A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Pancho Villa Raids Columbus, New Mexico

Pancho Villa State Park
Columbus, New Mexico

In the early hours of March 9, 1916, in need of arms, ammunition, food and clothing for their revolutionary goals Pancho Villas's 485 troops crossed the U.S./Mexican border three miles south of the little town of Columbus.  The day before he had sent two officers to scout out the town and they reported back only 30 to 50 U.S. troops were present.  In reality their were 350. Oops!  I bet someone got demoted in rank (or shot) over that bad piece of intel. Needless to say, things didn't go so well.  After all the shooting was over ten citizens and eight U.S. soldiers had died.  Villa lost 75 men.

Notice in the photo they burned down the very place they wanted to ransack for supplies,
the mercantile or general store.  Not a very smart bunch of banditos it seems.

A stray bullet stopped this clock at the exact moment of the attack.

One of the few cars in town too, collected a few bullet holes.

After the raid President Woodrow Wilson ordered 
General John "Black Jack" Pershing to capture Villa in a "Punitive Expedition".

Ha! And I was complaining of having to camp too close to my neighbor. 

Part of the reason the raiders didn't fare to well.

This was the first time a motorized armor plated truck was ever brought into use against an adversary.  This vehicle having yet to be named as a "tank" never saw any action.

And too, this was the first time aircraft was used in a military action
and the construction of a military airfield nearby. 

10,000 U.S. forces trailed Pancho Villa and his troops over 500 miles south into Mexico and never located them even though they did encounter a few skirmishes along the way with other revolutionary troops. Motorized trucks were used for the first time.  This allowed for hauling greater loads at a much faster pace but were prone to breakdowns and limitations as to where they could travel.

Sometimes mules and wagons still seemed to be the preferred method of moving men and supplies.

With the onset of the United States entering into WW1, President Wilson ordered Pershing and his troops back to the states.  The Mexican dictatorship was eventually overthrown and Villa retired to his hacienda in El Canutillo.  He was assassinated three years later and his assassins were never arrested. Pancho Villa's attack into New Mexico remains to be the only time a foreign country has invaded America.

You may have noticed the photos are smaller.  They will be that way from now on.  I am tired of presenting blurry photos for you on this blog.  As I am having to use a wifi hotspot to post on the blog that seems to be the issue.  The original photo is too much for the weak cell service connection.
I apologize. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Rockhound State Park

Deming, New Mexico

We pulled in to what I believe was the last campsite available.  This is spring break week for the schools and I was wondering if we would be able to get in.  Well, it didn't matter as the camp host started directing newcomers to camp in the day use area and even a couple were camping alongside the approach road.  This I thought smart on behalf of the New Mexico State Park system-more revenue.  At any rate, happy to be here I broke one of my rules and paid for two nights at once instead of the usual one night at a time.  The family camping in this tent next door to us had this two year old that would just scream, cry and wail on and on.  Why? Why right next to us?  We were stuck for two days or otherwise I'd left the following morning.   

So let me show you the bathrooms.  
California State Parks have nothing even as close to as nice as this and they will never have.
I paid $10 a night.  In California the average is $25.

This park has been here for awhile so this isn't something all new, just well taken care of.

And showers where you don't need a fist-full of quarters for a 3 minute tepid bath.
This was free and you pushed a button.  It'd run a couple of minutes and shut off.  Push the button again and continue.  Very nice New Mexico.

Then look at the sunsets you get with your $10 camp fee.

This alone is worth the price of admission.

These pictures look blurry to me. It's aggravating.
I hope when you see them they are not.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Only Ten More Miles

of fighting the wind and we could have stayed at this really nice New Mexico rest stop for the night.

Instead we stayed put at the trading post for the night.

Outside the door, America the Beautiful

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Continental Divide Trading Post

Separ, New Mexico

This roadside tee-pee has seen better days.

This trading post was not as overwhelming when I walked in as was The Thing? or maybe I am getting used  to them.  I did a little bit of research and learned there are 10 Bowlin trading posts.  Back in 1912 Claude Bowlin began trading with the Native American Indians of New Mexico. This evolved into providing services for the traveler then after World War II turned his focus on the tourist visiting New Mexico where they could purchase Native American jewelry, rugs, baskets and pottery.

Inside was pretty much like the other and now I am curious as to exactly where the origin of a lot of this merchandise is.  

The next Trading Post I'll look more closely for Made in China marked on it.

This one had a room full of fireworks.  These are the type you cannot buy in California so it was all new to me.  Like the crooked yellow box stack to left, $99.  You light one fuse and 150 pieces of fireworks shoot up into the sky.  In 30 seconds a hundred dollar bill has gone up in smoke and pyrotechnics. 

This Native America buckskin top caught my attention and it was for sale - $199.99

Then I looked closer.

The wind was really whipping from out of the east and not having to really be anywhere special we stayed the afternoon and night.  I was losing 7 miles per gallon beating into the wind.
Take a close look at the hand-written part.

