see, this was the Old West, before EEOC.


So a lad’s pay was twice that of a lass.


Wynonna changed her name to Wyatt, with two T’s.


Glued on a mustache, then kicked some “cowboy” ass.



Meanwhile, back on Allen Street…


Photo of Big Nose Kate's Saloon in Tombstone, AZ.  Big Nose Kate was Doc Holliday's girlfriend.




I go in for a beer, and it tastes great.


Got a Shock Top White with slice of lemon.


I’m sure that a gal who goes by Big Nose Kate,


Would be cool with my ode to handsome women.







I hear a different language every fifty feet.


So as a soccer fan I’m probably not alone.


But don’t say: “Ciao!”  Here, it’s “Howdy” when you greet.


Because it’s like they say:  “When in Tombstone,…”






VERSE 45 – “Ode to the Arizona Sunset”


I thank God that the cell phone was invented.


Even if it consumes too much of our wages.


How else could we capture sunsets which are splendid.


And post them to our Facebook pages.






Before coming to Tombstone as a tourist,


I conceived a poem “Ghosts of Fremont Street”.


But didn’t for fear of upsetting the purists,


After all, the main drag is Allen Street.





But you’ll find Fremont Street in Las Vegas too,


And drawing the parallels would be easy.


But A Vegas Trilogy was the line that I drew.


And yes, my vision was a bit cheesy.


Photo of the Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park at 223 E. Toughnut.











Twinkle, twinkle, goes the Milky Way.


On a cool, clear Cochise County night.


The scene is perfect from where I survey,


'Cept a jerk's 10,000 lumen porch light.













Photo of Tombstone's Gunfight Palace which hosts gunfight reenactments at 524 Allen Street.



They say javelina hunting is a real rush.


Using a rifle equipped with a night scope.


But I just heard a grunt and rustle in the brush,


And I’m getting inside, cause I’m not a dope.










Got a good night’s sleep.  Dressed and headed out,


Pic of the china berry tree in front of The O.K. Cafe located just across from the City Park on Allen Street in Tombstone, AZ.

Down Allen Street, to see what was open.


Yearning for a cup of coffee that was stout.


Ahead, a productive day, I was hopin’.



Photo of the O.K. Cafe on Allen Street in Tombstone, AZ.




The OK Café is all out of room.


So outside is where I take a seat.


But a chinaberry tree is in full bloom,


Turning an inconvenience into a treat.










Photo of the City Park on Allen Street in Tombstone, AZ, which sits next to the infamous OK Corral.


Sign for the City Park on Allen Street in Tombstone, Arizona.



Then I look to the East, and see a city park.


Where young children can run and play.


From where I sit, the contrast is stark.


As an artist, this one scene makes my day.








Photo of the OK Corral Feed and Livery Stables on Allen Street in Tombstone, AZ.








You see, the OK Corral is there in the background.


In this quiet time Tombstone yields its essence.


With camera in hand, I take a look around,


Wondering if I’d feel another presence.






As I try to channel my inner Fox Mulder,


I question the wisdom of being there.


If a McLaury ghost taps me on the shoulder,


I’ll probably need a change of underwear.









Photo taken of Chrome Dome Mike relaxing at The Rose Tree Exhibit and 1880 Museum on 4th Street in Tombstone, AZ, taken in April 2015.


Photo taken at The Rose Tree Exhibit and 1880 Museum at 4th and East Toughnut Street in Tombstone, AZ, taken in April 2015.



Before heading out, I see The Rose Tree.


It’s a rose bush which will take your breath away.


Stop by to see it, and I’m sure you’ll agree,


For Godzilla, it would make a nice bouquet.













Pic of the famous Boot Hill Graveyard in Tombstone, AZ.  Also called the Boothill Cemetery.













I thank Eden, and leave her to her cleaning.


Then hit Fremont Street, appraising my prospects.


