A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Deming, New Mexico


We left Miners Camp going our separate ways to do errands and planned to meet up afterwards.  I wanted to go to a car wash to clean a couple rugs and also the Honda trail bike of all the dirt from Quartzsite.  The carwash was a simple affair and I only mention it here on the blog for it had the unbelievably low price of one dollar to wash a car.  What happened, had I passed through a time warp and found myself back in the 60’s?

While trying to make sense of the vacuum machines in the foreground that had no hoses (they were old ones and new machines were in the far back of the photo) Amanda pulled in to do her laundry at the laundromat next door.  Inside there were twice the number of signs posted about than one would normally see as half were in English and half in Spanish.  So with your laundry churning away you could sit there and brush up on your Spanish while waiting.  And like the car wash the laundromat was like no other for one cycle of the dryer seemingly went on for nearly thirty minutes where they are usually eight or ten minutes.  When she pulled her clothes out they were too hot to handle.

By now we were hungry and thought it best to eat before going to Walmart to food shop.  We drove back up Pine Street to a Mexican restaurant we had passed coming in.  It was housed in what looked like a drive-in diner of the old days with individual parking stalls where they brought your food out and set on trays hanging from your car door window. 

Now there were several picnic tables set in place out in front and five tables inside.  We planned to eat in the RV since all the tables inside and out were used then two cleared up, so there we ate in air conditioned comfort with Mexican music playing in the background.

We each got the combination plate - chile rellano, enchilada, tamale, beef taco with rice and beans swimming in green sauce.  Outstanding!  If I lived in Deming I would be eating at Benji’s all the time.

Monday, April 12, 2021

The Tobacco Can Hunt

I thought a tobacco can might be a nice addition to my wall of collectables in the RV. 
After all there are hundreds of them scattered about the desert here.
I started out on my search near the windmill water pump.

 Over flow water pools up here for livestock and desert life
Looks refreshing doesn’t it?

I caused a stampede as I approached the drinking hole.

They just stood there wondering what the heck I was all about.

Anyway, back to the purpose of this walk.

You’d think I would be able to find a decent tin in all of this.

Well all of this debris being about a hundred years old it is very rusty, full of holes and most everything has been smashed flat.

I came back with three tins, cleaned them up and this was about the best of the lot.

Now that I have one I’m not so sure I want to put it up on the wall.

On another day’s walk in the desert,
a rare one-of-a-kind find, a can that wasn’t smashed, shot full of holes or rusted out.
I hid it back under some brush.

These were five gallon cans that held kerosene.

On this day as you read this we will be moving on to new adventures.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

More Mines


Rather than go straight back down from Bee Cave I cut across the face of the mountain to see what there was to see.  To my enjoyment I found a mine.  Unfortunately the Abandoned Mine Patrol had sealed off the entrance with a steel girder fence.  

Gee this looks like it would have been fun.
(insert sad face here)

On the rock wall to the left was this plaque.  Only ten years old?!  
 I looked up the name once back at camp and found only a listing on the Find a Grave website which has the place of death listed as El Paso, Texas, his home.  
So whatever the story is behind this, I don’t know.

I continued on and found another fenced off mine entrance but hey, someone had cut a hole in it!
Being a little guy I could just squeeze through.

Unfortunately it didn’t go very far and branched off in two directions.
Notice the holes drilled in for dynamite charges.

I had to leave my hat and haversack outside in order to slip through.
My biggest concern was cracking my fat head on the steel bars.

The ore was brought out and slid down this chute...

...to a truck waiting below.

As I was creating this post the thought came to mind how did they get the truck turned around to come back down the road?  There was no room to turn around up there.  Perhaps this mine pre-dates automobiles and a mule team dragged a wagon up there, they unhitched the mules and backed the wagon in under the chute then hitched the mules back up.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Caves and Mines


One of the first things I noticed at our new location was a cave up the mountain.  Boy, I’d sure like to go check that out but it looks like too much work getting there.  We decided to stay here longer after exploring the stone ruins so the next day I went for it.  It wasn’t all that difficult after all.  

