Trip to Southeastern AZ to NM to West TX 2015


Day 1. Phoenix to Safford, AZ

We land at the Sky Harbor International Airport around 10 a.m. Arizona time. We get our baggage and then rent a Camry from Hertz.

4639. Odometer reading at the start of the first day.

4672. Exit 198. In the area are the Superstition Mountains. There is some green vegetation on the mountains, but they are mostly light brown in color.

4673. End of the freeway at mile marker 199.

We pass by Gold Canyon on the left on Superstition Mountain Drive.

4675. Mile marker 202.

4677. We see the yellow flowers of the green-barked Palo Verde tree. We also see the very common bush known as the creosote bush (which smells like creosote).

4680. Mile marker 207. See saguaro cactus. Superstition Mountains still in the background.

4685. Mile marker 212. Reach Florence Junction.

4691. Before mile marker 218. Tonto National Forest.

Mile marker 219. We see Pickerpost Mountain that is background to the Boyce-Thompson Arboretum.

Mile marker 221. We are now close up to the mountain.

Mile marker 223. Pass the Boyce-Thompson National Arboretum.

4698. Mile marker 225.

Before mile marker 227. Stopped at Circle K gas station.

A little ways up the road is a bridge known as Queen Creek Bridge.

4701. Stopped for some photos of the area around Queen Creek Bridge.

Now we go through Queens Creek Tunnel. Now driving through a narrow canyon.

4705. Mile marker 232. The road descends for awhile. There are lots of hoodoos amidst the cliffs.

Itís white boulder country near Top of the World Trading Post.

4710. Pass through a valley (probably Pinto Valley) and stopped for photos.

We are heading toward the towns of Miami and Globe. There are a lot of large boulders around the area.

4713. Mile marker 238. Go over Pinto Bridge. White Mountains on the left. There are more signs of white mountain mining.

Mile marker 242. Take even more mining photos. There are mountains with tops colored green with brown splotches.

4715. Reach Miami.

Mile marker 245. Still in Miami.

4719. Reach the town of Globe which has a Walmart and a Safeway grocery store.  Continuing straight the road changes to Rt 70. 

4727. Mile marker 255. Enter the San Carlos Apache Reservation. Established in 1872 as a reservation for the Chiricahua Apache tribe, which was lead by the famous chief, Cochise. Geronimo was captured and stayed at San Carlos for awhile.

4731. Apache Gold Casino resort.

4744. Drive over the San Carlos River. Here too is the Apache Cultural Center.

4771. Mile marker 300.

Mile marker 302. Goodwin Wash.

4801. Stayed at Best Western Desert Inn in Safford (162 miles distance). Ate at Dennyís.

Superstition Mountain to Mining Near Miami

Day 2. Safford, AZ to Silver City & Gila Cliffs Dwellings, NM

4801. Odometer reading at the start of the second day. We decide to go down Route 191 south to see Fort Grant where Billy the Kid liked to hang out.

Mile marker 118. Now on Route 191 south.

4819. Now heading west on Rt. 266.

4820. Mile marker 105. Stop for pictures of the Mount Graham area in the Pinoleno Mountains.

4823. Mile marker 108. Coronado National Forest.

4835. Mile marker 125. An open plain. Leaving Coronado National Forest.

4838. After mile marker122. Turn right for Fort Grant

4839. Mile marker 124. Arriving at Fort Grant.

4840. Take a few pictures.

4841. Fort Grant sign. Fort Grant army post was established in 1872. And now itís a prison. Just about the entire area is fenced in.

There are very few ruins here because the place has been turned into a prison. One of the guards, very pleasant, came over to us and just mentioned that with all the cameras around the area, the guys get a little edgy with people taking pictures of the facilities. I said I guess we better go then.

Rosemary got enough pictures, including photos of the mountains nearby. When writing about Fort Grant many authors say the photos are of Mount Graham, but that mountain is just the highest peak of the Pinoleno Mountains, and that peak is east of Fort Grant.

We leave the fort. Heading for the Bonita Store. It is really close to Fort Grant. Henry Antrim (formerly Henry McCarty), before he was called Billy the Kid, came to Arizona to get away from Silver City, New Mexico. In Silver City he was a courier of stolen goods and wound up in the county jail there. He escaped by climbing up and out of the jail chimney.

His mother was dead so he decided to seek out his stepfather, Mr. Antrim, who was at a mining camp in Clifton, Arizona Territory. Antrim was not interested in his stepsons, Henry and Joseph. Henry moved around Arizona stopping at places like Camp Goodwin, Safford and Pueblo Viejo.

Then he ended up in Camp Grant. Thatís where he picked up the name Kid Antrim. At the nearby town of Bonita, there was a saloon/gambling house that is now called the Bonita Store. A bully, blacksmith Francis P. Cahill, attacked slim and short Billy. Cahill got Billy down, but Billy got his right arm free from Cahill. He grabbed his pistol and shot Cahill in the gut. A gut-shot is a terrible way to die, and Cahill suffered mightily before his death.

Billy got the hell out of Arizona, headed into New Mexico and joined up with a gang of thieves and rustlers known as the Boys. Billy eventually went to Lincoln County, New Mexico. He stayed there until Sheriff Patrick Floyd "Pat" Garrett killed him in Fort Sumner. (Info from Michael Wallis, Billy the Kid: the Endless Ride, 2007.)

4843. Stop for pictures of some white flowers.

4844. Arrive at the Bonita Store. Over the door it says: "Dubois Mercantile". The building needs a new paint job. Rosemary takes photos. Then we head back to Route 70 at Safford.

