|We headed out Lovington Hwy northwest to US 82. On this trip we saw a copse of oil jacks. It truly was a forest and more than we saw last year out of Midland and Odessa. There were big and small, old and new jacks EVERYWHERE for as long as we could see on both sides of the highway. It was amazing. We continued to US 70/54 to Boot Hill RV Park in Alamorgodo. Great park for $25/night but no cable. One day we took off for Capitan which is the home of Smokey the Bear. The government had started a campaign to reduce forest fires during 1945 in hopes of keeping the forests safe for potential use in WWII. in 1950 a 2 1/2 old bear cub was found clinging to a tree with burnt paws from a local forest fire. He was rescued and through many efforts became what we've come to know as the real Smokey Bear. He was treated for burns and then flown to Washington D.C. National Zoo where he lived to be 26 years old in 1976. His remains were flown back to Capitan and he is buried in the memorial park in Capitan bearing his name. There was one other real bear after Smokey to carry on the tradition, but once he passed they discontinued the real bear representation. This is a wonderful place to visit. It is about 60 miles from Alamogordo. From here we drove to Lincoln, NM which is the historic site of an Old West feud for control of commerce in the county between Murphy-Mcswane and Tungstall. Many old structure can be seen and the county has done a great job of labeling all sites. Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett and the Dolan Gang were often involved in shootouts here. Great old west history.
From here we went to Historic Ft. Stanton established in May, 1855 as part of a campaign against the Mescalero Apache Indians. In 1861 Union Soldiers occupied the Fort until 1862 when it sat unoccupied for 14 months. Colonel Kit Carson was ordered to reopen the Fort in 1862. in 1887 General "Black Jack" Pershing began his active military career at Ft. Stanton. By 1896 troops were no longer needed to provide protection from the Indians and the Fort was officially closed. In 1899 President McKinley reopened Fort Stanton as a TB hospital. From 1933 to 1940 a CCC camp for 200 men was located across the river from the Fort and these men helped at the Fort. In 1941 the old CCC camp was used to house detained German crew from SS Columbus, a German luxury liner. At the end of the war in 1945 this crew was returned to Germany. In 1953 the Fort was transferred to the State of New Mexico and in 1963 was operated as a care facility for the mentally challenged and closed in 1996. In 1996 the Fort became a low security women's correctional facility. in 2000 the fort operated as a drug rehab facility and then in 2008 was transferred to the ew Mexico Dept. of Cultural Affairs and State Monuments. It is now known and operated as Fort Stanton State Historic Site and you can tour many of the still standing buildings. We were quite impressed as to the size and multi-use of this large facility. Well worth a stop.
From here we went to the Inn of the Mountain Gods, a resort/casino in the mountains above Alamogordo. We had a great lunch and of course left a little money for the resort in the casino.
Delightful, fun filled, history learning day!
Another day found us inside the RV for the day as we had a wind storm with white out conditions. Not from snow but from blowing white sand (gypsum) from White Sand National Park.
We did make a stop at Heart of the Desert Pistachio Farm for pistachios and wine. The gentleman that owns this farm would come to work everyday and park his truck out in the parking lot so you knew he was there. This year it was NOT there. He built a great farm and business.