Saturday, October 31, 2015

Fort Selden at Radium Springs, New Mexico


This photo shows and old abandoned gas station and general store. At present, the only store in the town of Radium Springs is a Family Dollar.

Fort Selden was established in 1865 to protect the trade route to Sante Fe and the surrounding valley from the Indians. Unfortunately, the residents of the fort and the residents of the town did not get along very well and there were reports of some of the troopers being "murdered" there, possibly by townspeople or troopers themselves, under the influence of "poisonous liquors" sold to them by townspeople.

Soldiers at this fort were called troopers, and included units of black men known as "Buffalo Soldiers". The troopers built the fort from adobe bricks with cottonwood logs covered by brush and mud for roofs. Life was rough during this era, and some recipies concocted by the cooks at the fort were posted in the museum.

The "Artillery Pie" was made from 8 pounds of bread, 4 dozen apples, 1 pound of suet and 2 pounds of sugar. The bread would be dipped into the melted fat and then layered with the apples and sugar in a pan, then baked.

Another delicious meal called "Cannon Balls" consisted of 6 pounds of flour 1.5 pounds of suet, 3 pints of molasses and 1 pint of water. This would be all mixed up, after chopping the suet. After mixing, it would be formed into soft balls which were tied separately in pieces of cloth and boiled. These could be kept for up to a year. 

Sometimes fresh vegetables would be available, along with some pork or bacon, beans, rice or hominy. Not much variety and I can imagine the above two recipies would not have been favorites!

The prison at the Fort was constructed differently from the barracks and other buildings. The remaining sections of walls show that they were constructed with thick walls of rocks.

There was a shiny cannon in the museum, I'm not sure if it's a replica, but it sure looks in great condition.

The fort was abandoned in the early 1890s and has been deteriorating since then. Efforts have been made to support the portions of walls still standing, as you can see in the photo below.

As in another area I explored this year, they have trained the rattlers to stay off the trails for us. These signs seem to work, since I have not seen rattlers in any of the places where these signs are posted.  Of course, I have yet to see a rattler out here that has not been in captivity!  That's surprising with all the hiking I've been doing.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Hatch, New Mexico - Land of Chile

I've been staying at Elephant Butte Lake State Park in Truth or Consequences with a couple friends this week.  One of them had a great idea that we should travel down the road a bit to a place called Hatch.
Hatch is an area in southwestern New Mexico where most of the green and red chiles are grown. 
This product is an important staple in this state and one that New Mexico residents are proud of.  If you order chile in this state, don't expect to get chili with meat and beans that you'd find almost anywhere else.  You're going to get red or green chile here!  And it's spelled with an e on the end instead of an i!  It comes in degrees of hotness and red it the HOT one.  It can be chopped up and added to food or prepared as a sauce or salsa.  They are also used in Chile Rellenos.  They are also commonly used as a decoration, which you can see hanging in these photos.  The photo above is one of the many chile sale locations in Hatch and the photo below is the owner roasting some green chiles. 
This seems to be the most popular, well-known restaurant in town.  Unfortunately, when we went down, it was closed for the day.
This is right across the street from the restaurant and it seems that the owner of the restaurant wants to line the parking lot with giant-sized statues.
The side of the building is lined with old signs.
A short drive down the street is an RV sales lot.  We decided to pull in to check things out, and saw this old Airstream  -  a bad day for camping.

We had a great lunch there and after exploring town, had some ice cream at one of the little stores.  Great day trip!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Why is My Truck Making That Screeching Noise?


The other day, I pulled into an RV park, set up my trailer and unhooked from my truck. Since it was still early in the day, I decided to go exploring. The campground was down a half mile dirt road, so I had to go back down the road to get to the two lane paved road leading to town. 

As soon as I pulled out onto the paved road, my truck started making a screeching noise. I had not gotten up to any speed yet, so I stopped and then started up again. It still screeched - sounding like metal dragging on metal. A noise worse than fingernails on a blackboard! I pulled to the side of the road and decided I didn't want drive any more since whatever it was, it was most likely doing damage. So, I called my roadside assistance and they sent a flatbed truck to tow me to a fixit shop down the road about 12 miles.