4852. Stop for a photo of the moon together with the mountains. Before mile marker 115.

4864. Back on Route 191 north.

There are lots of Circle K gasoline stations and food marts here. We fill up with gas at Chevron at the junction of Routes 70 and 191.

Heading for Silver City, New Mexico on Route 70 east/191 north. Thereís a lot of agriculture on the eastern side of Safford.

Mile marker 131. Route 191 north splits off from Route 70 east. We head northeast on Rt. 191 to get to New Mexico.

4897. Mile marker 139. Approaching the mountains. See black hills. When the sun shines on the cactus pads on the hills, the cactus look like white flowers on the mountainsides.

4909. Mile marker 151. Mountains ahead. There is a pretty open area with the mountains ahead.

4910. Before mile marker 152. Yellow flowers and some purple flowers.

4911. Stop just before mile marker 153. K7 Ranch Road. Route 191 northeast now turns suddenly to the north. We keep going northeast, but now via Route 78. We head passed the town of Three Way. A sign says the border with New Mexico is 20 miles away and Mule Creek, New Mexico is 30 miles away.

Mile marker 156. We pass the Greenlee airport.

Mile marker 160. Finally the very winding road part of Route 78 ended.

4919. Landscape photos taken.

Just before mile marker 161. Big Lue Mountains and more curves.

A species of Rumex (dock) on the roadsides. More road curves. A road runner crosses the road ahead of us. See an agave plant in boom.

4921. Take photos on a U-turn curve after heading upwards awhile. Itís a pretty area here.

Come upon a small tree desert section.

4922. Before mile marker 165. Photos of heavily eroded brown rock on an isolate. After mile marker 165 is the Apache National Forest.

4924. Just before mile marker 167. Great views from the sides of the mountain. Curvy roads.

4925. Another great view below us. Made another stop. Rosemary says: "There's that mining thing back again."

4926. More photos of mountains from a nice big pull-off.

We see our first pine trees.

Before mile marker 169 is a campground.

Mile marker 172. We are descending. The road is still curvy. Itís a pretty mountain drive.

4931. Mile marker 174. Coal Creek Camp.

4932. Welcome to New Mexico, The Land of Enchantment.

4933. Mile marker 1. Gila National Forest. Took photos of the mountains. Caution: 32 degrees downgrade for 3 miles. Take green mountain photos.

4935. Leaving Gila National Forest. Ranch land. Distant rolling hills.

4937. We reach the town of Mule Creek. Grass hills in the area.

4938. Before mile marker 7. More grassy hills. There are rolling lands, but also long views here. San Francisco Mountains on the left ?

4944. Rosemary is sure she saw some antelopes.

Mile marker 15. Junction of Route 78 with Route 180. We turn right to head south on 180. This is an area of rolling hills. The mountains are in the background.

We passed through Buckhorn, Cliff, over the Gila River, through Riverside.

4988. The Continental Divide.

Reach Silver City. Stop for chocolate dipped cones at DQ (Dairy Queen). From the historical marker: "Silver City is located in the midst of rich mineral deposits. The Santa Rita Copper Mines, opened in 1805, were the second such mines operating in what is now the U. S. A silver strike in 1870 began the commercial mining for which the area is still known. The Apache chiefs Victorio, Geronimo and Mangas Coloradas figure in its history."

4993. Take Route 15 north to go to the Gila Cliff Dwellings.

4999. Mile 6. Continental Divide. Go through Pinos Altos. Once the seat of Grant County. They had conflicts with the Apache. In 1860 there was a gold discovery by three 49'ers from California that stimulated a boom that led to the establishment of this mining camp which produced over $8,000,000 of gold, silver, copper, lead and zinc before the mines played out in the 20th century.

5001. Mile marker 8. Gila National Forest. On the trail over the Mountain Spirits Byway.

Mile 9. Leaving Gila National Forest land.

No scenic views after 15 miles of driving on Route 15.

Mile marker 32. Coppras Vista.

The second half of the drive is more open and we can get some scenic views now.

5030. Before mile 38. Cross the Gila River.

5034. Stop for a photo of the sign for the Gila Cliffs Dwelling. We park and then learn about what we must do to see the cliff dwellings.

Rosemary take photos of the Gila River from a bridge: upstream, then downstream. We then walk along a little mountain spring.

See columbine plants, white mustard flowers; yellow flowering plants. You have to climb up very poor foot steps up to the mountain dwellings. Cave 1 was used mostly as a storage area. At one time cows would stay in the cave to cool down. Volunteer Samuel Parson is our guide.

Our next volunteer guide was Ann Kastberg who showed us corn cobs that were over 700 years old. At this point Rosemary takes her eyes off the trail and turns her head backwards to say something to the guide, she steps on a bad part of the step and goes down. She really got a terribly nasty tearing away of the skin on the back of her left hand.

So, Ann and another volunteer guide named George Dickerson, had to go through the first aid chests to find bandages. There is a rule that the staff is not to apply first aid to any wounds, but the tourists can use the first aid gear to bandage up the wound. Because of the first aid rule, they had no rubbing alcohol, or hydrogen peroxide, or iodine or any other antiseptic for the wound. They had some water to help clean the wound. We ourselves bandaged up Rosemaryís wound.

Oh, cave 4 has a ladder up illustrating how people got into the dwellings that were high up off the cave floors.

We had to cut our tour short, because now it was time to go. We and the two volunteer guides were the last to come off the trail before they closed the gate.

5043. Rosemary takes photos of some of the canyons.

5044. Photos on the left of the cliff road and columns. Photos on the right of the river below! It looks like a silver ribbon going through the canyon.

