May 1 - 16, 2005 - Phoenix to Raton NM (with detours)
Jul 18, 2006
|This is the inaugural posting to our website, which we are trying out for a couple of weeks while we decide whether to subscribe to the site or not. In the future the posts won't be as long, but will be updated every few days to a week, including pictures as we see fit. The way it works is that you will be notified each time there's an update, by e-mail, and will have the opportunity to opt out at any time. As you have already figured out, you have to confirm your willingness to receive the updates and to access the site. We're hoping that at least a few people (mainly our families, but maybe some others!) will be interested.
Let us know what you think.
Ian and Margaret (the scribe)
We began our journey on May 1, with a trip to Santa Fe (three days, via Las Cruces and Albuquerque) for several days of Desert Chorale events and visiting with friends. Along the way we discovered a turn light out, which required a visit to a Ford dealer, and had our internet satellite dish installed. Soon, we felt, we'd have everything working. HA, said the RV gods!
Preparing to leave Santa Fe, we discovered we could not retract one of the slide-outs. A call to roadside assistance (it was Sunday afternoon, of course) cured the problem but convinced us we needed to detour to Junction City KS (birthplace of the RV) for some consultation and repairs. As seems to be usual with us, most of the problems seemed to be caused by "operator error", but we learned a lot and met some interesting people while camped out in New Horizons' lot for three days. Among the things we learned were: the location of the reset button on the power inverter (which charges the trailer batteries when we're hooked to campground power or the truck); how to work the automatic leveler without screaming, how to flush the holding tanks separately rather than having grey and black water all coming out at once, and never to drive away pulling the trailer until you have made sure the hitch is locked. It's a new day a-dawning!!
The cats adjusted fairly well, although Titus whined a lot (nothing new there!) and Max discovered that he can squeeze his 15-lb body into a very narrow space between the bed and the wall. They traveled with us in the truck for this part of the journey and drove us nuts with their whining.
Then back to New Mexico to begin our search for ghost towns. Many in northeastern New Mexico - old mining towns, mostly, and mostly just derelict buildings.
We spent several days in Raton, which is a very interesting town in itself and located in an area covered with historical sites, among them a number of old mining towns and old ranches. Also, currently active ranches, including Ted Turner's, on which can be found buffalo and pronghorn sheep. We did actually see some grazing.
Two particularly interesting places in Northern NM - Dawson (visited out of Raton) and Loma Parda (visited out of Las Vegas). Dawson was an old mining town, but the most interesting part is the cemetery, where there are gravesites of miners lost in two mining disasters in the early 1900's. Rows and rows of plain white crosses (supplied by the mining company), all showing the same death dates.
At Loma Parda we had a nice chat with Benito ("Ben") C' de Baca, whose family established Loma Parda as a place for soldiers to carouse on break from Fort Union. Most recently he's had to fight off ranchers who were trying to take over his land - padlocking the road gate, burning his father's house and threatening him. He took them to court and won clear title - he's now just trying to hold on to what he has. Nice guy, very interesting place. Lots of ruins, a cemetery with no gravestones (the ranchers had taken all the stones and dumped them into the river) and a very interesting house Ben has built for himself. Also a rickety footbridge to cross the river - we weren't able to drive across the bridge, but could ford the river in the truck.