Saturday, March 30, 2013

2013-5 Truth or Consequences New Mexico

Space Port America

Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
Elephant Butte St Pk

Campground:  Elephant Butte St Pk.  (prev. paid $225 yrly camping fee)  Elect. & water Site $4.  Free wi-fi in the park.  Many non-reservation sites available.  Most are wide spaces for easy backing into.  Ramada and picnic tables.   Some pull-thrus but not great views.  One row of back-in campsites had lots of wooden posts defining the campsites.  Why I have no idea, as they only make it harder to get into one of those sharp angled sites.  I believe the campsites on the north end of the park are newer and have double wide sites.

Rabbit TV

As you may know from previous postings, I like my electronic devices.  My most recent find has been a small USB device called “Rabbit TV“.  Basically it’s a small device that gives me access for a $10 a year subscription (which is included when you buy the small USB device).  Connecting the USB device  to the computer, I have access to TV programs and movies using my computer.  Now I have to have high speed internet connections which my Verizon phone provides anytime I’m in a 4G reception area.

The small Rabbit Tv device provides access to a most useful web site where all the TV stations are laid out and easily linked too.  There are thousands of free movies as well.  I have access to what appears to be all the satellite TV stations as well such as TLC, History Channel, HGTV, and all the rest.

The only warning I would give anyone thinking about purchasing this gadget is that it will use a lot of band width so if your using your cell phone, make sure you have a good plan with lots of data available.  I found the device in a Wal-mart and for the cost of $10 figured I couldn’t go wrong.  I’ve already watched a couple of programs on the device and can even connect my laptop to the TV for full screen viewing.

Truth or Consequences
Distance traveled:  118 miles

The winds died down and I was back on the road on Monday.  Oddly heading south before reaching CR-26 which would eventually lead me in a north easterly direction to hwy 25 and Truth or Consequences.  It’s one of those county roads traveling through the southern arid desert landscape of New Mexico.  Only saw  dry saw grass, scrub and yucca plants dotting the landscape.  Midway along CR-26 I had to stop at a boarder patrol station checking for illegal’s.  I was quickly waved through.  A large wind farm was generating lots of power with a stead breeze turning their three bladed turbines.  Further on down the road and I passed a solar array station making more electricity from the sun.

Note: I could have taken CR-152 and saved a bit of driving, but the road is winding and has a mountain pass of over 8,220 feet in elevation.  I also saw on my handy web site “All-Stays” that their was a height restriction along that route.  I.e. CR-152 between Silver City and T or C is winding and has a 6% grade mountain pass.

love the paint job on this old camper

I’m staying at Elephant Butte State Park which has a ton of campsites and I was directed to a back-in site that sits up on a hill overlooking the lake.  A grand view of the lake and surrounding low mountain ranges.

The following day was laundry day and grocery shopping.  You know I usually have a story to tell about my laundry visits.  The visitors center had recommended the Laundromat I went to so I figured it was pretty good.  Upon entering, the place was pretty empty, which was fine with me.  The washers and dryers all looked in pretty good condition.  The laundry attendant was washing someone’s clothes but didn’t say much as I started doing my laundry.  She disappeared behind closed doors and eventually opened those doors to reveal a small shop of sorts with chips and drinks for sale, as the vending machines in the laundry room were ancient and didn’t look like they’d been operational for about 10 years.  I struck up a conversation with a very nice lady and as we chatted, I mentioned that I thought the dryers were not real hot.  Having touched the glass window on both dryers I was using and it was luke warm.  Minutes later, the owner/attendant came out and asked what was wrong.  Before I had a chance to say anything she went into a dissertation on how their dryers are well maintained and that they all were set to the proper drying temperature.  She also told us that she has a constant ear to every conversation in the laundry room and would quickly come out to resolve any problems.  Almost gloating that she could hear all conversations and always knew what was going on.  I told her I had no problem with the dryers or the use of the washers and thought the place looked well maintained, but she kept insisting that I did not know what I was talking about and that her and her husband worked very hard to keep the machines in top order.  The gal I had been talking too tried to mollify her but she wasn’t listening.  All in all it kind of creeped me out.  After all, from what I could tell there are only about two Laundromats in town so I hardly think she would have much to worry about business wise.