Photo of the grave sites at the Boothill Graveyard Cemetery in Tombstone, AZ.

One final stop could define this trip’s meaning.


At Boothill Graveyard I’ll pay my respects.












I’m headin’ back home from Tombstone.



With pearls in the form of cool photos.



I’m headin’ back home from Tombstone.



They shine like a string of Mikimotos.




Tombstone's Boothill Graveyard with Arizona's Dragoon Mountains in the background, in which can be found several Arizona ghost towns as well as the Cochise Stronghold Memorial Park near Mount Glenn.


Papa said a braggart is a sinner,


Click on this photo to learn a great deal more about this dangerous desert predator.

And is likely just an imposter.


But as poets go, I’m a winner.


And this effort will be a monster.


Unless, of course, I end up as dinner,


For a friggin’ gila monster.


Yeah, I’m headin’ home from Tombstone.


Back to Texas, and I can’t wait.





I knew I had to get well clear of town,


Before I turned and put my thumb on display.


My backpack and carry on were weighing me down.


The rocky terrain would have Bear Grylls dismayed.





As I stand there in the desert so wild,

Here's Tombstone's Landmark Lookout Lodge on Arizona State Highway 80.


A car pulls over with an all female troupe.


Three generations: mom, grandma, and child.


We’re all comfy in their little sports coupe.








These kind ladies are free of pretension.


And offer aid to all along the highway.


They drop me off near the Best Western Inn.


Fill up with water.  Now I’m on my way.

Cover art for the Arizona Highway record album by singer-songwriter Phillip Sandifer of Austin, Texas, of which the title song should be at the top of the music genre 'songs about Arizona'.







Chomp’s tribute to the Grand Canyon State,


It’s Arizona!”, is on my thumbin’ playlist.


And while “Arizona Highway” is great,


Mark Lindsay is why the genre exists.








Cover art for the Phoenix album by the late singer-songwriter Dan Fogelberg.




Did I mention that “Phoenix” is my favorite song?      [Note:  Sample this cool cover by The Graylings Project]


Yeah, I’m sure that it’s not a coincidence.


But I'll bet that folks in Tucson sing along,


As Dan sings of their city of residence.         [Note:  "Tucson, Arizona (Gazette)" by Dan Fogelberg]






Photo of Schieffelin Hall on Fremont Street in Tombstone, Arizona, built in 1881.



Find a piece of cardboard, and clean off the dirt.


Trim it down, write “El Paso” in big letters.


Picked up in one minute, credit the white shirt.


I doubt a Catholic nun could have done better.







The 18-wheeler finally comes to a halt,


About a half mile from where I stood.


This bad case of B.O. isn’t my fault,


I’d be fine had it stopped where it should.



Here's a picture of a tractor-trailer rig taken along I-10 in southern New Mexico.





I notice the truck is clean and white.


Once inside I feel like I’m in good hands.


The driver stops off, so we can grab a bite,


At the snackbar at the Apache Homelands.



A receipt heading from the dinner enjoyed at the Apache Homelands Casino in Deming, New Mexico.





Pic of the Apache Homelands snack and smoke shop in Deming, New Mexico, a casino project of the Fort Sill Oklahoma Apache tribe which is headed by Tribe Chairman Jeff Haozous.

Growing up I loved the songs of Red Sovine.


So it was truckers to which I related.


As I ride in a big rig for the very first time,


You gotta know that I am elated.






As we travel east across New Mexico.


I’m already planning my return trip.


Another Tombstone stay I might forgo.


For mineral hunting I’ll be equipped.

Rockhounding photos of quartz geodes with chalcedony filling, courtesy of Roger Weller of the Cochise College Geology Department in Sierra Vista, Arizona, the rockhounding center of the Southwest USA.






I’d free the gem with a pick hammer.


After examination, I’d tag and bag it.


It’s chalcedony to which I’m enamored.


The most precious being fire agate.






