Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Deming, Mesilla & Las Cruces, NM.

Sat - March 26th

Deming Courthouse 1910, with old jail building to left 1918. It is the site of the controversial trials of some 30 Villistas (Panchos men) of the Columbus Raid in 1916. Four were hanged in the yard of the county jail.

Basilica San Albino on the square in Mesilla. We talked to Paul Gallegos in the church. He had retired from the navy and come home to care for the church and it's history. He said the Rio Bravo used to run between Mesilla and Las Cruces and flood the church every spring before it was redirected. The water used to get two feet deep inside the church. When the new priest came, he was not a bit happy with the smelly adobe church. He borrowed a wagon from Paul's great-grandfather and found a man in San Raphael 300 miles away who was baking bricks in an oven, six at a time. He asked him if he would make the bricks for his new church. When the man asked him how many, he told him to make as many as he could for two years and then he would let him know how many more he needed. By this time a channel had been dug to reroute the Rio Bravo into the Rio Grande and the flooding problem was solved. Eventually the man built a much bigger oven and Paul's great-grandfather and others hauled bricks for three years. His great-grandfather also built the wooden altar and baptismal font. There were two bells in one bell tower and one very large bell (like the Liberty Bell) in the other tower. It was so large it was not supposed to be rung except for special occasions due to the vibration it caused. When Paul came back from the navy, they had forgotten and had been ringing it on a regular basis. There was a crack in the wall of the church, so now it is only rung once a year.

This was the courthouse on the square where Billy the Kid was tried for murdering Sheriff Brady and sentenced to hang. He was returned to Lincoln for the hanging, but escaped from their jail.

This restaurant across the street was a freight and passenger service in the 1850s operated by Sam and Roy Bean (later Judge Roy Bean). They lost it after the Civil War for being southern sympathizers. It became the Butterfield Stage Stop.

More old cars. They just seem to be everywhere we go.

This is the War Memorial Park in Las Cruces. It was a small village across the river from Mesilla. Now the river is gone and the railroad went thru Las Cruces. Mesilla is a small quiet town and Las Cruces is the second largest city in New Mexico.

The half circle monument has all the veterans from New Mexico in all the wars thru the Persian Gulf and there is a walking trail around the park with monuments to each war and branch of the service. I thought this one was especially impressive. It portray two Americans with one Phillipino on the Bataan Death March. There are footprints behind them and ahead of them. The footprints were all made by survivors of the march. They are numbered and there is a plaque identifying each person. There is another plaque showing the counties and the number of each person from each county. Really makes you think what they sacrificed for us.

I know I'm not in Arizona anymore, but I happened to find this quote in the library in a picture book of Arizona. I liked it, so here it is.

"To see the Grand Canyon full of purple smoke at dawn or sublimely fired at sunset, is to be elevated in soul. To see the red rocks; the alkali flats like snow; the sand dunes so graceful and curved; the long cedar slopes, speckled green and gray, leading up the old peaks; the vast black belts of timber; the Navajo facing the sunrise with his silent prayer, the Hopi in his alfalfa fields, or the Apache along the historical Apache Trail; the coyote sneaking through the arroyos; the lonely cliff dwellings with their monuments of a vanished race; the endless slopes of sage, green and gray and purple on the heights; the natural stone bridges and petrified forests---and a thousand more beautiful sights---that is to see Arizona." Zane Grey

It truly is a beautiful and scenic state.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Douglas, Arizona

Thur - March 25th

Queen Copper Mine at Bisbee, Az. The mines here have produced 8 billion pounds of copper, plus gold, turquoise, silver, lead and zinc. Nestled in the Mule Mountains, it was crowned one of the prettiest 20 towns in America by Forbes Magazine.
It has been featured on the Food Network and on Discovery Channel with Reed Booth, the killer bee guy.
The Douglas Depot was built in 1913 and saw as many as 8 passenger trains a day in the 1920s. It was restored in 1992 and is now police headquarters.

Gadsden Hotel billed as the "Last of the Grand Hotels" was built in 1907, destroyed by fire in 1927, rebuilt the following year and marketed as "fire proof". It has twin sweeping marble staircases, gold leaf topped pillars and a 42 foot Tiffany stained glass mural. Pancho Villa once rode his horse into the hotel and up the marble staircase. His horse made a chip in the seventh step that is still there. It has the mail cupboard behind the desk with a pigeon hole for each guest's mail.

Douglas is right on the border with Mexico. We went across to Agua Prieta with another guy from our campground for lunch and margaritas. He was having some dental work done there because it is so much cheaper in Mexico.

The John Slaughter 100,000 acre ranch is just outside Douglas for touring. We didn't go. He was at one time a Texas Ranger, wanted outlaw in New Mexico, sheriff in Tombstone, a senator and a rancher.

This church is on the corner of a block that has a church on each corner. It is called Church Square and has been in Ripley's "Believe it or Not" since 1930 as the only place in the world with four churchs on one block.
Moving on tomorrow. Expect to be in Iowa in a couple of weeks to spend some time with friends and relatives.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tombstone, the town too tough to die.

