Caryl and Brian's World Bike Tour

Davis, TX to Gila Hot Springs, NM

Back Home Up Next


Date: Sat, 6 Apr 1996 16:58:10 -0500

Copyright (c) 1996 by Caryl L. Bergeron - Distribution for personal use permitted. Distribution for other uses with written permission.

Chapter 18 - Mar. 15 - Mar. 28 Ft. Davis, TX to Gila Hot Springs, NM- 6870 miles cumulative

Sitting at a large concrete picnic table that had been painted many, many times in dark glossy brown, surrounded by several Emory oaks that were somewhere between overgrown bushes or very small trees, we gazed up at an inky black sky filled with the sparkle of millions and millions of stars. The stars reached from horizon to horizon giving the impression of an upside down bowl painted black and then generously sprinkled with pinpoint glass crystals. The quiet of the still night was broken only by the occasional plink, plunk, plunk of guitars coming from the small Blue Grass festival sharing our very private roadside picnic ground. With the night sky and stars surrounding us I could easily understand how the ancient people could believe the Earth to be the center of the universe.

As I admired the night time star show I couldn't help feeling the enormity of the distances of these tiny points of light. The closest galaxy to ours, Andromeda is estimated to be some 2 million light years away. So the light reaching us on this very night was originally created some 2 million years ago, back when the giant reptiles ruled our world. If some star were to turn nova and disappear from our view tomorrow, the actual event would have occurred millions of years earlier. So in essence we're looking at a window of the past. Yet it was Einstein who came up with the idea that time is relative and the fact that the actual physical event occurred so long ago really is totally irrevelant to our day to day lives. So, for us to simply consider that the star was here today and gone tomorrow is perfectly adequate for homan existence. Leave the problems of dealing with 2 million years of history to the academic and professional astronomers.

So what leads into this discussion of the stars and Theory of Relativity? After leaving the world of the 1870s at Ft. Davis we climbed about 1800 ft and 180 years into the 20th and 21th centuries. Perched atop Mt. Locke in the heart of the Davis Mountains are the three large white domed structures housing the telescopes of the MacDonald Observatory. The first telescopes and land were purchased by the University of Texas under a gift provided by a rather eccentric millionaire, named MacDonald of course. He evidentally was an extremely frugal man who had a real interest in science and stargazing. So after his death in the late 1930s he provided $800,000 to the university to create an observatory. The University of Texas joined with the University of Chicago to build the MacDonald observatory, Chicago providing the astronmers and Texas providing the facilities. The contract with Chicago ran out some time later and now Texas provides most of the scientists augmented with researchers from the world over.

Their prime telescope since 1969 has been one with a 107 inch diameter mirror, at that time the second largest in the world. This one was funded by NASA to assist with the Apollo lunar landing project. To place a lunar lander at the correct location on the moon in an efficient and even possible manner it is necessary to set the acceleraction, velocity, position, etc of the lander almost from the time it leaves the earth's orbit. To put it in perspective, suppose you wanted to run down to the store for some milk. To make sure you make it into the parking spot you would have to give your car a perfect allignment and speed right at your driveway and can only make minor direction adjustments along the way. With a bit of luck you might make it to the parking lot next door.

Well, to make the landings as accurate as possible they needed to know the exact distance of the moon from the Earth at all times. Originally this was done by timing the passage of the moon's leading edge across a known star. Later, astronauts of Apollos 11 and 12 placed reflectors on the moon. Ruby lazers were focused on these reflectors and the time for the light to return to Earth was measured. This Lunar Lazer Ranging project gave extremely precise distances which subsequently helped for those lunar landings that were within meters of their objective target. Lunar lazer ranging is still being carried out, probably by undergraduate students, using small mobile telescopes while the huge 107 inch one is being used to study the material composition of stars using light spectography, the splitting of light into its various wavelengths.

Other NASA related projects the MacDonald observatory has been involved with include the Viking and Mariner efforts. To ensure maximum benefit from deep space probes, it turns out astronomers spend thousands of hours performing advance studies. They look at the proposed path of the probe and then help determine what celestial objects to look at, what is the best time of launch to obtain the maximum viewing opportunity, what instruments to take aboard, etc. Years of preparation is done before the launch vehicle leaves the ground. Having seen these types of efforts from the hardware side I've seen how long it takes and how much analysis has to be done just to try guarantee successful launch. I hadn't realized how much work was also required on the part of the astronomers.

