Wednesday, March 20, 2019

A touring day....

Our Location:  Bosque Redondo Lake, Fort Sumner, NM

Some rain in the evening and over night, also some gusty moments but nothing too much. I didn’t hear any thunder nor see any lightning so I’m thinking it was simply a passing rain shower or two. We woke to warm temps this morning, 48 F/ 8.8C. The mercury is rising more as the day goes by. 

The Cottonwoods are starting to think spring is in the air.
We decided today would be a day to tour Fort Sumner and the area, to take in some local sights and perhaps drop a few dollars in the coffers of the local business folks. After catching up this morning with our blogger friends and a bit of breakfast we climbed into the Dogsled and head back toward Fort Sumner.

Heading toward Main Street,  Fort Sumner, New Mexico.
Fort Sumner is a very small town, it has two claims to fame. The first is of course the resting place of William H. Bonney or better known as Billy the Kid. The second is the Bosque Redondo Memorial which is in remembrance to the over 3000 Navajo’s that never lived to return home.

Heading into Town.
In the town of Fort Sumner we started our day by stopping at the Billy The Kid Museum on the main drag. It is an interesting museum with a great deal of reading involved if you are so inclined. The buildings house numerous artifacts from by gone eras, some pertaining to the Kid and others simply pertaining to times gone by. The entrance fee is $5 for Adults, $4 for seniors. There are numerous things to see ranging from arrow heads, gem stones, saddles, chaps, all varieties of old rifles and revolvers to carriages, wagons, dishes, cameras, typewriters, cars and ‘vintage stuff’.  On display is a rifle once used by Mr. Bonney himself or so the tag reads.  There are also numerous articles and artifacts from the families of the four men that reportedly helped to bury the body of Bonney. These were local men and their contributions are evident in the museum. Pancho Villa is also represented in this museum. Pat Garrett plays a somewhat staring role as well. The Maxwell’s who owned the building in which the Kid was shot and killed are also prominent in the articles, artifacts and information.
The museum is full of many things.
The owner/docent of the museum is Mr. Sweet and his lovely wife. Mr. Sweet’s father started the museum many years ago. It’s a quaint little stopping place with some interesting reading and things to see. It is well worth the price of admission. Winter hours do not include Sunday’s, but summer hours do. Hours are 8:30 am - 5 pm. 
One of very few proven tintypes of William H. Bonney. One of several displays of rifles.
Our second stop was for fuel. Two gas bars in town that I could see, both on main street, one on each side of the main road. For those that care to know, diesel as $3.19 per gallon.
The Kid and his two friends, are all buried in the same place according to the tombstone. A big display of hand guns, and a saddle belonging to Jesus Silva a friend of the Kid's and pallbearer.
We could find no international ATM machine (two in town), only one bank, The Citizen’s bank. We didn’t see a grocery store but there was a Family Dollar. We didn’t tour down any of the side streets as we figured the main businesses would be on Main Street.  Main Street is about a 2 minute drive before you pass out of town.  The town is clean, and friendly. We noted only one place to eat but there may have been others. 
Various artifacts in the museum, bottom right is a display about Butch Cassidy.

 Our next stop was out of town at the location of Old Fort Sumner. It is about 2 miles north of town on Billy the Kid Sideroad or Drive. You follow that for about 3 miles and you arrive at the area of Old Fort Sumner which was later known as the Maxwell House or Maxwell property. History tells us that Fort Sumner was no longer a fort shortly after the end of the Civil War between the states. It had written it’s horrific history and later became the Maxwell Property.

Not all items are about the Kid and his days here in Fort Sumner.
The years during the Civil War here in the USA also proved tough out here in the southwest, not just the areas of Union & Confederate states. While on one hand Lincoln was abolishing slavery, on the other hand he was rounding up thousands of Natives (almost 9000) and herding them into very small areas often times many hundreds of miles from their homelands. The Navajo’s were force marched between 350 - 400 miles on four separate routes from their homelands to Fort Sumner in 1863. They were captives of sorts, not well fed, nor cared for, housing was non existent even during the winter months when sub zero temperatures were possible. The Navajo’s couldn’t be ‘fitted’ into buildings for living and so dug trenches to live in, building their fires during the day and sleeping on the warmer ground at night. The Apaches (about 400) faired better as their homes were mobile and they were brought with them. 

One of the tombstones on the grave of William H. Bonney and his two friends. A collection of badges and a rifle reportedly owned by Bonney.
 A very large building houses this remembrance to the suffering of the Natives, the original signed treaty is here and can be seen (not photographed) although it is kept in a locked vault opened only by one of the docents. This tragic herding ended in 1869 and the government allowed the natives to return to their homelands. A very interesting memorial although they didn’t have any video presentation as their room was busy for some kind of meeting. It is well worth the time to tour and admission is free.
The grave of William H. Bonney. Two stones, one actually secured to the ground as it has been stolen before.

