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Gold King Mine in Arizona Is The Perfect Gearhead Getaway

Visiting a junkyard was not exactly on my bucket list. But, we had some time to waste at the end of our vacation and found Gold King Mine was on the way to the airport. I figured it would be a good way to spend some time, but it turned out to be so much more.

I actually wish it had been part of our planned vacation so we could have spent more time there. It was that good. Even our 10-year old daughter loved it.

As we drove along the windy round to get to the town of Jerome, it became clear this was like no other town I had ever been to. The feelings of going back in time were real as we began to see the historic buildings, vintage cars and began to loss cell coverage. We landed back in the 1950s.

While the town of Jerome itself was amazing, our first stop would be Gold King Mine.

It all started in 1890. A 1,270 foot mine shaft was dug to look for copper, but instead they found gold. Located just one mile north of Jerome, Arizona – the area became a mining camp called Haynes. By 1901 the population of the camp would be just 30.

Once the gold ran out, the mine was closed. It would remain empty until 1981, when the property was rediscovered by Terry & Don Robertson. They would go on to create one of the most incredible outdoor museums that focused on all the items that makes our country great.

From old pickups to washing machines, buildings, dental equipment and more. This is a place to get lost in and absorb all the things from the past that make our world what it is today. There are buildings to explore, animals to feed and even the kids can do some make-believe gold mining.

Below is my husband speaking to Don Robertson about the mine.

my husband speaking with don robertson
Jill Caren Photography

One of the highlights of the mine is Big Bertha. A large gas engine that was built around 1930, Big Bertha was a rescue from another mine. For a fee, Robertson would engage visitors by starting her up and what a sound it made.

In the video below you can see Big Bertha doing her thing at about the 2:40 mark. Trust me when I say it is better in person!

As we explored the property we were overwhelmed with all there was to see.  From the decrepit buildings to miscellaneous vehicles, there is no shortage of things to see.

selection of historic items
Jill Caren Photography
gold king mine car
Jill Caren Photography

There was a “valley” of trucks that made quite a statement. The colors and styles made for a great visual.

valley of dead cars and trucks at gold king mine
Jill Caren Photography

There were buildings filled with random tools and equipment everywhere.

tools and equipment in a gold king mine building

This was said to be where Robertson lived on the property. The home was filled with signs trying to keep out people like us! They were everywhere.

robertson home in gold king mine
Jill Caren Photography

The land was filled with scenes like this. Rundown cars, with signs and buildings that take you to a whole new era.

gold king mine truck with building
Jill Caren Photography

And let’s not forget about the views! The mine sits high up giving you views that are just jaw-dropping. This is one of the many great views you can find while exploring the sites.

views from gold king mine
Jill Caren Photography

You can explore Gold King Mine on your own, but there are employees around to ask questions. It is open year round and entrance fees are $7 for kids 6-12 and $12 for ages 13-79. Kids 5 and under are free.

Sadly, Don Robertson passed away on October 17, 2016. His stepdaughter, Jeannie Leffew has reportedly taken over the mine since his passing. If you are a gear head of any type, this is a place to add to your vacation list.

WWII Weekend at Mid-Atlantic Museum Is A Must See

motorcycle in vehicle parade at mam

Every June the Mid-Atlantic Museum in Reading, PA hosts one of the biggest WWII events in the country. The WWII Weekend features re-enactors, military planes and so much more. This immersive experience will take you back in time and show you what living during the war.

Learn more about WWII Weekend

The Mahan Collection Is The Mack Daddy Of Mack Truck Museums

mahan collection artillery display
Jill Caren Photo

While Mack trucks are largely on display, this museum features so much more. In the small town of Basking Ridge, NJ sits 40 acres of history. From trucks to construction equipment there is enough for kids of all ages to enjoy.

Learn more about The Mahan Collection

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