The Breakfast Club
An Affiliate of the Arizona Pilot's Assn.


The Knife & Fork

Breakfast Club Meets Twin in Old Bisbee

12 Apr 2008
by Warren McIlvoy

Every intrepid aviator has a favorite airport or destination that they like to fly into whether it is for the $100 hamburger (now $250.00) or maybe for its unmatched scenery, or in my case, a place that just seems to grow on you. Bisbee, Arizona is just such a place for me. Bisbee is a place where history oozes from every crack in the historic buildings. A place where one can literately feel a sense of awe knowing that you are up to your elbows in a place that was in it's "hay days" when our Great Grandparents were very young. This was my 18th visit to this charming town and I would come back in a "New York minute".

Our route from Phoenix Deer Valley Airport would take us over a stretch of Arizona that I like to refer to as "copper row". The route is over a string of old historic mining town from Superior to San Manuel that includes the likes of Sonora, Kelvin, Kearny, Hayden, and Winkelman. Each and every one of these small towns have played an important roll in the saga of copper mining. The last of the more notable and famous (or infamous) towns that we will fly over, is Tombstone. From Tombstone, it is just a mere 18 miles to the Mule Mountains that is the home of Bisbee. After crossing the eastern ridge of the mountain, we can look down into the Lavender Pit Copper Mine and just beyond that is the Bisbee Airport. The runway was notamed as being closed but they were using the taxiway as an "alternate". The winds were at 15kts directly out of the east for runway 35. Since the taxiway is only 35' wide, it did pose a bit of a challenge to keep it on the centerline with a landing that was at least an 8 (on the Richter Scale).

After securing my airplane, we went into the office to await the remainder of the
Breakfast Club group. The first wave had already departed for the restaurant so our van would make-up the balance of the group. We got instructions from the airport folks then loaded-up for the short trip into town. The Bisbee Breakfast Club is actually located in the Warren section of old Bisbee (imagine that, I've been there so often that they named a part of town after me) in a line of vintage buildings that were mostly vacant. After you walk through the door, you immediately get the feeling that you just advanced a 100-years in time. The interior has been completely modernized with contemporary styling. The popularity of the place was evident as it was mobbed and save for the fact that the first wave reserved a table for us, we would have had to wait a while for a table. The breakfast menu contained all of the usual entrees with a generous helping of "south of the border" dishes. I went for the "health food" section with the chicken fried steak and it was "lip smacken good". The Breakfast Club group was all seated in the same area but at three separate tables so this arrangement allowed us to swap tales and lies in a much more intimate setting.

After breakfast, most of the
Breakfast Club group decided to return directly to the airport for the return flight but my wife and I along with Adam Rosenberg, chose to drive into the historic part of old Bisbee to rub elbows with an "old friend". We parked our car across the street from the historic Mining Museum at the foot of Brewery Gulch. Parked in front of the museum, there was about 30-50 motorcycles and we immediately thought that there must be a bike club rally going on. The main street was blocked-off but it had nothing to do with motorcycles but rather an antique car show. I would estimate that there was more than a 1000 people milling about drooling over some the immaculately restored cars. The car display stretched up the street for about 3-blocks but we continued on until we reached the Inn at Castle Rock. Adam had never been to Bisbee before but by now I sensed that he was eager to make a return trip to stay a night or two to better acquaint himself with this wonderful place. We retraced our steps for the most part but opted for a side street that took us up the hill towards the Copper Queen Hotel. But as we reached the street, I decided to take Adam over to the Oliver House to show him one of the Bed & Breakfast inns that we had stayed at on several occasions. Upon leaving the Oliver House, we made our way over to the ever grand Copper Queen Hotel. As we entered the hotel lobby, there were a number of folks waiting to get into Winchester's Restaurant that is part of the hotel. I spoke with the hotel clerk to update myself with the latest hotel rates and was taken aback when she said that it was $150 a night and that they were sold-out due to the car show.

After leaving the Copper Queen, we descended the hill to Brewery Gulch and turned left for about a half block to the Stock Exchange. This is a popular local "watering hole" that some of the
Breakfast Club folks are very familiar with. I don't know if it was actually a "stock exchange" in a prior life but there is a very large "stock board" that covers an entire wall that appears to have been there for a very long time. Just across the street is St. Elmo's. St. Elmo's is the "hot spot" at night as the loud music can be heard for blocks well into the wee hours of the morning. We continued down to the foot of Brewery Gulch to the Mercantile Exchange that houses several eateries, gift shops, and the most important, ice cream shop. In an earlier life, this building served as the western headquarters for the Phelps Dodge Copper Mining Company.

After sampling some ice cream treats, we returned to the car and headed out of town to the airport. By now the wind had gotten a tad bit more enthusiastic at about 20 knots out of the east. Both Adam and I decided to put on some fuel as my air travel day was not yet coming to a close. Adam was coming back to the valley but I had signed-up for a blood draw pick-up in Yuma for Flights For Life. This was a flight that would take us from the far eastern part of Arizona, to the far western part of the state. The plethora of MOA's and Restricted areas that dominate the southern part of the state precluded a direct route to Yuma. Our route of flight would take us just south of Tucson on a straight line course to Gila Bend. At Gila Bend I turned to the southwest to Judith Intersection and then direct to Yuma. This flight was 1:55 minutes with some slightly windy conditions in the southeast but relatively light in the southwest. After loading-up the five cases of blood and topping-off with fuel from Sun Western Flyers, we departed for home. The driver at Deer Valley was right on time to take our precious cargo and, after stopping to pick-up a sandwich, we walked in the door at 1830. We were both dog tired with just under six hours of flight time and all the walking around Bisbee, all enjoyable but it made for a very long day.

The Bisbee Gang

  • Warren & Jeri-Ann McIlvoy in 93MB, BC-1 & 1.5
  • Adam Rosenberg in 4372J
  • Austin Erwin and Rich Kupiec in 6693M, BC-86
  • Sam Foot and Richard Spiegal in 15040, BC-55 & BC-3
  • Trent Heidtke, and Tim & Ramona Yoder in 703CD, BC-112
  • Austin Goodwin in 4351X, BC-317
  • Paul Fox and Peter Lenton in 1111M


What's Next?

The May Breakfast Club event will see us taking a "two-stage" event. Our breakfast meeting will be in the "Garden Spot" of the southwest, Blythe, California and the Union 76 Truck Stop. The second part of the weekend will be a two night/3-day stay in Avalon on the island of Catalina. This is the event that was canceled last year as there was a wild fire on the island that started on Thursday. June will be a return trip to Holbrook, Arizona and the ever popular, world famous, Denny's Restaurant. That's all for now but remember, fly safe.

To view my Bisbee photos , just click on the link.  Enjoy