The MacDonald observatory is now preparing for the 21st century with the construction of a brand new telescope that uses a revolutionary new technology. Known at the Hobby-Eberly telescope (HET) the mirror for this telescope is composed of hundreds of individual hexagonal shaped mirrors having a spherical focal shape. Each hexagon sits on a platform allowing individual pivot permitting each mirror to focus on a single fixed mirror located at a point directly above. The result is an effective diameter of 355 inches achieved with a much smaller and less expensive mirror. It's telescope technology that is only possible through the use of modern computers having the ability to precisely position each of the hundred or so mirrors indepentently. Unfortunately we weren't able to view the HET as it was not due to be finished until 1997. But when complete, it should provide quite a viewing opportunity even for us tourists. Unlike standard telescopes that are completely enclosed in a metal tube, the focal mirror for this telescope is supported by a simple truss structure. This means that the mirror itself will be visible to visitors. We'd love to see it someday.

Whenever I see a place like the MacDonald observatory and hear about how so much money is spent learning things like what some star umpty-ump billion lightyears away is composed of, I have to stop myself from thinking, "who cares." I have to remind myself that someday in the far off future, if man doesn't destroy himself or his knowledge, humans will leave this planet. And, with some dramatic breakthroughs to get around relativistic time and the awsome distances; such as the "worm hole", "stargates", or "warp drives" that are now just the dreams of science fiction writers, man will even go beyond this galaxy. At that time the tiny bits and pieces of celestial knowledge being gathered today will find practical use. Imagine where'd we be if Newton's laws of gravity, action, and reaction or Galileo's observations about the sun and planets had been dismissed and forgotten because they had no immediate practical use.

We peddled down out of the Davis Mountains to turn west onto I10 at the tiny two house/one store town of Kent where we began the last 136 miles of Texas. But, to start we had to tackle 37 miles of hills and horrendous headwinds to Van Horn. To ride along an interstate highway at a snail's pace of 6 mph going both up and downhill requires a bit of fortitude and a lot of distractions to help keep your mind off how miserable the ride is. On this particular day I watched the trucks. It had been many months since we last rode on an interstate and I had forgotten just how many semis travel these well paved and wide roads. One after another for miles and miles they cruise the open road making that characteristic Hrmmmmmmmmmm-growwwwwwwl as the engine strains to pull the heavy load up hill. Or the more quiet and less threatening BrupBrrrrrrrrrr as they shift gear to head downhill. They come in all colors and carry names of both the big and small trucking firms. Many sport family names such as Marten, Swift, Anderson, and there goes a Freymiller (owned by the cousin of my good friend James.) Others have initials: RPS, IRPS, CTW, QXT, and whatever. Some are associated with well known retail, grocery, or moving firms; Mayflower, United Van Lines, Sears, KFC, WallMart, Hertz, or Ryder. But most are plain Jane generic trucks probably owned by independent individual truckers. It's fun to watch to see how many carry recognizable names. OK, I lie. It's really just something to keep my mind busy while agonizing over the headwinds.

It was also interesting to note just how few regular cars there were on this section of I10. Probably 85 to 90% of the traffic consists of semis and RVs. Since this area is not within a major metropolitan city people don't just hop in their car to go someplace. They're either really traveling a long distance on vacation, like the RVs, or their out there for business, like the trucks. Although we did have to wonder why the RVs would want to travel via interstate. You might get there faster, but you don't see anything along the way.

Now that we were back on the Adventure Cycling Association southern coast-to-coast bike route and it was finally spring, bike touring weather, we started seeing bike tourists coming in the other direction. There's a special bond between bike tourists that cannot be shared with people in cars, on motorcycles, or even to some extent long term hikers. Only another bike tourist knows what it's like to experience the agony of headwinds, the sense of accomplishment at reaching the summit of a mountain pass, the frustration of a flat tire, the pure joy of a gradual downhill, or that pain in the butt from sitting on the saddle all day. Since bikers travel at approximately the same speed it's very rare for you to come across ones traveling in your same direction. Usually you meet people traveling the opposite route. Also, people don't normally tour in winter. Consequently from the time we left Castle Rock on that hot August afternoon until around the town of Del Rio, Tx the number of fellow bike tourists we'd met could be counted on one hand. We'd been feeling a little lonely and isolated. Don't get me wrong. We've certainly met a lot of very nice people. But, They just don't have the same understanding of our experiences. Also, bike tourists ask more unique questions and pass along useful information. Let's face it, after a while we do get rather tired hearing the same 3 questions, "Where did you start?", "Where are you going?", and "How many miles do you do in a day?"

