After the Balloon Fiesta we headed south to Las Cruces. We are spending a month each
in several towns in the Southwest to check out living conditions and entertainment.
Monthly rental of an RV space is much cheaper than weekly and much, much cheaper
than daily. So we are “homesteading” and running around the surrounding area on the
bike or in the car, depending on the weather.
Las Cruces is about a half hour north of El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico. We arrived
a bit before the American holiday Halloween and the Mexican holiday of Dias de Los
Muertos. We had celebrated the Mexican holiday in Guadalajara about 15 years ago
and are familiar with it. We reserved a room in a local hotel in Juarez for the 31st
of Oct. and 1st of Nov. We took the bike and rode down across the border. We went
to the famous Kentucky Bar and Grill on Halloween and found this guy. The head is
really his head and the shoulders the costume. He was begging money for an “operation”.
We donated our loose change.
The bar was open during our Prohibition mainly to serve Americans. It has served
many famous actors and politicians. And the bar claims to have invented the Margarita.
A point of interest in this bar is the trough that runs along the base of the bar
in front of the stools. Before Prohibition the bar served the working classes of
men. The guys would not want to lose their place at the bar when the beer they had
consumed wanted out. They could use the trough without having to give up their place.
We asked around about celebrations for the Dias de Los Muertos. Nobody knew of any
in Juarez. We went on line and found several in El Paso and near Las Cruces on the
American side of the border. So we left a day early and visited the celebration in
La Mesilla, an early pueblo town, now a tourist destination.
Mexicans create “Ofrendas”, which are like altars celebrating the life of their deceased
relatives. These are often in a prominent place in their homes. This is a celebration
of life not a mourning of death. The ofrenda will have items that the relatives liked
along with depictions of skeletons and skulls. The skulls are often made of sugar
and highly decorated.
So as it turned out we did the American Halloween in Mexico and the Mexican Dias
de Los Muertos in the USA.
The following week we took another overnighter to the east to visit the grave of
Smokey Bear, the town of Roswell and Carlsbad Caverns. It was planned to use the
Wing because of the mountainous roads, but the weather turned to heavy rain, wind
and possible snow at the higher elevations. So we took the car. We still took the
mountain route to get to the town of Capitan where Smokey is buried. No point in
not enjoying the road even if it is in the car.
Smokey’s grave may not interest everyone but as a person who fought wildland fires
for 41 years, and was born in the same winter that Smokey was born, it was of interest
to me. There is a museum and a walking trail.
The trail passes the grave site and a memorial to fallen Wildland Firefighters as
it wanders through several display woodland landscapes.
We then drove back out into the desert and stayed in Roswell, the UFO capital of
the USA. We have already been to the UFO capital of Australia but have yet to see
a real UFO.
Roswell has several museums and displays, most of which we visited.
Next was the Carlsbad Caverns. They have ranger led tours but most people take the
self-guided tour. This is a paved walking trail that is mostly handicap accessible.
It is more than a mile long and takes a couple hours to traverse. We were early
on a mid-week day in October and nearly had the place to ourselves.
The following Saturday we went to the Local Chapter of GWRRA’s meeting. A member
had just had her Wing “triked” in the front end with a tilting double wheeled front.
I had seen ads for one but this was first time to see one live.
We are into early November and headed for Tucson for another month’s stay. The bike
is back on the trailer and we are ready to leave. Las Cruces has been fun but it
is time to check out a new town. We plan to spend a month in Tucson and then to Puerto
Penasco in northern Mexico for another month. That will put us into next year (2020)
for the next update. Please check back after the First of the year.