Back to Texas, Late February, 2022

We tried to get more time at McDowell Mountain but it just wasn’t going to work. We heard about a new tool that checks for openings in reservation systems and it works well. It is called Wandering Labs. Check it out.

We planned to leave McDowell Mountain and drive north to I40 at Flagstaff and drive east to Albuquerque then north to Santa Fe. We had reservations at the Trailer Ranch in Santa Fe. They weren’t actually open, but they said they had a spot for us, just call when we arrived. We have stayed there before. It has been there since the 1950’s as I recall, back when most RVers had trailers. I am sure it was way out of town then but today is in the middle of town and right at a bus stop. Walkout, get on the bus and watch Santa Fe go by. Soon you are at the Rail Yard and train depot or just a bit further to the downtown bus stop. It is a block to the Plaza or just steps away to a different bus line going anywhere, the Museum Hill for example. It is a pleasant and safe ride. No parking issues in the Plaza area.

Best laid plans, you know. We watch the weather closely and after a colder than normal winter in Arizona, the weather for 10 days was showing significant storms along I40 eastbound, even up to Flagstaff at almost 7,000 ft and all the way to Albuquerque. The weather in Santa Fe looked OK, around freezing at night, 50ish during the day. But getting there looked more challenging than we were expecting.

We called to see if we could get in a week early at Fredericksburg RV Park and were surprised that we could. So we made that reservation and canceled the Santa Fe reservation. We were disappointed. Santa Fe is one of our favorite stops, always a pleasure to be there. The people, the weather, the food, everything, are all nice. We try to get there every couple of years, we are over due. We have been regular visitors since 1980.

We went the safe way back to Texas. South from McDowell Mountain back towards Tucson and then east through Texas Canyon heading for Deming. We stayed in Deming for two nights thinking we could visit one of our favorite local history museums, The Deming Luna Mimbres Museum.

This is a museum we have been to several times. It is big and complex. A wide range of historical events, people, ancient indigenous cultures and much more. This is a museum worth a day or more. Unfortunately, the days we chose to stop were days the museum was closed.

So we relaxed, read, cleaned a bit, and went to Si Senór for lunch. It was Sunday and the after-church diners were just finishing up. We enjoyed the families, mostly multi-generation, all dressed up in dresses and sports coats with clean, pressed jeans, and cowboy boots. There was a lot of family pride that day, just another Sunday. It was almost as good as an afternoon at the museum.

One of the interesting things we learned was that many of the young men from Deming and Luna County were soldiers in the 200th and 515 Coast Artillery Regiments. This was like a National Guard unit before World War II. They were activated in 1939 and sent to the Philippines. When the war started Japan soon invaded the Philippines and thousands of American service people and tens of thousands of Philippine people were captured and forced to march to a prisoner of war camp. It was the Bataan Death March. More than half of all prisoners died on the March. Demming and Luna County had a total of 39 men that died during the Bataan March and 53 men that were fortunate enough to be liberated. It was a huge blow to the community to lose so many of their young men.

And just last week we heard a story on local TV about the 64 men in the 194th Tank Battalion who left Brainerd with Company A in 1940 also bound for the Philippines. Like the men from Deming, about half died in the Bataan Death March, while the other half returned home to Minnesota. All except one who remains missing to this day. And for that family, there is an on-going search for remains in many of the unmarked graves along the trail of the Death March.

We discover new and meaningful things everywhere we go, and even at home. Stories of people, places and communities. Important to them and us as well.

Next an overnight in Fort Stockton and then on to Fredericksburg.

More Later, Much Love,

Roger and Susan