Ruidoso New Mexico RV Camp trip
The coming Jemez Springs and Concha Fires near the Los Alamos National Labs area, is reportedly following the nearby path of destruction of Los Alamos in it's last great fire. Well over 150,000 acres have been engulfed in flames as noted to date.
Interesting that the US Forest Service over the last 60 years or so of enlightened environmental wisdom, has been adapting a view of.... 'No Logging, No lease Grazing of Cattle'.... which had previously maintained the forest profitably and safely for a century. (centuries if the Spanish are included).
Any Profitable enterprise possibly uililizng the forest resources is No longer easily permitted in National Forests. A quite noble gesture Dictated by the obviously powerful environmentalists and followed to the letter by 'their' drones, the 'new' US Forest Service.
We now have created an unnatural, ourageously dense fuel load with no open and log road accessable areas to form a maintainable fire break. Like Yellowstone Nat Park's devastation years ago, This govt follows the exact same paths to destruction.
The predictable results are inevitable as well as bank breaking financially. Thousands of fire fighters, as well as countless aircraft, slurry bombers, and support base camps with in town lodging, are copiously fed by taxpayer dollars.
So.. as once loudly proclaimed by yet another Leftist faction of society bent on seeing the destruction of America, the new US Forest Service now dutifully follows 'their' Secretary of the Interior ordered agenda of.....
... 'Burn Baby Burn'.
The new US govt is now reportedly setting up college courses on, get this, 'Managing and Fighting... Forest Fires'. This new govt visualizes a positive, in ever more taxpayer funded govt workers... dependent on ever more fires.... (possibly controlled vote Unionized??)
This is the reason for our travels. We are desperate to see the last conservative vestiges of our Great Nation, while escaping from the new world and it's omnipresent Insanity.
Finishing our Carl's Jr turkey burgers, and top off of Jeep fuel at local Smith's (discounted), we headed up I-40 through Tjeras canyon east out of ABQ. Moriarty NM over 20 miles (32km) away, is the southern turn off toward Ruidoso NM if taking the eastern route south around the Manzano Mountains. A few miles south of Moriarty is Estancia, the Correctional Facility town.
Because political figures drive on them, the state highways are nicely maintained.... until that point. After that they become paved and patched washboards for 100 miles (160km) at a stretch, due to the previous Gov Bill Richardson Administration spending the tax money on political Democrat corruption. Good thing they kept some funds in the prison system, a few of Bill Richardson's closest confidantes and political appointees, due to the FBI's vigilance, are still incarcerated there. Bill (ran for President in '08) himself, is coated with current Presidential Teflon..
As we drive south across the desolation of the high plains, we pass through tiny old Willard with it's main attraction, The 'Willard Canteena' touting it's 'Chile with an Attitude'. Motorcyclists parked in front seem to enjoy that stuff...and the beer of course. ..
..Turn south at the Canteena and cross the double main line railroad tracks. Lots of interstate freight moving at any one time. Moving East that is. Maersk containers (China) are always 'importing' to the USA through the California ports. Seldom see any actual US product exported, or ever heading west.
Further down the washboard state highway is ghost town Cedarvale with it's long abandoned school. It was quite modern when I first saw it being left to decomposition about 50 years ago. Too bad that weather patterns change. No longer is the land able to support dry land farming like in the past.
Cedarvale is in the vicinity of the stretch of Cedars across the somewhat higher terrain. This stretch is the route of migrating Deer... and occasional African Oryx wandering north from White Sands Missile Range. Rolling down this lightly traveled state highway, you do see the occasional, but rare 18 wheeler. Upon approach to Corona NM are the more heavily wooded hills and rocky canyons, where the Golden Eagles migrate along at certain times of the years.
Corona is the place to buy loads of firewood for the winter. The old 'Blue Ribbon Bar' got it's name and sign from Pabst bottling company. The bar owner from those days, told me that Pabst gave him the fancy lighted sign...and a hundred cases of beer, to change the name from the Corona bar. Sign is now gone and bar looks abandoned.
Corona was where the young rancher Mack Brazil came to report the Flying Saucer
More washboard highway and a series of ten to twelve 100 yard (91m) washboard patches. Guess the state road crews out of Corona are amatures in paving? Approaching distant Carrizozo on the long downslope leading down into the Tularosa Basin, shows what western panorama looks like. They even have a somewhat barren golf course.
The crossing highway is also The Valley of The Fires
On another trip, Interesting to sometimes take the alternate route westward back to Albuquerque, just seeing the rolling Malpais (volcanic flows from the last relatively recent eruptions ten to fifeteen hundreds of years ago). New Mexico is very geologically active.
