We have just spent over two months living back in the textile world, staying in a tiny RV park in Bisbee, Arizona. That’s equivalent to seven years in nudist time.
As we’ve traveled around the past five years, we’ve lived most of each year in in clothing-optional RV parks. This has allowed us to identify four stages we endure when we have to go textile:
Denial – Those first couple of weeks of textile living are dangerous ones in which we could easily forget where we are and step outside either naked, or lightly dressed. Too lightly dressed for the nearby Baptist church group camp out.
Acceptance — After a couple of weeks we realize that this is our fate now. We wake up and robotically put on clothes for the day.
Brainwashed — A month in and living nude is a distant memory. We have become one with the masses as we walk the dog, explore our surroundings and enjoy evening sunset happy hours, pleased to satiate society’s desire to cover our shameful bodies.
Rebellion — Screw society. We might have to shut all the blinds in our motorhome, but after two months I’m going to walk around naked dammit. Of course, I’m irked that I have to even worry about closing the blinds.
By the time we hit the rebellious stage, we usually arrive somewhere that has clothing optional facilities: a nude beach, hot springs or a nudist resort. Society is spared.
But not this year. With no immediate plans for textile relief, and our desire to travel dampened by the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve embraced our surroundings this summer. We’ve explored nearby mountain ranges. Visited ghost towns. And walked every steep street of this funky, former mining town.
Bisbee, Arizona — Mayberry on acid.
There could be far worse places to hibernate during COVID-19 than Bisbee. We’ve always arrived from the west, driving up into the Mule Mountains on Highway 80, leaving the grassy desert plains for oak greenery among red cliffs. The road reaches Mule Pass, but instead of going over it you enter a tunnel and come out into Bisbee World.
Bisbee is Old West boom-town meets Old World flavor, tumbling along Tombstone Canyon down to an apocalyptic, orange-red open pit mine.
Bisbee was founded as a mining town in 1880 (according to Wikipedia, a reliable source of questionable knowledge). The miners started by digging tunnels and when they needed more ore (and by “they” I mean the Phelps Dodge Corporation and by “more” I mean corporate profits) they gouged out the San Francisco and Lavender pits.
As you can predict with all natural resources, this one ran dry. The hippies and artists moved in, along with some yuppies, and all those little miner shacks were transformed into cute, colorful bungalows. Bisbee itself was transformed into a liberal haven buried deep in a politically conservative state. Or like a popular bumper sticker says: “It’s like Mayberry on acid.”
Artists. Hippies. Progressive thinkers. Our kind of place. Except COVID-19 pretty much shut the town down. Art galleries were closed — indefinitely, perhaps permanently. Same with restaurants and bars. Events that we looked forward to, like Bisbee Pride, live music and the Bisbee 1000 Stair Climb were canceled.
The Bisbee 1000 Stair Climb is an annual race linking nine sets of stairs — over 1,000 stairs total — on a 4.5-mile course that winds through town along steep roads. The stairways are how the miners use to get to their homes along the slopes of Tombstone Canyon.
Bisbee is a walking town and the stairways are everywhere. Since barfly life was over for the summer and our incentive to drink diminished, we spent our time exploring the steep, narrow streets.
I took it upon myself to climb every stairway I could find, and as the summer progressed, I watched my beer belly shrink. I had worked hard on creating that belly over the winter, tossing down IPAs while lounging naked at Shangri La Ranch. It was like saying goodbye to an old friend.
I also wandered along the many trails that line the hills above town, and even found a few quiet hilltop moments to shed my clothes and feel the breeze along my goolies. Ah how I have missed the naked life.
But sad as it is not to be able to walk out of our motorhome naked, and even sadder that we couldn’t experience the lively pre-COVID-19 atmosphere of this mountain town, we’ve had a really enjoyable time. Peaceful. A time to collect ourselves as we plan for a new phase in our lives.
Our summer in Bisbee has reminded us that there is life outside a nudist resort, even when life is hibernating. And that after five years of living in nudists resorts, we’re ready for a change.
We are now getting ready to move again. But we’re not going to a nudist resort, and instead have a plan to get the best of both nude and textile living. At least what’s best for us. Not sure what society will think.