Tuesday, January 22, 2008

EPISODE NUMBER THIRTY - NEW MEXICO STILL

EPISODE NUMBER THIRTY – NEW MEXICO STILL

WITH PHOTOS

FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2008

It continues to be unseasonably cold here in Deming. For the past few days, the temperature high has been in the mid 40’s, going down to as low as 15 degrees F during the night. My waterline froze yesterday, and I have to say that it is not very pleasant here. Aside from brief forays outside with Ripley, I am forced to remain inside the RV and I am feeling a little stir-crazy.

RV’s are not exactly airtight, and it is difficult to be warm, especially at night. The furnace is not really intended to combat this type of cold. My ceramic electric heater helps, but in an effort to conserve propane, I turned the thermostat on the furnace down to 50 degrees last night and
woke up at 2:00 a.m. chilled.
Some of foliage to attract birds at LoW Hi Ranch

As I was awake anyway, I decided to watch one of the DVD’s that I had borrowed from Doris. I chose The Untouchables starring Kevin Costner, Robert DeNiro, Sean Connery and Andy Garcia. I’ve never cared for Costner as an actor, but he was pretty good in this one, even though I did fall asleep halfway through and woke up near the ending. At least by that time, my bedroom had warmed up sufficiently to be reasonably comfortable.

When I finally roused myself around 9:00 a.m., I took Ripley for a walk around the gravel pit, with her coat on of course. She happily rummaged around in the tall grasses for awhile, but then was quite content to return to the warm RV with me. She’s been sneezing lately, so she may have caught a cold.

Shortly afterwards, Bob arrived as he had promised, to have a look at my engine. I had commented that I was concerned about the amount of oil that I was using and whether or not the engine was a problem. Last night he had offered to have a look. However, after checking under the hood, any further inspection requires taking the cowling off on the inside, and I suggested that it might be better to wait until later when hopefully the temperature would be a bit warmer.
Cottontail at LoW Hi Ranch

Over the past few days there have been some highlights, so I’ll mention them now.

MONDAY, JANUARY 14, 2008

I needed to refill my propane tank, so unhooked Philippa and drove to Ziggy’s in Deming. Currently, propane costs $2.55/gallon.

As much as I appreciate the offer of rides from my fellow RV’ers here, there is something to be said about driving myself, so that I can go wherever I please and not have to worry about someone waiting for me.

There is a local western clothing store here, so I decided to check it out. They have various belts, jeans and shirts for men, women and children, but there was nothing I fancied in my size that was reasonable in price. I did like one shirt that cost $120, but I wasn’t about to pay that price.

The Visitor Centre in town is also the office of the Chamber of Commerce, and provides free wireless service, so I headed over there to catch up on email and to post Blog Number Twenty-Nine. Fortunately, they allowed Ripley to come in with me so that she didn’t have to stay in the cold RV. She is such an intelligent dog and adapts to all the new situations that she finds herself in. She simply sat down beside me unless a man entered the room, and then she felt it necessary to bark and growl, whereas she greeted any woman.

ROCKHOUND STATE PARK
Visitor Center at Rockhound State Park

After a stop at the Wal Mart, I headed south ten miles to Rockhound State Park where visitors are encouraged to collect up to thirty pounds of rock daily, for the entrance fee of $5. Ripley and I headed off on one of the trails and luckily I brought along a tote bag, as I soon found some interesting rocks to collect. I don’t know enough geology to identify the individual pieces, but many have various colours sliced through them. I chose two large pieces to anchor down my door mat, and some smaller colourful ones that would be nice if they were tumbled. Geodes are apparently common in this area, but I didn’t come across any.
One of cactus at Rockhound State Park
View of Floridas Mountains
Ripley at Rockhound State Park

I arrived back at the campsite too late for Happy Hour, but in time for potluck. I contributed red beans and rice (made from a Zaterain’s package). As usual, there was plenty of food for everyone. It’s always pleasant to eat food that other people have prepared, for a change, and to share in the camaraderie.

