Thursday, November 20, 2008

Clarence Walking

In Mesilla, which used to be a Mexican village just south of the Border, but became part of Las Cruces after the Gadsden purchase. Note the Jeep in the background, you can't see how dusty it is.

Monday, November 17, 2008

In Las Cruces

We decided to take a road trip. Thought it would be fun to go the back way into Mogollon from Magdalena. We took 52 to 169, and then had a bit of trouble. One part of the road was closed for construction, but a fellow using a gigantic backhoe to separate rocks from dirt (he was dumping the mixture onto an angled steel cage, so the dirt would fall through, and the rocks would roll down into a pile) told us we could go ahead. The most exciting part of the trip then ensued.

We had at one point to wait for a grader to smooth out a recently dumped truckload of dirt. That was the one time the Liberty had to go into 4wd, though there were plenty of other occasions that the clearance came in handy. As we were leaving the construction area, we noticed a fellow on a quad who was rather deliberately in the middle of the road. Perhaps his friend was the foreman, at any rate he asked us if we had any business there. Of course the answer was no, but I did mention that although I did not want to get anyone in trouble, we had been told that since we had 4wd we could go through. He said "That would be Jim" (IIRC) and then asked us not to come back that way since the road was closed.

There is a cute little hotel in Magdalena that we stopped at the first night, figuring that it would be a long way through Mogollon to Silver City. The High Country Lodge is rated #1 of 2 hotels in Magdalena, which is saying a lot. But when you are there you should definitely ask if Mike is around, because he has an amazing mineral collection in his room. Most of it came from the ridge above Magdalena, where he has partners with mining claims.

Spent the night in Silver City, then drove here, stopping in Rockhound State park south of Deming long enough to collect a few rocks of interest. If you are in that part of the state it is worth a visit, there was a great deal of Jasper and obsidian about, some of which seemed to have some other minerals mixed in. Lots of Geodes too, but we didn't find any, unless a couple of unlikely looking rocks are in fact full of crystal.

Just south of our hotel is old Mesilla, which used to be part of Mexico until the Gadsden purchase. It is not an old old town, it was founded after the Mexican-American war, because it was on the border at that time. There is some history there for all that, Billy the Kid was tried and sentenced to die there. Of course he escaped from Jail later, and was hunted down by Pat Garrett, but those things happened in another part of New Mexico.

Did some shopping today, there is a good knife store in town, and the Mesilla Valley Mall has a Western store that is running a sale. Shopping was definitely not what we had in mind for the trip, so that was a sort of a surprise.

Today we went to some of the agricultural towns further south of here, saw cotton fields (outrageous given the limited availability of water here) and pecan orchards. Took some pictures, will have one or two up later.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Cautiously Optimistic

On Wednesday Morning, the day after the election, I went outside to get the paper. The sky was overcast and a few drops of unseasonable rain were falling. The Wall Street Journal was not in its accustomed place at the end of the driveway, and a Raven cawed at me mockingly. Turning to my iPhone I discovered that the Market was down 125 points. By the end of the day, it was down over 400 points.

Later Wednesday I went by Ron Peterson guns, figuring that would be an interesting place to visit. There was a big crowd there; I had to wait for a space to open up in the parking lot. As I left I noticed a woman with a big camera and a notebook. She had a Press Pass from the Journal around her neck. Figured there would be a short piece on the store in the paper in a day or two. Yesterday that article was on page one! There were some rather scary quotes from customers who fear that Obama will outlaw guns and ammunition both. The market was down another 400 odd points yesterday.

Despite all that I am Cautiously Optimistic. During the election campaign it was distressing to me the way people would paint Obama in the colors that they wanted to see him. Liberals were excited about Left-wing Judges, and his anti-war stance. Moderates and social conservatives pointed to his words on parental responsibility. I felt obliged to support McCain because he was a known quantity, and much of what I knew I liked. It seemed irresponsible to pin so much on Hoping that Obama was what I wanted.

Now he is President-Elect, so like the rest of the country I must hope so, or despair. Figuring out his core values has been for me a bit like reading tea leaves, or like the good old days of Kremlinology. Obama's choice of Rahm Emmanuel and other Clinton administration veterans has given me much of the real support for optimism, given the Clinton era's Balanced Budgets and Free Trade Agreements.

Here's hoping!