October 22 - 24, 2015:
We were very happy to see some sunshine in the morning, no reports of flooded roads and a decent weather forecast. The drive was mostly on route 54 south which was a beautiful drive through wide open range land. The clouds were incredible at times, quite distracting. I stopped at the almost ghost town of Duran, NM on route 54 to check out an interesting building across the railroad tracks. I found out latter through an excellent "City of Dust blog site" that it was originally a general store and hotel with a sinister history. It was the scene of an armed hookup and murder in 1921 which resulted in the four perpetrators being hung. We can’t seem to get away from towns with rail lines, been following them all year. We go off onto routes 380-38-47 approaching Carrizozo and Ruidoso and start climbing in altitude. In fact there are pockets of snow along the road and snow on the mountain peaks in the distance.
|I can't get enough of these western vistas|
|The scene of the murder is now watching|
|I felt like I could reach up and touch the clouds|
We pull into the Little Creek RV Park where we plan to stay for three nights, it’s a full hookup site for a change and is a very nice campground. A nice laundry, showers and good that WiFi works for us.
The town of Ruidoso is not quite what I expected, the downtown area is not old, historic or very attractive. It appears that to this point they have just let the developers go wild. The downtown is a tourist haven however with many shops and restaurants. There is the nearby Apache Ski area to attract the Ski crowd and two Casino’s for the gambling crowd and the surrounding country is beautiful. This is one of the fastest growing areas in the state.
|Welcome to Ruidoso|
|Voted best bar in town ?|
|Everything began here with the Mill|
|The Mill wheel arrangement is impressive|
|Carved bears are popular with the tourists in Ruidoso|
|Twinkles would not sit in the chair|
|I liked the sign|
It was time to get Twinkles arm cast changed, to a shorter one, as the long one is really driving her “Nuts”. As Ruidoso seems to have no urgent care places we first go to the Hospital Emergency Room. They can not do it and refer us to the Bone and Joint Institute nearby where Twinkles luckily gets in without an appointment. After X-rays, they change the cast to a more comfortable shorter one which will be removed completely in Phoenix Arizona in mid November.
We learned about the Lincoln Historic Site, about 25 miles away, which is regarded as one to the most authentic and best preserved towns in the west. It was also one of the most violent towns in the west as it was the site of the Lincoln County Wars. This area was settled by the Mexicans in the 1850’s who called it ”La Placita de Rio Bonito” or “the place along the pretty river”. In 1869, after the civil war, it was renamed Lincoln. A mercantile store was started by a L.G. Murphy who in time controlled the entire economy of the town and became known as “The House”. The House was sort of an early Irish Mafia organization which owned the politicians and the lawmen and took advantage of the local farmers and ranchers. An wealthy Englishman, John Tunstall, next entered the picture starting a rival mercantile operation which was supported by the locals. His murder by “The House” prompted the formation of “The Regulators” and much vigilante violence began. Of course Billy the Kid was a member of the Regulators. The Army was eventually sent in to quell this situation. “The Kid” became a wanted man and his reputation for fighting for the poor locals turned him into the folk hero he is today.
|Buffalo soldiers were stationed at nearby Ft. Stanton|
|The iconic photo of Billy the Kid, I suppose they|
will have to make room now for the new one
|Painting of a gun battle in Lincoln|
|Portraits of area characters, the descriptions were colorful|
|The Torreon, Spanish for Tower, used for protection during attack|
|I didn't expect to see Violin strings manufactured in|
New Brunswick, NJ on the shelf in Lincoln, NM
|The Tunstall living quarters in the rear of the Tunstall store|
|Interior of the Tunstall store with original merchandise and |
furnishings almost totally original, amazing !
|Photos of some of "The Regulators"|
|Billy the Kid actually was quite literate with good handwriting|
and corresponded directly with the New Mexico governor
|Interior of the San Juan Mission|
|The San Juan Mission|
|A depiction of dancers and musicians|
On Saturday, I check out the Inn of the Mountain Gods Casino just outside of Ruidoso. The Mescalero Apache tribe operates this Casino/ Hotel/Golf complex and it is really a beautiful operation. They also operate the nearby Casino Apache Travel Center and the Ski Apache Ski Area. These areas are all located on the Apache reservation which is a beautiful mountainous area. I did my usual big spender $20 slot machine thing and walked away with $50, lucky day !
|Apache dancers in front of the Casino|
|Apache art inside the Casino|
|Painting inside the Casino|
|View from Hotel lobby looking down, looks like there was|
was an event about to start
Next stop is the Valley of Fires BLM Recreation Area;Twinkles and Slick