After Del Rio, we finally started meeting the people who'd begun their ride in San Diego and were headed east. In fact, it was a surprising number. Almost every day or so another one or two and even one day 5 bikers would appear over the next hill. We found ourselves pulling over to talk, hanging onto their every word and piece of advice, trying to spill all our knowledge of the route ahead in a few minutes, and then reluctantly pushing on for another 25 miles. These are people who know that a "flat" road isn't flat, that 1 mile in a car is 3 on a bike, that water is more precious than gold, and headwinds are sent from the devil. We knew that from Texas to San Diego we'd be meeting many more bikers and our days of feeling like we're the only bike tourists on the road were over at last.

For our last day in Texas Mother Nature finally took pity on us, maybe she felt we'd served our penance for whatever misdeed we perpetrated. We were blessed with tailwinds, perfect temperatures, and good drivers as we made our way through the city of El Paso. El Paso was the largest city we'd ridden through since Pensacola, Fl and it felt quite strange to once again have to dodge traffic, both foot and vehicular. But, as usual the ACA route was easy to follow and seemed to be reaonably safe. Let's face it, I'm still here and still writing so evidently I didn't get killed. We went from the southeast side of town where the small 1960s style houses are painted in every pastel color imaginable and 2 out of every 3 have bars on all windows, through the downtown district which had reflective glass box buildings and roads in great need of repair, and finally through the northwest yuppie side of town with look alike tract homes, brand new sterile looking shopping centers, and chain resturants rubber stamped from a single mold. You could have blind folded us, dropped us in the middle of the city, and we could have never guessed where we were. It looked so like any other southwest city.

The only thing we deemed worth stopping at was the Chamizal National Monument. The monument was created in 1969 to commorate the signing of a treaty between the U.S. and Mexico to resolve a 100 year old land dispute. From El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico the treaty signed following the war with Mexico stipulated that the boarder would be defined by the deepest channel of the Rio Grande. Fine. But, the Rio Grande is not a stagnant river. It floods and erodes abandoning old channels and creating new ones. So if the river moves, how does the border between the two countries move? The later agreement tried to cover this situation. If the river changed course slowly through erosion, the border would move with the river. If it moved rapidly through flooding, the border would remain where it was.

In theory this should have resolved the problem of the moving river. But, in the El Paso city the river had moved so much that nearly 600 acres that had originally been in Cuidad Juarez in Mexico were now on the U.S. side. Called the Chamizal for the plants in this wet flooded land, this 600 acres were the subject of hot dispute for over 100 years. ` Recommendations of the International Border Commission suggested using the Rio Grande path of 1852 as the border. But, since this was now an urban area, this path was difficult to determine and the dispute continued. Hey, imagine you've moved into the area, built your farm or business only to be told that it now belongs to Mexico. You'd argue that matter also.

In 1962 President Kennedy sought to end this dispute so he could gain the support of Mexico in his relations with Cuba's Castro. So he went to the president of Mexico with a proposition that they build a concrete channel along the recommended 1852 path thus forcing the Rio Grande to stay put forever, in theory at least. It was left to President Johnson to complete the signing of the treaty. Somehow these rivers tend to have minds of their own and eventhough it is now contained within this concrete channel, I wouldn't be surprised if someday it decides to jump its banks and head for a new path naturally creating a brand new dispute.

Although the treaty solved a major problem in a manner that seemed to make everyone if not happy at least satisfied we did wonder if the Federal Government's involvement wasn't a bit too much. Next to the new concrete river channel the government built a very nice park with an open air stage and a small visitor center housing a display discussing the history and resolution of the dispute, the process of surveying and marking the boarder from San Diego to the Gulf of Mexico, a few artifacts from the treaty signing, and an art museum. This building, park, and stage are all part of the Chamizal National Monument. But, for all practical purposes it really is just a nice city park for El Paso. There are some festivals and other events held annually in the park, but it's quite apparent that these benefit primarily the communities of El Paso and the Cuidad Juarez. How often have you heard someone say they wanted to go to El Paso to visit Chamizal. Yet, your Federal dollars are paying for the buildings, grounds, employees, and even a soon to be built outdoor stage and arena. The whole thing smacked of major "pork barrel" to us. If I were ruler supreme, I'd take the whole thing, give it to the city of El Paso, and say, "It's yours now. You take care of it."

March 20th, the first day of spring, we finally entered New Mexico. Seems like we'd been in Texas forever. In fact we learned that the distance from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico is longer than El Paso to San Diego. Texas is one big state.