Tue - March 23rd

In 1881 there were 106 saloons on Allen Street. The census recorded 20,000 residents, but they only counted white males -- no women, children,
Chinese, Indians, etc. Out first day here the weather was very much like the day of the famous
shootout, or so we were told. Our second day was much nicer. They claim to be the second biggest tourist attraction in Arizona after that big ditch up north. Their tourism is all due to a whole lot of blood shed. There were 79 people gunned down on the corner of 6th Strret and Allen Street.

There is a lot to see, so I highly recommend doing some research beforehand and taking a guided tour first thing when you arrive. You can take the stage coach or the trolley.

We took the trolley. They are both narrated, get you oriented and point out all the highlights.

This is the court house museum and is the smallest state park in the country. It has a gallows in the back where 7 people were hanged from 1884 to 1898. Unfortunantly, it was closed the two days we were there, due to state budget cuts.

This house next door to the court house is where John Heath was lynched in 1884 by an angry mob. He had recieved immunity for turning in the rest of his gang. I guess they didn't think it was right for him to get off when the rest were convicted.

This is the Bird Cage where many famous people performed on their way between Chicago and California. Sixteen fights killed 26 cowboys and there are still 140 bullet holes to be seen here.

The 14 bird cages were cribs upstairs that could be rented to spend a little time with the working girls.

Also, Doc Holliday was known to deal Faro here on occasion.

This is one of the ladies who performed here. She later changed her name to Little Egypt and sent this portrait back to the Bird Cage as a gift. There are several bullet holes patched over in the painting and one just to the right of it in the wall.

The sign on this one is pretty self explanatory.

This opera house was built to honor the man who first discovered silver here by his brother. When he left the fort to come here and mine they made fun of him and said he would find nothing but his tombstone here. He found a vein of silver that produced 40 million dollars. The town that was originally Goose Flats was later changed to Tombsone in his honor.

China Mary was very well-liked and had the largest funeral ever in Boot Hill.

Boot Hill Cemetery where lots of scoundrels that were hanged were buried.

And even a few that were hung by mistake.

Here lies the Clantons and McClurys some of whom died at the OK Corral at the hands of the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday.

The oldest building in Tombstone.

The Tombstone newspaper was called the Tombstone Epitaph. Seems appropriate. We received a copy of the issue that gave all the testimony from the trial against the Earps and Holliday with our tickets to the gunfight.

Besides the famous gunfight at the OK Corral, there are several other saloons in town that re-enact shoot outs and and have dance hall girls and other stuff.

This is the OK Corral shootout. The Helldorado does a shootout show. Big Nose Kates Salloon has
another kind of show with animals and such. There is western museum, Wyatt Earp's house and a mine tour.

We went to the Six Gun City shootout. They did 5 different shootouts that actually happened. This was a drunk young guy that insisted in calling out the bartender because his bottle of whiskey was empty. He had refused to sell him another one and told him to go home and sober up. Another
young man had ordered a store bought shirt from New York. When it came the other cowpolks made fun of his shirt. He also got angry and ended up dead. Another had ordered a new hat and when it arrived after several months, the package was smashed and the hat ruined. He shot the post man who delivered it.

Don't miss the Rose Tree Museum. This is the largest rose bush in the world. It was planted in 1885 from a shoot sent from Scotland. Mrs. Macia purchased the property in 1919 and it has been in her family ever since. There is a museum there of five generations of her family. She actually knew Geronimo and there are pictures of her with him and lots of other interesting things.

The last picture is of two rose bushes that were planted from shoots of the original about 45 years ago, behind the first church built in Tombstone in 1881. They are about a third of the size of the original. Amazing. You can buy shoots for $10.00, but they probably wouldn't grow the same elsewhere. Spring is coming!

Happy Gardening,


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Back in Tucson

Mon - March 22nd

Overnight we went from winter to summer. We did the west section of Saguaro National Park the first time we were here, so we decided to go for a

hike in the east part this time. Flowers were starting to bloom and it was almost noon when we
got there. We chose a three mile hike and both took a big bottle of water. Somehow we took a wrong turn and ended up hiking at least four miles. It was 85 degrees and our water was all gone long before we got back to the car. Air conditioning never felt so good. Once again, I'm only the cook. The navigator forgot to bring the trail map with.

In spite of the heat, it was a beautiful hike. There was lots of green and the flowers were starting to bloom. With over 50 varieties of cacti, Saguaro National Park is the most diverse desert in the nation.

And just correct what you may have learned from cartoons, the roadrunner is not the coyotes enemy and he does not say, "Beep, Beep!".

There was some sprong run-off and pretty yellow flowers blooming along the creek.

Here is a couple of close ups.

We saw lots of bicyclists on the paved one-way winding loop thru the park. It looked like a really fun place to ride. The ocotillo like this look completely dead and dried up most of the time. When they get some moisture they become totally covered in little green leaves in just a couple of days and get red blossoms on the end of each branch. They are just starting to bloom in this picture.

This is an interesting and wierdly deformed barrel cactus. They usually just look like one little round barrel.

I think this is a chain fruit cholla cactus.

This one is a staghorn cholla. They are kind of purple colored. When they are smaller with just a couple of main branches, they really do look like a set of antlers.

This is a set of teddy bear cholla in front of a saguaro.

Back at the car finally. I found out something new about my hubby today. There was a kind of slow, dreamy song on the radio and I said that it reminded me of prom. He said that he wasn't allowed to go to prom.....all the girls voted. Now don't you feel sorry for him.