Demming, NM

I have to apologize for being tardy getting blog posts done.  We seem to have been very busy.  That is usually a good thing.

Deming, NM
Deming looks like a very sleepy town, not much going on.  There was a row of RV parks on the way into town.  They were mostly for folks there for the winter or in many cases the rest of their lives.  Lots of older trailers pretty well planted for the duration.  We stopped at the Sunrise RV park.  Sunset would have described it better.  A grizzled old man was in the office/hut wher he lived. He didn’t want us to fill out a form, he didn’t need our name or what we were driving or where we were from.  It was $17 so we paid cash and got a hand written receipt.  He showed us where our site was and we drove in.  There was an old lady with a barking dog next to us in a house paint decorated trailer that hadn’t moved in years.  
We went down to the WalMart to get some groceries.  It seemed like a big WaMart for the size of the town.  We then drove down what looked like the main street past several car parts places and repair shops. Probably a good business in a small, older rural town.  There was a movie theater, a few restraunts, some churches and a sign pointing to ‘<-Museum'.  We drove down that way a couple blocks and found the museum.  It looked like a large old church at first glance but didn't  have a bell tower or anything like that.  The sign said it was closed but it would reopen the next morning at 9.  So we thought we could get up and return for a quick visit in the morning before moving on toward Tucson.
This is the Luna County historical museum.  It is in what used to be an armory from about WWI. It was expanded and made into a USO facility during WWII. We seemed to recall from something on PBS that Deming was a stop on the E-W railroad and that during WWII the USO people would come out and give the troops on the train sandwiches and things through the windows because they didn’t have time to get off.  We also seemed to recall a program about the Harvey Hotels and the Harvey girls.  And both were there in Deming.
A couple of chatty senior citizens greeted us, gave us a map of the museum and the five minute chin wag about the how and why.  This is a museum run entirely by volunteers.  It gets no money from the city or the county.  These two were from elsewhere visiting for the winter and busy volunteering.  Deming was a ranching and mining center back in the later 1800’s.  Big ranches, big mines for minerals, little mines looking for gold and such.  It had an Army Fort here.  During WWII it was a training center for bombardiers. All of that is long gone.  Today it is a small town servicing the needs of the the folks who live here, winter here and work on the ranches in the area. It is also a big rock hound area. There are lots of rocks to choose from. 
Susan remembers coming down to Deming with her family in about 1958.  They drove from Duluth, Charlie and Gerry, Frank, Myra, Susan and little Nancy all in their red and white Ford station wagon all the way to  Deming, NM to the Spanish Stirrup Ranch owned by the May family for a working ranch experience. They went on horse back rides, ranch things, kid things.  They stayed in rooms in the big ranch house and ate with the family.  It wasn’t really a dude ranch experience.  They were just there at a working ranch to participate as much or little as they wanted to. The ranch is still there.  Thet have a rock shop now.  Mrs. May was active in the Museum and donated many things to it.  She died in 2010.
The museum is huge! There was a big room full of Old Timers Club memorabilia.  This was a club of familys who had been there for a long time, many since the mid 1800’s.  Lots of pictures from the 50’s when they had picnics and a parade and those long panorama pictures of all the Old Timers.
There was a whole room devoted to dolls.  They had more than 1000 dolls from old 1800’s German dolls to Raggedy Anns.  No Barbies, nothing much past the 50’s.

There was also more tha 1000 decorative whiskey bottles.  Some of these made up complete chess sets. Cars, birds, horses, knights.  I seem to remember a couple of these my folks had.  Someone down here was a serious collector/drinker.