On the way back, took photos of Rt 15 known as the Trail of Mountain Spirits Scenic Byway.

5048. Just after Military Road Rosemary photographs red rocks (her favorite). Photo on the right side of the canyon.

Mile marker 31. Thereís a promontory on the right.

5052. Stop for photos of yellow colored rocks in a road cut. The light was shining on it.

Just before mile maker 27 we find the yellow double line on the road in use on the road.

After mile marker 27 we find more orangish-yellowish white rocks.

5054. Find pinkish-orange rocks.

5057. Nearing mile marker 22. Took photos of the road.

5058. Past mile marker 22. Took photos on the right.

5075. Mule deer mother with her fawn near the continental divide.

Stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Silver City on Superior Street off of Route 180, behind Wendyís fast food place. Ate at Taco Bell off Rt. 180.

Drove 288 miles for the day.

Rt 266 Fort Grant

Driving to Silver City

Gila Cliffs National Monument

Rt. 15 South on Trail of Mountain Spirits Scenic Byway

Day 3. Silver City to Mesilla and Las Cruces

5089. Odometer reading at the start of the third day.

In Silver City we drive over to the Memory Lane Cemetery. It opens up at 8 a.m. so we had to go elsewhere for an hour since we were too early.

So we went to the Historic Downtown area. Get on North Bullard Street. Ravenís Nest Gallery is now in the old Palace Hotel, established 1882. On the street is the Buffalo Bar, frequented by bikers, and the huge, white Municipal Court House and the Insurance First building.

At Yankee and Bullard Streets is the Farmers Insurance building, 3201 N. Bullard Street. There is an interesting mural on the side of the building and another mural on the other side of the street that is part of the Youth Mural Project. Still another mural is at Spring and Bullard Streets. Itís part of the High Desert Humane Society.

The Antrim family (including the future Billy the Kid) had a cabin on the corner of Main and Broadway.

We stopped at Snappy Mart on Route 90, near and across from the Visitorís Society.

At an old historic house, the city museum, we learn about an early residential neighborhood that was called Gospel Hill.

We found the grave of Katherine Antrim. It is in Section D, plots 1-24. Itís near the corner of Lilac Lane and Cypress Lane. Entering the cemetery, make the first left onto Lilac Lane and then turn right on Cypress Lane. Katherine was the mother of Henry McCarty and Joseph McCarty. No one really knows where Henry was born. It is often written that Billy the Kid was born in New York City or someplace in Indiana, but the truth is just not known. She died early of tuberculosis leaving the young boys (Henry was only 14 years old) without a mother or father. Their biological father died during the Civil War. And their step-father was off somewhere doing his mining adventures. Henry subsequently started getting into trouble, was arrested and sent to jail. He escaped by going up the jail chimney and then taking off for Arizona looking for his step-father in the mining town of Clifton, AZ. Mr. Antrim was not interested in Henry, so Henry roamed around in Arizona Territory until he landed at Fort Grant and the town of Bonita where he killed in self-defence a bully blacksmith.

5097. We finish with Silver City and start heading to the City of Rocks State Park off of Route 180 on the eastern side of the route.

5102. Mile marker 120. Reach Santa Clara.

5103. Reach Santa Rita Copper Mine historic marker.

5111. A sign warns of possible dust storms in the area. The area become flat grasslands with mountain isolates in the distance.

5115. Mile marker 131. Massive areas of grass filled with yellow flowers.

5122. We turn left (east) onto Route 61 north for Rock City.

5125. Mile marker 3. Turn left.

5126. Take photos of the City of Rocks from Route 61. There are lots of piled up boulders together in several areas. And there are lots of RVís (recreational vehicles) in the park. There are two mesas ahead of us. And here are the Mimbres Mountains.

The flowers seen:

cactus with red flowers - Scarlett Beehive Cactus
soaptree yucca (Yucca elata)
century plant (Agave americana)
sotol (Dasylirion wheeleri)
Indian blanket (Gaillardia pulchella)
purple asters
purple flowers in clumps - Blue Flax?
white flowers with fruits - Spectaclepod
red flowers with bladder-shaped fruits.

We start driving around the area. The first rock that hits you in the park is shaped like a phallic symbol with testes included. At Monoceros section, #7 campsite has a huge rock ball hanging on a platform of another rock.

Took photos at Gemini, #14.

The Pegasus Campground is for only one night and that for those who are without a reservation.

Crab Campground. Photo of #25.

5129. Leaving the City of Rocks. Heading for Deming.

5156. Mile marker 164. Deming historical marker. "In 1780 Governor Juan Bautista de Anza passed here while searching for a trade route between Santa Fe and the mines of Sonora, Mexico. Deming, named for Mary Anne Deming, was founded in 1881 when Santa Fe and the Southern Pacific Railroads were connected, giving New Mexico its first railway access to both the Atlantic and the Pacific."

We get on US 10 heading east.

5160. Exit 85. Another dust storm warning sign. East of Deming is pretty empty and a bit monotonous.

Big mountains ahead. Organ and Rattlesnake Mountains.

5210. After exit 135. Scenic View Rest Area. They have a huge road runner statue up. Las Cruces is wildly spread out in the Mesilla Valley.

Exit 139 in Mesilla (next door to Las Cruces on its south).

5213. Mile marker 139. Calle de El Paso.

5214. Inside the city limits of Mesilla. We head for the Historic Old Mesilla Plaza. There are a lot of visitors in the plaza. We came here specifically to see the Billy the Kid Gift Shop.

