Sunday, March 17, 2019

Pancho Villa State Park, New Mexico; Palomas, Mexico:, Rockhound State Park, City of Rocks State Park, New Mexico

Jan and I traveled east from Kartchner Caverns campground on Interstate 10 to Lordsburg, New Mexico. We had seen good reviews on Day's End  Directory(an available list to members of Escapees RV Club) about Kranberry's Restaurant.  It turned out to be a very good stop. It was away from the highway, had a large parking lot for overnight parking, and the meal was wonderful.  Very friendly staff inside. 
Trip Advisor look at Kranberry's
From Lordsburg, an uneventful ride on the interstate to Deming and Escapees Dreamcatcher Park for an overnight dry camp. Also a good chance to catch up on laundry.  The next morning is a short drive down to Pancho Villa State park in Columbus, New Mexico.

This park is definitely in the desert. And if you wait long enough, you will see one of the few Roadrunners in the park.  You have to work fast to catch a picture, however. They are superfast.
The park is named for the Mexican military leader whose troops attacked the town of Columbus in 1916 killing 8 U.S. soldiers and 10 civilians.  At Camp Furlong, General John " Black Jack" Pershing of WWI fame lead 10,000 soldiers after Pancho Villa.

Pancho Villa does not disappoint when it comes to sunsets. This one went on for quite a while with everchanging colors and display.

We had been here six years ago.  The history is impressive for a number of reasons.  It was the last invasion of the U.S. by a foreign army.  It happened to give the U.S. forces a chance to engage and improve tactics and equipment --1916--in preparation for WWI under General Pershing.  Also, as seen above , the first military airbase.
Strange, but also the first oil change ramp. 
This was Camp Furlong, and the first use of military mechanized vehicles. It signaled a change from the cavalry to mechanized warfare.

We tried to keep in mind that this was taking place when my father was one year old. This building was very basic with wood and mud bricks.

One of the first tanks ever used. Keep in mind that there were very few roads at this time. Sometimes, fuel for the trucks was delivered by mules.

A 1915 Dodge Touring Car used by the Frost family to escape the raid. The car was riddled with bullets and Mr. Frost was hit twice. But all survived.

One of the first mechanized military trucks.

One of the newer Jennies used in the war. 
The first JN-3 Curtis biplanes--all 8 that comprised the entire U.S. Airforce-were destroyed -not in battle--in the first month.
However , the newer JN-4 were quite successful and lasted much longer . They were used for reconnaissance mostly. Over 6,000 were made and were used for military and classic barnstorming into the 1930's.  There were no fatalities in the airplanes at Pancho Villa. Their mission was from March 15 to August 15, 1916. There were approximately 100 men who flew over 540 missions with no losses.

A 1916 Dodge Touring  car identical to the one used by General John Pershing. The general had spent years as a cavalry general and horses were brought here as well. But, after riding in this car with 3 or 4 other armed men, chasing Villa's men into Mexico, he indicated that the new army forces would be mechanized.

Hard to imagine that the mechanized U.S. WWI army started in a 1916 Dodge Touring Car

While at Pancho Villa, we decided to head into Mexico. The border is only 3 miles south and there is good parking if you decide to walk instead of drive. And so we did.
Hard to see, but this is all new construction for the U.S. side. Actually quite large, with multiple lanes, etc.

That is all new to the left and still under construction.
While we were there very few people were crossing. We walked into Mexico with 4 or 5 other people, and on the way back ,just us walking in and only 5 or 6 cars.

As a note, at Pancho Villa , we could see a number of yellow school buses transporting Mexican school children to the Columbus schools and then back over the border at night. All part of a normal schedule. Jan and I watched a news segment that was filmed with the principal in Columbus. He indicated that the program was quite popular with parents and children on both sides of the border and has been so for years.
The building above is one of many dental businesses, just in Palomas. Americans cross over for dental care that is much cheaper than in the U.S. We know many RVers who cross back around Yuma for dental care.  The reviews are generally positive, but a few have reported problems that require return visits.

We were told to stop in at the Pink Store in Palomas for shopping and lunch. Glad we did. Jan enjoyed a free margarita .Bruce had a free Dos Equis beer.

The salsa, pico de gallo, and the chips were fresh and delicious.
Jan had a delicious beef burrito with refried beans and rice.

Bruce had a quesadilla with chicken, guacamole ,and more topped with avocado and a small tomato slice . A delicious and very inexpensive lunch.

We could fill the entire blog with gorgeous sunsets.

Back up to Rockhound for one night. And some of the Spring flowers are now in bloom. As you might notice above these are tiny plants and blooms close to the ground.

Some are like daisies and others like these are like small Poppies .
Tiny flowers

Some single blooms

And some multiple

In a few spots, a whole small field of yellow.

And yes, one more sunset.

Back to Deming and then north on Route 180 and east on Route 61 to City of Rocks State Park.
A beautiful, but small campground.
We looked on the first loop and did not see an empty spot. 
But then, a camp worker was at a spot working on part of the road and indicated a small site that was not even listed on the map in the Pegasus loop
A little work to level and we had a perfect spot.
These huge rocks seem to be haphazard in the middle of nowhere. But the story is that 35 million years ago a large volcano , the Kneeling Nun, erupted about 180 miles away with about 1,000 times the power of Mount St. Helens .  Over the many thousands of years of erosion , cracks showed up in the rock and became separations.  Some have seen the rocks creating what seem to be streets in a city with tall buildings.

We must be in our own neighborhood in the city.
Huge rocks with separations that look to be very unstable---you think?
Bruce said "Jan, why don't you go stand over there".
For perspective, of course!

In the cactus garden, some bird has been working on a new nest.

An example of one kind of RV camper. This is a popup truck camper. We have seen a number of examples of popup owners who set up at a site with the camper removed from the truck. One time , in Idaho, it allowed the wife to sit comfortably at home, in the shade, with a book; while the husband was off fishing.  The popup units are generally shorter in length as well as height(unopened) which works well on back roads with low branches , etc. They are also considerably less weight and are often seen on half ton trucks (F150), but also on larger 4 wheel drives.
The following link goes to an article on Truck Camper Magazine about the adventures of Scott and Lora .
The story is quite interesting--about where they started camping , and then how they met, had a stick house, but decided they really wanted to go full time in a smaller camper after meeting a couple on the road. Note that there are 8 pages in this article with beautiful pictures of Colorado camping and the inside of their popup Hallmark camper.
The pages can be changed at the bottom of each page.
Scott is contest winning photographer, so try to catch all the pictures.
Truck Camping on the Edge with Scott and Lora
This next link is to Hallmark Campers in Colorado.
They made the truck camper for Scott and Lora. The link takes you to the Ute page which gives information on their model camper. There is much more on the rest of the website
Hallmark Truck Camper Website
Check out the "adventure" tab for stories of owners of Hallmark campers.
The spacing in the campground is great with good privacy.
Stand a little taller Bruce. OK?
This is actually part of our site. In the foreground , unseen in the picture, would be our table and fireplace. Protected from the wind by the huge rocks. And there were plenty of very strong winds the days we were there , including a big dust storm!!
And, of course, a sunset at City of Rocks