There was an extensive collection of very old pottery made by the Membres Indians all before about 1100 AD.  Those people are long gone but they buried their dead with pottery.  Most of the pottery was broken over time and then dug up and reassembled for display. Most of this activity came before WWII when archeological preservation was not well practiced.  So where much of the pottery was found, how the graves were arranged, what artifacts were included was not recorded.  
There were lots of ancient indian tools, beads, jewelery, arrow and spear points too.  No baskets, clothing or anything else like that.  At that time the Indians of the SW traveled long distances to trade with other groups. The shells used for decorative jewelery probably came from the Sea of Cortez in Mexico.
The folks that lived in Deming in the early 20th century were pretty well off. Business must have been good.  There was an extensive collection of very fancy clothes, dresses and men’s formal wear.  They all looked very warm for the desert climate. 
One big room has a very formal dining room set up for Valentines Day complete with a lace table cloth, gold rimmed plates and gold tableware.  There were cabinets all around with collections of dishes and silver.  All of these were quite stunning as was the furniture.  There was money here at one time.
There was lots of art too.  This painting really caught my eye. It was about four feet tall and very captivating to look at. The artist is well known but i found no prints of this painting.
And quilts.  This one was made on thousands of small pieces of fabric, almost like painting.  It was behind glass, hard to get a good picture.

And a nice NM quilt.

They had saved Main Street as well.  The Doctor’s office, the Dentists office, the barber shop, the pharmacy, a saddle shop (that had a saddle from the Spanish Stirrup Ranch) and many more store fronts.  Imagine getting your hair curled with this.
The fire department was there.
Even the Soap Box Derby racers.

And lots more RR stuff.

There was a large WWII exhibit dedicated to the men from Luna County who went to war.   Before WWII there was a large Army Coastal Guard reserve unit in the county.  Almost all the men were part of it.  In 1940 before the US entered the War, the reserve unit was activated and sent to the Philippines.  They were all there, almost 1800 men, all from the Deming area at the time of Pearl Harbor.  At the same time the Japanese Army and Navy invaded the Philippines.  These men were captured at the battle of Corregidor.  More than 900 died on the Battan Death March and subsequent imprisonment. Pretty tough on the local community.
There were other memorials to all of the service men and women in the different conflicts.  
So after about three hours we were due to head to Tucson, four hours estimated , five and a half as we did it.  We came into Tucson from the south, down hill most of the way with a tail wind.  A good fuel milege day. We were heading for Dustin’s Diamond J RV park on the SW part of the Tucson area.

We were leaving the very bleak West Texas and southern NM desert and heading into more brush, a bit greener landscape and saguaro cactus.
All is well here.
More later, actually sooner I hope.
Roger and Susan

New Braunfels, Texas Hill County

We left Nacogdoches heading west towards Arizona. Texas is very big.  I am told it is almost 800 miles from NAC to the western border in a straight line but there are no straight line roads.  Se we set off thinking it would be nice to stop in the Texas Hill Country to see what this area was all about.  Other folks from NAC were going to be on the Guadalupe River north of New Braunfels so we figured that sounded good. We were a day ahead if ourselves so we looked at options and there is a Corps of Engineering campground about 15 miles from where we were going to end up so we went there.

Another great COE campground, good electrical hookups, right on a lake.  The coach looked nice in the sun.  Potter’s Creek Campground on Canyon Lake.  There were actually four COE campgrounds on the Canyon Lake Reservoir.
The Canyon Lake reservoir controls the flow of the Guadalupe River.  This is the most popular tubing and rafting river in the area.  Folks were telling us that it is just packed in the summer.  But now it was very quiet.

The Lazy L&L campground is on a big turn in the river.  The family that owns the campground owns thousands of acres of ranch land and several miles of river frontage.  All of the river frontage is privately owned.  There are summer cabins that run from very modest to big “Southfork” like estates. Nothing in the way of zoning controls.

There really are very big hills in the Hill Country.  This area was ancient sea bed upthrust by tectonic plate action millions of years ago. It is a fairly large area of hills, at least half the size of Minnesota.  Since this area is only 20 miles from New Braunfels and maybe only 50 from San Antonio it is a very popular vacation destination.  The RV campsite at the Lazy L$L are all along the river.  There are some tent sites as well.  In the summer this entire field is said to be filled with some 500 tents on a busy tubing weekend.  This campground also has huge covered dance hall with live music on the weekends just to attract more people.