 You can tour what is the remains of Fort Sumner (which we didn’t) but is referred to as the Maxwell House or property. The Maxwell House is of course the last stand of Billy the Kid. It was here that he was shot and killed by law man Pat Garrett in July 1881. The Kid’s grave is located in the Fort Sumner Cemetery located not far from the old Maxwell/Fort Sumner buildings. The grave is in a locked cage with one headstone secured safely to the ground and the other too big to move but with numerous chips taken off of it. The Fort Sumner Museum is closed and has been for some time now. 

One of the Maxwell family lies in this plot, and a few more are scattered around the cemetery.

There is a tremendous amount of history regarding Maxwell’s property and the use of the ‘houses’ built for but not occupied by the Navajo’s. Bonney was a friend of Maxwell’s. Jesus Silva another friend of the Kid’s also lived near by and was one of the four men that supposedly helped to bury the Kid in the Fort Sumner cemetery. 

Ironically a man that was shot by Bonney rests in the same cemetery.
There has been a lot of controversy over whether or not William H. Bonney was killed by Pat Garrett and buried here. Bushy Bill was thought by some to be Bonney who they say escaped but was wounded by Garrett. Some believe Bonney went on to live to be an old man and stayed out of the spot light, living quietly until he end of his days. That is for you to decide if you care to visit.
This stone has been chipped until the dates are no longer visible.
Left on Bonney's grave.
It should also be noted that Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving trailed cattle to Fort Sumner to try to stave off the starvation of those natives held here by the US Government. The Goodnight- Loving trail passes through this area of Fort Sumner, NM. 
Bosque Redondo Memorial to the Navajo's and Mescalero Apaches.
After leaving the Fort Sumner area we took a couple of back roads and made our way here to our little slice of peace and quiet by 1 pm. A very nice morning and we enjoyed our time here touring and doing a LITTLE delving into the history of the area. This area is rich in history and although we merely skimmed the top we still learned a bit and left ourselves hungering for me on another visit. 

The day clouded over and became cool after we returned home but we spent a peaceful afternoon reading, and doing a few little things in preparation for our departure tomorrow. 

Would we come back? Yes we would. Is it worth the extra drive? I guess that depends on what you want to see and what you expect. It’s a very nice spot to stop and recharge your batteries, learn a little history and enjoy some friendly folks. Much less hectic travel than I-40, quiet country two lane roads. Roads are in fair condition with some interesting views as we travelled along US 60.

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you enjoyed your visit. Shortly before posting tonight's blog a camper van rolled through this little park and the plates are from Ontario, Canada. How sweet is that?

Just down from the Park these Cottonwoods have found spring.
Until next time… take care, be safe,


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

A walk around the park.....

Our Location:  Bosque Redondo Lake, Fort Sumner, NM

A very quiet night, we both slept well. After about 10:30 pm there wasn’t much of any kind of noise at all. Even nature seemed settled down to sleep. Morning was cool and crisp until the sun rose above the horizon and warmed up the air  to a pleasant 65F/ 18.3 C but with a slight breeze which in the shade was cool but in the sun was perfect. 
Starting out for my walking and looking back towards home.
We decided on a quiet day at home and spent a couple of hours just walking and enjoying the park area. We chatted with a few folks and learned a couple of things such as the pond is stocked with trout about once a month. In all other areas that are stocked there is a fee for fishing, here there is no fee, nor is there a donation box for the park. It is a busy spot in the summer with folks camping here but now it’s very quiet. Three times around the outer edge of the park netted me just about 3.5 miles of walking. It’s not smooth for walking but very doable after the desert hiking I did. A wonderful little spot for certain. 
I believe before the cat tails over took the area there was indeed a small lake here.
Today’s photos are all from my first trip around the outer edges and a few of things I noticed. The large cottonwoods here are just starting to show a hint of colour and will be greening up soon. The cattails or bull rushes or whatever you call them rustle in the breeze and are all brown with no hint of green. You can see that around the park area there has been a controlled burn to help keep down some of the problem areas I guess. The roads are roughish but not unpassable. A great many vehicles go through this park in a day or at least it seems to me they do. I would say easily about 15 vehicles entered the park area today. Some came to fish, some came to exercise, some came to picnic, some just drove through and kept going. The park is not ‘ crazy busy or noisy’ as such and the vehicles aren’t bothersome in any way. It just seems very busy for the small number of people that live in the area.
The road curves through some cotton woods along the way.
Tomorrow we will go into the little town of Fort Sumner for a few things, fuel, a bit of shopping and looking around. We want to leave a little something in town for the use of the park and also to figure out if there is a reason to return to this area in the future. The park is a wonderful stop, restful and rustically charming. It is however a long way to come if we are not going to be traveling in this area for some other reason. 