Separ had this post apocalyptic feel about it.

Well one good thing, being on the Continental Divide its all down hill from here.

These photos as some in the past appear blurry to me when I view them.  If they are on your end then it must have something to do with the upload over weak wifi circuits. 
My camera takes much nicer pictures than what I'm seeing here.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Tee-Pee Cafe

Bowie, Arizona

This roadside diner dating back to the 1930's sits on old Highway 70 which is now bypassed with Interstate 10.  It was all in the architecture when trying to get the tourist to stop at your place of business back in those days.  I am sure it worked too. 

Friday, March 16, 2018

The Thing?

Dragoon/Johnson, Arizona

Driving along Interstate 10 in Arizona you begin seeing these signs near Tucson heading east.
They are like every mile, sometimes even less than that.

There are around 247 of these billboards in the range of 200 miles east and west.
Someone actually took the time to count them?

Finally outside of Dragoon (don't you love that name?) you have arrived at The Thing?

This has been a tourist attraction since 1950.  Unfortunately in 2018 they were in the middle of a complete remodel and all the "attractions" were stored away until the project is supposed to be completed in May.  Guess it was time.  Nice timing on my part though.

So I had to be content with the gift shop.  Oh my goodness!  Just a lot of...junk, in my opinion.
High priced junk too.  I did buy a 1x2 inch magnet-$3.17-for inside the RV.

Of all these t-shirts with silly phrases and stupid signs for the most part, the only The Thing? t-shirt to be had was a thin white cotton one that looked very cheaply done.  You would think they'd have invested in quality T's in various colors with The Thing? logo on it.  Nope.

Since there was no museum at the time I missed out on seeing a 1937 Rolls Royce that reportedly belonged to Adolph Hitler, a large steel cage filled with wood carvings of people being tortured "the only one of its kind in the world" (I can believe that) and some other weird and in questionable taste art objects.  But at least they had The Thing? out on display off in the corner in this wood box.
After all, we had to look at those signs for a hundred miles, they better!

The box was glass covered and inside a coffin with what can be best described as the mummified remains of...a woman and child?

I'll reserve my thoughts on this and leave you to your own but keep in mind being a kid back in the 1950's this was probably the greatest thing to see while on a family vacation traveling across the country.

Why the Chinese hat?  To imply it was of Chinese ancestry when you would think being out in the wild west they would want to evoke thoughts of a Native American.

Okay, I can't reserve my thoughts.  It is an alien from another world.
That's much more believable than the large bubble-headed cat-eyed green aliens 
depicted with that of Roswell in New Mexico.

With these very long stick legs and arms what else could it be?
  Something from out of this world I say.

Admission reported was only a dollar to see this in the past.  I suspect with all the remodeling going on that the admission price will change accordingly and there will be some upset people after seeing The Thing?  "We paid (enter the amount here) to see this!!!"

The best part?  We were able to camp for the night around back and had this great view.
Well worth the price of admission.


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Bring Back the Dinosaurs

Benson, Arizona

This dinosaur is ready to make a Happy Meal out of this McDonald's.

We could use a few more dinosaurs and a whole lot less McDonald's fast food joints.
It'd be nice to see McDonald's go the way of the dinosaurs - extinct!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Beans Being Beans

On watch duty.

Undercover watch duty.

Off duty.

Making use of that afternoon sun.

A very happy cat.

The mornings can be cold in the desert.  Sometimes I have to fire up the heater.  Beans is fascinated by the heater.  I don't think she is cold, she just likes to watch the glowing element.

The heater is a propane Mr. Buddy heater safe to use indoors.  
It really warms the place up in no time.  The propane tank is outside.
The RV has a propane heating system but it is inefficient and runs a blower fan to move the hot air in which in turn runs down the battery fast.

So cute, asleep in her favorite spot on top of the slide-out.

When she jumps down from up there the whole RV shakes with the thud.  It always startles me as I think something hit the RV or a tree limb fell on it.  "Geeze Beans!"

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

So-so Camp Outside of Tucson, AZ.

This is a small parcel of BLM free camping land just outside the city limits of Tucson.
It's okay for a day or two but I wouldn't want to stay the full 14 days here, although it appears that some are doing just that.  You can see the Little House on the Highway at about 11 o'clock near the road.  This is our second spot.

Our first spot was right where that large tree is in the center by the intersection.  There was some traffic noise but not bad.  We went into Tucson to shop and then came back to it but someone pulled in with a dog that they made no effort to keep quiet so we moved to the above photo spot.  Less traffic noise and wouldn't you know it, after we moved dog barker people left.  The tent camper to the left is a girl who plays with her hula hoop.  To the right are some hippy-dippy people who were having issues with their RV.  No plates on it as they must have just bought it along with all of it's problems.

Our first spot

had this nice shady spot to set up a tent in.