Billy the Kid became engaged in the Lincoln County Cattle Wars in New Mexico. The oldest cattle faction had the corrupt support of the politicians and the U. S. Army out at nearby Fort Stanton. Their leaders were L. G. Murphy and Jimmy Dolan. A smaller faction formed to fight the Murphy-Dolan syndicate. An Englishman named Tunstall and a Scotsman named McSween became the rival syndicate. This started a shooting war between the cowboys working for the two rival syndicates.

Near the county seat at the town of Lincoln, Tunstall was killed in cold blood by the Murphy-Dolan boys. Tunstallís men wanted revenge on the murderers. Billy and members of the Tunstall organisation wanted revenge on Sheriff William Brady and his men. In Lincoln they hide behind an adobe wall, part of the corral behind the Tunstall Store in Lincoln. When Brady and some of his men came walking down the street, Billy and the boys, known as the Regulators, opened fire on the men. Sheriff Brady was killed, hit by a dozen shots, along with a man named Hindman. Billy was wounded in the thigh.

"In 1881 Billy the Kid was tried in the building which is now the Billy the Kid gift shop on the southeast corner of the plaza. He was sentenced to hang for the murder of Sheriff Brady. He was taken to Lincoln, New Mexico where on April 28th he escaped, killing two deputies." (

The gift shop is filled with souvenirs about Billy and the town of Mesilla. Itís worth a visit. Some of the many other businesses on the plaza are Chocolate Lady, Pistachios and Wine, Nambť and El Patio restaurant. The famous Mexican Posada Restaurant is right across the street from the gift shop.

We stayed at Best Western Mission Inn on Main Street in Las Cruces. We ate early at the Village Inn. They lost our order. "The orders got wet." When the waitress finally came and asked us to give her our order again, we said we would pay for our drinks and leave. She said she would pay for the drinks and so we left the Village Inn.

An historical marker about La Mesilla: "The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hildago ended the Mexican-American War, establishing Mesilla as a Mexican holding. Cura Ramon Ortiz settled families from El Paso del Norte and pre-territorial New Mexico here. Disputes over the border just north of town continued. Soldiers raised the U.S. flag on this Plaza, November 16, 1854, marking the signing of the Gadsden Purchase, the last major territorial acquisition within the contiguous United States. The ĎMí and Ď54' painted on the nearby bandstand commemorate the event."

Got a dinner very quicky at Burger King. We got fast service there.

Went for a total of 134 miles.

Historic Sites in Silver City

City of Rocks State Park

Scenic Rest Area Southwest of Las Cruces

Old Mesilla Plaza

Day 4. Las Cruces to White Sands National Monument, Fort Stanton, Lincoln and Roswell in New Mexico.

5223. Odometer at the start of the trip of the fourth day.

Itís raining.

5224. Pick up 70 east from Main Street.

Getting close to the Organ Mountains.

5233. Mile marker 157. There is virtually no traffic here. And there are lots of trailer parks.

5237. Space Murals Museum, Organ, New Mexico.

5238. Mile marker 162. Town of Organ.

5239. Mile marker 163. Now in Organ Mountains.

St. Augustin Pass. Picnic area. Thereís a U.S. Army Missile here on exhibition. There are mountains on the left and a big open area on the right.

5241. Took some pictures looking backwards.

5241. Mile marker 164. White Sands Missile Range.

5242. Mile marker 166.

5245. Mile marker 169. Missile Range Headquarters.

5246. Mile marker 170.

Taatan Memorial Highway.

Tularosa Valley.

5254. Disappearance of Albert J. Fountain and his eight year old son in 1896 on the way to their home in Mesilla from Lincoln, New Mexico. Fountain fought with the California Volunteers against the Chircahua Apache at the Battle of Apache Pass in what became Fort Bowie, Arizona. The Fountain family ran the Mesilla Valley Opera House and built the Fountain Theatre in Old Mesilla, AZ.

Take some photos looking backwards.

5255. Mile marker 179. On the left is the San Andres Mountain on the west side. We are headed toward the Sacramento Mountains.

5274. Mile marker 199. Border Check Point.

5275. Mile marker 200. Arrive at White Sands National Monument. They have some of their plants labelled in front of the visitorís center.

Sotol or Desert Spoon (Dasylirion wheeleri)
Desert willow (Chilopsis lineares)
Apache plume (Fallugia paradoxa)
Colorado 4 o-clock (Mirabilis multiflora)
Skunkbush sumac (Rhus trilobata)
Torreyí Jointfir (Ephedra torreyana)
Creosote bush (Larrea tridentata)
Honey mesquite (Prosopsis glandulosa)
a wispy looking shrub with silvery green leaves (unknown)
New Mexico agave (Agave parryi ssp. neomexicana)
Lechugilla (Agave lechugilla)
Soaptree yucca (Yucca elata)
Hoary Rosemary mint (Poliomintha incana)
Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens)
Purple prickly pear cactus (Opuntia macrocentra).

277. Dry lake on the right. Take more sand dune photos. Small sand dunes, but less vegetation on them.

5278. More photos of sand dunes.

5279. More photos of sand dunes.

Interdune Board walk. Study area. Pink flowered plant. Dark skies over our heads.

5280. More photos.

5281. Took photos of people playing on the sand dunes.

Loop Drive.

5282. Photos of more sledders in the picnic areas. The picnic tables have hoods over them. This is a big recreation area here.

