Bumblebee and Cleator

Richard Charpentier Ghost Towns, Notes from Rich, Photography, RLC Design Leave a Comment

cleator-1-of-4Two very unique names for “former” towns here in Arizona.  Both Bumblebee and Cleator are smaller ghost town sites, and amazingly enough, they’re still active.  By that I mean lived in!

If you take a ride down Route 17 you’ll see signs for Crown King and Bumblebee.  Each has it’s own exit, but if you take one exit or the other you can still get to each location.

Unfortunately due to time constraints we couldn’t get out to Crown King for this trip.  Next one will see a visit there for sure!

I decided to drive further south and visit Bumblebee first.  As you drop down toward Phoenix on 17 you’ll see a sign for Bumblebee half way down the descent.  Pretty odd location for an exit, but it’s there!

The exit drops you off on a two lane paved road which quickly turns to dirt.  A washboard ride all the way to the little town.  Glad I chose to take the Titan!

cleator-2-of-4My Garmin GPS happily announced that Bumblebee was mere moments away pretty quickly.  Dirt roads, Saguaro cactus, and a lot of open space.  That’s what passed by the windows as we approached the town.  And shortly after the Garmin’s pronouncement we were there.

A few small buildings make up the town of Bumblebee.  One historic building is still occupied, and the signs in front of it warned that it was a private residence.  Ok, no poking around there for photos.  Too bad too!

Only a few buildings were truly vacant.  We made our way up to them and began shooting.  Nothing on the order of Vulture, but interesting enough.  I’m sorry to say that our time in Bumblebee wasn’t that long.  Little to shoot, the few standing buildings being private, etc., led us to move on out after only 20 minutes.

cleator-3-of-4Cleator was up next.  Amazingly enough, the GPS had each town listed, and was kind enough to guide me along.  Even without it I think I would have found each town.  Not that hard at all!

Cleator is on the way to Crown King.  Another active ghost town that I will be visiting very soon.  But the town of Cleator was also very interesting.  Another active town with residents and all.  How folks can live in buildings in such disrepair is beyond me, but they do it!

Pulling into Cleator and getting out I experienced two “firsts” in my ghost town journies.  #1)  A red dog ran across the road from one of the rundown homes and proceeded to bark while I shot around the area.  #2)  The Cleator Bar introduced me to a new concept as far as bars go:  Gun lockers and signs everywhere letting patrons know their guns could not come into the bar.

cleator-4-of-4You know, folks can’t smoke in bars around here.  Apparently they can’t tote their guns into bars either.  Very interesting, very true!

Given the fact that many of the structures in Cleator were also private property we didn’t stay long shooting there either.  Not too disappointing.  The journey to each of these towns is always interesting, and I always find something that catches my attention.  So far though, Bumblebee and Cleator are my least favorite spots on my ghost town quest.

Maybe next week’s trip will hold more interesting sites, no barking dogs, and a few more photo opportunities!

Leave a Reply