Sunday, May 22, 2011

Socorro: Camino Real and the Unreal Fort Craig

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge
[2010 Out West Road Trip.  Travels with Carol.]

In March 2010, my mother, Carol, and I took a road trip from Missouri to New Mexico, in search of sun and warmth. Here is Day 15 of our road trip. 

Wednesday, 17 march 10

We're both pretty tired out this evening. And alas, we're in a kind of ... disappointing ... hotel room. We could have moved, but we just didn't have it in us to pick everything up and carry it to another room.  
Craftsman at Camino Real Center
We left T or C about 9:30 after a good breakfast at the Happy Belly Deli. Drove up I-25 toward Socorro, when we saw signs for the Camino Real Center, and we stopped. Wow, what a surprise! This place is pretty much in the middle of nowhere - and it is intended to be such, to give people an idea of what it was like to travel on the Camino Real (the royal road) during the 400 years in which it was active between Mexico and New Mexico. Beautifully designed, the exhibits are presented in interesting ways, and you are led in a natural progression through the exhibit rooms. 

Camino Real Center
There is a pretty outdoor area that includes a desert garden. The property abuts Ted Turner's Armendaris Ranch. In re: the location -- a historian who helped get the center off the ground walked 30 miles in the area to find just the right spot.  as our destination.
We subsequently went to another unplanned stop: Fort Craig. I'll let Carol share that story. 
From Fort Craig, we proceeded to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Fascinating place, even when the bird population is not as huge as it is other times of the year. In addition to lots of ducks and geese, we saw white egrets, HUGE herons - a HERD of heron - plus roadrunners, pelicans, and a sort of brown egret or heron we were unable to identify. Additionally, Carol saw an animal on her wish list - mule deer. Evidently, bobcats have been seen frequently lately. We were advised as well that mountain lions had been sighted and that we should not walk alone. 
Along the way from some point A to point B today, we saw a longhorn chew on something plastic. 
The motel is a Howard Johnson and apparently we got the last available room in Socorro as there is some sort of Christian Revival or Meeting in town.  Just because the showerhead (one of those kind that have tubes leading from the faucets to the working end) is tied with string, microwave but no refrig, a phone that doesn't seem to work right, no working light over sink and very early we got someone else's wake up call (M's side of the bed), the place doesn't seem too bad to me.  The situation on Fort Craig in a few words -- didn't exist except for placards at intervals describing what we were not seeing i.e. one indicating "this was the parade ground located behind the enlisted mens' quarters".  The brochure showed what I expected to be seeing...the fort.  The parking area was distant and high flora prevented the eye from seeing the nothing it was.  St Patrick's Day yesterday.  We ate at a K-Bar and I ordered a baked potato with all kindsof good stuff on it and when it came I saw the biggest potato ever seen - about 10 inches long spilling forth butter, sour cream, scallions, bacon bits and broccoli.  Ate most of it to my shame and can only say it was in honor of the special day and the fact I was tired of rice.  Today we will tour the active Church San Miguel featured in Bishop Lamy's sojourn in the 1600s, as New Mexico was his diocese.  The main character in Willa Cather's Death Comes For the Archbishop is patterned after his remarkable history. 

Very little of the original interior remains of course.  Am hearing some ominous clunks from the transmission and the nice proprietor at this motel checked the fluid for me which was full.  M not as concerned but I would hate to breakdown in the desolate mountain roads.


FROM HOLSTEIN BOY: hearing some ominous clunks from the hallway, will send Mzuri to take a look...oh noooo it's Georgia O'Keefe and she wants to show us some awful paintings.

FROM SHILO GIRL: hearing some ominous clunks and squeaks at home, coming from the basement....too scared to go look.  will stay close to the unlocked back door while watch the stairs.  ready to run out of the house at the first sight of the top of someone's head!  will run with or without Shiloh!  I will leave the door open for her.  its every man for himself! 
I watch way too many scary things on tv!
heard a little rumble from the kitchen.  Shiloh and I just looked at each other then settled back down. 

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