Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Shakespeare and the New Mexico Border

We're nearing the end of the trip and plan to see what we can of another great old ghost town - Shakespeare, before making our way back eastward along the New Mexico border to El Paso.

We head southwest from Silver City, knowing that we won't be able to tour Shakespeare, as they are only open designated weekends and by appointment. We, of course, didn't make an appointment, because we never know exactly where we're going to be at any given time. But, I had read that this privately owned ghost town could be seen from the road and was determined to at least get a glimpse of it. As we drive up to the gate we see the expected sign designating that it is closed and giving more information on visiting. However, there is also a very nice lady going into the gate that we get to visiting with. Helen Foster is writing a book about Janaloo Hill, the owner of Shakespeare before she died a short time ago. Her husband, Manny Hough, continues to preserve the Shakespeare and runs a working ranch. A very nice lady, I asked if it was ok to walk along the fence line and take some photos of the old place. When she indicated that would be ok, I headed up the hill for a better view and some photo opportunities. Next thing we know, she's running up from the house, waving her arms. Manny has decided we can visit after all. What a great surprise. We were not only given the opportunity to visit with Manny and find out more of Helen's work as a writer, but were also allowed to tour all of the buildings. There is just nothing better than having a ghost town to yourself. No waiting for people to get out of the way for pictures, lots of answers to questions, and an all around great time!!

That was a wonderful opportunity and we are so grateful to Manny and Helen for providing this wonderful opportunity. See more about Shakespeare HERE!

Next we head west to Steins, New Mexico, another preserved ghost town. Though it appears that this place may be "open" sometimes, it was shut down hard on our visit. Fenced in and filled with weeds and old vehicles, even its sign was fading. Perhaps it's no longer open at all. It was very hard to tell, but at any rate, got off some photos and we were on the road again. Heading due south along the Arizona border, we then turn eastward on New Mexico Highway 9 to make our way to El Paso. A very lonely stretch of road.

We soon run into another ghost town, this one very sad and lonely -- Hachita. An old railroad town that supported some of the nearby mines, it was once in the midst of Pancho Villa territory. Today, there are a few remaining residents, lots of abandoned buildings, and no open businesses.

As we continue on, it is apparent that we are close to the border, as the only vehicles we pass on this lonely road are Border Patrol SUV's and every few miles or so, we spy tall extended things with little platforms at the top, that apparently allow them to see the area around the border. For a while, we chase the white dot in the sky, as Dave has decided it is most certainly a UFO. Later, he finds out it some type of "super-sonic" surveillance system utilized by the border patrol.

We eventually wind up at Pancho Villa State Park and the site of U.S. Military post, Camp Furlong in Columbus, New Mexico.

Done for the day, we head on into El Paso and hotel. Tomorrow, it's back to Kansas City and the cold, cold, cold.

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