On the Road with Tom and Gloria travel blog

Elvis Presley Memorial Chapel

Apacheland Movie Ranch



Old Saloon Props

The Gallows


Navajo Pottery

Horse hair Pottery


Beautiful Horse

Today kicked off a four day celebration called "Lost Dutchman Days" in the town of Apache Junction. There will be a professional rodeo all weekend, a parade on Saturday, (both featuring the Budweiser Clydesdale horses), and other festivities at many other venues. The Johnsville Brat Grill was at the Elks Club at lunchtime today. That thing is huge - at least 55 feet long. One of the Clydesdales was there for photo ops also. There was quite a large crowd waiting to buy the $3 brat so we didn't hang around. We took our pictures and moved on.

Down the road from the Elks is the Lost Dutchman Museum. The Superstition Mountain Historical Society is very active and does a great job of preserving the legends and myths of the area. On the premises is the Elvis Presley Memorial Chapel . Elvis starred in "Charro" ( his only non singing role in a movie) and this church had it's steeple blown off in that film. Actually it was a specially made steeple - the real one is still intact .

This chapel and the Apacheland Barn were moved here from a different location. They were part of Apacheland Movie Ranch which had a fully constructed main street that was a full blown movie set. These two buildings are all that's left from a devastating fire in 2004. The Ranch was a western movie mecca. Some of the movies filmed here were: Charro, Arizona Raiders, the Haunted, Purple Hills, Broken Land, and the most recent - Blind Justice. Some of the TV productions were- Have Gun Will Travel, Zane Grey Theater, Wanted Dead or Alive, Death Valley Days, and Gambler II. Tons of commercials were also made here right up until the fire. They managed to save quite a bit of memorabilia - including Doc Holiday's wheelchair. It was fun to walk through the barn and try to envision Audie Murphy having his famous gun battle in Arizona Raiders. We visited the blacksmith shop and bought a lovely hook shaped like a leaf. It will be a terrific momento of our winter in the Superstitions!

We went in the Museum itself and was surprised to find wonderful pottery( mostly Navajo) for sale. All are authentic pieces signed by the artist. One of the more interesting was a piece of horse hair pottery. It is fired using a special technique that creates fine dark lines by placing horse hair onto the pot during firing. When the temperature reaches about 1600 degrees the horse hair burns leaving a carbon stain cooked into it. After the pot is fired, it is rock polished - no glaze is used. The artist paints and hand etches the piece and then refires it. Really quite different.

We are looking forward to the weekend to see what other wonderful events we can experience.

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