New Mexico; Gila Ruins, Geezer Grass: New Truck and Trailer

On the return leg from our summer travels, Dave and I talked about future trips. Since we continue to enjoy camping and have many places yet to visit, it seemed a good idea to look for a bigger trailer. Dave contacted the Scottsdale Airstream dealer and set up an appointment. We looked at everything they had and decided on a 25 foot Airstream International. The dealership was happy to take Bambi Luci in trade.

Compared to the Bambi, Luci II seems spacious.

After test driving two brands of truck, we bought a Toyota Tundra.

It fits in our garage! We had been so satisfied with our Tacoma that deciding on another Toyota was easy.

Back at the Airstream dealership we had a thorough run through of all the systems inside and out by a technician while a new Blue Ox hitch system was installed on our truck. We drove it home, loaded it with a few things and drove up to Flagstaff to Fort Tuthill State Park Campground for a test run. Everything worked great!

The extendable side mirrors on the truck are so nice, no forgetting to install mirrors. The built in solar panels keep the Airstream batteries well charged in Arizona’s sunny climate.

An invitation to Geezer Grass gave us another opportunity to get out of town for a week in New Mexico. On I-10, the Texas Canyon rest area east of Benson, AZ was a good place to stop and have lunch and stretch our legs. The boulders there reminded us of Vedawoo in Wyoming.

We spent three days in Silver City, NM at the Rose Valley RV Park. It had gravel pads and privacy planting’s, wi-fi, a laundry and bathhouse. I enjoyed hiking around the park watching birds and looking at the vegetation and flowers.

I put out my little hummingbird feeder and soon was seeing hummers. The park was near the Memory Lane cemetery. It was interesting to see a cemetery so different from those in the Midwest.

We drove to the Gila Ruins which was north of Silver City. It took two hours to reach on twisty roads that were often one lane wide. The mountains were beautiful.

We stopped at the Gila Ruins visitor center before going to the ruins. This was once Apache territory. Geronimo and Cochise lived in these mountains. The US infantry chased the Apache all over this area before finally subduing and confining them to a reservation.

These yucca, cholla, poppies and wildflowers were at the visitor center and were typical of the vegetation in this part of NM.

The Gila Ruins are cliff dwellings of the Ancient People. We drove about a mile to the trail and walked a mile up the trail to the Ruins. It skirted Gila Creek switching back and forth across the creek. Nice bridges and benches made the trail pleasant. The Creek was gurgling and birds were singing. It was early in the day so not yet hot. As we neared the Ruins the trail ascended the cliff. A switchback gave us a good look at the caves where the Ancient Ones lived.

We learned from the literature at the visitor center that when the dwellings were constructed, the valley was not as deep as it is now and crops could be planted along the creek. Pottery shards and corn cobs remain in the cliff dwelling living areas and granaries. We were able to climb into the Ruins but were instructed not to touch the fragile structures. A Ranger was on hand in the cliff dwellings to answer questions.

We have visited Mesa Verde, Acoma Pueblo, Canyon de Chelly and now the Gila Ruins and we are still fascinated by these Ancients who lived and raised families in the Southwest.

This lizard was cooling off in the shade on the end of a log. We saw it on the way back down the trail. We have seen lots of lizards but had never seen this kind before.

Taking another route back to Silver City, we could see one of the two huge open pit mines in operation here. Silver City has an active Main Street with many art galleries and antique stores. It also has the Big Ditch which was dug along the original Main Street after floods swept through. Now the ditch takes care of monsoon rain runoff. We walked along the Main Street and took Corrine Garey’s advice to eat at at Jalisco’s restaurant. Spicy New Mexican cuisine!

On Friday we relocated to Howard and Aija Blevins ranchette between Silver City and Lordsburg. Glenn and Monika Hamilton (mandolin and bass) from Las Cruces had their motor coach situated next to a picking tent. Glen helped us maneuver into our spot and a bit later Tex Dasher (guitar) from nearby arrived parking his fifth wheel trailer. Kent Nelson (banjo) from Las Cruces and Gerry Szostak (dobro) from Albuquerque occupied one of Howard’s camping trailers. The pickers started picking and only stopped for burgers provided by the Blevins neighbor, Tom and his wife.

Tex, a banjo player from Chandler, AZ, and Mike (guitar) from El Paso are picking and singing. Claudia White, behind Mike, came all the way from Ojai, CA to visit and enjoy the music. Picking and singing, visiting and eating continued for three days.

Tex, Kent, Howard, Glenn and Gerry talk bluegrass before resuming playing.

Our campsite from the hill to the south.

Dave and Howard play for fiddler Dave Anderson who lives nearby. Dave A. was the New Mexico State champion fiddler and could play lots of tunes, some that Dave B. didn’t know. They had a good time sharing tunes and visiting.

It was a great weekend of bluegrass and fiddle music. We all left on Monday morning. We hope to see these folks again.


3 thoughts on “New Mexico; Gila Ruins, Geezer Grass: New Truck and Trailer

  1. I can’t wait to see the new rig. See you in Payson. I’m using Allegiant’s cheap rates to fly back from ND just for the contest. You have touched on two of my favorite topics: Silver City (where Corrine went to college) and Dave Anderson, one of my heroes. Unfortunately we don’t go to contests in NM much now and I miss seeing him. I’m glad you got quality time with him.


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