TUESDAY, JANUARY 15, 2008

I awoke feeling miserable, having caught Doris’ cold, so dosed myself with Echinacea and stayed indoors, reading. Doris came over and offered to take me into town if I needed to go, but I declined.
Scene from gravel pit behind LoW Hi Ranch

As nice as it is to make friends, it is also a problem because everyone knows your business. I haven’t really mentioned much about the other occupants of the park. Of course there are many RV’ers who come to stay only for a day or two, but there are others like myself who are remaining here for at least a month or more.

I have previously mentioned Doris and her two dogs Patches and Little One.

Larry has a poodle named Austin and is originally from El Paso and is a disabled vet. He always offers to help if needed, or to drive people places, and seems to be very lonely. He has mentioned a bad divorce, and I gather that his financial circumstances are not the best, although he has a nice RV.

Nellie stays to herself most of the time, and I really don’t know anything about her. She can often be found in the bunkhouse working on a crossword puzzle.

Bob reminds me of a well-meaning farmer type and he has a cocker spaniel. He tends to be overweight but is quite friendly.

Barbara is the president of Loners on Wheels and has an office in the main building. She tends to be a bit officious and inflexible regarding rules. She has a Lhasa Apso whom Ripley hates for some reason. Every time she sees this dog, she becomes very aggressive on the leash.

Marcia (pronounced MarSeeYa) is the office manager until March. She is originally from Oregon but lived in Silver City for several years before coming to Deming. She appears to be a good administrator, but has trouble asserting herself. Sometimes, at Happy Hour, she has trouble getting the attention of everyone and takes it personally. She owns a very large reddish-brown dog of uncertain parentage named Max, with the largest set of paws that I have ever seen. They are very furry and wide and look as though they would be useful in snow.

Bruce is Marcia’s brother and is one of the two maintenance men working here. He doesn’t say very much and rarely joins in on the group activities.

Al is Canadian and has been the gardener here for the past six years in the winter. I have mentioned previously that he was in a bad auto accident. He has no memory of the collision and suffered a concussion. As a result, he was unable to work for a few weeks, and is still trying to sort out things with his insurance company. He told me that he is worried about being charged by the police, as he was told that he was at fault for the accident because he entered a busy intersection without checking.

June is a member of LoW and comes over from her house daily for Happy Hour, and often joins in on the social activities. Originally from Washington State, she loved it so much here in Deming that she purchased a cute house in a gated community nearby the campground. So far, she has brought along her daughter, daughter-in-law and grandson to various activities. You can tell that she comes from a background of wealth by the way she dresses and acts.

Joyce is a tall, willowy woman who loves to dance and has a sense of humour.

Colene stays to herself most of the time, but I did run into her at the Visitor Center where we chatted briefly.

Edwin and Debbie are a couple. Edwin is one of the two maintenance men and Debbie works in the office. They are both very friendly and courteous and have been around the southwest for a number of years.
Roadrunner at LoW Hi Ranch

RIPLEY HAS A SORE PAW

Being a typical terrier, Ripley loves to stick her nose into every hole that she comes across. She has a keen sense of smell, but I have noticed that she seems quite oblivious when a rabbit is startled and runs off. I suppose that her eyesight is not the greatest at a distance. Out in the gravel pit there are many holes, and one in particular caught her attention today. It was in soft sand, and she started furiously to dig a huge hole, in an effort to reach whatever poor creature was at the other end. She wags her tail whenever she finds one of these holes, and is single-minded in her endeavours to reach whatever is down there. She spent some time at this particular hole until I insisted that we move on. It was then that I noticed she was limping on her right front paw. Thinking it was one of the goatheads that had embedded there, I checked but she yelped when I looked between the pads. So, I assume that she has a small cut there. I’ve been treating it with bag balm that Doris gave me, and that has helped.
Photos taken at Luna Deming Mimbres Museum in Deming

Native woven baskets
Mimbres Pottery
Navaho Rug
Old West Chuckwagon
Kachinas and other Artifacts
Vintage dolls
Diorama of old telephone switchboard
I can remember learning on one of these typewriters!
Railway luggage cart

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 16, 2008

It was another bitterly cold night, and my waterline froze, leaving me with no water. The barometer must be bouncing around, as I woke up with another migraine. However, my expensive Amerge took care of the pain and eventually I felt human again.

