We arrived in Deming, New Mexico three days ago. Mary departed two days ago for home to tend to taxes and other business. I’m at Rockhound State Park in Deming, New Mexico waiting out a forecasted very windy coming Saturday through Tuesday. Prior to arriving in Deming there was so much to see and do I didn’t get to Blog about it. Here is one now…


Two days ago, while traveling along Arizona State Highway 80 towards our destination of Pancho Villa State Park at Columbus,New Mexico, we went through a tiny settlement at Apache, Arizona. This Google Earth image shows the remoteness of the location. The G is the location of the monument. The actual surrender site was at Skeleton Canyon…11 miles to the east in the mountains…accessible only today by a 4-wheel drive road…

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 the remoteness of the area…nothing but the road and the land…

Here’s a photo of the monument…

Here’s the plaque on the monument…

A couple of nights ago we watched the movie “Geronimo” starring Gene Hackman and Matt Dillon. It was relatively accurate in its historical correctness.

Once the Apaches were rounded up and being told the rules for their forced reservation life…one Apache states…”Before the white-eyes arrived the Apache owned the land and could roam wide and free…why no more?”

As an avid historian, I’ve come to know the sad truth about how the United States Government made all sorts of promises through “treaties” with the Indians…few of which were ever kept. It’s truly a sad legacy of our history.

In the movie, the young U.S. Army officer portrayed by Matt Dillon resigns his commission because of the U.S. Government’s betrayal of the Indians. The General replied…”God…how I hate an idealist!”

Visiting historical sites is of of my main pleasures of my full-time RVing lifestyle.

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2012
For more information about my three books, click this link:

Yesterday we drove the motorhome the about 30 miles from Pancho Villa State Park at Columbus to Rockhound State Park, about 10 miles from downtown Deming, New Mexico

From their brochure…

“On the western slope of the Little Florida Mountains, Rockhound State Park is popular among hikers looking for spectacular views, and among rock enthusiasts looking for unique rocks and minerals. Visitors can find a variety of rocks and minerals, ranging from silica, quartz crystals, chalcedony, agate, jasper to thunder eggs and geodes. Visitors are welcome to take 15 pounds of rock per person from the park.”

There are a total of 34 RV sites at this park.

After arrival we took a walk to look around…

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...

The entrance sign…

The visitors center…

The RV Park as seen from the visitors center…

The view looking southwest from the driver’s side of our motorhome…

The view looking northeast from the passenger’s side our motorhome…

A passing jet plane leaves a contrail high above the park…

Another look at the mountains…

We expect to be here three days.

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2012
For more information about my three books, click this link:


March 11, 2012

Again, braving the cold, we walked into Columbus to view the Cabalgata, a tradition where riders from both countries meet at the US/Mexican border. New Mexico dignitaries invite the Chihuahua dignitaries to accompany them, and both groups ride the three miles into Columbus to celebrate their common heritage where Hispanics and Anglos have long experienced a successful blend of cultures. We estimated about 300 horses rode in this unusual parade.

Leading the way was this Mexican dignitary outfitted as Pancho Villa.

There were shouts from bystanders as they recognized various riders from Mexico. Shouts of “bravo” and other Spanish words that I didn’t understand that brought friendly responses in turn.

Riders came in established groups, some with banners, or the same color scarves allowing us to think they have ridden in this Cabalgata year after year as a tradition.

They came as families.

A long ride on a small pony.  We shouted “bravo” to them for braving the cold.

They came as single riders.

Some with dancing horses. The number of riders blew us away.

On our walk to the park for the festivities, I saw these business-man bad guys, trying to look mean.

One week after Villa’s raid on Columbus, 10,000 troops led by General “Black Jack” Pershing led the Punitive Expedition into Mexico to capture Villa.  One skirmish with Mexican Federales near Parral, and President Wilson called off the search. The expedition was  the last true mounted cavalray action by the United States Army. A man outfitted as Pershing did some play acting for the cameras. He halts this group of riders at gun point.

We think  “Pershing” is speaking to the U.S. Sheriff of Luna County from some of the voices we heard in the crowd.

And, there was friendly sword and pistol play between the bad guys and “Pancho” who we think is a Sheriff in the state of Chihuahua. Villa’s forces were dispersed and Villa vanished into the back country never to raid again. In 1920 President Adolfo De La Huerto negotiated a peace with him and he was allowed to return to his ranch in Parral. Three years later he was assassinated by unknowns who were never arrested.

