July 7, 2020 (by Angela)
It seems like forever now, but back during late January through early March 2020, Jim, Leroy and I spent some wonderful time in New Mexico, Arizona, and even one night in California. Though it’s now early July, let’s mentally push the “rewind” button back to that time and allow me to “play” for you the highlights of those seven or so weeks starting with New Mexico.
If you recall, in Texas Wrap Up – For Now, Jim, Leroy, and I were on our way to New Mexico. The drive was amazingly beautiful. We found a small RV park inside the city, yet on the edge, of Las Cruces and settled in for a few days of exploration. What did we do? I’m glad you asked. We planned a trip to nearby White Sands National Monument, and that made for a full day of exploration. It’s beauty speaks for itself. As we came near the entrance, I remember telling Jim that if I didn’t know better, I would expect to see the ocean on just the other side of dune formations along the side of the highway.
The need to find a post office without going into downtown Las Cruces had me drive a couple of miles to a quaint little village by the name of Mesilla. As a result, I convinced Jim that we should take part of a day and go explore the cute little town. Little did we know how historic this small town In Lincoln County, New Mexico is.
The first thing we discovered is that Billy the Kid was arrested nearby and then tried in Mesilla, though he escaped from the jail after. The old courthouse in which he was tried and convicted is now a gift shop, appropriately named the Billy the Kid Gift Shop. With our heads still spinning from this unexpected historical find, Jim and I wandered around town looking for a spot to have lunch. We ended up going into the Double Eagle where we got a double serving of history with sides of art, ghostly mystery, and more. I don’t have the time, nor memory, to relate all that we learned and saw there, so you may want to go here to read more about it.
Billy the Kid had a connection to the building in which the restaurant is now located. By fate, we were seated in the Billy the Kid Patio. While waiting on our food, Jim and I were able to view the post into which Billy carved his nickname as well as the name of his girlfriend, Maria Gonzales. There is also a framed letter from Billy to the Territorial Governor hanging in the Patio; the letter was a request for clemency, which was denied.
Our server filled us in on another pretty fantastic historical event that took place in Mesilla and is commemorated in the Gadsden Patio. That event was the signing of the Gadsden Purchase, which was the final product of three years of negotiations between the United States and Mexico. It led to the purchase of the land extending from the Rio Grande to California, and on Dec. 30, 1853, the Mexican Flag was lowered and the 32-star American Flag was raised, declaring this land to be part of the United States and setting the southern boundary of the U. S.
Though the three of us went on to Arizona soon after these adventures, we did make a stop in New Mexico on our way back east at a rest area that overlooks Las Cruces. There a giant roadrunner stands guard above the city. Still we were not finished with New Mexico. Even though Jim and I settled into an RV park for almost a week in Balmorhea, Texas, we did an overnight trip with Leroy back into New Mexico. You see, I have a cousin who lives near Roswell. We had dinner with her and her husband, and Jim visited the International UFO Museum. The next day, I was able to check off a Bucket List item. With Leroy at a Rover.com caregiver, Jim and I finally got to explore Carlsbad Caverns.
Next time, I’ll hit some of the highlights from our time in Arizona and night in California.