Some of these trees are getting to be quite large.

 Realwind Drive passes by the front of the park and is a fairly busy country road during the day time, some utility work going on just south of the park is also adding to the daytime noise. This is farming or horse country, with the odd moo in the mix as well. However I have not heard one rooster.

Even some dunes here.

I asked Riley what she would say the park has to offer to travellers and she replied with the following list: easy access, easy to find, nice folks, quiet, nice place to walk, and she feels very safe here. Negatives her only words were, ‘ the walking path is a bit rough’. The only thing I would add to the that list is the garbage cans located by each of the picnic shelters is a bonus.
The vault toilets are the cleanest I've ever seen.
A few rain drops fell this afternoon but not enough to wet a postage stamp, we only knew because we could see the drops on the window. We enjoyed a nice leisurely lunch today with mashed dill potatoes, beans and mushrooms, along with some meatloaf. Filled our hollow legs! 
Looking across the water towards home.
Thanks for stopping by, I hope you had wonderful day.

An interesting dam or water control device.

Until next time… take care, be safe,


Monday, March 18, 2019

Parked by the water.....

Our Location:  Bosque Redondo Lake, Fort Sumner, NM

We spent a quiet night at the Walmart in Soccoro although Riley didn’t like the light right above her vent and claimed it kept waking her up through the night. I didn’t have that issue. It was warmer than we’ve had it for a number of mornings and so I enjoyed a short walk to the local Valero Gas Bar to see if they had some juice for the Big Dog. Sure enough they did and at $2.79 per gallon the Dogsled had about a 20 gallon swallow.
Much of US 60 is like this, long, rolling hills, but straight, straight, straight.

Last night after posting my blog I chatted with a couple, Tim & Sue from Belleville, Ontario. Farmers back home they are enjoying a short holiday before they start working in the spring. We chatted for about a half hour before parting and wishing each other well in our journeys. Another Canadian vehicle belonged to a fellow from Alberta. We chatted for a few minutes this morning but not long. This gent is in a wheel chair and stays in this small camper van, it’s his second year at least of doing this. Now that is brave. 
We climbed, and climbed and then we climbed some more.

We were on the road after fueling up shortly after 9 am and heading north, against my better sense but followed the GPS directions.  Phoebe (our RV GPS) wanted to take us to Albuquerque and along I-40. I didn’t want to do that, and instead turned off on US 60 East toward Mountainair, Willard, etc.This was not the route I originally wanted to take but it was the route we took. 
Very scenic is some places.

We cruised along on an nearly empty road for a couple of hours, and I mean nearly empty. In all of that time except in the small towns I don’t think we met or were passed by more than 20 vehicles. I mean it was just empty, long, straight and in some places a bit hilly but on the plateau just flat and straight. We could see for  miles. We spent some time on the plateau driving along at about 6200 feet in elevation. We eventually dropped down to just around the 4000 foot mark which is where we are tonight. A truck pulled out to pass us and as he pulled alongside his front wheels started shaking some thing terrible. I was worried the wheel would come off. He was into the grass on the wrong side of the road before he slowed down enough for the shaking to stop. He pulled back in behind us and continued driving, he didn't stop to check on anything but just kept behind us. . He finally went around us at Willard when I slowed down for the town limits and he didn't have to speed up. I was shocked to say the least. 
Down in those trees are train tracks, we must have seen at least a dozen trains today.

We didn’t pass through the town of Lincoln which had been my original plan but still managed to see some interesting sights along our travels. Phoebe managed to get us turned around a number of times but we finally got it figured out. We eventually had two gps going to ensure we found our way.
A dry lake?

We found our way to Fort Sumner, which is famous for the grave site of William H. Boney, better known as Billy the Kid. I didn’t know that he was buried here but tomorrow we will do a bit of sight seeing around the town and check things out. It looks like an interesting little place. 
This is at 6200 feet, and the road just hazes out in the distance. It's perfectly straight.

We passed through the little village of Fort Sumner and a couple of miles down the road hung a left on Realwind Drive heading to Bosque Redondo Lake. We arrived here to find no one else camping but a number of locals fishing. In fact as we were getting set up a nice lady came by with a freshly strung catfish and offered it to us. Since we aren’t fish people we thanked her but declined. I'm not sure it's a lake so much as a big pond, or at least this part. I'll let you know more tomorrow when we've been out walking. 

We noticed numerous small herds of Pronghorns along the way today.

Set up and called dad while lunch was cooking. They were getting more snow as we chatted. He has 6 weeks to get it melted before Riley and I arrive back at our summer spot. Hopefully he gets it done!!! 
Easy driving along US 60 and if you look you can see Fort Sumner off in the distance.

