Monday, April 20, 2009


A few weeks ago I traveled to Ruby, Ariz. to check out an old ghost town. It turns out Ruby is the second most well preserved ghost town in the state, which is saying something because Arizona has over 275 of them! I spent the whole afternoon talking with Sundog, the current caretaker of the town.
He lives alone on the property without electricity or running water, and the two lakes in town are the only reason he can handle the heat of the desert, especially during the summer. Ruby is just four miles north of the Mexico border and Sundog had quite a few interesting stories to tell us about the area.

"It's still a pretty crazy neighborhood," said Sundog. "Three big drug cartels in this area are fighting for territory. They still have shootouts."

The day we visited Sundog had been woken up by some Mexican immigrants walking through the desert trying to enter the United States illegally. It's a common occurrence for the caretaker, who said that there are well established routes through the mountains in the area.

In fact, Samaritans, a humanitarian group dedicated to saving lives of migrants in Arizona, supplies Sundog with food packets and water to give to suffering travelers.

"I'm always good for food, water and directions," he said, adding that, "People who actually come to the house need some help. Some walk for days to get here."

Sundog seemed a little bit disgruntled about being woken up that morning, but he didn't hold a grudge. Born in California in 1957, he remembers never feeling very comfortable in his hometown of Los Angeles. He left in the late 1980's to travel for about 14 years. During his Mexico travels he remembers having a lot of fun.

"I got treated like royalty everywhere I went," said Sundog. "The Mexican people are the sweetest people on Earth." Sundog credits these experiences with why he has so much sympathy for the migrants he encounters. His story serves as a great example of why you should respect people from all over, no matter where you are, because you never know when it's going to come back around.

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