We turned north, riding in the flat Rio Grande river valley through the city of Las Crusas stopping to visit the historic Fort Selden. Ft. Selden was another of those forts established between the 1860s and 1891 to protect travellers from Indian raids. What makes Ft. Selden so special is that General Douglas MacArthur of WWII fame lived there for two years, 1883 to 1885, when his father Arthur MacArthur (gad his parents should have been hung for that name) was in command there. Otherwise it was just another fort in a line of many which are now a bunch of rapidly melting adobe walls.

Each time I see one of these old forts turned national or state monument/historic site I can't help but think of the military base closures that have taken place in recent years. After all, what were these forts but early versions of our current military bases. Like today's bases that are victims of the base closure commission, the old forts were declared surplus, closed, sold, auctioned, abandoned, or donated. It wasn't until many years later that someone decided they'd make a good monument or historic site. But by that time the buildings were usually quite deteriorated. So, does that mean 100 years from now someone will decide that the bases being closed today have significant historic value and should be preserved? Does that mean your grand or greatgrand children (not mine I won't have any) will still be paying taxes to support these bases that were supposedly closed to save taxpayer dollars? It is a valid question.

We spent an extra day at the Caballo Lake State Park as the fury of a cold front came through. Over the past few weeks we've discovered that cold fronts in the western desert do not necessarily mean there'll be any precipitation. In fact it seems that it just gets drier and drier. But, the wind howls and the sand blows. We spent a day huddled an the floor in the corner of our small three sided adobe shelter trying our best to keep out of the wind and sandblast. White peaks rose up on the Caballo lake as small fishing craft battled with the wind. Personally I wouldn't have been on that lake for anything. The mountains overlooking the lake had spectacular sharp peaks that were sometimes obscured by the flying dust. By the end of the day everything, absolutely everything in the tent was coated with a thick layer of the orange brown dust. Dust in our sleeping bags, clothes, pots, pans, eyes, hair, and mouth. Dry dusty smells filled the air. We've decided the two most difficult things to deal with in the desert are the winds and the associated dust storms.

After the dust and winds settled down, we turned left and headed into our most favorite type of riding, the western mountains. People think we're crazy when we tell them we really enjoy climbing a 2000 ft pass as compared to the hills of the east or the flat desert and plains. It's hard to explain and unless you've personally experienced it it's probably not possible to completely understand. To ride a up a mountain pass you have 2 to 4 hours of grinding in your lowest gear, sweat pouring off your face, arms, and back, and your leg muscles flexing with all the might you can muster. Grand vistas of emerald green hills covered with tall pine trees bordering your path are set against distant blue peaks and, in this case, the brown desert valley below. Cool air scented with pine meets our lungs as we grab for huge lungs full. Upon reaching the summit the exhilaration and sense of accomplishment we feel is beyond description. And the downhill, what a reward. We glide down for a good hour with big cheshire cat, fly catching grins on our faces. We gently apply the brakes to make the glide last as long as possible and to try not to miss one inch of the beautiful scenery. This reward makes the whole climb worth while and is simply not given from any other kind of terrain.

For this particular climb we were actually treated to some unique entertainment. For the third time since we began bike touring back in 1988 we became intertwined with a high speed bike race. Starting at the town of Caballo, the race route climbed to Hillsboro, turned left for another 15 miles, and then returned via the same route. We had an hour head start, yet the clean, light bikes caught and passed us. Comments such as, "I wouldn't trade places" and "You're doing great" were tossed in our direction as the riders went by. We responded by saying that we were the 100 lbs+ MTB touring division and we expected to win this race hands down.

We stopped in Hillsboro to find a tiny store with enough groceries to make some sort of lunch and waited for the racers to pass on their return. In this case they were headed downhill almost all the way to their finish and they were moving. What a sight to behold. Smooth lined machines built totally for speed in black, red, silver, and blue flashed by. The transparant silver disk appearance of the wheels glinted in the sunlight. The smooth whirrrr of the pedals and chains working against the gears was only broken by the occasional comment from one rider to another. Legs all appeared to work in unison like one large, multi cogged machine that was well conditioned and well oiled. As one lady later commented, wiggling her hips and pumping her arms in an imitation of the peddaling motion, "They're so beautiful and smooth." Yes a bicycle race between highly trained athletes is a beautiful sight indeed.

Our second unusual source of enterntainment for the day came after we'd completed our climb and we were searching for water for our evening meal. Walking the short distance from the USFS campsite into the town of Kingston we happened across the Black Range Lodge B&B where we met John and Bill. John was in his early 20s, had light blond hair, sparkling blue eyes, medium build much like Brian. Bill was much taller and older. Both had made arrangements to help with various construction projects around the lodge in exchange for room and board. And what wild construction projects they were working on.