5283. Lots of scoop outs of the sand for parking.

5286. On the way back to the entrance. One strange sand formation is like a head with a wig on it.

5291. Leaving White Sands National Monument.

5298. Before mile marker 207. Holliman Air Force Base.

5304. Town of Alamogordo. Took photos of the Sacramento Mountains.

5305. Mile marker 1. We take Routes 54 and 70 to Tularosa.

5318. Tularosa Historical Marker: "The Tularosa Basin has been occupied by Indian groups for thousands of years. The first Hispanic settlers moved here from the Rio Grande Valley in 1862. Anglo settlers and cattlemen began moving into the region in the 1870's. The original 1862 townsite has been designated a State and National Historic District. Tularosa appears as ĎOasisí in Eugene Manlove Rhodes."

5323. Mile marker 232.

5326. Route 70 headed to Ruidoso.

5332. Mile marker 241. Historic Marker about Blazerís Mill in the Lincoln County War. "An early fight in the Lincoln Country War occurred near this sawmill April 5, 1878, when several men of the McSween faction, including Dick Brewer and Billy the Kid, attempted to arrest Buckshot Roberts. Roberts and Brewer were killed, and two others wounded, in the battle that followed."

Dick Brewer was the leader of the Regulators. So the group now elected Frank McNab as their new captain. When McNab was killed, Doc Scurlock became the captain. The Regulators get a new man, named Thomas OíFolliard. He and Billy became good friends. (Thomas is buried next to Billy in the Fort Sumner cemetery.)

Here there is a broad canyon. Mountain on both sides of the road.

5337. Mile marker 246. Forested mountains now.

5340. Mile marker 250.

5343. Apache Summit.

5344. Before mile marker 256. Sierra Blanca. The peak is at 12,003 feet.

5350. Before mile marker 260. Lincoln County line. Next comes Ruidoso village limits.

5351. We get off Rt. 70 east by turning left onto Rt. 48 north. We miss seeing the building for the Ruidoso River Museum, located at 101 North Mechem. Drive just one half block north of the intersection of Mechem and Sudderth Drives in Midtown Ruidoso. The museum has a collection dealing with Billy the Kid.

North of Alto village we turn right onto Rt. 220 to go to Fort Stanton, north of the town of Lincoln.

Rt. 220 is a lonely road at this time of year.

5366. Mile marker 4.

5375. Mile marker 13. We reach Fort Stanton, which is in good shaped compared to so many western forts. We get onto 1st Street (Kit Carson Road). We stop at the Community House for photos. Drive onto Lincoln Drive (Buffalo Soldiers Trail). We take a photo of the Fort Stanton Watering Hole (the Canteen).

L. G. Murphy of later Murphy-Dolan faction had a store here at Fort Stanton. He later moved it into a big building in Lincoln, that later served as the County Courthouse and was where Billy the Kid was held before he broke out of the jail.

5376. Mile marker 16. Leaving Fort Stanton. From Rt 220 we turn right onto Rt. 380 heading south. We are headed for Lincoln, N. M.

5379. Mile marker 90.

Mile marker 92. Entering Lincoln Historic District.

5386. Mile marker 97. We reach the town of Lincoln. Our first stop is at the Lincoln County Courthouse (once L. G. Muprhyís store). Billy the Kid was captured by Sheriff Pat Garrett and his men at Stinking Springs (east of Fort Sumner) and held as a prisoner here on the second floor.

Jailor Robert Olinger was a bully towards Billy and Billy hated him.

It is thought that one of Billyís many friends in Lincoln placed a pistol in the outhouse and Billy picked it up while visiting the facilities. He kills Dave Bell who took him to the privy. Then up on the second floor Billy grabs Olingerís own shotgun. He positions himself at the second floor window on the side of the courthouse facing downtown (south). Bob Olinger heard the shots from the restaurant (which no longrt stands, and has been replaced by the Wortley Hotel) diagonally across the street from the side of the courthouse. Billy knew he would becoming, so he waited for the bully.

Robert came to enter one of the two side doors to the courthouse. Billy may or may not have said anything to Olinger. Some movies have him saying "Hey, Bob" and when Bob looks up at the second floor window, Billy blasts him with Bobís own shotgun.

There is a marker where Olinger fell dead. Behind the courthouse there is another marker, this one for Dave Bell, that marks where he fell dead. Both markers can be seen from the windows of the courthouse. Billy heads out for Fort Sumner, where he will meet his Maker.

Our next stop is the Wortley Hotel, which stands where once stood the restaurant where Olinger was eating his breakfast.

Next to the Wortley Hotel is an abandoned piece of land. Once here was the McSween house. Itís gone now. But here was the center of a fight, known as the Five-Day-War, between the two cattle factions. The favored Murphy-Dolan faction called for help from Fort Stockton. When the soldiers and their cannon arrived, most of the McSween faction took off. But Billy and McSween stayed put along with some other McSween men.

In the struggle, McSween and his law clerk were killed, along with quite a few more men. Billy eventually ran from the house and got away. Billy goes a wandering and then hangs out around Fort Sumner. He became smitten with Paulita Maxwell Jaramillo, Pete Maxwellís young sister at Fort Sumner.

Lt. Col. Dudley from Fort Stanton, who fought for the Murphy-Dolan faction, was suspended from his command of Fort Stanton.

Our next stop was the Tunstall store. The store has some of the original cans from the Tunstall times. We then see the Dolan House. There was a museum we wanted to see but we had no more time as it was close to closing time at 4 p.m.

So we go south on Rt. 380 and pick up Rt. 70 heading east.

5396. Mile marker 107. The junction of 380 and 70.

Nice rolling grass hills with some bushes.

