We are parked at Pancho Villa State Park at Columbus, New Mexico.

One might wonder how a New Mexico State Park gets to be named for someone who raided the Town of Columbus, New Mexico on March 9, 1916 and killed 18 Americans. I researched that topic on-line and found the answer in one word…TOURISM. It was meant to attract tourists. The U.S. Army Camp that was here was named Camp Furlong. Now…would you go out of your way to go to Camp Furlong State Park? Most likely not!

Nonetheless controversy over the naming of the park still remains. The following two links provide the information…

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2011-03-09-1Apanchovilla09_CV_N.htm

http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/letters/2011-03-14-letters14_ST_N.htm

Upon arrival four days ago we purchased a New Mexico Annual Camping Permit. It allows a full year’s use in all of New Mexico’s State Parks for a non-resident for only $225. You are allowed to stay as long as three weeks before being required to move along. If you desire an electrical hook-up it is available for only $4 a night. I have several friends who have purchased this Annual Camping Permit in the past and speak highly of it. We intend to spend the better part of 2012 exploring New Mexico…

As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view...

I must tell you Pancho Villa State Park is one of the nicest state parks I’ve been to. At 49 acres with only 62 campsites…that makes it very spacious. Lots of room between campsites also makes it very quiet and peaceful. It’s also nice and level which makes for very easy RV parking. The desert scenery is very beautiful in its own natural way.

Here’s a Google Earth image showing Columbus, New Mexico is only three miles from Palomus, Mexico. Our location is shown by an “X”…

Here’s one showing the state park boundaries. Our site is marked as an “X”…

Here’s a photo of our campsite…

Here’s a panorama shot of Columbus, New Mexico looking east from north to south…

Here’s another looking directly to the south, east to west,  over the state park and into Mexico. Our motorhome is somewhere in this photo…

This link provides a good description of the park…
http://columbusnewmexico.com/columbus_new_mexico_pancho_villa_state_rv_park.htm

Yesterday morning at 10:00 AM we were among the about 50 people who braved the cold temperature and a rather brisk wind to attend an hour-long memorial service for the eight soldiers and ten civilians killed in the raid. In addition 90 Villaistas were also killed. I was honored when asked to respond for Private Fred A. Griffin during the Honor Roll Call. When his name was called I answered loudly “Here, Sir” and a bell was rung in remembrance. The other 17 causalities also had representatives to answer for their name when called. Mary answered for a civilian.

Private Fred A. Griffin was the first soldier killed in the raid. His image and information is shown below…

Here are some other photos I took during the memorial service…

After the memorial service we went to the nearby Columbus Historical Society Museum in the refurbished old railroad depot. There are three rooms full of local historical information and one room is dedicated to the Villa Raid, Camp Furlong and the Punitive Expedition led by General John “Black Jack” Pershing who pursued Villa into Mexico.

Here are some photos from the museum…

From this nearby small rise of land known as Cootes Hill, the soldiers of Camp Furlong drove the Villaistas from Columbus back towards Mexico…

We expect to move on from Pancho Villa State Park tomorrow morning.

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2012
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/panamaorbust

PANCHO VILLA STATE PARK

March 9, 2012

We are staying at Pancho Villa State Park. Its comfortable and quiet here. We hunkered down from a terrible wind storm that had Highway 10 closed, and wind gusts up to 75 miles per hour. We stayed in and felt like someone was banging on a tin can as the motor home did a bit of rock and roll, the wind blasting away.  Yesterday was clear and crisp and we walked the park. The park is very distinctive considering that it was the first airbase in the United States, Camp Furlong, and it is also the site of Pancho Villa’s attack on Columbus,New Mexico. Villa’s scouts counted 30 soldiers before his attack, but they were wrong and the attack met 350 American soldiers with a brand new  weapon, a machine gun.Villa was quickly dispatched.

We walked to the top of this hill where a placque displays the battle of how Villa’s men attacked the base. And, of course he attacked the town as well, intending to take over Columbus.

The Citizens fought Villa and their account is in a nearby Museum and the old Custom House visible from the top of the hill. We visited here in January of 2010 and the Museum is really well done as well as a private museum in town that has a replica of Villa’s death mask and many first hand accounts from the citizens who lived there.

