Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Roadrunner sunning himself (herself?) at Pancho Villa State Park.

Monday, December 24, 2007

1) Campground from Cootes Hill

2) Our rig

3) Rabbit seen on our walk up Cootes Hill

First Military Airbase.

Just across the highway from this point, the U.S. Army established in 1916 its first operational airbase in the United States. It used several cloth-coated biplanes in its unsuccessful Punitive Expedition against Mexican General Francisco (Pancho) Villa after his forces raided this area.

The first grease rack installed to service United States Army automotive equipment engaged in field operations. The U.S. Army used motorized transport for the first time in the 1916 Punitive Expedition staged from this point against Mexican General Francisco (Pancho) Villa and his troops. It dispatched civilian drivers here to teach the soldiers how to operate and service the trucks. On occasion, and far distant from this base of operation, the trucks received fuel transported by pack animals.

Headquarters Building, Camp Furlong

Judge Advocates Office, Camp Furlong

Since the weather is a bit warmer today, we decided to go for a walk around the park, visiting Cootes Hill (where Colonel Slocum stationed his troopers to fire on Villistas fleeing back toward Mexico). Several buildings dating back to the time of Villa's raid remain on the park grounds.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

1915 Dodge Touring Car with Bullet Holes from Pancho Villa Raid

Archibald Douglass Frost, his wife Mary Alice and their 6-month-old son fled Columbus in this Dodge Touring Car during the Pancho Villa raid. Mr. Frost was shot twice, and the vehicle was sprayed with gunfire as they sped through Columbus towards Deming. Mary Alice, an inexperienced driver, had to take the wheel on several occasions. The three arrived in Deming and, upon examining the Dodge, they found numerous bullet holes, including two through the driver’s seat. Frost carried one of the bullets in his body for the rest of his life.

1916 FWD Truck identical to one used in the Punitive Expedition.

1916 Dodge Touring Car identical to one use by General Pershing in Mexico.

Replica 1916 JN-3 Airplane
Since one of our propane tanks was empty, we took it down to the local propane dealer to get it filled up. After bringing it back and installing it, we drove down to the Pancho Villa State Park Visitor/Education Center.

The park is located at the site of the Columbus military post, Camp Furlong. In the early morning hours of March 9, 1916, Pancho Villa and his guerrillas attacked Columbus, killing many people. In retaliation, General John J. "Black Jack" Pershing led the Punitive Expedition down into Mexico chasing the Villista raiders. While Pershing succeeded in dispersing the Mexican forces that had attacked Columbus, Pancho Villa vanished into the Mexican back country and was never captured (gee, does that sound familiar?).

A few buildings dating from the time of Villa's raid still stand in Columbus, including the adobe Hoover Hotel, the restored Columbus railroad depot (where the Columbus Museum is housed), the old U.S. Customs Service building, plus several sites of historic interest located among the extensive cactus gardens of the park.

The Punitive Expedition was the first U.S. military operation to employ mechanized vehicles including automobiles, trucks, and airplanes, though fuel for these vehicles often had to be transported on pack mules.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Palomas, Mexico

We decided to visit Palomas today and have lunch at the Pink Store. We parked in the lot on the U.S. side and walked across the border, stopping in the new grocery store just north of the Pink Store, the Del Rio Superettes.

We wandered around the Pink Store before having lunch...it looks as though they've expanded the store since we were last there. After having an excellent lunch, we bought a few items we'd spotted in our tour around the store (some light-weight "do-dads" for decorating the RV), before heading to the Del Rio Superettes to buy a couple of bottles of liquor (Jose Cuervo Especial Tequila and Kahlua).

Crossing back over into the U.S., was easy...no passports yet required...although we did have to show our driver's licenses, something we haven't had to do in the past (although the last time we were here was before 2001).

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Today we took a tour around Columbus, stopping at the Railroad Depot Museum where we just about got our ears talked off by the volunteer there! He started off by telling about the raid of Columbus by Pancho Villa, and somehow ended up with General Eisenhower (I'm not sure exactly how he got from Point A to Point B, as I was wandering around the room looking at the displays while he was talking to Earl). Guess it must be a really lonely job! Fortunately, someone else came in and we were able to wander off to see the rest of the museum.

In our drive around Columbus, we came across the shrine pictured. We have no idea what the story is behind it, but it's an interesting building to find out here in the middle of nowhere.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pancho Villa State Park

After a week at the SKP park in Deming, where we did grocery shopping, laundry, had lunch out a couple of times, and had the fuel filter changed in our truck, we moved down to Pancho Villa State Park in Columbus, a couple of miles from the Mexican border at Palomas.