5423. Mile marker 312. Flat land. No mountains anywhere. See red flowers on the ocotillo plants.

Turn left onto Main Street and go two miles to the Best Western hotel.

Odometer read 5444. Total driving miles for the 4th day is 221.

San Augustin Pass and Nearby

White Sands National Monument I

White Sands National Monument II

Fort Stanton

Historic Lincoln I

Historic Lincoln II

Day 5. Roswell to Fort Sumner and Las Vegas, NM.

5447. At Walmart on Rt. 70. Rosemary is looking for t-shirts with the name Roswell on them for Carl and Mikella . We learned too late last night from Carl that he and his friend Mikella wanted Roswell t-shirts with aliens on them. They are fans of science fiction films.

5446. Mile marker 336. We pick up Rt. 285 north headed to Fort Sumner. Thereís flat farm land around the area.

5480. Mile marker 0. Turn right to head northeast on Rt. 20 to Fort Sumner. There is nothing much out this way. There are no mountains around here.

5524. Reach the junction of Rt. 20 and Rt. 60. We turn right and head east.

Make a stop for an historic marker.

We reach the Billy the Kid Museum. We pay to go into see the many collections of owner Don Sweet, but we concentrated on the Billy the Kid collection. In the collection are paintings telling the highlights of the story of Billy the Kid. One of the best items in the collection is Billy the Kidís rifle.

We get back on the road and head farther east. We pick up Billy the Kid Road and turn right. We go down the road quite a ways to find another Billy the Kid Museum. This one is just in front of the Fort Sumner cemetery where Billy the Kid is buried. Itís called the Old Fort Sumner Museum and is just south of Shady Tree Drive (Co. Rd. 2-50)..

We wanted to go to see the fort and the Bosque Redondo Memorial Museum. But they are closed on Monday and Tuesdays and we could not get in. So we canít report personally on the two museums. Bosque Redondo Visitor Center was designed by Navajo architect David Sloan to resemble a tepee. 

Fort Sumner had its beginnings in 1862. At about the same time General James Henry Carleton created the Bosque Redondo Indian Reservation where over 9,000 Navajo and Mescalero Apaches were forced to live. The Mescaleros ran away and in 1868 they were permitted to return to reservation.

Fort Sumner was abandoned in 1869. Rancher and cattle baron Lucien Maxwell rebuilt one of the officersí quarters into a 20-room house. Billy the Kid became friends with the Maxwells. After Lucien died Pete Maxwell came to own the big house. Billy liked Peteís sister, Paulita. She was the reason Billy stayed so close to Fort Sumner despite the danger that Billy could be caught by Sheriff Pat Garrett.

On the night of July 14, 1881 Garrett and two of his men come to the Maxwell House to find Billy. Garrett goes into Pete Maxwellís room to ask him about the whereabout of the Kid. Billy sees Garrettís two men and asks two times in Spanish: "Who is it?" He backs into Pete Maxwellís room and asks him who are those men outside his room? It suddenly occurs to Billy that there is another person in the room besides Pete. He asks in Spanish who is it and then asks the same question in English.

Pete whispers to Garrett, itís him. Garrett pulls out his pistol and fires twice at Billy, killing him. The Kid lays dead on the floor.

We head back to the Old Fort Sumner Museum. They also have paintings telling the story of the highlights of the life of Billy the Kid.

We go back to Rt. 60 and drive a ways to see Stinking Springs where Garrett and his men had arrested Billy and some of his henchmen. Never seeing anything really historical, we turned around and go back to downtown Fort Sumner and pick up Rt. 84 heading north for Santa Rosa on US 40.

5621. We head north on Rt. 84 for 47 miles to Santa Rosa. On the way to Santa Rosa we see grass lands with small trees.

Santa Rosa: "The Spanish explorer Antonio de Espejo passed through this area in 1583, as did Gaspar Castano de Sosa in 1590. Santa Rosa, the Guadalupe County seat, was laid out on the ranch of Celso Baca y Baca, a politician and rancher in the late 1800s. It was named for his wife, Dona Rosa."

Rts. 84 and US 40 go together west for awhile, until Rt. 84 heads north to Las Vegas, NM at exit 256.

Mile marker 76. Go over the Pecos River.

Mile marker 77. Upper Dillia.

Mile marker 78. Anton Chico exit. Billy stayed here.

Mile marker 82. Another Anton Chico exit.

Mile marker 84. Sant Fe Mountains ahead.

Mile marker 89. Apache Springs.

Mile marker 95. Los Montoyas.

Mile marker 96. Historic Rt. 66.

Mile marker 103. Get on US 25 north.

Mile marker 341 on US 25.

Exit 343 for the Town Plaza.

Exit 345 for the Las Vegas National Refuge.

Reach, Las Vegas, NM.

Exit 347. Get off to check into the Best Western Plus Montezuma Inn & Suites at Las Vegas.

We are now at the Town Plaza.  Here  is the El Campesino statue. [Dedicated to: Farm Workers, San Isidro, and the Tri-County Farmers Market.] The Town Plaza is pretty but the stores around the plaza are not all that great. Too many stores are closed and there are not enough interesting stores. The town should meet and take a look at the historic plaza of Mesilla, NM for guidance.

We tried to go to the town museum but the museum is closed on Sundays and Mondays. Went down to see the historic train station on East Lincoln Avenue.

Billy ran an illegal gambling table in Las Vegas.

We ate at Dairy Queen.

The odometer at the end of the day is 5701.

Total mileage gone for the day is 257 miles.