In the intervening years, Columbus has made a big effort to honor the long years of friendship with its nearby Mexican neighbors, and Mexican officials from Chihuahua have cooperated with Columbus on the Museum and come here once a year to celebrate Camp Furlong Days, a parade and festivities that we will attend tomorrow.  The attack was 96 years ago.

Two adobe buildings from Camp Furlong’s headquarters are preserved on the site.

And the remains of a grease rack used to maintain vehicles here. It is humorous that the grease and petrol had to be packed in from the train station by mule teams.

When we visited in 2010, we crossed into Mexico and had delicious dinner in Las Palomas with fun friends and strolling musicians. With dismay, I noticed a sign at the park warning us that the most dangerous border crossings today are from Columbus, New Mexico, Fort Hix and Fabens, Texas. What a shame that the drug cartels have practically halted what was once a delightful place to visit. While it won’t stop the celebration being held here tomorrow, there has been, and still is, a lot of controversy about naming the park for Pancho Villa. You can click the two links below and read how people feel about it.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2011-03-09-1Apanchovilla09_CV_N.htm
http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/letters/2011-03-14-letters14_ST_N.htm

I prefer friendship to hostilities and agree with those who remember that America isn’t innocent of wrong doing and we should all move on.

Interestingly, the park water tank raises consciousness of the water crisis we will someday face and says:  You are drinking ice age water….

…what will you drink next year?

Hmmm!  Good question.

We are currently parked at the Pancho Villa State Park in Columbus, New Mexico.

This morning at about 4:20 AM, 96 years ago, in 1916, Pancho Villa attacked Columbus, New Mexico from the southwest, riding over the very ground where we are currently parked. The below Google Earth image shows Mexico is only three miles south of our location marked by the “X”…

As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view...

Here’s a photo of Pancho…

and a photo of a mural honoring Pancho. I took this photo in Parral, Mexico in 2004. Pancho was living in near Parral in retirement when he was assassinated in 1923.

To read all about Pancho Villa, click this link…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pancho_Villa

To read all about the attack, click this link..
http://web.nmsu.edu/~publhist/colhist.htm

Here’s a photo of our site. Mexico can be seen in the background. Pancho Villa and his men rode across this very land to attack Columbus, New Mexico…

Once again, it is interesting and fun to walk literally in the footsteps of history.

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2012
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/panamaorbust

A SIXTH BORDER CROSSING

March 6, 2012

After visiting the Slaughter Ranch, Jim wanted to visit the small town of Douglas for several reasons. First, because when he returned from Panama in 2004 with his friend Bud Kuball, they exited Mexico with their motor homes at this portal. Back in the United States after 343 days.

It was late in the day when we crossed into the town of Agua Prienta. It was closing down and  not very exciting compared to the others I’ve visited, but I enjoyed the idea of a sixth border crossing, especially this one that had meaning to Jim. Each crossing has something unique.

In enjoyed the series of  ten tile mosaic figures decorating the walls of the portal.

It was a brief stop and back to Douglas a town that never had a major fire and now has 335 buildings on the Historic Register.

One of the old grand hotels still in use is The Gadsden with its sweeping staircase, dark wood, marble columns and mirrored dining room.

We had lunch and wandered around admiring the hotel and later the town.

The beautiful ceiling and chandelier.

Huge stained glass windows.

It’s kind of fun to step back into yesteryear and think the Slaughters must have come here for dinners with friends.

Douglas also has four churches on one block, each taking a corner. This is supposedly the only place in the world where that happens. First there is the Episcopalian Church above.

The Baptist Church.

Presbyterian.

And the Methodist.

The Catholic Church of The Immaculate Conception dated 1907  is on the next block over and visible from the Presbyterian Church. One can conclude that Douglas is a very devout community.

We walked around the older part of town and saw some of the historic old buildings with their fancy facades and charm.

The VFW we visited a couple of days ago was haunted.  Tombstone Cemetery had several  wrongful deaths. Many people were hanged in this part of the country.

The Gadsden Hotel is haunted.  Hmmm!  We must be getting close to meeting a ghost.