There are quite a few birds here (something that we missed in Deming, even though we had a bird feeder out)...lots of Gambel's Quails, House Finches, White-winged Doves, American Goldfinches, Pyrrhuloxias, Roadrunners and, of course, the ubiquitous House Sparrow.

Miles driven: 35.7 (Another one of those long days!)
GPS coordinates: N 31° 49.458' / W 107° 38.476'

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Dreamcatchers RV Park

Today, we moved to Dreamcatchers RV Park in Deming (an Escapees park) for a week, driving a whole 13 miles (we've got to stop these long days!).

GPS coordinates: N 32° 16.393' / W 107° 42.675'

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Birds at Rockhound State Park

There are a lot of birds around the park, some of which we've never seen before, including Scaled Quail, Cactus Wren, Curved-billed Thrasher, Canyon Towhee, Black-throated Sparrow, and Pyrrhuloxia (pictured above visiting our hummingbird feeder...but, so far, no hummingbirds).

In addition to the Scaled Quail, we've also seen some Gambel's Quail...in fact, they were around our site at the same time as the Scaled Quail.

Spring Canyon

We drove into Deming this morning to pick up a Sunday paper. On the way back, we went out to Spring Canyon, a day use area that is part of Rockhound State Park. A sign on the road warns of a 17% grade...it's a short section, but one you wouldn't want to drag an RV over. It's a beautiful area with picnic tables scattered around. Too bad there's no camping here!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Rockhound State Park

Because the dump at the Elks Club was out of service, we drove over to Grande Vista RV Park to dump (they charge $7.00).

We stopped at the Flying J in Lordsburg, New Mexico to fill up with diesel ($3.169 per gallon) and to have lunch.

We arrived at Rockhound State Park southeast of Deming around 2:00 PM and stopped at the Visitor's Center to find out where we could fill up with fresh water. That's when we found out that each of the electrical sites also have fresh water (which was not indicated on the park's map).

This park is located on the western slope of the Little Florida Mountains and has a spectacular view west and southwest. At night, the lights from Deming can be seen. Rockhound is great for rock enthusiasts since they can find a variety of rocks and minerals, ranging from silica, quartz crystals, chalcedony, agate, common opal, and jasper to thundereggs and geodes. Visitors can take up to 15 pounds of rock per person from the park.

Miles driven: 151.9
GPS coordinates: N 32° 11.290' / W 107° 36.772'

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Although we've stayed in Willcox many times before, it's always been for just overnight. This time, since we were staying two days, we decided to get out and see a few of the sights.

The first place we went to was the Rex Allen Arizona Cowboy Museum. Rex Allen was born and raised in Willcox. The museum is located in one of Willcox's oldest commercial buildings, built in the early 1890's, and originally operated as the Schley Saloon from 1897-1919. When prohibition came along, the building became a grocery store.

We then headed off to Stout's Cider Mill, famous for their apple pies and cider (their largest pies are made from 10 pounds of apples!). Of course, we had to buy one of their pies (a small one), some cider, and some Mesquite/Catclaw honey. (And, since we had to do some grocery shopping anyway, we just had to buy some vanilla ice cream to go with the apple pie!)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Willcox Elks Lodge

It was a busy day today. Had breakfast at the McDonald's in Gila Bend, stopped at the Pilot's in Eloy to fill up with diesel ($3.259/gallon), and the Costco in Tucson where we did some shopping, including buying an early Christmas present -- a new digital camera.

We then stopped in Benson to have lunch at the Apple Farm before heading off to Willcox where we are going to spend a couple of days at the Elks Lodge.

Miles driven: 217.2
GPS coordinates: N 32° 15.142' / W 109° 49.633'

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Gila Bend Elks Lodge

Originally, we were going to leave Quartzsite on Friday or Saturday, but neither day was good for traveling: Friday we had rain and Saturday was overcast with a brisk wind. We finally got back on the road this morning and are heading back to New Mexico to continue our visits in their state parks.

We stopped in Salome (actually, Exit 45 on I-10) to have lunch at the Cactus Grill. Tonight, we're spending at the Elks Lodge in Gila Bend. So far, there's only one other RV here, but that might change as the evening wears on.

Miles driven: 131.4
GPS coordinates: N 32° 57.150' / W 112° 41.799'