Saturday, October 31, 2015

Corrizozo, New Mexico, Lava Fields and Ghost Towns

October 25 - 26, 2015:

It was one of our shortest moves today of 30 miles to the Valley of Fire BLM Recreation Area in Corrizozo, New Mexico.  It’s a popular campground with about 12 Electric and water sites.  It overlooks the huge Malvais lava flow, 44 miles long by 2 - 5 miles wide, covering 127 square miles. it is one of the most recent lava flows in the country estimated to have been active from 1,500 to 5,000 years ago.   The Lava came out of the ground from vents and the flow covers the entire vast valley floor.  There is an easy 3/4 mile loop trail around the lava field and it is very scenic.


Campground view

The Lava piles up very high in places

View from the trail

Striking a pose

I had another destination in the area to find, the “No scum allowed Saloon” in the ghost town of White Oaks.  It was an interesting ride of about 15 miles across open range land to White Oaks.  It is a really cool hangout, in the middle of nowhere, but they do have live bands on some weekends.  The Bartender and a local patron there were very friendly.  The main building where the bar is is original from 1881 when it was a lawyers office.  The building then went through many hands and many different uses.  It seems to be the only bar for about 25 miles and appears to cater to bikers.

The front of the "no scum allowed saloon"

The bar top has been branded

A fire was going in the stove, it felt real nice

White Oaks was originally a gold and silver mining town and in the late 1800’s was the 2nd largest town in New Mexico, with 2,500 people, today there are only 26 residents left.  The gold and silver didn’t last long and when the railroad bypassed the town, the glory days quickly ended.  A few impressive buildings remain, but I saw nothing to draw a crowd and they don’t seem to be promoting themselves much.

Old victorian mansion looks out of place today

Old store sitting all alone these days

The old school is still in good condition

Another old mansion on the hillside

Beautiful remote drive to get to White Oaks

Corrizozo seems to have started as a small settlement of no account, White Oaks was then the main town and the county seat.  That changed as the railroad came along.  White Oaks got greedy and increased their land values which prompted the railroad to route the railroad through Corrizozo instead.  In a few years Corrizozo became larger, a major railroad town and became the county seat.  Corrizozo like most small towns is struggling today, but they have a small arts district that shows promise.  There are several old vacant buildings crying to be renovated in this area.

Corrizozo billboard showing the sights of Lincoln County

Unfortunately the classic ice cream parlor was closed
for the season

The old Lyric Theater needs help

Arts district is showing some signs of hope

This needs to be saved soon

Cowboys still ride here

Corrizozo Museum in old frozen food locker building

Corrizozo information booth

The Outpost also closed

We took a ride which unknowingly to us went through a couple of ghost towns.  We started going to White Oaks and continued through town and onto a route 72 which was mostly all dirt road.  It went up into a beautiful forested area passing through the ghost towns of Jicarello, and Ancho.  Jicarilla was a mining town and the old school house remains. The town of Ancho once had a large Gypsum plant, now totally gone.  It is on the railroad and has a great train depot that actually appears to be in good condition with an old Semaphore signal in near perfect condition.  New Mexico has lots of ghost towns, but most are picked clean or privately owned with serious "No Trespassing" signs.

The Jicariilo school house

Old mining assay office

The Ancho train depot

Once in a while, you can catch a decent sunset in the area.

A fine ending to the day

Next stop is San Antonio, New Mexico;
Twinkles and Slick

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