Billy the Kid Museum

Old Fort Sumner Museum & Cemetery

Town Plaza, Las Vegas NM & Nearby

Day 6. Las Vegas, NM to Amarillo, TX.

Odometer reads 5701.

Head back down to Santa Rosa from Las Vegas.

5710. Take exit 339 onto US 25 heading south.

5768. Get off at exit 273. Get onto US 40 east. Took a photo of the Pecos River at 8:21 a.m.

5793. The sign says Tucumcari is 41 miles away and Amarillo is 151 miles away.

Take some photos of a mesa. Red rocks.

5794. Before mile marker 293. There are lots of mesas here.

5800. Mile marker 300.

5810. Mile marker 310.

5820. Mile marker 320. See a train,.

5821. Palomas.

5829. Reach Tucumcari. "This area was troubled by both Comanches and Comancheros, New Mexicans who traded illegally with the Indians, until the military campaigns of 1874. The coming of the railroad in 1898, the small community of Liberty, eight miles to the north, moved here to form the nucleus of Tucumcari, which was incorporated in 1908. The Rock Island - Southern Pacific Depot built in 1927 is an outstanding example of a Mission Revival-style depot and recently restored."

There are lots of abandoned businesses: Payless Inns being just one of them. The Tucumcari Trading Post is still in business.

5832. Esso Gas Station. Abandoned.

5832. Magnolia Gas Station. Abandoned. Has a sign saying: "Get your kicks on Route 66." The abandoned Ranch House Cafť is on the opposite side of the road. There are lots abandoned gas stations.

5834. Take photos of the iconic Blue Swallow Motel. The motel is unique in that each room has a garage. Every two garages are paired in double garages. They have an old Pontiac car in front of the lobby. I also noticed that they have a favorite sign during the heydays of Route 66: "Tucumcari Tonite!"

On our way out of town we take photos of another historic Route 66 motel. Kenís Ice Cream is another abandoned place. Took a photo of the historical marker about Tucumcari.

5837. Mile marker 336.

Mile marker 337. Amarillo is 119 miles away.

Mile marker 340.

5842. Mile marker 341.

5870. Mile marker 369.

5872. Mile marker 371.

5873. Mile marker 372.

5874. Mile marker 374.

Mile marker 0. Entering Texas. "Drive Friendly the Texas Way". Amarillo is 70 miles away.

5900. Mile marker 27. Lots of wind mills.

5901. Mile marker 28. Town of Landgrin. More Windmills.

Mile marker 40. The land is flat as a pancake.

Exit 42. Everett Road.

Before 5925. Huge cattle pens. Itís really smelly here. No grass and no shade for the cattle.

Exit 54. Adkisson Road.

5928. Amarillo 15 miles away.

5930. Exit 57 for Bushland.

5936. Exit 62A. We get off at the exit to get onto a service road that takes you back to the half buried old Cadillacs in a field. People use spray paint to paint the half buried Cadillacs. They usually write their names or an expression of love for someone. There were visitors here from Sweden judging by some of the writing.

If you donít have a can of spray paint, people leave cans of paint behind. We just took lots of photos. No spray painting for us. Anyway, people constantly paint over the paintings on the Cadillacs.

As noted in Wikepedia, Cadillac Ranch is a public art installation and sculpture in Amarillo, Texas, U.S. It was created in 1974 by Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez and Doug Michels, who were a part of the art group Ant Farm. It consists of what were (when originally installed during 1974) either older running used or junk Cadillac automobiles, representing a number of evolutions of the car line (most notably the birth and death of the defining feature of mid twentieth century Cadillacs; the tailfins) from 1949 to 1963, half-buried nose-first in the ground, at an angle corresponding to that of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.[1]

5840. Exit 64. Mexican Grill restaurant.

5841. Exit 65. Coulter Street. Three lane highway.

5842. Exit 66. Bell Street. Taco Bueno fast food.

5843. Exit 67. Western Street.

5844. Exit 68A. Julian Boulevard.

Exit 68. See a Dennyís restaurant.

Exit 68B. Georgia Street.

5845. Exit 69. Amarillo College.

5847. Exit 71. Ross-Osage Drive.

5848. Exit 72A.

Exit 73. Get off to go to the American Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame. Rosemary loves horses. We go under US 40 and then turn left to reach the Hall of Fame. Rosemary took a a lot of photos outside and inside the museum. She also got some souvenirs from the place.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The American Quarter Horse is an American breed of horse that excels at sprinting short distances. Its name came from its ability to outdistance other horse breeds in races of a quarter mile or less; some individuals have been clocked at speeds up to 55 mph (88.5 km/h). The American Quarter Horse is the most popular breed in the United States today, and the American Quarter Horse Association is the largest breed registry in the world, with more than 5 million American Quarter Horses registered.

The American Quarter Horse is well known both as a race horse and for its performance in rodeos, horse shows and as a working ranch horse. The compact body of the American Quarter Horse is well-suited to the intricate and speedy maneuvers required in reining, cutting, working cow horse, barrel racing, calf roping, and other western riding events, especially those involving live cattle. The American Quarter Horse is also shown in English disciplines, driving, and many other equestrian activities.

The modern Quarter Horse has a small, short, refined head with a straight profile, and a strong, well-muscled body, featuring a broad chest and powerful, rounded hindquarters. They usually stand between 14 and 16 hands (56 and 64 inches, 142 and 163 cm) high, although some Halter-type and English hunter-type horses may grow as tall as 17 hands (68 inches, 173 cm).

There are two main body types: the stock type and the hunter or racing type. The stock horse type is shorter, more compact, stocky and well muscled, yet agile. The racing and hunter type Quarter Horses are somewhat taller and smoother muscled than the stock type, more closely resembling the Thoroughbred.

