Saturday, March 29, 2008

Maiden voyage to the Gila Cliff Dwellings

This week, we drove our new (to us) RV up to the Gila Cliff Dwellings in south central New Mexico. Technically, it can be a day trip, but we have friends who left Las Cruces at 6 a.m. and returned at 10 p.m. Much of the trip is on narrow, winding roads with occasional steep drops. We had to avoid a stretch of Highway 15, because it is closed to vehicles over 20 feet long, and our vehicle is 25.

Both elevation and latitude increase on the trip, and the vegetation changes gradually from sere desert with dried-up arroyos, creosote bushes, and prickly pear cactus to ponderosa pines and streams with honest-to-goodness water in them. The cacti never completely disappear, but they become much less prevalent in the upper elevations.

I will hold back on many of the details, because I have an assignment to write an article about it for Southwest Senior. But the dwellings were briefly the home of the Mogollon Indians about 700 years ago, and were abandoned for reasons unknown. The area was the home of the Chiricahua Apache, whose most famous member was Geronimo.


Ruth D~ said...

You sound like you're a much happier southwest senior than you'd have been as a northeast one. Wish I could read the article. Sounds like a great trip.

Joe said...

On Thursday, March 27, 2008 I discovered the blessings of that winding road - Hwy 15 - to/from Silver City. Blessings accrued even with no cell phone service.

The whole section of highway is beautiful from Hwy 35 to Pinos Altos.

That Thursday, between mile markers 23 and 24. There is a hairpin turn at 23.8 miles. I used the turn out to turnaround. My car lost the ability to shift gears. I could not move.

The blessings - a car eventually came along, stopped and said he would call AAA when he got to Pinos Altos. A second car did the same - only that driver then called my cell so that I could give a status report when I got out of trouble (and back in cell range).

Then - a third car stopped and knew exactly what to do to get me going again!

Nice people blessed me. Two hours and 30 minutes to enjoy waiting for help blessed me. Lovely time.

Bob Sanchez said...

Hi Joe, and thanks for your comment. We were in the area on the same day, but we went around that section of Route 15 you had trouble on because our vehicle was too big.

It sounds as though you took your predicament very well. I'm glad but not surprised that folks stopped to help; most people are fundamentally decent.

Bob Sanchez said...

Ruth, if you and the hubster ever get the yen to see more of the USA, Nancy and I will hang out the welcome sign and show you our nicely appointed spare room.

Meahwhile, I'll keep posting photos.

monideepa sahu said...

Wow! Can we read the article on line? Do post a link when its published. The photos are awesome :-)

ssquared said...

HI Bob,

I'm not a blogger but your story will bring me back.