There only a single winding two lane road into this area.  It took us about a half hour to get to a big grocery store near New Braunfels.  That has to be a couple hours in the summer.
The folks we met there we intereting.  Several of them come here every year in February.  The same bunch (Susan calls them “Pods”) goes to Fredricksburg, TX in April when the flowers re blooming and to the mountains in NE New Mexico in the summer for 6-8 weeks when it is very hot in Texas.  It is a very social group.  A big coffee pot is on early and the menfolk gather for coffee early.  Many of them go shopping or to the store and then out for lunch almost every day. Late afternoon the lawn chairs are  gathered and circled, usually twenty or more, for a social hour.  One night when we were there  and someone ws leaving the next day they decided to have a pot luck upper. There were more than 40 people there and as is always the case, way too much food.
It was nice to get together with these folks. We are a bit more “doing-our-own-thing” types so this was at the edges of our experience.  But everywhere we have been on this trip we are running into very nice friendly people.

I came across this old bath tub.  I am pretty sure that was what it is.  Looks a bit nautical at this end. The other was round and sloped.  It was about 14 inches wide at the narrow end and about 4-1/2′ long.  It was tapered toward the other end but not that much wider.  A hundred years ago most people were much smaller than they are today.

After our stay in the Hlill Country it was time to continue west.  There are three routes across Texas.  The very southern route follows state and US highways. Two years ago when we came up from Big Bend we went that way.  It is bleak, dry, empty route.  Very long.  The other two,are in I10 through San Antonio ot I20 through Dallas.  The I20 route goes through Midland and Odessa where the oil fields ar busy, road constuction goes on for endless miles and traffic levels are high.  The I10 route was our choice.  From New Braunfels it takes two days to get to the other side of Texas. All three routes end up at El Paso.
The I10 choice leads through Fort Stockton for an overnight and then on towards El Paso.  It is a long boring drive but way better then the more southern route.

It was hilly for a while and then the wide open, very sparse West Texas view.  Some distant hills.  The on/off ramps are 20-50 miles apart.  There are no fences in most places along the sides of the interstate so where ever an on ramp or exit or cross over was needed the ranchers just made one of their own.  We could see cattle occasionally but not many.  An occasional oil well. Not much going on except traffice going by.

Our second day across Texas went through about 15 miles of stop and go construction in El Paso and then on to Demming, NM.  A very interesting stop.
More later.
Roger and Susan

Done in NAC

Five weeks after leaving Hastings we are finally leaving Nacogdoches.  It has been a long visit but much has been done.

The last stop was three days at the detail shop.  One guy worked on our coach from 7:30 each morning until about 5 on Thursday and Friday.  He started at 7:30 on Saturday and finished up about 4 in the afternoon.
All the detail, pretty amazing.  They even clened the insides of all of the bay doors, painted the insides of the wheelwell, shined the wheels and shined up the tires.  Very nice work.  So we went back to Camp Foretravel.  We had a dinner date with three other Foretravel owners, all full timers.
The Millers have been at Xtreme for more than two months and more to go. They are a nice older couple, we guessed in the their 80’s. They have been on the road for 11 years.

Doug and Amanda. Almost 2 years into it.

John and Kathy in their now to them Foretravel, ready to hit the road for day one.

Susan and Roger off towards New Braunfels.

My cute weather girl!
And over to Canyon Lake Corps of Engineering Campground.  On the lake, 50 amp hookups, water, $13/night.
We are going to be at the Lazy L&L campground for three nights.  We know some other folks here. Just a few days to decompresss after a month in NAC.
And then towards AZ.
Roger and Susan

Done at Xtreme

We finally finished at Xtreme this morning.  Three weeks and two days. Everything was done last night but they wanted to wait until this morning to reinstall the painted steps and the backup lights to give the new paint a bit more cure time.

So when all was done, the coach washed, money changed hands, hands were shaken we left and went to Motorhomes of Texas to get our slide adjusted. The factory service center was not too promising about sneaking us in so I checked over at MOT and they said they could get us in this AM.  So 1 hr and 40 min after we arrived we were ready to depart with an adjusted slide.  Happy campers.  So we moved to Camp Foretravel for the night (take on water and make a waste deposit),  There are about a dozen coaches here today.

New peepers.  Nice and bright!
And steps.

And a bright tail.

We saw a HFH ReStore in town.  I checked with the local affiliate and unfortunately they are not building anything right now o no hammer time.