We had to turn our Camry into Hertz at the Amarillo airport. At 5,000 miles a sign came up on the dashboard saying that maintenance was required. And for some 951 miles after that Rosemary worried that the car was going to break down.

Hertz gave us a Nissan Altima with New York plates. How strange, but New Yorkers do get around.

The odometer on the Camry read 5951. We went 250 miles for the day in the Camry.

The odometer on the Nissan read 47,775. We ate at Dennyís.

We stayed at the Best Western Santa Fe.

Old Route 66 Santa Rosa to Tucumcari

Cadillac Ranch

American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum I

American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum II

Day 7. Amarillo to Palo Duro Canyon, Lake Meredith, Alibates National Monument and Back to Amarillo, TX.

At the start of the day the odometer is at 47788. We go west on US 40 to US 27 south. Then we will catch Route 217 east to Palo Duro Canyon State Park.

47809. Getting off US 26 and onto 217 east. The land in the area is as flat as far as one can see.

Rt. 217 east ends right at the Palo Duro Canyon State Park. It is early in the morning and it is really cold. The winds is blowing hard.

From Wikipedia

Palo Duro Canyon is a canyon system of the Caprock Escarpment located in the Texas Panhandle near the city of Amarillo, Texas, United States. As the second-largest canyon in the United States, it is roughly 70 mi (110 km) long and has an average width of 6 mi (9.7 km), but reaches a width of 20 mi (32 km) at places. Its depth is around 820 ft (250 m), but in some locations, it can increase up to 1,000 ft (300 m). Palo Duro Canyon (from the Spanish meaning "hard stick")[2] has been named "The Grand Canyon of Texas" both for its size and for its dramatic geological features, including the multicolored layers of rock and steep mesa walls similar to those in the Grand Canyon.
The painter Georgia O'Keeffe, who lived in nearby Amarillo and Canyon early in the 20th century, wrote of the Palo Duro: "It is a burning, seething cauldron, filled with dramatic light and color."

We stopped at the visitorís center and museum. The center overlooks a huge canyon. From the center one drives right down to the canyon floor. The Trading Post is closed until 11 a.m. We will return here later.

Thereís a pull-off with a picnic table. Red rocks on the left. Rosemary wonders if we can see the rock formation the Light House, but no, we canít.

Just passed Chinaberry Day Use Area. Took photos of two peaks across from the road.

Took photos at Juniper Trail and Mountain Bike Trail head.

Pass Rojo Grande Trail.

Pass Sunflower Trail.

Stopped for photos.

Juniper Day Use Area.

Stopped for more photos. The rocks hers have interesting multi-colors.

We couldnít go all around the circle drive because there was flooding and the road was closed. So we had to go back to where we started the circle drive and go as far down as the men at work area.

Passed by Cactus Camp. Took photos of the red rocks on the left.

Pass Cow Camp Cabins.

Took photos once passed Cow Camp Cabins.

Passed by the Mesquite Camp Area.

Now we head back to the Trading Post to get some more souvenirs.

47840. Leave Palo Duro Canyon. Itís about 52 miles from Amarillo to Palo Duro.

We try to go back via US 27 but we miss it. We go north to US 40 via Route 1541.

Then we get on US 40 east this time. We keep going until we see exit 96 at Conway to pick up Route 207 north headed for the town of Borger. This is a scenic route.

Exit 76. Itís 20 miles to exit 96.

Exit 77. Pullmon Road.

Exit 80. Spur 228.

Exit 81. FM 1912.

Exit 85 Durrett Road.

Exit 87. FM 2373.

Exit 89. FM 2161.

Exit 90 and 91. Windmills (Wind Turbines.)

94. Farm land.

47889. Exit 96. Conway Inn and Restaurant. Remember the Cadillac Ranch? Well, at this exit they have five painted Volkswagens with their hoods buried in the ground. I thought that was funny.

We head north on scenic Route 207.

On the right are power lines and wind turbines and lots of agricultural land.

47896. We see 16 cows.

47899. There are Windmills on both sides of the road. Rosemary comments that the road is not really scenic.

47910. See four cows.

47913. Historical Marker.

47914. See 14 cows.

Reach the Hutchinson County Line.

47919. We reach Borger. They have a nice park and lots of fast food places: McDís, Taco Bell, KFC, Sonic and Pizza Hut. They have a Best Western Motel and an Ace Hardware store, an Auto Zone and a BBQ Pit restaurant.

From Borger we switch to Rt. 136 going west and then south. We are headed for Fritch and Lake Meredith.

47932. Turn right to go north on Rt. 687 to get to the Sanford dam.

47936.. Reach Sanford. Turn left for Sanford Dam. The Spring Canyon Beach below the dam looks deserted. Went over Sanford Dam. Then we turned around and went south over the dam. Ran into some tumbleweeds on the bridge. We had to stop and take the tumbleweeds off the front of the car.

We descended to the Spring Canyon Beach below the dam to take photos. No one else was there.

47944. Head south on Rt. 687 to Rt. 136 to go into Fritch.

Pass through Fritch and head south on Rt. 136 for the Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument.

47958. Reach Cas Johnson Road that will takes us to Alibates. [In 1906, Charles Gould, a geologist, came to the ranch searching for oil and gas. A local cowboy, Allen "Allie" Bates, showed Gould around the area. Allie Bates was living in an unnamed ravine in a dugout, so Gould named the ravine and nearby features after him, shortening the name to "Alibates."]

47963. