THURSDAY, JULY 20
Today I waited in vain for my Passport America membership packet to arrive, so after lunch I headed to Truth or Consequences (T or C) to spend a couple of days. My route took me via state highway 26 through Hatch, which is considered the "chili capital of the world" because they develop and market new varieties of the peppers each year. As I neared the town I saw large fields of the beautiful dark green plants. Hatch will have their annual festival September 1-4 this year but, sadly, I will be long gone from the area by then. Did you know that the chili is a member of the nightshade family and that it is classified as both fruit and vegetable?
From Hatch it is about 40 miles via I-25 north to T or C. The drive was pleasant. The terrain became much more hilly and there was actually some green grass -- something I hadn't seen around Deming. The entire state has been suffering from drought for several years. T or C is a pretty little city of 7,153 situated at the foot of Turtle Back Mountain along the banks of the Rio Grande. The Cielo Vista RV Park was to be my home for the next couple of nights. It is on a ridge -- or maybe I should say three ridges, since it is on three levels -- overlooking the downtown area
T or C was originally called Hot Springs (for the hot mineral springs in the area) but the name was changed in 1950. Ralph Edwards, the host of NBC's radio show, Truth or Consequences, had wanted a significant way to celebrate the show's tenth anniversary; so he announced that, if a town would change its name to Truth or Consequences, he would broadcast his anniversary show from that town. Hot Springs caught their attention because of the hot mineral baths and hospitals. Ralph Edwards attended their annual fiesta every year from 1950 to 2000!
Late this afternoon I walked up a long hill to Veterans Memorial Park. The focal point of this park is the Veterans Memorial Wall, the half-size replica of the original Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, DC. After touring the United States and Ireland, this replica was placed here in its permanent home. A "Walk of Education" behind the wall is in the shape of a five-pointed star, with each point having a commemorative plaque for one of the wars in which this country has fought. The park ultimately will have a museum, burial columns for veterans and their families and several static displays. Next to the park is the New Mexico Veterans' Home.
FRIDAY, JULY 21
This morning I took a l-o-n-g four-hour walk around town. I hadn't planned to be out quite so long but I had plenty of water and was protected by sunscreen and a big hat.
The first stop of my exploration was at the Ralph Edwards Park on the banks of the Rio Grande. It includes a fishing pond, a gazebo, tennis courts and a rock garden. Quite nice. Then I visited the Geronimo Springs Museum, which was chock full of artifacts and memorabilia. There is an authentic log cabin which was brought here from the Gila National Forest. One of my favorite displays was the large collection of arrowheads beautifully arranged to form several lovely patterns. The museum is adjacent to Las Palomas Plaza at Geronimo Springs in the historic Spa District. Most of the bathhouses here were built in the 1920s. There are nine public ones still in operation. Most of them also offer other services such as massage, reflexology, aroma therapy, facials and hot rock treatments.
I did not indulge in these luxuries, but I did stop on the way home to get a strawberry-blueberry-yogurt smoothie to tame the growling beast in my stomach. When I got back home a little after noon, I discovered that I had forgotten to turn on my air conditioner before leaving. Aaarrrrgh! After a tepid shower, I felt better. I was using water only out of the 'Cold' faucet but it never got even cool, much less cold.
Tonight was laundry night. Domestic duties do not take a vacation. It was so hot in the laundry room, I almost croaked before I could finish. There was no air conditioning, not even a hay shaker type, which is prevalent in this dry climate.