(Jan) Silver City was our destination on Friday. But instead of a boarded up silver mining ghost town, we found a thriving community of 10,000. The downtown district has largely been taken over by artist’s stores with a sprinkling of antique and tourist shops plus a variety of interesting eateries. We strolled through the town and ended up at the ‘Big Ditch’ Park. Fifty-five feet below the surface of surrounding downtown street runs a seemingly harmless creek but in 1895 it became a raging torrent that washed out the main street and many businesses. Read the story by clicking on the link above.
We also stopped at City of Rocks State Park in the afternoon. Surrounded by a fairly flat plane, it seems the giant rock formations rise up out of the ground in front of you. The 40 foot tall rocks are what is left of an ancient volcano. Over millions of years erosion slowly formed the rock columns that encompass the Park today. We would like to return there to stay at the camp ground, hike through the rocks and visit the desert botanical garden.
(Chuck) On March 9, 1916, soldiers led by Mexican Gen. Francisco “Pancho” Villa attacked the small border town of Columbus, New Mexico, killing 18 Americans. Fortunately a garrison of soldiers were present at the time and they averted a massacre. This led President Wilson to enlist the aid of Gen. John J. “Black Jack” Pershing to launch 10,000 troops on an 11-month, 500-mile pursuit of Villa into Mexico. It was a largely unsuccessful venture which did not result in the capture of Villa. This was the first time that Americans had used mechanized vehicles in combat. This included cars, trucks and motorcycles which were purchased from auto dealers in El Paso and other locations. Our entire air force of eight airplanes entered the foray. Motorcycles were used in combat conditions. They fought many small skirmishes but there was never a large confrontation. When our forces withdrew in 1917 they were better prepared for the combat conditions in which they would face in Europe during World War I.
There is a very good free museum at the train station in town. It was a good educational visit. On the way back to Deming, where we are staying, we experienced another of those Southwest dust storms. It has been very windy all day and visibility has been greatly reduced on the roads. At one point we saw a tumbleweed the size of a Buick Roadmaster jump the fence and roll into the roadway. We hope the wind calms down tomorrow for our journey towards Alamogordo, New Mexico. Pictured at left are tumble weeds stacking up by the fence of our SKP RV Park and above looking from the park towards the Interstate and main Railroad Line.
This area around Benson, Tombstone, Silver City, Columbus and Deming has been an exciting trip through the history books of the Southwest. We have walked the paths of Billy the Kid, Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, Virgil Earp, Morgan Earp, Buffalo Soldiers, Kit Carson, Butch Cassidy & the Wild Bunch, Cochise, Geronimo, Joseph Isaac "Ike" Clanton, Billy Clanton, Frank McLaury, Tom McLaury, Billy Clairborne, “Pancho” Villa, Gen. John J. “Black Jack” Pershing and many more. It has been a fun time.