Whoever he was, we were fascinated with his showy saddle-horn and the friendly interplay.


Then we watched the horses ride out-of-town, or pack their animals into trailers and end their ride for the day.

It was like watching the parade all over again.

We watched as another dancing horse danced his way out-of-town.

We move today to Rockhound State Park. We enjoyed the festival and the food and I’ll blog it tomorrow.

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

Yesterday Mary and I attend the above named celebration of Mexican-American friendship held at Columbus, New Mexico.

Here’s a poster in Spanish about the Cabalgata…

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...

We left the motorhome at 9:30 AM when the temperature was a bone-chilling 35 degrees coupled with a 15 miles an hour wind which made for a wind-chill effect of 25 degrees. BRRR!!! Remember me? I’m the guy who likes it between 65-75 degrees!

Are we having fun yet?

Part of the festivities was a bi-national Calvary horse parade. The American riders met the Mexican riders at the border 3 miles away and arrived in Columbus, New Mexico at about 10:00 AM. The festivities were held at the central plaza in the Village of Columbus, New Mexico. I estimate there were about 300 horses in the parade followed by a lot of vehicles that carried the families of the Mexican riders.

Here are some photos that I took throughout the day…

To see the other 31 photos that I took, click this link…

Finally, here’s a special treat for you. Click this link…

I have spent about two years…driving well in excess 10,000 miles in Mexico. The Mexicans are wonderful and friendly people. They love to party. Find the smallest reason and they will have a party! It’s truly a shame what the drug thing has done to their country…In excess of 45,000 people killed in the last five years. So much so that we now fear to take the motorhome back into Mexico. So, in this case, the Mexicans came to us.

Well, at least I have my photos which help preserve the memories of my travels in Mexico..

Despite the bone-chilling cold, we were both happy we attended this fun event for 2.5 hours. There was also lots of great food.

Spring is about 10 days away…I can hardly wait! The weather is supposedly going to warm back up where it’s supposed to be the week…in the mid-70’s. Hooray!

In other news…

This morning we will move the motorhome about 30 miles north to the Deming, New Mexico area. We hope to get into Rockhound State Park.

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2012
For more information about my three books, click this link:

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…



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…

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:


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.

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…

To read all about the attack, click this link..

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:


March 5, 2012

One of the toughest men the West ever saw was John Slaughter,  a diminutive man who learned young that life was full of cheats, murderers and danger.  A Civil War veteran, trail driver, cattle baron, legislator, lawman and gunslinger, Slaughter was soft-spoken, with hard penetrating eyes and no desire to pick a fight. He simply wanted to raise his cattle and his family.

The Slaughter Ranch is now a museum and sits on the Mexican border. It feels as though you are walking through history to visit this remote site where Geronimo surrendered the last time in Skeleton Canyon about 10 miles distance, where the Mormon Trail and Butterfield stages passed by, and where John Slaughter met Pancho Villa, if met is the proper word. Villa came to his remote ranch with his men. While Slaughter was sitting on his porch watching him, he began to harvest his crops and slaughter some of his cattle. He watched the melee for a day and then mounted his horse to go talk to the bandit. He asked  him for payment.  Villa gave him a bag of gold coins.

Wild West Magazine, the December 1993 issue did an excellent article on Slaughter which is posted in the ranch house where they lived. His father was a Texas Ranger and cattleman. John followed in his footsteps. In Texas, he married and had two children by his first wife who once held off a band of attacking Comanches with a servant and two shotguns. She died shortly after they arrived in Arizona. He married a sixteen year old girl by the name of Viola, and together they built the ranch and lived the wonderful life of  cattle barons in the wilds of Arizona territory.

The ranch is now a tame place with these tiny baby lambs only two days old.

And some handsome long horns,  well fed,  in an enclosed pasture. John Slaughter was one of the first Texans to introduce short horns with long-horned cattle.

I enjoyed the ranch, and the kind of life that was lived here. It was well worth the 16 mile dusty, gravel road to see it, but my mind kept drifting back to John Slaughter and what it took to make Western Arizona a safe and civilized place to live.

