Road Trip Ends In Pine At Ghostown Knives

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The name of the Pine shop operated by Becky and Gary Judnason is officially "Ghostown Knives" and while knives are the best things in the shop, they are far from the only thing.

"If you like it, we get it and then give a good deal," Gary said.

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Gary and Becky Judnason of Pine's Ghostown Knives spent years traveling around the country collecting many of the treasures and fun stuff they now offer at Ghostown Knives in the Old Settlers Trading Post.

The road to the Old Settlers Trading Post shops, where the Judnasons' store is located, was a long and winding one.

The couple and their two sons were on the road for several years after leaving Phoenix. Upon their return to Phoenix a few years ago, they were asked to move in and clean up a large, long-neglected house in Pine for the friend of a friend. It turned out to be a many-faceted blessing. Pine became the place they decided to make their home.

They came to the area in 2000, fixed the house up, then the owner died and his family asked the Judnasons to stay on as the caretakers.

Last year, they decided to set up a permanent shop. During all their years traveling, Gary worked out of the family's recreational vehicle, designing, making and selling knives at black powder shooting competitions, barter fairs, pow wows and similar gatherings.

He has been making knives since 1959, starting while still in the U.S. Navy. After his discharge, he studied art in college in Oakland, Calif., and also did some teaching. While in California, he perfected a technique he still uses today, one that has never been duplicated. It gives his knives a unique quality that has attracted collectors such as Charlie Sheen, Charles Bronson, Alec Baldwin and Kim Bassinger.

Gary made his home in the Phoenix area for 25 years before hitting the road with Becky and their sons in 1995.

They started the permanent business in Pine in a 10x12 shed in April 2002, soon they expanded into another of the 10x12 spots at the Old Settlers Trading Post, then in March 2003 Ghostown Knives was moved into its current location, the 1882 cabin on the property.

Becky is responsible for the decorating the cabin and also has some of her special work for sale in the shop. Among her pieces are key and bead wind chimes.

In spite of the name, Ghostown Knives does not specialize in anything in particular, in fact, the Judnasons prefer to say their inventory is just "fun stuff."

"We like to keep people happy," Becky said.

"If someone comes in here and doesn't have a laugh at least once, we have not done our job," Gary added.

Besides Gary's knives and Becky's bead and key chimes, they have lots of jewelry, and a little bit of just about everything one can imagine.

The Old Settlers place is actually a collection of eclectic shops. According to Becky and Gary, in addition to Ghostown Knives, the site includes: Wishing Well Collectibles, featuring what the owner calls "French provincial" goods; the Old Settlers; Bob the Saddlemaker; Rim Country Woodcrafts; a doll shop featuring "Betsy McCall" goods; and the Spirit Speaker, which specializes in beads.

The site is owned by Bonnie and Lee McClanahan, Gary said.

For more information about Ghostown Knives, call (928) 476-5684, or contact the owners by e-mail at funstuff@cybertrails. com.

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