Sunday, November 18, 2012

DAY 87- Truth or Consequence to Sliver City...

I got an early start for the day.  I had almost a 6 hour drive ahead of me planned for the day.  I’m trying to pick up the pace just a bit because I want to be in Dallas for Thanksgiving.  I headed south on I-25.  The landscape changed over the next two hours from distant mountains to flat barren desert like to rolling hills with distant mountains.  There was even one section of between that was referred to by the Spanish as “No Man’s Land” in that many a man had died trying to cross this stretch of land.  I could see how because even with the interstate cutting straight through it; there seemed to be a mirror image of the same land on both sides.  I could see where with no roads or any landmarks one could get easily lost in this area.
Photo- The flags flying high in Truth or Consequence, NM.
At exit 79, I had almost arrived at my first destination of the day.  I was in the town of Truth or Consequence.  Yes, that’s the actual real name of a town in New Mexico.  I drove along through town past the Geronimo Springs Museum and over to the Veterans Memorial Park.  It’s a plot of land just off of the main drag area that has been dedicated to all veterans.  It is only 3 years old.  It started with one of the Veteran’s Memorial Traveling Wall (the “Walls that Heal”) that needed a home that the state of New Mexico bought and a group of businessmen in the area that decided that this town was to be that home; and it grew from there and is still growing.  The land was donated and people have donated their time and energies to help make this into what it is and hopefully into what it will become one day too.

I pulled in and parked.  I walked along a sidewalk where there are bricks with names of those who have served and lost their lives.  Some had flowers or other items setting just off the side of the bricks.  In the center before you get to the traveling wall there’s a grouping of flag poles with flags.  At the center of and the tallest is the US Flag with a POW-MIA flag directly beneath it. Then I walked along the traveling wall that now has a permanent home.  The names; and there are so many of them.  It left me speechless and a little bit emotional that so many have died for our country. 
Photo- Part of the Educational Walk at the Veterans Memorial Park.

Next, I walked around that wall to an area that’s called the Educational Walk.  This walk is in the shape of star of a Congressional Medal of Honor with a globe and eagle serving as the guardian to this walk area.  On this walk there are pedestals with plaques for each of the wars that happened to make our country what it is today.  It starts with a plaque about the Revolutionary war and goes to present day wars.  Quite a few of these wars have the stats on how many died and how many were wounded.  The last of which is blank except for the name of the conflict which I saw as a very powerful statement that this is not at an end.
Photo- Inside the Hamilton Military Museum.

I then walked into the Hamilton Military Museum; where they were two volunteers waiting to greet me and answer any questions that I may have.  This museum is a living memorial to those that served in the armed forces.  There’s letters, uniforms, artifacts, and pieces of history that are preserved for generations to come.  I guess that parts of it change from time to time too.  It was all very interesting but I found myself kind of reacting emotionally to all of these people having died for our country and I made a quick donation in the jar and left.
Photo- Some of the scenery on the way to Hillsboro.

Off down interstate I went.  I turned off on exit 63 and onto a back road Hwy 152.  I was on my way to Silver City, NM which I had been told was an artistic area.  The road went up and down.  There were several signs that said look out for running water; a new sign for me.  The speed limit dropped and the road became curvy and, of course, scenic.   The speed limit dropped down to 25 mph and I entered Hillsboro, a small hamlet amid a mountainous rocky terrain.  A cop car was parked midway through the town with no cop in it.  A few local people waved as I went through the area.  I waved back.  I didn’t know these people from Adam but why not wave back too?
Photo- The rocky landscape and curvy roads between Hillsboro and Sliver City.

After Hillsboro, the road became even curvier and started to climb and climb and climb.  I was driving through the Gila National Forest.  The terrain was rocky with a forest of juniper trees with prickly pear cactus scattered among them here and there.  I thought it was gorgeous.  The speed limit was between 15mph to 25 mph because of the curves.  Every now and then a truck or car would come from the other direction.  Quite a few of them would be waving as we drove past each other.  It was just the local people in the run down vehicles because the BMW’s and the Mercedes just turned their nose at you.  This friendliness was rather nice, inviting, and refreshing.
Photo- The trees are getting taller as I move further up the mountainous terrain.

I was driving in the nose bleed section of these mountains and the view was gorgeous.  The trees got taller and changed into evergreen trees.  I did a bit more climbing in my car and then I was going over Emery Pass.  I could see for miles over my right shoulder just before I went through the pass.  Amazing!  Then, the road descended with curves and all.  There was more waving from locals and a guy on a motorcycle.  The landscape changed back to shorter juniper trees with cactus.  Then, I saw cyclists and slowed.  The road was very narrow and had no shoulder at all in quite a few places.  But with the views and the challenge of climbing, I couldn’t blame the cyclists for being up here.  It would be a great place to cycle.
Photo- Oh the amazing view between the trees as you get closer to the top!

Soon, the road widened and I was at a junction with Hwy 180.  I turned right towards Sliver City.  As I am traveling along on the south side of the road are carved mountains with all kinds of copper and rust colors.  It looks like a mine.  Off on the left I see a viewing area for the mine and I pull into it.  It’s the Santa Rita Copper Mine which claims it is the oldest operating mine in the country.  It’s a pretty good sized hole in the ground and I wonder how it compares with the Kennecott Copper Mine just outside of Salt Lake City.  I took a couple of pictures while 4 older guys there standing looking and talking together; the women are sitting in the cars.
Photo- The Santa Rosa Mine the oldest operating mine in the US.

I jumped back in the car and continue on to Sliver City.  I follow the signs to the Main Street Historic District.  You know, there seems to be a slight correlation between historic district areas and artists.  Why is that?  Maybe us artists are drawn to them?  I park the car and started to walk along the street.  I get several “HI’s” from what I gather are locals.  Boy, they are a friendly lot here.  I walk down one side to another.  It’s about 4pm and some of the shops are already closed even though by their hours they should be opened.  I went into a couple of shops. 
Photos- Older colorful buildings in Sliver City, NM.
One shop I went into, I overheard the guy saying on the phone that he can’t close up just yet cuz he has customers.  I went into a jewelry shop with very inexpensive prices.  I couldn’t pass up pairs of earrings for $3 to $5 per pair.  I spent $15 and got 4 pairs of wonderful earrings.  I talked with the clerk and he had moved from California.  He’s semi-retired and just does this to keep himself busy more than anything.  The people are very nice here he said.  I told him about the waving and he said yes that’s the locals.  They are courteous drivers too he said.  I continued on but more and more of the shops were closed.  I went into a textile crafts and art shop.  I talked with the clerk there too.  It was about the same things.  How friendly the people are and that’s why her husband and she moved here.  They were in California.
Photo- Interesting artistic details that they do to the buildings in Sliver City, NM.

I headed back to my car and drove towards Deming where my hotel was for the night.  I watched the flat area between Sliver City and Deming change from dusk to pitch black night.  There wasn’t much out in this area at all.

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