Thursday, February 19, 2009

Adrift In The SouthWest Again

We have arrived in Tucson and are comfortably situated at the Cactus Country RV park just a few sites away from our friends Jamie and Betsy. The Bride and Pic-E flew in yesterday and today we start to explore the Tucson area.

Guitar and I left the Denver area bright and early Sunday morning. Our goal for Sunday was to get as far as Villanueva State Park just south
of Las Vegas, NM...and we reached the goal. Both Guitar and I had been over most of this road before except the stretch from Las Vegas to the state park.

Guitar had never been into Las Vegas before so we spent about an hour and a half looking around the old historic downtown area. Las Vegas was a part of Mexico until General Kearny occupied it in 1846. It still has a lot of reminders of that era with many adobe buildings still standing and functioning. As we were looking around, Guitar spotted a motel and remarked that he had seen that motel in a movie somewhere. Sure enough, we found out that parts of No Country for Old Men was filmed there. We arrived at the State Park a little before dusk and spent a comfortable night there planning our next days travel.

We were on the road again by 8 am Monday morning headed south on State Highway 3. Highway 3 is a narrow secondary road that has very little traffic. When I say very little...I mean very little. We only saw one other car on the road in an hour and a half of driving! There are not too many places left in the lower 48 where you can experience that. The picture at the top of the post was taken along this road. This is the kind of road that Guitar and I love to travel and this one met our expectations. We saw villages perched on top of hills that looked like not a whole lot had changed in 200 years other than the ever present electric power poles. We saw little towns that were just barely alive but with signs that they had once been very prosperous.

Right about noon we reached Valley of Fires, just outside the little town of Carrizozo, NM. This is a relatively recent lava flow (1000 yrs. old) that originated not from a volcano but from a vent in the valley floor. The flow is 2-5 miles wide, 44 miles long and about 160 feet deep. What an unusual sight in the middle of the New Mexico high desert!

After exploring this we had a bite to eat and headed out to our next destination Three Rivers Petroglyph Site. The weath
er was perfect for this type of exploring. A bright sun and cool temperatures. The only drawback was a stiff wind that I fought all day long. Driving an RV in high wind on a narrow road can be a challenge. The challenge was worth it however as this place is a bonanza for those interested in Native American petroglyphs.

This is a relatively small site managed by the Bureau of Land Management. In this small area there are between 600-800 petroglyphs that were pecked into the rock up to 1000 years ago. In the surrounding valley as many as 21,000 petroglyphs have been recorded.

What an amazing place. Why was this area picked for all of this art work? Was it religious? Was is an attempt to leave the history of a people....or was it an ancient way to get girls...come see my etchings? Whatever it is, it's amazing.

We did have one incident here that will cause me
to contact the BLM. This is a fee area and it's about 30 miles to the nearest town. The entry fee is $2 per individual. A volunteer host mans the office. When we arrived and went to pay the fee, we were told that the host had absolutely no change. There were several other cars in the parking lot so we knew that either the host did have some change of some type or the other people paid in multiples of $5. After some discussion a lady came up and said that they had paid not knowing that they could have used their National Parks Pass and we could just use what they paid. Now this is really strange because the lady that made this generous offer and the host were standing together, talking so it was impossible for the host not to have some type of change. I'm guessing that this is the way the "host" supplemented her income, claiming she had no change and pocketing the difference. Some time in the next few days I intend to make a complaint to the Bureau of Land Management about this.

I'm going to stop my story here because we are leaving in a minute to add adventures to tell you about later. There's lot's more to tell so stay tuned.

Thanks for visiting.

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