If you do cross the interesting Malpaise desolation (there is a campground), stop in at the little bar at the west end of the highway in San Antonio (boyhood home of 'Conrad Hilton') across from the Owl. Their hamburgers are much better than at the Owl, since the Owl's owner was murdered by migrating Mexican 'Illegals' he was helping, many years ago.
The Valley of the Fires (northern edge of the White Sands Missile Range) highway comes out onto I-25 (NS from El Paso to ABQ.) It is a short drive north to Socorro (where the US Lunar Lander once mistakenly settled in for a few minutes back in 1964)
At Carrizozo we now turn east a short distance to our Nogal turn then south on the shortcut bypassing Capitan. It's steep two mile climb over the pass is somewhat time consuming in first gear. Following traffic loves us. From there it is lots of downhill first gear and uphill first and second gear all of the way around the eastern flank of (White Mountain) Sierra Blanca into Ruidoso, an hour away.
The little mountain town of Ruidoso is always changing somewhat, but in ways still recognizeable like an old friend.
Our favorite 'Twin Spruce' RV Park
Kay recognised us, remembered the grandkids and had a selection of nice sites. I picked a nice level pull-through under a tree near the office, rather than the high scenic mountainside pads. They also own a home in Florida that was roughed up a bit in their last big hurricane a few years ago.
Kay mentioned the latest Ruidoso Flood of 2008 that washed out a lot of homes and RV's near the river. The old concrete rock bridge in town was destroyed, and is just now being replaced with a steel span.
Kay mentioned the April forest fire
Late breaking news KRQE:
Afternote: The Donaldson ranch Fire is running near Hondo NM. Yep 'The' Sam Donaldson of TV news fame.
The flood in '08 also swamped the racetrack, but it was back in business within another few weeks. This last winter was record breaking 'Freeze' time. The pipes broke all over town, lowering water pressure for weeks as they thawed. Kay referred to the misfortunes as the three 'F's.
Our first day was spent touring around the old neighborhood where the internet famous Cougar was killed two weeks ago. It would not stay away from one home's yard, it had killed a Deer and buried it there under a pile of pine needles and dirt. Years ago we often visited my mother and father in law, on special family occasions at their mountain home near that site.
Winter skiing is excellent and sunny at Ski Apache (formerly Sierra Blanca Ski area. A little drive up over the ridge into the area of the newer Sierra Blanca Airport (old one is now a golf course) and the Spencer Theater of the Performing Arts took most of the morning. ...mention: Mountain Annie's in town is also a theater, hopefully a dinner theater in the near future..
Nice new homes intertwined with golf courses are plentiful as far as the horizon up on top the surrounding ridges and into the valleys. Ruidoso is a haven for flat land Texans that like to bet on the ponies. Nearby is the Inn of the Mountain Gods Casino, that also likes their money. The other days we spent checking out the local antique shops and thrift stores. Touristy stuff is plentiful in Ruidoso, Kids love the adventures, even a little water park.
Breakfast at the shiny metal diner, Denny's was great, Jeff our excellent waiter, took extra cares to ensure our satisfaction. He enjoys flying and also works at K Bob's evenings. To actually live in Ruidoso you have to hustle to survive.
'Ole Taco' is a great little tiny drive-up and dine-in Mexican Food cafe on Sudderth next to the Kentucky Fried Chicken. Don't miss their great prices and good enchiladas with other selections, while visiting Ruidoso.
The rest of our time was just casually driving around and seeing the changes taking place along the main drag to 'The Downs'. New hotels and restaurants are starting to line the street. My generous boss from years ago, often treated all of his employees to an enjoyable weeekend retreat in Ruidoso.
Boom or Bust is the economy around this mountain town, always steady in that respect. :>) Mescalero Apache Inn of the Mountain Gods is not immune to the cycle and some of the original structure shows it. Their lake is low this time of year, but still beautiful. Lots of kayaks and rafts with peddle-boats, kept all of the kids happy on it's deep blue surface.
Scenic Cloudcroft is just up the highway a bit. Check out the photogenic old rail trestle seen in many movies, which is being restored, then stop in the lodge with the green eyed ghost Rebecca. She was killed by a jealous suitor. Continue on to Alamagordo and White Sands for a complete postcard tour. Internationally famous Carlsbad Caverns is just another tour stop away.. enjoy the entire loop.