Above Image Credit:  "Quartz Geodes with Chalcedony" from Roger Weller @ Cochise College



Here's a quartz geode which I purchased through Craigslist from the photographer, Mr Roger Scott Dillingham of Frisco, TX.

Photo of polished bisbee turquoise courtesy of Roger Weller of the Cochise College Geology Department in Sierra Vista, Arizona.





And let’s not forget about turquoise.


A favorite shade for gemstones and guitars.


Even Hank Schrader from Breaking Bad enjoys


Minerals, when not putting crooks behind bars.






Photo of three gold rings with the gemstone amethyst.  The photographer is Parker Tadlock of Southlake, Texas, a student at Baylor University.






But Schrader could have used a mineral,


As a stepping stone to marital bliss.


Hank's wife, Marie, was nuts about purple,


And purple quartz becomes the gem stone amethyst.






A rockhounding photo of polished Arizona thundereggs with an opal feature provided by Roger Weller of the Geology Department of the Sierra Vista Campus of Cochise College.



Some mineral formations are miracles.


That's how science regards the coveted geode.


But next trip I'll bring my own vehicle,


Just in case I stumble on the mother lode.






But rockhounding demands a strong work ethic.


And a diamond band saw, to cut and beautify.

Image Credit:  "Arizona Thunderballs" from Roger Weller @ Cochise College

Found a gal with both, and our love is epic!


She's my geode girl. I'm her thunderball guy.





Stepping down from that diesel in El Paso,


Boarding the next bus to Fort Worth is my plan.


Grabbed a beer and nachos, then crashed at the depot.


My Greyhound Bus Lines itinerary from my trip from El Paso, TX to Fort Worth, TX.

Threw my crushed cowboy hat in the garbage can.






Just outside of El Paso’s city limits


We’re pulled over for search by Customs.


While the whole thing takes, at most, fifteen minutes,


It’s a routine to which I’m unaccustomed.





It could have gone a whole lot faster,

Pic of the front of The Crystal Palace in Tombstone, AZ.


Had one of the passenger’s not been so chatty.


With each word he seemed closer to disaster.


Anyway, the whole scene drove me batty.



The food is always delicious at the Chick-fil-A #2933 in North Abilene, Texas.



But he isn’t a bad guy, just overzealous.


And we talk at length over Chick-fil-As.


Of his Nashville upbringing, I’m a bit jealous.


I must visit Belle Meade, one of these days.






In Henry’s mind, music began and ended,


Way back there in the mid to late Sixties.


Disco, punk rock and grunge were not intended,


For his ears.  I didn't ask about The Pixies.


Sign at the entrance of the Tombstone Grand Hotel on West Randolph Way.




Of conventional thought, he seemed a dissenter.


You know, that’s something which I can commend.


At the Cowtown Transportation Center,


I say “adios” to Mr. McGuinn.





When my son swings by to pick me up,


I’m not thinking about the push and shove.


It’s easy to see life as a half FULL cup


When you've got family and friends which you love.



And finally...





My daughter in her halloween costume, as a Texas A & M running back, with her pregnant XXL tummy being the football.

I made it back home from Tombstone.


Of my hitchhiking exploits I brag.


I made it back home from Tombstone.


But now the cat's out of the bag.


I know that it's wrong


Not to tell my daughter.


But she's 3 months along,


And I don't want her bothered.


But she'll find out from this song,


So I just delayed the slaughter.


Yeah, I made it back home from Tombstone.


But soon my head will be on a plate.






Copyright © Michael Kimbro 2015.  All rights reserved.






Pic of the Tombstone City Hall on Allen Street in the town too tough to die.


Keywords:  Poems about Cochise County, Hitchhiking Poetry, Poems about Arizona Highways, The Greyhound bus line, Poems about Hitchhiking, Rockhounding for minerals in New Mexico, Poems about the movie Tombstone, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Benson, AZ, North Phoenix High School poetry, Emerson Elementary School poets.