The lodge itself is housed in one of the old 1800s houses built when the local copper mine was in full production and the town swelled to an unbelievable 7,000 inhabitants. A beautiful old stone building with dramatic windows, it fits my image of a quaint mountain lodge to a tee. But these new construction projects deviate significantly in that they all use "alternative" construction techniques. Specifically, the new cabins are being built from bales of hay or mixtures of hay and clay. Evidentally bales of hay make incredibly energy efficient houses. They're really thick and when properly coated with some sort of natural material they can be quite durable. I wondered about problems with rodents and other bugs. But, a well maintained coating evidentally keeps all unwanted residents outside. John and Bill were experimenting with many different mixtures of construction from all hay coated with manure mixed with some natural binder materials to a mixture that was half clay, half straw, and finally a mixture of mostly clay. The construction differs from adobe only in that for an adobe house, bricks are constructed. Here, they were mixing the material and essentially making the structure free-form. So I suspect the buildings will last a long, long time as long as they are well maintained. But if abondoned, I suspect the walls would quickly weather and melt into the surrounding hills.

The design of the buildings was also quite innovative, original, unique or whatever word you could use. One was a dome. Keeping in mind that this was "free-form" construction and that the materials used were composed mostly of clay, it really looked like a rather giant mound of potterS clay waiting to be transformed into a work of art. I was reminded of the clay kilns used by the Indians for curing their pottery.

The other building, which we got to to look in, was shaped like a convex lens with a larger curvature facing away from the hill, towards the lodge. The lodge side was all manure covered hay while the side facing the hill had two large windows that had been forcibly curved just a tiny amount to fit with the larger curvature of this side. The inside was quite small, about 20X10' at its largest, since the walls end up being extremely thick from the hay bales. You could perhaps fit one small sofa, one chair and a tiny table at most. The entrance was at one of the points of the lens shape. On the right was a free-formed fire place looking like an upside down funnel. Foot steps and handholds in the chimney were provided to climb up to the sleeping loft. Fortunately they would also be providing another stairway as I would think the handholds on the chimney could get rather hot. The roof was made from planed lumber that was not squared on the edges and was supported by one large Y shaped branch placed on its side so the branches of the Y were alligned vertically. One portion of the Y held the roof and the other held the loft. It was very rustic and primative looking, almost having the appearance of construction done by the ancient Indians with a few modern flairs like the smooth planed ceiling and the small sink set in the wall. When completed, I imagine these cabins will make excellent rustic getaway spots for folks looking for a little peace and quiet and perhaps a little fewer of 20th centure amenities.

This region of the country seems to be a center for some very, very right wing thinkers. In the small stores we saw a sign showing an ATF law enforcement person dressed in gorrilla warfare clothes complete with black mask and submachine gun with a caption saying something to the effect, "We're from the government and we're here to help you." A large billboard touted a similar caption with a Nazi soldier raising his hand in the Hail Hitler type salute. Finally we had a rather wild run in with a half Indian that could be construed as absolutely frightening if he weren't so mild mannered.

We met this rather quiet man of slender build with black hair and the nose shape of of the plains Indians in the small Rio Mimbres RV park. He and his wife, or significant other, had been traveling on horse from North Dakota for about 2 years. She became pregnant, so they wintered in Mimbres long enough for her to give birth and for the infant to grow enough to take off once again. They follow the rivers of the west which provide plenty of food and water for the horses, traveling only about 10 miles per day. They also take jobs when the money gets short. That's why it's taken them 2 years to come this far.

Well, due to a foot in mouth comment on my part about all the glass on we find alongside the roads in Indian reservations, the conversation turned to a long discussion about how the government has a plot to become a dictatorship. He has some rather interesting beliefs. First, the entire U.S. is now owned lock stock and barrel by the International Monetary Fund. He says they foreclosed on the U.S. debt back in 1992, they now own even the house you live in and the car you drive, and they are simply trying to figure out how to come take it. He also says the arms ban legislation of 1962 was an exact translation of a similar law passed by Hitler. Of course he has his stock pile of guns at the ready and he even had them loaded to go after the Waco fiasco. He says that the whole Waco event was the government using the military force against the civilian population which is treason. The government is a dictatorship, the Republicans and Democrats are all in on the plot and are essentially one in the same, and in just a few years the world will be entirely controlled by the U.N. In the meantime, enjoy your freedom while you have it.

