Summer getaway: Murder, immigrants and a grouchy old man beckon to Arivaca

Forget Paris or Milan, you can take a summer trek that is much cheaper, closer and perhaps even more thrilling for the whole family if you drive about 60 miles southwest of Tucson down to Arivaca.

Loyal reader RadMax recently embarked upon such a trip, bringing back photos he had to stealthily snap from his cell phone. It seems Arivaca has secrets some folks don’t want you to know.

Digging up secrets - and bones/PCSD photo

Digging up secrets and bones/PCSD photo

With some research and rumors, I may not have unearthed these secrets, but I did come up with a host of entertaining activities you and your clan can enjoy.

The site says Arivaca is stocked with about 57,000 residents. Too many people told me that is incredibly incorrect, so I found another source,, which puts the people count at about 900.

Arivaca also has a pocket of really talented artists and other fun stuff. “It has a general store, gas station, a great coffee house that has the best coffee in Arizona, an art gallery the size of a large outhouse, two bars and that is it,” one source reported.

You can also find some other treasures if you dig around long enough.

Old man hangout/RadMax photo

Old man hangout/RadMax photo

Arivaca fun activities:

Anger the old man. RadMax reported there is a grouchy old man in the town’s feed store who likes to get even grouchier when approached by those pesky outsiders (i.e. most of us). Since pissing him off may not be such a challenge, you can instead keep count of how many times he uses the Lord’s name in vain. If you cannot find this particular grouchy old man, you may run across several others on which you can try the same games.

Search for the MoonDance Saloon.* This saloon, which was featured in a Snappy or Crappy, is rumored to be in or near Arivaca but no one can seem to find it. RadMax even asked the grouchy old man, who vehemently denied its existence while using the Lord’s name in vain at least twice. This quest could turn into a summer-long funfest.

The mysterious MoonDance/submitted photo

The mysterious MoonDance/submitted photo

Visit the fire pit of bones.* Arivaca couple Kenneth Alliman, 49, and Rebecca Lou Loften, 52, were reported missing in early June. Soon after, human remains were found in a fire pit on their property in the 3700 block of North Trico Road. They had opened their home to a Texas man who has since been arrested for allegedly killing his sister in 2003.

Pay homage to the dead dad and his daughter. In another recent crime, 29-year-old Raul Flores and his 9-year-old daughter, Brisenia Flores, were both shot to death during a home invasion in the 36000 block of Mesquite Road. Three folks, associated with the group Minutemen American Defense, were arrested for the slaying.

Photo RadMax took for Lefty

Photo RadMax took for Lefty

Leave water for the illegals. The group No More Deaths constantly scatters a bunch of water jugs in the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge along paths illegals are known to take. Five of the members have already been arrested for littering, but a recent press release from the group promised they’d be at it again the morning of July 9 (that’s today!).

If you’re unable to make the July 9 littering event, you can always look for the paths on your own to refill the jugs. Better yet, hang around to get autographs from the immigrants who engage in the daring and death-defying feat of attempting to cross the barren desert in 107-degree heat.

I’ve not been to Arivaca, but with all these activities beckoning, I’ll put in on my list. Right after Paris and Milan.

RadMax Arivaca photo

RadMax Arivaca photo

RadMax Arivaca photo

RadMax Arivaca photo

What other fun stuff can you do in Arivaca?

What secrets do you know about the place?


Word just in! PLEASE NOTE: Just like people mix up Michigan and Minnesota, much to my annoyance, it seems I did the same with Arivaca and Avra Valley. The pit of bones is northwest of town, not southwest. This also explains the mysterious MoonDance Saloon. It’s by the bone pit, not the grouchy old man.


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at
This entry was posted in danger, death, hangout, immigrants, life, Police/fire/law and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Summer getaway: Murder, immigrants and a grouchy old man beckon to Arivaca

  1. radmax says:

    Mornin’ Rynski! 57,000?  You would be hard pressed to find 57 people in this sleepy little place. Pretty cool old buildings, friendly folks.(just don’t mention Leftfield  or the Cdance/Moondance salloon.) 🙂  Tried to get a pic for ya Rynski of a leg protruding from a building, but it didn’t come out.

  2. azmouse says:

    Great story and great pics. Way to go Maxxie!

    • radmax says:

      Hi az. Thanks, but it was so overcast that day that my true photography skills could not be displayed. 🙂  I actually took quite a few more pics but they did not turn out. There is a big peace sign made out of white painted stones like ‘A’ mountain too. Oh well…

      • azmouse says:

        Sorry some pics didn’t turn out, but you still made it seem like an interesting place through your pictures, and Ryn through her writing.
        Good collaboration!

      • radmax says:

        You’re too kind az, but all I did is send Rynski some crappy pics that she dressed up. She’s the one who made a mud hut into a mansion.  🙂 She has quite an imagination and wit.

  3. Rynski says:

    Mornin’ RadMax! – Thanks for the photos and inspiration. Yes, I saw you had one photo labeled “leg,” the one on the bottom right, actually, but I don’t see a leg. Maybe it got burned in the fire pit?
    Also, I agree that 57,000 sounds like a heck of a lot of folks based on things I’ve heard about the place. City-data further reports the area is 1,318.5 square miles with a density of 44 people per square mile. By contrast, it said Tucson’s 194.7 square miles is packed with 2,700 people per square mile. All this data seems kooky.

    • radmax says:

      Rynski-The old mans’ hangout is actually the feed store. the Arivaca Mercantile is up the street a little, same place it was 20 years ago.

  4. Rynski says:

    Hiya AZMouse – I have another “top secret” getaway in the works…I thank you in advance for your inspiration but don’t give it away yet!

  5. A.Farley says:

    It’s just to damn funny, Rynski you’re the greatest.

  6. Rynski says:

    Thanks, A.Farley!
    And to all – I have updated the people count. 57,000 was just wrong, all wrong. Besides, I had to put the artist plug in. I found some awesome art at

  7. leftfield says:

    They must be including jackrabbits and coyotes in their population count.

    Thanks for the promo, RadMax.  The poster says it all – Humanitarian Aid is Never a Crime. 

    Although I haven’t been there in a while, it’s comforting in an odd way to know that the grouchy old man at the feed store is still there.  He was very consistent – he was always sitting in front of the store and every time we would pass by in our truck he would give us the finger.  If we passed by on the way to the Mercantile, we got the finger.  If we passed by again five minutes later, we got the finger again.  Often he did not even look up; he just knew it was us.  And his expression was absolutely deadpan, like it was just a matter of the daily routine for him.  Sometimes, just for fun, we would pass by, make a U-turn, and pass by again.  He never wavered in his consistency.   

    Another must-see in Arivaca is the old adobe Army barracks on the main drag.  I’ve been told they were built for Gen. Pershing’s expedition into Mexico in pursuit of Pancho Villa.  Also, if you go behind the library, you will find a large chain anchored in the ground with concrete.  Whether it’s true or not, I don’t know, but I’ve been told this functioned as the temporary lock-up for transgressors before there was a chance to transport them elsewhere.  

    It’s an interesting place.  Kind of like Jerome or Bisbee before they were discovered.    

    • radmax says:

      Ruby is an interesting place also. Extensive structures, many remarkably intact.You need permission from the landowners to visit though. There used to be a caretaker on site, so the vandalism was minimal. That mine is one of the spookiest I have ever been in, that and Old Glory. Looks like the minors have just left for a coffee break. It’s really unsettlingly exciting. The guy watching the place had a herd of goats that purportedly would knock you on your can if ya didn’t keep your eyes open. Watchgoats?

      • leftfield says:

        Ruby is another place I haven’t been to in a while.  In addition to the Ghost Town aspect, there are at least two ponds there that you can fish with advanced permission.  Huge panfish and largemouth bass, too.  The best part is that you will likely have the place all to yourself. 

        Sadly, like all good commies I must go to work now and do my part – “From each according to ability, to each according to need”.

      • radmax says:

        Did you know the caretaker? I traded that guy an old Dodge mail wagon(painted red, white and blue) for a Willys p/u truck he had. Maybe you saw the van? PS- lotta great fishin’ holes down there, shhhh!

      • cmon says:

        I think I knew the caretaker. If I remember correctly, his name was Ken Bacon. Old goldminer. I used to visit there in the 1970s with my mom, who was an artist. The guy lived in a shack with his goats and his whiskey. 

  8. Romeo says:

    I think the reason those folks down there are so weird is because of all the ganja they are growing, makes them nervous, why they didn’t want the BP cameras in there.
    Which leads to the next question, does shmoking up make you ghey?

  9. Tami says:

    Okay, I’m convinced and I’m saving my pennies 🙂 The grouchy old man sounds like a hoot!

  10. Rynski says:

    Yes, it all sounds grand. I’m with Tami – The grouchy old man DEFINITELY sounds like a fabulous tourist attraction. And I want to see that prisoner’s chain in cement and the spooky barracks. Heck, I’ll even put Arivaca before Milan.

  11. miggy420 says:

    You forgot searching for random bags dropped across the desert containing money or drugs…Ahhh if I only had a pound.

  12. Marie says:

    Ryn, I love your postings girl, but this one kinda made me sad as I found it over the top.  

    I get the attempt at “humor”, but I’m being honest when I say that I don’t find murder very funny.    Perhaps I’ve just spent too many hours over the years trying to find words of comfort or solace for the survivors as they deal with the life-long tragedy facing them.   Or maybe, I’m just getting old.    …Can’t change either. 

    Visiting the place where a man, and his little 9 year-old girl, were murdered, or mix-up aside, the place where a couple’s remains were discarded and burned, doesn’t strike me as a “fun” activities.   I just find it sad…  horribly… painfully… tragically sad.  

    Perhaps a visit to Boothill in Tombstone is a better fit for anyone seeking fun on a Southern AZ day trip. 

  13. Rynski says:

    Hey Marie,
    Thanks for your input and I’m sorry to have made you sad. You bring up a very good point which I shall keep in mind going forward. I think years as a journalist, putting up a defensive wall to deal with tragic events, has made me sometimes forget the true scope of their horror. Thanks for the reminder. And yes, Tombstone would be a good fit for such exploration.

  14. Anna Parker says:

    great story! You have reached it!

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