Our motorhome home is still parked at Belle Starr’s Silverado Ranch…13 miles west of Douglas, Arizona.

Yesterday was a busy  day for us. So today you get five Blog entries for the price of one!

Blog #1 – John Slaughter Ranch

Have you ever wondered what it was like to be a cattle baron in Arizona in the late 1800’s? We did…so we went to find out.

To  read all about the Slaughter Ranch, click this link…
http://www.slaughterranch.com

First we drove the 13 miles to Douglas, Arizona. Then we continued on this dirt road for another 16 miles. Since we were so close to the Mexico Border…we saw a  Border Patrol vehicle about every one mile along the way…

As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view...

Here’s a Google Earth image of the ranch house area where we visited.The Mexican Border is only 600 feet away…

Here are five other photos. Whenever you can see a brown-poled fence…that’s the Mexico Border…

To see the other 43 photos that I took, click this link…
https://picasaweb.google.com/110455945462646142273/JohnSlaughterRanch

We spent a very enjoyable 2.5 hours wandering the grounds.

Then we once again drove the 16 dusty miles back to Douglas, Arizona for…

Blog #2 – The Gadsden Hotel

To read about the Gadsden Hotel, click this link…
http://hotelgadsden.com/

Here are some photos that I took….

To see the other 22 photos that I took, click this link…
https://picasaweb.google.com/110455945462646142273/TheGadsdenHotelDouglasArizona

We spent an enjoyable hour wandering the hotel and eating lunch in their fancy dining room.

Then a few blocks away to

Blog #3 – It’s The Only Place In The World That You Will See this!

At least according to the visitors brochure for Douglas, Arizona. Church Square is the only block in the World that has a church on each corner! Here’s a Google Earth view…

E is for Episcopalian……

B is for Baptist…

M is for Methodist…

P is for Presbyterian…

It’s always fun to see a one in the world thing!

Then a few blocks to…

Blog #4 – The Big Disappointment…

In 2004, at the end on my 16,000+ mile RV trip through Mexico and Central America…we re-entered the United States at Douglas, Arizona. We went to the local Safeway to shop for groceries and quite by accident parked under the Safeway sign which we took as a blessing that we had managed such a long journey without any major mishaps and returned safely to the United States. We asked a passing woman to take our photo…

Since we plan to depart Douglas tomorrow morning…I thought it would be fun to park our current motorhome under the Safeway sign and take a similar photo. But surprise…the sign and Safeway are gone! Something that was not there in 2004, across the street,  A WalMart SuperCemter, has apparently run them out of business. So much for nostalgia!.

Here’s an interesting aside. The way the crow flies…presumably in a straight line…it’s a little more than 2,500 miles to Portebello, Panama…the furthest southern point reached during our journey. By road the most direct route…add about another 1,000 miles. Here’s a Google Earth image to give you some perspective…

Then just five blocks away to…

Blog #5 – Agua Prienta, Sonora, Mexico...

Mary wanted to add to her list of border crossings into Mexico. So we walked across the border and down a few blocks of the main drag and we were back in the United States in 25 minutes. Not much going on a Sunday afternoon in this rather lackluster border town. Here are some photos that I took…

Another full and fun day in the RVing lifestyle!

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2012
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/panamaorbust

Yesterday Mary and I drove the motorhome the about 35 miles from Sierra Vista to Belle Starr’s Silverado Ranch about one-half way between Bisbee and Douglas, Arizona.  The way the crow flies…presumably in a straight line…we are only four miles from Mexico. Bisbee is about 5,500 feet and Douglas is about 4,000 feet in elevation. Being about one-half way between the two…I’m guessing we’re at about 4,750 feet in elevation.The below Google Earth images show our location…

As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view...

Here’s a closer view of the ranch. We’re parked where I’ve marked in yellow…

Looking in from the entrance gate you can see our motorhome in the distance…

Once inside the gate you see this sign…

And the donation box…

A closer view of our parking spot where we have an electrical hookup…

Here’s the view from our dining room window…

This 40 acre unique property is owned by an 85-year-old woman every bit as unique as the property she owns.

