April arrives each year with great anticipation from teams who have signed up to participate in the Amazing Cemetery Crawl. The six teams of the Amazing Cemetery Crawl 9 arrived at the Pioneer & Military Memorial Park (cemeteries) in Phoenix, Arizona bright and early on Saturday, April 12, 2014. They were all ready for the weekend trek along the back roads of Arizona seeking historic sites and cemeteries.
The Cemetery Crawl 9 teams, Twisted Minds, Ghostie Geckos, Grey Parliament, The Walkers, The Guided Ghostly Trio and Cave’s Crypt Seekers received T-shirts, scarves, lucky gnomes and info folder with the rules of the road. This year’s theme for the event was “Arizona Mines and Ghost Towns.”
The Amazing Cemetery Crawl was created in October 2005 as a way for graveyard enthusiasts to see and learn the history of cemeteries in Arizona. Teams are given directions to various cemeteries across the state. They also receive a poetic clue that describes the tombstone they are to photograph in each cemetery. There are several detours to complete along the way which earn them “funny money” (play money) and extra points. Members of the Cemetery Crawl teams say this is a great way to discover long lost tourist meccas and historic places forgotten with the building of Interstate highways.
The teams were handed their first envelopes at the Pioneer and Military Memorial Park and discovered their first set of detours would have them traveling through downtown Phoenix (trying to avoid a competing running event) to visit the grave of the Lost Dutchman, The Rosson House and the Herberger Theatre. Teams are asked to pose for a picture at each detour location to earn “funny money” points.
Heading toward central Phoenix, the teams traveled to Greenwood Cemetery and searched for their first tombstone using a poetic clue handed to them in an envelope. Once the tombstone was found and photographed, the teams were handed their next set of clues and detours. Cave’s Crypt Keepers took an early lead, followed by Twisted Minds, and the Walkers. The teams breathed a sigh of relief when they were handed their next envelopes an discovered they contained no detours.
A short drive later landed them at the Goodyear Farms Historic Cemetery in Avondale, Arizona. The Twisted Minds quickly snatched the lead, with Cave’s Crypt Keepers and the Walkers trailing closely behind. The next series of detours had the teams on their toes. They were asked to pose next to various signs, a small highway chapel, and to be on the lookout for frogs! Yes, the mascot for the town of Salome, AZ is the frog and the folks are proud to post them on just about anything nailed down! The group also visited a 911 Memorial and the gravesite of Dick Wick Hall—the reason behind the frog frenzy in Salome! The teams stopped to salute the old army tanks in Bouse, AZ and found their way to their next pit stop up the road.
The next cemetery clue search was in the Parker Cemetery located in the outskirts of Parker, AZ. Last year’s winners, The Walkers grabbed the lead for first place, Grey Parliament moved up to second place and Cave’s Crypt Keepers closed in at third. A new batch of detours took the teams to Parker Dam, the London Bridge and surrounding area, Lake Havasu Memorial Gardens, and the Old Trails Bridge in Topock, AZ. After connecting onto old Route 66, the teams drove through Golden Shore, took photos of the Veteran’s Monument, and spent some time in Oatman, AZ feeding the wild burros. They also visited the Oatman Hotel where they signed and added a dollar bill to the saloon wall, and posed outside the Olive Oatman Restaurant.
After a nail-biting (but awe-inspiring) drive down the mountain from Oatman, the CC9 teams followed old Route 66 into the town of Kingman---their final destination of the evening. One by one, the teams arrived at El Trovatore Motel—a vintage Route 66 themed motel built in 1939—one of the first motels air-conditioned in the state of Arizona.
Debe greeted the teams at The Pit Stop for Day One of Cemetery Crawl 9 in the courtyard of the El Trovatore. The top three teams of the day were The Walkers, second place was Grey Parliamemt and the long time champs, the Ghostie Geckos, placed third. Cave’s Crypt Keepers were fourth, Guided Ghostly Trio came in fifth, and the Twisted Minds succumbed to last place.
Teams had dinner at the Dambar Steak House in Kingman. Several of the ladies set up tables outside their motel rooms for a couple of quick games of the Left Center Right Dice Game before lights out. And yes, Elvis graced the Cemetery Crawl once again. One of the team members spent the night in the Elvis room at the motel, complete with vintage Elvis poster size photos.
Will the teams survive another day on the dusty roads leading to some of Arizona’s old mining towns and graveyards? Will they be visited by Route 66 ghosts during the night? Learn about the wishing well. Find out how many frogs were seen on the road in and about Salome. Who will get lost? Will anyone strike it rich? Who will win the Amazing Cemetery Crawl 9?
Be sure to come back and read Part 2 and the exciting conclusion of Cemetery Crawl 9!
See links below to other great adventures from Cemetery Crawl 2—3—4—5—6—7—8 which include a musical slide show!
Debe's note: More slides will be added to this slide show AND a full musical slideshow will be coming soon!