Thursday, April 8, 2010

Ruidoso, NM. & Smokey & Lincoln County

Tue - March 29th

I'm back. Finally got a new months worth of gigabytes, so John will let me blog again.

Ruidoso Downs home of the famous Quarter Horse Race Track.

Hubbard Museum of the American West, including Anne Stradling's collection of horse related items, is also in Ruidoso. It is an excellent museum.

Also here is Smokey Bear Historical Park where the original bear cub, Smokey, who was rescued from a forest fire by a fire fighter, is buried. John said to me, "Being from a small town in North Dakota, I suppose you never heard of Smokey Bear." I said, "I never heard of forests." He said, "That's okay. When we get to the small town tavern museums, you will like them."
I wonder if they give out free samples.

From here we headed to the town of Lincoln, which looks much as it did when the likes Billy the Kid roamed it's streets. Ten of it's 48 structures are now the Lincoln State Monument. All of the town and a 10 mile stretch of Hwy.380 are part of the Lincoln National Historic District.

This is the old Lincoln County Courthouse where Billy the Kid was returned to be hanged after his trial in Mesilla. Once again he escaped and killed two deputies in the process.

This is supposedly one of the bullet holes inside the courthouse during his escape. He was later found again by Sheriff Pat Garrett who shot him dead. When he had trouble collecting the $500 reward, the people were so outraged, they took up a collection and gave him almost $3,000.

These are some of the buildings in town and the grave markers of John Tungstall and Alex McSween, both killed during the Lincoln County War. Billy the Kid was part of their group, but managed to escape during the fire when McSween's house was torched and burned down.

The Lincoln County War was all about who was going to have control of the government contracts to provide beef for the fort and the reservation.

There are lots of interesting exhibits in the courthouse, the Tunstall store and the Montano store, which tells the Hispanic history. Many lawmen lost their lives in this county. When another deputy was shot in 1933, the people took up a collection and bought a machine gun for the sheriff's office, so they would never be outgunned again.

I have read that there are lots of lizards in the desert, but this was the only one we saw all winter.

The Mountain of the Gods Casino is also at Ruidoso. It is the most beautiful casino I have seen and it is in a gorgeous setting with lake, mountains, golf course, fishing, guided hunting trips, etc.
There is also skiing about 10 miles from Ruidoso at Ski Apache, 11,000'+.


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