I’m going to save telling you and showing pictures of her and her unique property for a very near future Blog. Enough for now…

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2012
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/panamaorbust

MY FIFTH BORDER CROSSING

February 26, 2012

Thanks to Arizona Ranger, Ed Suckley, I had my fifth border crossing. We had heard horrible tales about how dangerous this crossing was and Jim was reluctant to go there with  the recent drug wars and problems. Ed put him at ease and assured us that a tourist  crossing into Nogales, Sonora, Mexico for an afternoon was as safe  as in Nogales, AZ, US. He even recommended a nice restaurant. Ed had a Boston accent and I got a kick out of listening to he and Jim reminisce about familiar experiences back in Massachusetts. And Ed’s story of how he came to be an Arizona Ranger after living pretty much all of his life on the East Coast? He was still kind of stunned it seemed that he and his wife had made an enormous change in their lives, were warned about living in an “awful” place like Nogales, and they both love it.

Ed’s partner, Ernesto, explained to me how the Rangers work and how much they enjoy this volunteer job.  The rangers were formed in 1901 to combat cattle rustling and wild lawlessness. They did such a good job, they were abolished in 1909. This small museum in the Old County Courthouse is where they preside.

Today, the rangers, reformed into a volunteer group in 1957, still carry colts like those the old-timers used. Between 1901 and 1909, the official rangers only numbered 26 men,  a grizzly bunch who preferred to go about their business operating as cowpokes. Her is a description of them from a newspaper article in 1942:

A colorful part of the old west is now a colorful part of the new west. The current rangers are a legal law enforcement assistant organization. Ernesto explained that their volunteer services probably save the State of Arizona a million dollars a year. When they are not called upon to help the Border Patrol, the Sheriff’s Department or other law agencies, they hold two major fund-raisers that raise money for charities that benefit children.  They are deputized and legal law enforcement assistance.  There is a lot of history in this little room. They have a website at with several short links at :    http://www.azrangers.us/

 

We left the Courthouse and stopped in to the Pimeria Alta Historical Society Museum. The building is chock full of good stuff. A large collection of wonderful old black and white photos. All volunteer run, no charge, they ask for (and need) a donation. The highlight here was the docent who explained how the local Indian lands stretch across the border but she now has to have a passport to enter her native lands on the other side of a fence. It was quite an education to learn that the names applied to Indian peoples, such as Pima, Yaqui, and others I didn’t retain, all mean nothing or nothingness. When invaders arrive in your land, you tell them nothing. Eventually, they are working on getting their true Indian tribal names changed.

Herman “Ace” Lawson, a Nogales resident, was a Tuskegee Airman and wrote a book about his experiences. He was scheduled to speak at the Museum but we left before he arrived, headed for the border.

This is the only crossing I’ve made where you can actually see Mexico and the fence that divides residents that used to move freely between cities as neighbors. It serves its purpose of keeping aliens from crossing but also keeps animals that one time used territory in both countries from crossing. It seems offensive to me, like the Berlin wall.  I haven’t read the link about this fence but Jim has a link to it in his blog.

We walked through the gates. I’ve crossed at Tijuana, San Luis, Algodones, Las Palomas and now Nogales.

Normally,  we eat at a hole in the wall “joint” when we’ve visited Mexico, so this was quite a change.  The beautiful lobby of the Hotel Fray Marcos De Niza.

The food was good and economical, and the comfort was more like home. But, we kind of missed the charm of  the hole in the wall “joints”.

Nogales, Sonora is a much more “westernized”  city; obviously more affluent. The town is huge and is the major port for truck shipping into the U.S.

We stopped and looked into this 122 year old church.

A beautiful stained glass window.

And yes, the boulevards were modern, but we still found those junky alleys with all that fascinating “stuff” I like to see.  I love doing it, but never buy since we have so little room to carry anything in the motor home.

 

 

A fun day.

Dos Nogales

February 26, 2012

Dos in Spanish means two.

Yesterday Mary and I drove the Bronco about one mile from our parking spot at the VFW Post #2066 in Nogales, Arizona to the border with Mexico. In old town Nogales, Arizona we visited the old court house, an Arizona Ranger archive room and a museum. We then walked across the border into Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. There we went to the fanciest hotel in the city and had a great inexpensive meal. Afterwards we wandered around the curio shops that cater to the tourists. We were in that Nogales about two hours before crossing back into the United States.