After that we just simply rested. The last few days have been a bit stressful and so we are going to just enjoy the next 3 nights as we are planning on staying here until Thursday before heading on. It’s not quiet, as there are birds, insects, and living sounds all around us. The folks that come by are very quiet and they fish for an hour or so before quietly slipping away. It isn’t the spiffiest of spots but it suits us fine, at least so far. We shall see how we like it after a night here. 
A bit blurry but we were almost past before we took note of it.

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you had a wonderful day. I will catch up on my reading and commenting in the next couple of days, I just haven’t had the time the last couple of days. 

The view out our window. That green building is a bathroom.

Until next time… take care, be safe,


Sunday, March 17, 2019

A change in destination and plans....

Our Location: Socorro, NM

(2nd post today)
The day dawned with blue skies but cold temperatures. A heavy layer of frost on both the Dogsled and the Igloo was melting off by 8:30 am when we headed out. A couple of big rigs parked around us and a noisy engine was the back drop for last nights sleep. Oh well, we survived. 
The formations here at amazing.
Pulling out of Deming we headed north east on NM 26 to Hatch, the Chili Capital of the World. A very nice drive, good road, little traffic and wonderful views. A stop in Hatch at one of the little Chili Stores just to stretch and have a look. We chatted with the fellow there and he told us there was 6" of snow earlier in the day yesterday. We missed it by stopping in Deming. 
Blue skies and empty roads, what more can a person ask for?
At Hatch we hung a left onto I-26 North passing by Truth or Consequences, Elephant Butte and a few other little spots as well. We arrived at the town of Lemitar, NM and looked for the BLM land located here but couldn’t find it after looking for more than 40 minutes. I won’t go into the details but I’d like to give Garmin this GPS back with specific instructions oh how to UPDATE it and where they can put it after the update.
Riley noticed these guys in Hatch, NM.

We finally decided to do the logical thing and headed to the Walmart here in Socorro. We were greeted warmly and told we can stay for 3 to 4 days if we like. Thank you but 1 night is enough for us. We’ll move on tomorrow instead of spending the two days here we had planned had we found the BLM. 
If you've ever driven through Hatch, NM I'm sure you've noticed these fella's on the corner.

The day is sunny, and the skies are blue, blue, blue. The temps are reading about 56F/ 13.3 C with a slight breeze. A wee bit cool but still nice. We’ll take it and as many more as we can get. 
On both of our visits through Hatch we have stopped at this spot. Those are RED CHILI Peppers hanging there.

So that’s our day today. Thanks for stopping by, I hope you enjoyed your visit.
Scenic drive today. 
Until next time…. take care, be safe,

How can one not love these views?

(I realize in our last post from Las Cienegas I made an error in the time zone line, we lost only ONE HOUR crossing into New Mexico and will lose another when we cross into Texas. I inadvertently looked at the wrong  directions in our travels and was looking at our travel between NM and TX when I noticed the Time Zone Change but thought I was looking at Arizona to NM.)

A cold, ugly travel day...

Our Location: Deming, NM
(yesterday's post)

We left Las Cienegas under mostly blue skies with the sun beaming down on us around 8:30 AM. We turned left on to AZ 83 then hung another left onto AZ 82. We passed through the little town of Sonoita and on to the small wide spot called Whetstone. Another left on US 90 had us heading north to I-10 at Benson. We remained on 1-10 East for the rest of our day’s journey. 
At the Chevron Gas Station on the corner of US90 /AZ 82.
We had plans to stop at the Gage Rest Area just west of Deming for the night but the farther we travelled the less nice the weather. We had dark skies which turned to rain, which turned to wet flurries and finally on the road sides we could see snow. We did pull into the rest area and checked out the camping for future use. Other than the interstate there is also a train track on the opposite side of the interstate. However I think some ear plugs would remedy that issue. Due to the cold, snowy day we opted to move further along and ended up in Deming.
If you have travelled this road you know those rocks are at the rest area.

We filled up with fuel at $2.79 per gallon and managed to find a spot to park for the night. A bit noisy but we made do. The Walmart in Deming is very crowded and we opted to by pass that parking area. 
I love this rest area, it's so picturesque.
The temperatures over the day dropped to 35F /  1.6 C as we were motoring along and I was happy to get tucked up behind a building and out of the wind for the night. The wind was unsteady during the coming from the East or South as it swirled through the mountains on our drive. We had no wind to speak of  through the night and the morning dawned with blue skies and temperatures dipped low enough to put a heavy frost on the window of the Dogsled. 
Today is another travel day, we are moving a couple hundred more miles on down the road. Thanks for stopping by, I hope you had a wonderful day. 

This was the kind of grey day we had, then it started to rain, then wet flurries ....
Until next time…. take care, be safe,
Yes that is snow there on the road sides.