Most everyone I’ve talked to in the last day or so have mentioned that it gets pretty hot here in the summers, (100+ degrees) so I would gather it’s not the place to be touring or camping during the summer months. I'm here at the end of March and the temps are in the mid 70's... Perfect.

the road to Chloride NM a Ghost Town

Winston and Chloride (Ghost Towns)

The next day after having done all my chores the previous day, I did a bit of touring through the raw scrub desert leading to the foothills and mountains to the west of town.  Although it was only a 36 mile drive it took a full hour to travel that distance as the road which started out straight, quickly began to dip in and out of  gullies, across washes and finally curved up and around all those foothills.  I was heading towards two of the many ghost towns in the area.  Winston being the first which is really a very small community with a couple dilapidated buildings and a number of adobe and very old mobile homes with lots of junk scattered around the yards.  The final destination at the end of the road is Chloride.  A once thriving silver mining town, with a couple good buildings in various degrees of disrepair and a perfectly restored general store and once saloon/school house now co-op gift store.  The restaurant housed in the old bank was closed until the summer season starts.  The main attraction is the general store which at the end of the silver boom was shuttered with everything intact inside.  The current owner and his wife who restored it took 4 years just to clean up the bat droppings and rat poop before finally bringing back the store to it’s present condition.  The best part was listening to all the stories the owner told about the town, the store and the people.  Oh and the town has 13 people living in it.  There’s even six campsites available right in town.  $15 a night full hookups.  I’d be a bit cautious about bringing a big rig there, though it is doable as the road leading to it has very little traffic.

One of the stories he tells is of a cowboys wife who got married at age 16.  She had never gone to school, yet was able to sew all her own clothes and built all of the furniture in their house.  She built all the furniture with just an axe, a hand saw and hammer.  The picture of the small reed chair that the doll sits on, which she also made, is an example of her fine craftsmanship.

It was great to get up into the foothills and see some juniper trees.  The flowering trees were just on the verge of blooming in town, wish I could have seen them in full bloom next to all those old buildings, they must look just awesome.

Arriving back at the camper where I have two new next door neighbors in a Class B van camper.  How appropriate to have two lesbians move in next to me, right during all the news coverage on the Supreme Courts deliberations regarding same sex marriage.  This pair of gals has done pretty well for themselves, owning a home in Naples Fl, one in Albuquerque New Mexico and because they love to camp, downsized to the Class B they are traveling in so that they could continue taking little adventures around the state.  Nice to see a couple so much in love and enjoying life so much.

The  next day was a day at the Riverbend Hot Springs.  Nice outdoor hot pools to soak in next to the river.  Perfect weather.  They were doing a photo shoot while I was there but declined to include me in their shots.  I wonder why

Riverbend Hot Springs, one of the best in T or C NM

Spaceport America 

The highlight on my adventures so far..

On Friday I decided rather than pay the $59 for the tour to Spaceport America where the Virgin Galactic craft plans on taking tourists into space,  I‘d just drive out there on my own.  Although I’m sure the tour is nice, they don’t actually let you go into any of the buildings except the fire departments headquarters and maybe even a drive onto the tarmac.  The drive out to the site was over the rugged hills that surround Elephant Butte  and then onto a flat scrappy desert landscape.  Part of the drive boarders part of Ted Turners huge land holdings where he has a herd of buffalo.  I didn’t see any buffalo along the way, just a few cows grazing on the meager dried grasses and scrub.  The Spaceport is not as isolated as I’d expected, in that there are a number of ranches along the route leading to the Spaceport.  When I arrived at the entrance gate, the loan security officer talked with me for a while as I was only permitted to stop at the outer parking lot and take a few pictures before moving on.  He did tell me that Branson has signed the final occupancy papers meaning that the Spaceport is now ready to continue spending money for the final phases of the development.  Since I love architecture, it was pretty darn neat just to see the main Virgin Galactic buildings from the outside and get hopefully a couple good pictures.  Imagine, the first airport designed specifically to transport the public into space.

Virgin Galactica main bldg. 

Needless to say, it was a great adventure for me to just stand out there and take a few pictures and think about the future ahead.  I hope to take the tour in another year or two when the Spaceport is officially opened to visitors.  Did you know that New Mexico has a brochure called the New Mexico Space Trail.  It highlights the numerous sites throughout the state that explore the prehistoric Indians who followed the stars, large array radio telescopes, rocket scientists to modern day space explorers.  There are over 52 sites to explore throughout New Mexico and I hope to get to many of them in the coming years.

Well that was more than enough to get ones appetite up, so back in town I headed to K-Bob’s Steak House and had a great top sirloin steak (6oz) lunch with drink for under $10.  And it was really, really good.  Now that was a great bargain.

I’ll stay here for the Easter Holiday and then move over to Alamogordo for my next adventure.

 More photo's on my PICASA site.


Linda said...

Nice story about your visit to this area. Happy trails...Linda

Tina Ritter said...

Good blog. Familiar with all you wrote about. Love reading about local areas. Look us up when you come to Ruidoso! Lots of history here too! We'll cook you a good steak and smell the junipers on the deck!