Nogales, Arizona has a population of about 22,000. Nogales, Sonora, Mexico has a population of about 220,000. Nogales in Spanish means “walnuts”. This area was so named because of the many black walnut trees that were in this area many years ago.

To read all about Nogales, Arizona, click this link…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nogales,_Arizona

To read all about Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, click this link…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nogales,_Sonora

Here are some photos that I took…

As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view...

The old court house lobby in Nogales, Arizona…

Inside of the old court house, the Arizona Rangers maintain a small archive. One of the Rangers as seen in the below photo grew up in Lynnfield, Massachusetts…just a few miles from where I lived in Revere from ages 10 to 18…

The Primera Alta Historical Society Museum had the two old city jail cells…

Preparing to cross into Mexico we could see a portion of the fence that separates the United States and Mexico which is on the right in the below photo. To read about this highly controversial fence, click this link… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexico_%E2%80%93_United_States_barrier

Here’s where you enter Mexico…

which deposits you on this pleasant plaza…

We ate lunch at the Fray Marcos de Niza Hotel because it was highly recommended by the Arizona Ranger. This is the hotel lobby…

This was our view during lunch…

After lunch we wandered around the local curio shops…

To see the other 48 photos that I took, click this link…
https://picasaweb.google.com/110455945462646142273/DosNogalesTwoNogales

It was another enjoyable day. The visit into Mexico was somewhat disappointing for me as it is such a large city. Nothing like my past experiences during my Mexico and Central America trip in 2004. No old world flavor is left in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico….at least near the border

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2012
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/panamaorbust

Back in the sixth grade I had a Jewish manual training teacher who offered this piece of wisdom about life…”Plan your vork and vork your plan”. With his accent, the word work…sounded like vork. It seemed like good advice. Later in life I became an engineer and an ability to organize was an asset.

It’s really helpful in my RVing life. Researching an area prior to a visit is almost as much fun as going there.

Today we leave our RV Resort where we have been parked for the last ten days visiting friends and Mary’s relatives (another cousin yesterday) and head for southern Arizona. For about the next month we will be exploring much of the rather remote area basically south of Interstate Highway 8 and Mexico. A rough rectangular area of 150 x 50 miles.

Because of the remoteness…finding potential safe camping sites and places where we might empty our waste-water tanks became a concern. For the last several days, searching maps and books, but primarily searching on the Internet…I’ve managed to find some of those locations. With the help of Google Earth I’ve put this information in a manner which will help me find these locations while in the area. You may click upon the below image to see it in a larger view…

I’m not going to explain the codes to you…suffice it to say I know what they indicate. With this information available, as we explore the area for the about next month, it will greatly enhance our visits in that area. In other words…it will make me a happier camper!  &lt):) cowboy

It ain’t easy being an ex-engineer…I just cannot help myself!  :)

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2012
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/panamaorbust

Yesterday Mary and I started our day with a pre-sunrise walk on the Sonoran Desert here in the park. We walked about two miles not far from our campsite. Our outing lasted one hour and fifteen minutes. Because the sun had not yet broken the horizon…I ended up with a lot of silhouette photos. It was a nice change doing photography without the bright harsh sun overhead.

To see a map of the park, click this link…
http___www.nps.gov_orpi_planyourvisit_loader

Here are a few photos that I took…

As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view…

In this first photo of the day you can see the lights of the United States/Mexico Border on the right…

To see the other 25 photos I took, click this link…
https://picasaweb.google.com/110455945462646142273/APreSunriseWalkInTheSonoranDesert

Yesterday completed our last full day of our visit to the monument. A most enjoyable visit it was. Over the last four days we’ve seen thousands of cacti…however none were as big as this one I came across during my 1998-99 Winter in Baja California Sur, Mexico. It was Muy Grande!!!

Today we will move on…uncertain at this time where we will spend tonight.

You can find out all about the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument by clicking this government link…
http://www.nps.gov/orpi/index.htm

You may also click this Wikipedia link…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organ_Pipe_Cactus_National_Monument

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2012
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/panamaorbust

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