Monday, March 17, 2008
Tucumcari to Las Vegas
I spent Saturday night in Vegas. Yup, Las Vegas….Las Vegas, New Mexico. A much older, more historical Las Vegas with absolutely none of the glitter of the other Las Vegas.
First of all, I made a good choice in staying in Tucumcari for another night. Not too far down the road there were measured wind gusts of 66 mph. Hurricane force winds start at 72 mph so this indeed was something I did not want to expose my moving RV to. My route took me through Santa Rosa which is another old Route 66 town but without a stockpile of surviving signs that Tucumcari has. Santa Rosa’s claim to fame is The Blue Hole. People come from all over the United States to see The Blue Hole. If you are a SCUBA diver you are more likely to know about The Blue Hole because The Blue Hole is a natural crystal clear swimming pool that is sixty feet across and 81 feet deep. It’s fed by an underground river that flows at a rate of 3000 gallons per minute and keeps the water temperature at a constant 61 degrees.
I was there at about 10:30 am on Saturday morning and the parking lot was over half full. Lots of Colorado, Kansas and Texas plates on the cars. There were probably 50 SCUBA divers either in, or preparing to go into the water. Once again interesting things are where you least expect them.
From Santa Rosa it was north towards Las Vegas on a scenic two lane road. About halfway to Las Vegas I took a detour on an even smaller county road through the villages of Dilia, Llano del Medio and Anton Chico. This is ancient New Mexico and probably closer to Old Mexico that to New Mexico. I really had the feeling that I was in a different country. Small adobe houses and classic adobe churches added to the feeling. I saw one sign that the land was private, owned by heirs of the original grantor.
When this land was owned by Mexico a number of huge land grants were issued to private individuals. These grants sometimes encompassed millions of acres. The most famous of these was the Maxwell Land Grand which was almost 2 million acres. I had never heard of the grant of Anton Chico, but as soon as I get home I’m going to do some research.
Since I stayed in a commercial RV park for two nights while in Tucumcari, I decided to try dry camping at a WalMart in Las Vegas. It turned out very nicely. The area that the store set aside for overnight RVs was almost at the back of the store and consequently very quiet. I did a little shopping, made some dinner and watched Lonesome Dove on DVD. Tomorrow I’m headed to Raton. Stay Tuned.
Thanks for visiting.