TUMBLEWEED THEATER

At Happy Hour, I learned that some of the campers were going to the border town of Columbus, to see a jam session, so I went along with Bob and Neil (who lives nearby). Neil has lived on a farm in the area his entire life, and I guess he is in his seventies now. He is extremely polite and says “m’am” and “sir” to everyone. As we drove south, we told us about the Floridas (pronounced Floreedas) and Three Sisters mountains and some interesting history about the Mimbres tribe, who lived in the area at one time. They have a distinctive type of pottery decoration that I had admired at the Deming Museum, and Neil told us that the entire tribe simply disappeared all of a sudden. There are a couple of theories as to why that occurred. One theory is that they were wiped out by other tribes; another is that they were assimilated by other tribes; another is that their crops were wiped out by changing climatic conditions and they died of starvation. Nobody knows for sure, but Neil mentioned that there were many lootings of digs in the area where locals simply went out and dug up pottery and other artifacts in no systematic fashion, to keep a collection for themselves, prior to proper archeological digs, so that much has been lost. Often bulldozers were used, destroying any trace of the original dwellings. Neil also mentioned that a friend of his who has a large collection had also come across skeletons that had obvious signs of violence (crushed skulls), so perhaps the first theory for their disappearance is the correct one.

We soon arrived at the Tumbleweed Theater in Columbus and sat down to a spaghetti dinner for the princely sum of $5.45. The musicians began to arrive and tonight there were two husband and wife teams. One team calls themselves “The Raingers”, and the husband teaches music at the Deming High School. The other team is known as “Raised by Wolves”. The foursome played several of their own compositions – a combination of blues, folk and country. They had a drum that they invited people from the audience to play, and one man got up. Unfortunately, he couldn’t hold a beat to save his life!

All in all, it was a pleasant evening, and we arrived back at the Ranch around 9:30 p.m.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 17, 2008

ROTARY LUNCH

As a past Rotarian, I am able to attend a Rotary meeting in any town or city that I visit where there is a club. I had noticed that the Deming club met on Thursdays for lunch at the Holiday Inn, so I decided to unhook my RV and head over there. When I arrived, there were just two others in the room – the guest speaker Deborah, and Greg, the District Governor who was accompanying her. Shortly thereafterwards, other members began to arrive, and I introduced myself to the president. The hotel offered a lunch buffet for $8 that included a variety of salads, soup, and hot entrees of beans, ribs, fried chicken and barbecued chicken, plus pie.

After the meal, I was asked to introduce myself to the group, and then Deborah gave her presentation on the projects that she has organized in Guatemala. As a child of missionaries, she grew up there, is fluently bilingual and has put together programs through local Rotary clubs to assist some of the very remote regions to have running water, medical clinics and educational supplies. Her goal was to persuade the Deming group to join the other clubs in the New Mexico region who are assisting with these projects.

One advantage of being a Rotarian is that you know you can ask for help anywhere that there is a club, and someone in the club will come to your assistance. After the meal, Tom introduced himself as the Special Projects Manager for the City of Deming and offered to assist me in any way that I might need. You never know when it might be helpful to have a connection such as this.

After saying farewell, I headed over to the Visitor Center once again to use the wi fi service, and ran into Colene there. We talked about the inconvenience of not having wi fi at the campground, and we discussed the merits of obtaining an air card from one of the phone companies, in order to connect anywhere that there is cellular service. I mentioned T-Mobile as being inexpensive ($30/month as opposed to Verizon’s $60/monthly charge), and will give her the phone number that Jan Barnes had provided. Unfortunately, when I called the other day to arrange for service, I was told that I would have to drive to Las Cruces (60 miles away) because of roaming fees. So I have not yet got connected.

There is a used book store in Deming, and I headed over there to see what they had. Their prices were a bit high, but I did buy two paperbacks – one by Randy Wayne White and the other by James Patterson.

