Saturday, November 8, 2014

2014-33 Deming New Mexico (Continued)


Deming New Mexico (continued)

Rock Hound State Park

Campground:  Rock Hound State Park, (see previous report)

Having spent almost two months in New Mexico’s state parks, mainly because they have such a great deal for campers, I’ve noticed many single retired folks also taking advantage of the camping deals.  At first I thought it was quite a few single men, probably living just on social security checks.  They travel in converted vans and live very simply.  Often toting a bicycle to get into town. Then I noticed many more single women campers as well.  They most often have a class C camper and some but not all also have a small tow vehicle.  One sprightly gal I talked to this evening said after her husband passed away five years ago, she was volunteering at hospice and doing a little side work and then coming home to an empty house.  It dawned on her one day that she wanted to travel.  Sold a couple cars, an older camper, her home and as she put it 40 years of stuff.  She travels throughout the southwest and attends arts and crafts shows.  Selling her hand made napkins and pot holders which she makes in her camper as she travels with a sewing machine.  She told me she had gone through 365 yards of fabric this year making her quilted items and has sold everything she makes.  So much so, that she has quite a savings account and has signed up for a trip to Peru next year, a cruise through the Panama canal and will end up in Florida before coming back home to her camper.  So it can be done, even on a modest income and I’ve sure met plenty of those single RV-ers over the past couple of months.  One single gal I met last week travels in a new toy hauler motor home along with her motorcycle and a jeep.  Preferring to dry camp almost everywhere she goes.

A couple of down days, as it’s been raining and windy.

A bit of clearing in the skies so it must be time for a tour.  From my perch on the side of the Florida Mountains, I can see across the desert landscape below.  Old mobile homes and a few really nicely built new houses dot the landscape as they sit on their 5 and 10 acre plots of land.  Each covered with prickly pear cactus, mesquite, desert scrub and tumble weeds congregate up along fence lines.  I’m heading across the desert today and then south about 30 miles to the border town of Columbus New Mexico.  Hwy 11 leads right into Mexico but my first stop will be to the Pancho Villa State Park and museum.

Columbus New Mexico

first time planes were used in a military operation

Pancho Villa

There, I learn about some of the history of Mexico.  If I understood it correctly, the last dictator was Porfirio Diaz.  With three fifths of the population Indian and the wealthy having taken most of the land that had once belonged to the native Indian there was bound to be a revolution.  Madero even though he came from a wealthy family had written two books against large land owners and revolution.  He would eventually became President.  About a year later, he was shot to death, leading to an all out civil war for power.  Pancho Villa who had helped Madero become president with his fighting men ended up on the wrong side of numerous factions in the civil war.  Our Government had been taking sides in the presidency of Madero and later would choose which faction in the civil war should win out.  Villa was not in the winning group.

The story told at Panco Villa State Park is one in which Pancho Villa’s bandits came across the border and shot up the town and burned a few buildings before being chased back into Mexico by an army garrison in town.  Unfortunately, the army had all their guns locked up at night and so it took them a little while to get dressed, retrieve their guns and fight back the marauding Villa bandits.  It’s believed that Pancho Villa never actually came across the boarder during the raid on the Town of Columbus.

The history gets a little messy here, in that the U.S. government decided to send in war ships along the east coast of Mexico and with Villa’s bandits invading Columbus New Mexico, it gave our government the right to send troops into Mexico to get Villa and his men.  10,000 troops were assembled and went down into Mexico search for the couple hundred Villa supporters.  Many of Villa’s men were killed, arrested, tried and hanged but Villa was not captured before the troops returned to U.S. soil.  It all ended when in January of 1915, Carranza declared himself President of Mexico with U.S. backing.

This would be the last time that U.S. soil was breached in war or so say the museums story boards.  The stories of the locals and their struggle to fight or flee from Villa’s men are well portrayed in the museum.  Just another piece in the fabric of the founding of this country.

Las Palomas Mexico

walking across the border

crossing the border into Mexico
And then it was on into Mexico.  Less than a mile further south, I parked on the American side of the border and walked across and into Mexico to the town of Las Palomas.  It’s a small border town and the border crossing is kept open 24 hours a day.  The Pink Building is where all we tourists go to shop for Mexican made pottery, glassware and other goodies and have a great lunch and maybe try a margarita.  Many pharmacies, dentists and eye doctors are here to provide cheap but good service.  A few poor Mexicans stand on street corners or sit in front of shop doors asking for handouts.  They were not a problem as I took a small tour around the town.  I enjoyed a good lunch and then coming back across the border, I had purchased two bottles of liquor at great prices and discovered that I would have to pay taxes on one of them as only one is permitted duty-free.  No need to show receipts, as it was a flat $4 tax on one of the bottles.  Many Mexicans also walk across to the U.S. side to purchase stuff from of all places, the Family Dollar store.  The only other store is a duty free store near the border crossing but the Family Dollar is where everyone was shopping.  It all seemed pretty safe and I would cross over into Mexico again especially at these smaller towns where it’s much more lay-back. A pretty exciting day overall.

the U.S. security fence

the Pink store, where everyone shops for Mexican stuff

I’ll spend a couple more days in Deming New Mexico and then it’s onto Arizona and another border town named Douglas.  How cool is that, a town named after me.  I’ll tell you all about it in my last report of the season.  

Happy travels….

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