Each evening I prowled the hillsides and trails around the Twin Spruce RV park for exercise and relaxation. When the grandkids were young, we hiked to the top of the RV park roads, all of the way to the water tank on The DEAD End. Grandkids liked that spooky annotation during our evening hikes.
One evening several people were standing and watching something go up the hill across the road. A large Black Bear had wandered into and through our RV park on it's nightly tour of the 'fast-food' circuit. Bears and Cougars happen by often in these mountains just to keep the tourists alert. The Lincoln National Forest is where national icon, 'Smoky The Bear' was found after a fire many years ago near Capitan.
Lincoln (named after Abraham Lincoln) 'County' was the largest in the USA back in the 1800's. No wonder it developed it's reputation of 'The Lincoln County Range Wars. 'Billy the Kid' was noteworthy of the time and had a laundry in the town of Lincoln.
A small vistor center near 'The Downs' has some stories pertaining to his exploits. The friendly lady managing the desk was helpfull with area info and several illustrated books including some hitherto unknown pictures of 'Billy'.. The original Tintype is selling at auction for around $500,000 according to guestimates.
'Billy the Kid' Tintype sold at auction for over 2 million dollars US. Too bad he didn't ever get to enjoy his wealth. Whacking the Sheriff and deputy were his main public relations issues. The others were greatly exagerated and trumped up by politics. You would also get angry if the boss that treated you well, was killed in a politically Greed motivated battle.
The last night in the Twin Spruce RV park was spent surfing their nearly 100 cable channels for a good 'flikker' to watch. Kay's computer in the office was free, as is the WIFI. Morning came quick and I was busy dumping the holding tanks while prepping the coach for travel. Thoughtful Co-pilot gathers all of our 'offloads' into plastic bags for ease in packing to the house when we get home. Tying the Jeep behind us, like a tail, we pulled out for home.
We left Ruidoso this Sunday morning just after 11 of the clock. Arrived home at just after 3 of the clock (two hundred miles). No stopping, just a slow crawl out of the Ruidoso mountain canyon where we camped at Twin Spruce RV Park. We slowly clawed our way up over the Nogal Pass back to Carrizozo, about an hour of lower gears with Whistling Thunder Pig wagging it's Jeep tail.
The fire haze in the distance was barely noticible as we drove back across our return route. This time the wind was actually helping us along. Good thing for fuel economy. We made it to Ruidoso and back on approxiximately 60 gallons. At avg $3.57 a gal, it was a fun trip.
A Carl's Jr Turkey burger was our late lunch with a fuel re-fill at Smith's nearby. No discount this time..
The smoke from the Arizona fires is just starting it's late afternoon light accumulation in ABQ. Nowhere as bad as the 'crisis' media portends every day on their 'news'. Even their 'unprecented'? heat wave as they are constantly raving about, is like in years past. Nothing new, but the crisis 'news' is sure trying to build something out of a molehill.... Hmmmm Wonder why.?
The Lincoln National Forest is dry like usual in early summer, and Closed until the 'monsoon' (gulf moisture) rains start in July or August. For some reason there are always some campers (?) that will not obey the Rangers. They light fires that they don't extinguish.. Sooo the entire forest is closed to the sensible campers as well. That is life isn't it... The majority pays dearly for the predictable folly of the minority foolish...
Story from the past:
One time we were walking through a forest campground where a large hispanic family and their friends (the usual way they socialize), were drinking beer (Cerveza) around a big fire on the ground (illegal). The pickup trucks and cars were late model. They were playing their loud radios and whooping it up to their Mexican music. The barefoot kids were happily dancing through the smoke, roasting hotdogs and marshmallows over the fire...
....of a Gasolene soaked, fiercely Burning TIRE... still on it's wheel.
The acrid black smoke was making the entire campground downright toxic. The white marshmallows became coal black instantly from the thick black soot smoke deposited on them. The kids happily ate the blackened 'Carcinogenic' puffballs...... and kept 'roasting' more of them. Their hotdogs immediately looked like sooty black greasy pieces of rubber hose. Of course they were being eaten just as fast. The Gene Pool in this family could possibly be draining?
We stopped and talked with the very nice regular park host ranger (also hispanic). She told us that the group was very loud, disorderly and foolish, but she could not get them to stop.... or even pay to enter the campground. She said 'stuff' like that happens all of the time in her section of the forest, nothing new. She tries to tell them to behave intelligently, but as she said to us quote:
"They all Throw Me, with beer bottles"... :>)
Cycles of Life in the Greatest Nation the world has ever seen, The United States of America, "One Nation Under God"