Deming, NM, February, 2017

We have been to Deming before but this time it is on purpose, two nights at the Dream Catcher RV Park.   It is just over an hour from Las Cruces. It is an OK park, easy to get into and out of, an adequate laundry and good water and power.  A lot of folks here are here for a long time, maybe the winter, maybe forever.  And that leaves the whole center section for the short-term visitors.  Almost everyone that came in on the day we did were gone the next day and replaced by new folks.  

So why would anyone stop in Deming?  Rockhound State Park is a well known destination for rock heads looking for the perfect rock.  And there are lots of rocks.  Lots of rocks! What many are looking for are the hollow geodes.  They find the geodes that have filled in and discard them.  My somewhat distant relatives in Falls City, OR, think the other way.  They want the filled-in geodes so this is like easy pickings for them.  

And the Luna County History Museum.  One of the best of this kind of museum we have ever seen.

And the Spanish Stirrup Ranch, a stone’s throw from Rockhound State Park.  It was Dude Ranch from the 1940’s to the mid 70’s.  Some might call it a Guest Ranch.  Susan stayed here in the 1950’s with her family an a vacation.  Her brother insists it was a “Working Ranch” where you have to work for food. Riding, roping, branding and bronco busting.   I can just see 12 year old Frank busting a bronco.  Probably a bit of each depending on your selective recollections.  Susan remembered it as Guest Ranch.

Rockhound State Park

Rockhound State Park is about 12 miles SE of Deming. We were going to stay there but there was no room.  A busy park and pretty much full all winter.

There was a nice Visitor’s Center with a guy who looked like he had been there for a long time.  He was nice and helpful.  There was a display about all of the plants in the area and how the native tribes used then for food, materials for building, baskets, tools and other things, medicines for all sorts of ailments and clothing.  Everything had a purpose and nothing was wasted.


The campground was up on the hillside.  Nice sites with water and electric.  Another $14/night State Park.

We went to diner one night at the Adobe Deli.  It was all talked up in the local info.  It was a long drive out into nowhere and a pretty crusty bar with food.  The service was very slow and the food not particularly good. Don’t go there.  They did have a stuffed alligator, bear and other animals. 


After visiting the Luna County History Museum we had lunch as Si Señor’s.  A much, much better meal.

Spanish Stirrup Ranch

Susan visited the Spanish Stirrup Ranch when she was youngster. It was run by the May family. The ranch is still there, not quite as it was.  All of the Mays are gone and there is no one following them.  Some years ago the ranch house was turned into a Rock Shop.  When we visited it was closed.

Clovis May was leading guests on horseback rides when he was only 8. And this is what Susan remembers the ranch looking like.


This photo shows the ranch in operation after 27 years, probably in the late 50’s based on the cars in the picture.  Looks like a helicopter right out of M*A*S*H.


Chili? Hot dogs? Burgers?  Susan though maybe beef stew with biscuits.   I’ll bet it was great!

The May boys were big into Ranch Sports – Rodeo, Bronco Riding and Bull Riding.  Harley was National College Rodeo Champ.


These photos were all at the Luna County History Museum along with much more about the Spanish Stirrup Ranch.  

Luna County History Museum

The main reason we stopped in Demming was for a return to the Luna County History Museum.  This really is one of the best of these we have seen.  Luna County has been through many changes over the years.  There were periods of logging, ranching and cattle and mining. Even a gold rush. It was an Army air base before WWII and during WWII it was a bombardier training center that trained more than 12,000 servicemen and women. Today Deming is growing slightly, lots of folks retire here and it is a popular destination for rock hounds.

Here are some things that caught my eye this time through …

From the Spanish Stirrup Ranch.

This painting is amazing.

More than 1000 dolls in this collection including the Roosevelts.

And a Governor.  Amazing.

Quilts and textiles from the 1800’s.


The dining room was set for Valentine’s Day.


And modern day computers, ready to go.

If you’re going west, be sure to go by way of Deming.  Stay a couple days, visit the downtown, try some of the local diners and visit the museum. Be prepared to immerse yourself in the history of the people who called this area home for more than 1000 years.  It is worth the time.

More later,

Roger and Susan

 

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