After my truck was unloaded at the shop, a mechanic got in to drive it and check it out. He backed out of the lot and took it around the block. When he got back, he told me he didn't hear a thing. Oh, sure, the old story about mechanical things not making the noise when the mechanic is there to check it out!

He put the truck on the lift to check the wheels - bearings, brakes, tie rods and whatever else is in the area of the wheels. He couldn't find anything. Then he told me what it most likely was - and showed me how it could happen. He said that since I had gone down a dirt/gravel road just before the incident, it was most likely a stone that got picked up and wedged in between the disc part of the brake and the housing. He checked my brake discs and said that they didn't look damaged. He said that it's more common than you'd think, he even had it happen to his own truck going down the interstate. The cure for it is to back up for a short way and the stone should dislodge. Then I remembered that he backed out of the lot to test it out.

Since that day, I have put quite a few miles on the truck, even towing my 5th wheel a short way. I have not heard any noise! I am SO glad that nothing was mechanically wrong, since he told me that if it had been a bearing, the fix would have cost about $500! I had no idea that truck bearings would be so expensive!

If this happen again, you can be sure I'll back up a short way to see if that cures the noise!

Meanwhile, here are a couple photos from my walk down to the Elephant Butte Lake this morning - after two days of rain, lightning and thunder.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Desert Scenery

I stopped for a couple days at an RV park in the middle of nowhere - no towns nearby, just an easy stop off the interstate going south in New Mexico.  While I was there, I took a drive around the area and found some interesting sights.  The above building was in a very small town about 15 miles away.  I have no idea what it was, but it was an interesting and well-built building.
This structure was up on a hill near the deserted building.  I couldn't get any closer because it was all fenced off but it was owned by a church, according to the mailbox.
The poor Post Office has seen it's better days, but at least they built a nice new one on a street nearby that will last for years to come.

Someone took time and effort to carve an image in this dead tree trunk and then paint it.  A nice little piece of artwork for his yard.
The Rio Grande!  Sure must have been bigger when they gave it that name! 
This one lane bridge was on the road past the RV park.  It doesn't look like it's very sturdy and it does have a weight limit. 
This is a common scene in the desert far from big cities.  Sad looking manufactured homes that had seen better days some years ago.

So, that was a short afternoon drive through the area I was staying in for a few days.  There are some days we don't see breathtaking sights, but just everyday sights.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Santa Fe, New Mexico

While we weren't photographing hot air balloons during the Fiesta, a few of us took the Rail Runner train to Santa Fe to explore for the day. The train stopped at a few local areas and we were so happy not driving for a change. And it's always fun to have a train ride.

While we were wandering around town, we found a farmers' market with lot of colorful fruits and vegetables, as well as flowers and freshly made bread. This area is famous for the chiles you can see in the photo below. They spell it "chile".

When we found the central plaza, we visited numerous stores and had lunch on a balcony overlooking the plaza. That's the first time ever that I've had a pulled pork sandwich that had hot BBQ sauce!

Loretto Chapel in town that has a free-standing circular staircase made from wood and does not contain any nails or screws.  During the late 1800s, a craftsman built the entire thing by himself using dowels and wood plugs, with primitive tools and non native wood.  Even today, the identity of the carpenter is still unknown. The stairway was originally built without a railing, but one was added years later.

As we started walking back to the train station, we got a little lost, but found this painted wall.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta - Last Evening

This was part of the grand finale of the 2015 Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.  A couple of us went down to the park and saw the balloons up close.  It was a mass of humanity, but being close to the balloons being blown up was worth it. 
This was one of the more unique ways of getting the balloons out to the field.   You can see the basket in the back, since they hadn't unloaded it yet. 
After it got too dark for pictures - more fireworks!!  Then - ice cream!

This event was great fun! 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta - Special Shapes

The other day at the Balloon Fiesta Park, the theme was special shapes.  Of the 500-600 hot air balloons in this Fiesta this year, I don't know how many special shaped balloons there were.  These are only a few of the balloons we saw.  It was great fun!