Western Arizona, like Texas, retains a bit of its wildness. The characters of the past, reveal true grit, and occasionally in some of those we meet along the way. Belle Starr has true grit. She has multiple sclerosis, and is confined to a wheel chair. Her Silverado Ranch is where we camped  the last three nights while visiting Douglas, the Slaughter Ranch and Bizbee.

She has donkeys, horses, dogs, cats, a parrot, chickens and one helper. She takes in campers. Dry campers are free for the first seven days, after that she asks a $10 donation. For using hook-ups, she has two, she asks for $10 a night and a bit of help around the place.

I gave the animals some food, and tried to trim one little dog’s toenails. Jim did most of the helping by working three afternoons on her computer. Aaron, here helper knows nothing about computer. The truth is, we were mightily entertained for our efforts. The stories flowed. The one that sticks is her encounter with the Border Patrol.

Her ranch is near the Mexican border and the border patrol would routinely come in and search her little outbuildings, two of them “camping” cabins. One time they broke her gate, another time they practically dismantled one of the cabins and then wanted to “invade” her house. She drew a gun on them and told them No.  Both agents drew guns on her and ordered her to put the gun down. She did. Two weeks later she got a visit from the CIA and the FBI. She told them, keep those “bas—–” off my place. They told her they would take care of it and she hasn’t been bothered since.

This is Belle at 52 with a $1700 fighting cock. Her third husband was a member of the mafia and she escaped him and changed her name from Bell Santos, to Belle Starr, legally. She is remotely related to the famous female bandit.

A fountain for the birds.

In this corral she has four horses. Another holds three. In another eight miniature donkeys and two full-sized donkeys in yet another. We counted six dogs and one cat.

Plus chickens.

This little dog, Margarita, was so loveable I wanted to take her home with me. I do miss my animals now that I travel half the year. I feel lucky to be able to enjoy other people’s pets as we go.

Jim, too!  We are now at Pancho Villa State Park in Columbus, New Mexico hunkered in for a few days of cold windy weather. I’ll tell you all about an amazing historical event that happened in Bizbee,  tomorrow.

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