With such an incredibly fatalistic, paranoid belief we had to wonder why he would bring a new life into this world. One would think he wouldn't want to subject his own child to this future dictatorship and surely he can't believe that a few scattered people loaded to the teeth with weapons could hold off the armed forces of the U.S. He struck us as one who trusts no one except himself and maybe a few close relatives and friends. And maybe not even them. He believes strongly in individual rights and freedoms, although that did not seem to apply to individual property rights. When he finds barbed wire fences in his path he simply takes out his wire cutters and goes on through regardless if the land belongs to some rancher who may loose valuable livestock and time and money repairing the fence. So it seems that individual rights apply so long as they don't get in his way. I have to wonder how he'd feel about his guns if some rancher accidentally shot his new baby trying to protect his land from invaders.

It was quite an eye opening if not frightening experience meeting someone so far, far to the right. Yet having people like him help to balance those far to the left who would like the government to take over and control everything. The two sides continually pull in opposite directions and somehow the nation's policies manage to wobble back and forth more or less down the middle. His concerns are valdid, Waco was a disaster. But, armed rebellion or revenge, such as Okalahoma City, is not the answer. Let's hope these people way out on the fringes stay harmlessly where they are and we don't end up with their worst nightmare, the other side winning.

After that experience, it was so nice to head into Gila (hee-La) Cliff Dwellings National Monument where we could get away from civilization for a while. What a beautiful area and I love to tour ancient cliff dwellings. Precariously perched on the side of a wind and water eroded redish cliff are several rooms built into 6 caves. Built by the Mogollon (muggy-OWN) people between 1270 and 1290, the buildings are in remarkably good condition. The walls are constructed from locally mined rocks and a clay morter. Plaster used to line the interior walls is still in place and even the original logs supporting the few roofs remain. The caves were the homes for only about 40 to 60 people for a period of only about 2 generations. Then the people moved on. The reason for their departure in the early 1300s is unknown. Perhaps they were run off by the inhabitants who were here first. Maybe some religious leader had a vision. Or maybe lack of food. It is only suggested that the Mogollon may have joined with other tribes to form the Zuni and Hopi of today. Otherwise, they left no other traces of their passing.

In our eyes the Gila Nat'l Wilderness is an undiscovered treasure of the National Forest Service. The pine covered mountains and shear walled canyons are breathtaking. Certainly rivaling anything Yellowstone or the Grand Tetons have to offer. Yet the annual visitation rate is only about 60,000 of which most just drive in to visit the cliff dwellings and then leave. Compare that to Yellowstone where they can have 60,000 visitors in one weekend. 80% of the backcountry hikers head out from just three trailheads near the cliff dwellings. This means that with millions of acres and hundreds of miles of trails most of the wilderness is barely touched. Grab your topo map and head off on a trail of your own making and I'm sure you could find yourself out of human contact for weeks on end. So much area to explore left us dreaming of someday in the future, when bike touring is no longer our only means of transportation. We will return to this area, backpacks in hand, and take on some of these remote trails. But for now we still have a huge world to explore. So it's on with the bikes.

Appendix A - Route


Rt 118 to MacDonald Observatory and Kent I10 and Frontage Rd. to Van Horn, Sierra Blanca, Mc Nary Rt 20 to El Paso Mesa Rd. out of El Paso Sunland Park Rd to New Mexico

New Mexico

Rt 273 to La Union Rt 28 to Las Crusas Rt 185 to Hatch Rt 187 to Caballo Rt 152 to San Lorenzo Rt 35 and 15 to Gila Nat'l Monument

Appendix B - Camp sites, motels


Highway picnic area west of MacDonald Observatory, El Campo RV Park Van Horn 2 nights ($), Ft. Hancock Motel ($), La Mesa Motel in El Paso ($)

New Mexico

Siesta RV Park in Las Crusas ($) Leasburg State Park ($) Caballo State Park 2 nights ($) USFS campsite near Kingston Rio Mimbres RV park at Mimbres ($) Lower Scorpion Campground, Gila Nat'l monument 2 nights Gila Nat'l Wilderness camping area

($) indicates fee camping


Copyright 1995-2011 by Caryl L. Bergeron - Distribution for personal use permitted. Distribution for other uses with written permission.



We'd like to thank my father, Charles Johnson, whose diligent mail forwarding and other logistical support make this journey far easier than it could be otherwise.


Wendy Strutin Riedy for archiving the newsletters on her WWW site,

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