LOST PUPPIES

I started out with Ripley on our nightly walk to the gravel pit, when I spied two adult dogs sitting by the edge of the pit, and I could hear whimpering coming from that direction. Thinking that maybe somebody had dropped the dogs off and abandoned them, I headed in their direction. The two dogs ran off in the direction of the mobile homes north of the park, but I could still hear whimpering. As I got closer, I saw two adorable little balls of fluff, who came ambling towards me from the brush. Ripley greeted them with wags of her tail. These were obviously the offspring of the two adults, one resembling the male border collie and the other resembling its mother, a non-descript white dog. I estimated them to be about six weeks old and that they would grow into pretty large dogs. They were really happy to see me, as I picked them up and carried them back to the bunkhouse where I found Larry and some others who all thought the puppies were adorable. I asked him if he would drive me over to the mobile homes in an effort to find the owner.

I think what happened is that the two puppies had followed their parents out into the gravel pit and had become exhausted, after having walked approximately half a mile. When I came across them, I assume that the parents didn’t know quite what to do and were sitting with the puppies waiting for them to follow them back home until they saw me and ran away.

We loaded the puppies into Larry’s truck and drove around to the mobile homes. I hadn’t realized that there was quite a little community there, but we stopped at the home where the two adults that I had seen earlier were sitting, along with a Rottweiler type of dog. I knocked on the door, but nobody was home. I didn’t want to just leave the puppies in case this wasn’t really the right house, so we went on further down to another mobile home and I knocked on the door. The woman who answered it spoke only Spanish, so I managed to ask her in my broken Spanish if they were her dogs. She said no, but maybe they belonged to the people in the other home. We returned to the original house, where the mother dog greeted me. She was obviously heavy with milk, so I put the puppies down beside her. She licked my hand, so I suppose she was grateful to me for bringing her babies back home safely. I didn’t like to just leave them, but there didn’t seem to be anything else to do.

PIZZA

Traditionally Thursday evening is the night to eat out, but on this Thursday it had been decided to order pizza to be delivered from Pizza Hut. Fourteen of us headed over to the Rec Centre at 5:30 and shared the several varieties, each paying $4.
CATHY CHAMBERS
Cathy is the adoption placement person of the Jack Russell Rescue Group and is the person responsible for placing Ripley with me. She recently sent me a photo of her with her own dogs, and has given me permission to share this photo with you.
I am looking forward to meeting Cathy when I return to Ontario.

MONDAY, JANUARY 21, 2008

Bob had come over yesterday and we took the interior cowling off my RV’s engine. He couldn’t find any oil leak and suggested that I should get a mechanic to check out the injector rods, to see why I lose power when climbing a hill. However, Doris mentioned that I should try adding a fuel injector treatment into my next gas fill-up first, to see if that made a distance. I have the bottle and will add it next time I get gas.

As I have decided to leave Deming tomorrow, I invited Doris out for breakfast, to thank her for her kindness in driving me around. Since we missed the breakfast buffet at the Holiday Inn, we went on to Denny’s and had their Senior specials (waffles and sausages for Doris and omelette and hash browns for me). The meal portions offered here in the US are enormous and I usually cannot finish, so the senior menu was just fine. After stopping or groceries at Pepper’s and the hardware store, we headed on back.

Monday is potluck night, and there was a good array of food – chili, macaroni and cheese, waldorf salad, risotto salad, devilled eggs, crab salad, fried potatoes, tuna casserole (I know I’m forgetting a couple of dishes, pumpkin pie and pound cake. It’s always nice to share a meal and dishes with the other campers here, and there are invariably some new faces in the crowd.

Tomorrow, after a morning trip to Palomas, Mexico to the Pink Store, I will be heading north to Silver City where I hope to take in some music at the university, see a movie or two, rent a car and head further north to the Gila Cliff Dwellings and maybe go to Albuquerque, depending on the weather. I anticipate being gone for about a week, and will then return to Low Hi Ranch for the remainder of January, before heading over to Arizona for the month of February.
Typical southwestern house

Again I have been hampered by the lack of wi fi connection at LowHi to check out some websites in preparation for my trip.

For those of you who may wish to correspond with me via mail, my address for the month of February will be:

Marilyn Cole, c/o Jerry & Diane Ziolkoski, Trailriders Holiday Park, Apt. 2, 2460 E. Main Street, Mesa, Arizona 85213.

1 comment:

D. Colby Rumback said...

I enjoyed the read. Colby