I climbed within sight of the entrance and heard the dreaded buzzing sound.  BEES!  Why did it have to be bees?  Snakes, spiders, scorpions you name it no problem but bees...nope!
This is as close as I dared to go in.

The little buggers and their hive were right in the dark square to the left.
I went the other way.

The cave didn’t go any further than what you see in the photo so it was no great loss but to make the climb worthwhile I continued around and climbed up on top where I was surprised to find this lonely Utah Juniper.

Also there was a hawk nest.  I saw one cottontail rabbit, a long tailed ground squirrel and
a couple of cow flops.  You wouldn’t think a cow would climb up here but maybe the grasses were much sweeter here than the grass down on the flat.

I was rewarded with a very nice view for my efforts.
See our two RV’s down there?

More Mines on Monday

Friday, April 9, 2021

Mine Shafts, Debris and Immigrants

Before we begin this post, yesterday was Beans’ adoption day.  
Four years ago yesterday we came into each other’s lives.
A happy day for both of us.

There were several of these vertical mine shafts around the area now safely covered over and secure.
It is very scary to drop a rock down through the grate and listen for how long it takes to hit something.
These shafts are DEEP!

I found what was most likely a ventilation shaft where the protective fencing around it had long since disappeared.  Yep, very spooky to stand there and drop a rock down the abyss.  
Amanda wanted no part of it standing way back. 

All around the land is littered with rusty cans left behind by the miners.
 It takes a lot of beans to dig mine shafts.

Lots of sardines too.  There were condensed milk, baking powder, soup and pipe tobacco cans too.

I found a few rectangular head nails which sort of dates the area as pre-1890 when round head nails began production.  Later I found online that this was the Victorio Group of mines founded in 1880.

A lot of broken dishes lie scattered about including glass bottles with the faint purple color of medicine bottles plus an abundance of thick green and dark amber glass beer bottles.  

You can kind of see the purple in the glass at the bottom.

Amanda had the best find with this bottle neck intact.  Notice the bubble in the lip and the opening is slightly off kilter, not like bottle making perfection of later years.  It appears to have been a fluted bottle. 
 I wonder what it held.

Lastly of note is that we have seen around a dozen abandoned backpacks in the area.  All the packs are identical.  My theory is with the Mexican border less than thirty miles away this must have been a pick up point years back.  They carried their food and water in the backpacks.  When they met up with their ride they no longer had a need for the backpack (which would be a giveaway seen walking in town with one) and so discarded them here when they got into the car or van.  What do you think?

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Abandoned Miner’s Camp

Up the hillside from camp stone ruins were visible.  We hiked up there finding five or six buildings that once were homes for the miners who worked the area.

 I couldn’t imagine the amount of work it would take to build these dwellings.

The window openings always impress me in their construction.

Doorways too.  One had to know what they were doing.  
Anything I built probably wouldn’t last long.

This window opening was unique in that most of it was a cupboard on the inside.  Being this was the larger of the buildings I kidded Amanda by saying the boss probably lived there.  Now thinking back, as it had a large central fireplace and more, it most likely was the cookhouse and the workers gathered there for meals prepared by the camp cook. 

An old desert hermit.

I have come across dozens of these wind driven water pump wells but this was the only one I have ever seen still functioning pumping up water.  I was fascinated watching the central shaft rising up and down only about the distance of less than a foot bringing water up from below ground.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

New Mexico

Strong winds blew us southeast out of Arizona on into New Mexico.  I had a place in mind I had stayed at before in Lordsburg, NM but that fizzled out as it was now posted go away.  A shame as it was a nice little place, a VFW rest area but now is uncared for and in disrepair.  

Amanda took the lead from there in the direction of Deming, NM.  That too fizzled out as it was now fenced off.  A bit further down the dirt road she found a spot big enough for both of us.  It was good enough for a night.  We were immediately welcomed by one of the locals.

The next morning I discovered had we driven up the road a hundred yards further there was a wide open flat area to camp.  We moved there and decided to take a day’s rest from traveling.