Tonight we are having dinner with John and Kathy who have sold their home, bought a motorhome, the first one they have had, sold their cars and are buying another car suitable for towing and are setting off as recently retired full timers.  Dough and Amanda, also full timers are joining us as well.  We are going to Auntie Pasta’s, a great Italian place that we tried last week and wanted to go back.

Tomorrow AM we move to the detail shop for the full beauty spa treatment.  I should probably get the Jeep spiffed up too, or not.
We will actually start heading West on Sunday, about 200 miles to the Texas Hill Country.
More later,
Roger and Susan

Paint Today, More Paint Tomorrow

We watched a bit of Super Bowl last night.  Our neighbors, Amanda and Doug brought chocolate cookies and milk.  They are 25 years younger than us and quite chatty and quite fun.  All of a sudden it was 2 in the A of M!  We were getting up early to get into painting.

So up at 6, a bit of coffee and the morning Greg coach shuffle began. 
Our coach looks small in the giant paint booth.  The newer coaches are two feet taller and nine feet longer.  The paint booth has great lighting.
Our walks frequently pass this school. They must have known we were coming. We were by there when we went to the University stadium to walk laps.  It was only 46° and mostly in the sun.
One lap around the mid-level is 0.4 miles.  Up and down the ramps to the upper level is the same as climbing three and a half stories and back down. A couple of those and my knees were hurting. 12,000 steps that day.
Priming first. Then some very, very fine sanding. And then paint, an exact match.  It is pretty amazing how they match colors and mix paint by weight, gram by gram, some of this color and some of that color.  It is quite an art. 
The paint booth has huge amounts of air moving out through filters to manage over spray. And it was close to 90° in there.  The painter said they mix catalysts and driers into the paint so that it sets and cures quickly.
Tomorrow the small repairs on the driver’s side get painted as well as the front step and facia and a small detail on the generator bay cover. They are promising an afternoon finish.  Likely a late afternoon finish and a wash.  They have an industrial sized water ionizer whose water is used to wash the coaches.   The water sheets off without leading any spots.  
We will probably stay here over night and then head to the Foretravel Factory to get a minor adjustment to the slide.  It is not sure that we cn get in there so we might wind up across the street at Motorhomes of Texas.  If none of that works out I will likely do it myself.
Then the beauty spa.
More as things unfold.
Roger and Susan

More Holes, Less Holes

The end of this week was a busy one for Rance. He got the new tail/stop and turn light panels installed after making up a new wiring harneses.  Basically the same process as the front parts.  They are held in place with temporary metal clips and glued in with a structural urethane adhesive.  Then the joint is laid up with three layers of fiberglass and left to cure.  

In this picture you can se the reddish original body, the black urethane adhesive and the more greenish resin of the new parts and Rance adding layers of fiberglass and rein.

Then that is smoothed out with a disc grinder, automotive filler is added to further smooth things out.  Some sanding, some more filler, more sanding and so on untill Rance is satisfied with the finish.  Then  layer of gel coat is sprayed on and left to cure.  That is then sanded with finer and finer paper.  Then wet sanded with very fine paper up to about 1500 grit.  And then he buffs it with an even finer compound and the polishes it with an even finer paste.

Gel coat is applied.  Last step is buffing. The painter primes all of the areas to be painted and the that is sanded with extraordinarily fine paper and the final paint is applied.  Both rear corners, the front generator bay hatch cover and the little touch ups on the driver’s side and the steps get painted.
The lower holes are for the backup lights which are now wired together with the lights on the sides to give a much wider lighted area when backing up.  
All of the lighting gets installed and adjusted after final paint.  We are still on schedule to be done on Tuesday the 3rd.
The folks staying here at Xtreme two coaches over, Doug and Amanda, are a really nice younger couple who are full timers. Doug does computer work from wherever he is and Amanda is a professional opera singer.  We have been out to dinner with them and have done the show and tell thing back and forth.  We were talking last night about where we have been.  Amanda is from St Louis and has a good friend with whom she went to school for two years in Italy.  Her friend’s family lives two doors down from our former house in St Paul.  Go figure.
Another week here. A day at the factory for a service bit and then a visit to the beauty spa for the coach.  Fluff and buff. We will be gleaming!
More later.
Roger and Susan