To that end, Slaughter became Sheriff of Cochise County and it is said he did more to clean up Arizona than any other man. His method was polite. He would first warn a man to leave town and never come back. Those that didn’t ended up dead in the dust. It is said he killed a lot of men and he did. But, as they say, they needed killin’. That was the way of the West.

He really wanted to live in peace, but he always carried a shotgun and revolvers to do so. He was a wary man, always watched his back. He loved his family and he and Viola adopted an Apache daughter they named Mae. She died young. He and Viola took in many young people, helped them out, gave guidance and support to friends and neighbors.

The ranch is composed of several buildings, all thick adobe that fended off those hot summers. They employed 150 people on the ranch and kept a commissary for the families and neighbors to buy needed goods without having to trail all the way into town. They carried flour, sugar, tobacco, tack, chaps, etc.,  an all around assortment of goods

An artesian well still feeds this small lake beside the ranch house. When John Slaughter bought the 65,000 acres that made up his ranch, the grass was stirrup high. Many springs, and a creek served the ranch until a terrible earthquake in Mexico shifted the plates  in 1937 and the springs and the creek dried up.

We enjoyed photographing this place. It is now a preserve and a bird haven. The rare blue mockingbird was spotted on the ranch and drew 30,000 people to see it.

The Slaughter Ranch was partly in Mexico because nobody really knew where the border was located. It is now very obvious and Jim and I hiked to see the type of fence they use in the wild areas like this that still allow wolves, cougars, leopards, deer, etc. to wander back and forth in their own natural way.

On the 16 mile journey back to the town of Douglas, we met a Border Patrol car every mile, just as we had on the way in. Some have trailers with ATV’s on the back to get out into the desert like a four wheel drive.

This agent is dragging tires to erase any footprints. That way, they can see where any new illegals are trying to cross. John Slaughter also founded the town of Douglas. There is still a bit of wild in the West.

A good website about John Slaughter can be found at this link:

Yesterday Mary & I drove the motorhome 35 miles South to the Mexico border and walked across into Palomas. Mexico. We joined 16 other folks from the Low-Hi RV Ranch (where we parked last night) for their weekly lunch meal at The Pink Store Restaurant. Great food and great live music made it an enjoyable time.

Back across into the United States we drove 3 miles North to the town of Columbus, New Mexico. On March 9, 1916 Pancho Villa led about 500 Villanistas and attacked Columbus, New Mexico. Eight civilians, nine soldiers and 90 Villanistas were killed during this skirmish. In Columbus, we went to the Pancho Villa Museum at the Railroad Depot Historical Society building. Then we walked across the street to the Pancho Villa New Mexico State Park Visitors Center where the had a great display about Camp Furlong. This was the location where General Jack Pershing assembled a force of 10,000 men to pursue Villa who had crossed back into Mexico. He went 500 miles into Mexico and never caught up with Villa because his forces were called back to go fight in Europe in World War 1. At Camp Furlong, it was the first time motorized vehicles and aircraft were used in United States military operations.


To see the other 13 pictures I took yesterday, click this link..

To read about and see the buildings involved in Pancho Villa’s raid, click this link…

Here’s a Wikipedia informational link…

Today we head towards Big Bend National Park in Southwest Texas some 400+ miles distant. We expect a couple of days to get there.

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2010
For more information about my three books, click this link:


November 29, 2009

Tomorrow, Jim leaves for Yuma in the Motor Home. I remain in Murphys until Dec. 16th, when I fly to Thailand with my grandson,, Mason. I’ll be unable to blog from then until I return on Jan. 2nd, 2010. Egads! A new year and Christmas spent in Thailand. Should be interesting. I’ll have lots of pictures and stories to share when I return.
Jim has been busily charting the first leg of our travels.
He’ll spend Christmas in Yuma. From Yuma to Tuscon where I will fly to meet him on January 9th.
Tuscon to visit old friend Sandee Voges. Then on to Chiracaua National Monument Southeastern AZ.
Demming, New Mexico to visit Jim’s Spanish Teacher.
Then Columbus, New Mexico- the only place that Pancho Villa invaded the U.S. and killed American’s there.
To El Paso, Texas and down to Big Ben National Park. We travel East across Texas to New Orleans by February 5th for Mardi Gras and other attractions. We expect to spend a month in Louisiana because there is so much to see and do.
From there we will set our next few months itinerary.

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