October 31 - November 4, 2016:
The drive from Leasburg Dam State Park through Las Cruces via routes 70 and 10 to Deming, New Mexico was uneventful, just the way I like it. Our destination, the Rockhound State Park is about 15 miles outside Deming at the base of the Little Florida Mountains. This is a campground that we checked out a couple of years ago while staying somewhere else in Deming. It’s just simply in a beautiful setting and these New Mexico State Parks with spacious campsites, electric, water, shower facilities and dump station are great.
|Had to stop in front of this beautifully done fake front|
western town at the intersection of routes 10 & 549
The natural desert vegetation here in the Chihuahua Desert is really special, there are many similar but different plants that we don’t see in the Sonoran Desert of the Tucson Arizona area. They also have a most beautiful visitors center built of adobe in the classic southwest style. This campground gets it’s name from the fact that it is a well known rockhounding area for jasper, agates, quartz, opal and geodes. There is a geode called a “thunder egg” that is especially sought after. Up until a few years ago, you were allowed to collect up to 15 pounds of rocks for personal use, not resale, within the State Park. It's now revised to a few rocks only, I suppose the original 15 pounds was abused.
|These New Mexico State Park Campground are nice|
|View from the Thunder Egg Trail behind the campground|
|Looking back at the campground|
|As I am looking at rocks who should appear ?|
|There were also lots of these large grasshoppers among|
the rock who would suddenly fly up and make your heart
skip a beat
|This large rock had many nodules that are small geodes|
Two miles away is the more rugged Spring Canyon day use area of the Park with more great views, picnic facilities and a hiking trail. These are the Florida Mountains, a very rugged steep rocky mountain range. There is a really imposing pointed peak called “Lovers Leap” in the picnic area. This area is habitat for the Persian Ibex, native to Iran, which are related to domestic goats. A small number was introduced in these mountains in 1970 and have done very well. I met a retired National Park Ranger there who told me they are doing too well. They are perfectly suited to this terrain and in order to keep the population at 400 a hunt is held with local guide services by lottery each year. The male Billys have incredible horns and make a prized trophy for the "sportsman".
|This range of the Florida Mountains was a lighter color|
and in the sun really lit up beautifully
|The road to the Spring Canyon area has this short 17|
degrees road angle that was fun to coast down, also
a nice viewpoint
|This tall solitary peak is called "Lovers Leap"|
|The rocks can be very colorful|
|View on the trail below Lovers Leap|
|Another trail view amongst the rocks|
I return a couple of days later taking the steep rocky Lovers Leap Trail part way under threatening rain clouds. I didn't expect to see anything, but actually spotted movement on a distant mountain side and saw approximately 20 - 30 Ibex. They were actually watching me way before I saw them.
|A group of Ibex making their way up the mountain|
|Crossing over the top|
|The old Armory building, now home to the Deming Luna|
|A Mimbres pot sculpture in downtown Deming, I like|
the warning sign to stay off the dirt mound
|Another small art area in downtown|
|Nice art on a highway embankment|
|The Deming Union Pacific Depot and Harvey House were|
spectacular in their day
|They have the best historical plaques on downtown buildings|
in Deming, too bad the buildings aren't getting more help
An interesting day trip is to the town of Columbus, New Mexico 3 miles from the Mexican border. This was the only place in the US attacked by a foreign country prior to the 9-11 attack. Poncho Villa’s band of soldiers crossed the Mexican border and attacked the small town of Columbus on March 9, 1916. They attacked with a vengeance with approximately 500 soldiers and if not for the local border protection force, the town may have been totally destroyed with heavy casualties. There were 10 town residents, 8 military and approximately 80 Mexicans killed in this initial attack. There are various theories as to why he made this attack, but it wasn’t a good decision. This action prompted the "Punitive Mexican Expedition" with General Pershing and the US 13th Calvary Regiment. They scoured Northern Mexico with 10,000 soldiers for 6 months, effectively crippling Villa's army, but never capturing him.
This was all connected to the struggle for power during the Mexican Revolution of which Villa was a charismatic leader. He was eventually defeated, but was given sanctuary and lived comfortably for a couple years until he was ultimately assassinated by an enemy.
We went to the amazing small museum at the train depot, originally the El Paso & Southwestern Railroad, filled with artifacts and information about the invasion.
|The Columbus Depot|
|Everywhere you go in the US, you will find old American|
LaFrance fire trucks on display. We always fuss about then since
they were built in Elmira, NY where Twinkles and I met
|Last train from Columbus prints for sale, wish I bought one|
|Angie Brown's story was amazing|
|Love him or hate him, either a hero or villain, Pancho Villa|
was a most charismatic character in his day
|Another small town hero who stayed on the|
switchboard to warn town people at risk
to her own life
|Small colorful theater in Columbus|
|The food and service were good at Irma's Kitchen|
|A shrine in front of what remains of the Columbus Bank,|
the bank safe was in the opening and was saved. The safe
door is now in the museum at the train depot
In Columbus is the Pancho Villa State Park which is a huge campground, not sure why, there isn’t much to do there. They have a really good museum on the invasion of Columbus with military vehicles and an actual 1915 Dodge with bullet holes from the attack. My Dodge Brother Club friends would love this museum, it’s a testament to reliability of the early Dodge Brothers cars. General Pershing used them as his staff cars during the campaign due to their ruggedness and reliability.
|A 1915 Dodge Brothers Car that was used by a town|
family to escape the attack, the husband was shot on the
get away, his wife had to jump into the drivers seat. They
survived, but the car suffered several bullet holes.
|Recruitment Ad for the Army|
|These FWD Trucks were used during the military operation|
|Pancho Villa and General Pershing in happier days|
|Air power was used for the first time in this military operation|
|General Pershing and staff used Dodge Brothers cars such |
as this one for his staff use chasing Pancho Villas Army deep into Mexico
|Pancho Villa Statue in Palomas where he seems to have |
|The pedestal art was quite nice|
|Another side of the pedestal|
|Interesting advertisement on street corner|
|Mexican Telephone service building ?|
After a few weeks of great weather, we have a couple of stormy days that can be uneasy in an RV. You feel sort of vulnerable in an RV when it gets to severe weather with thunderstorms, high winds and potential hail. If I can avoid it, don’t want to ever be in Tornado territory. It does make for some dramatic sunsets though.
Next stop is a favorite hangout of ours, Silver City, New Mexico,
Twinkles and Slick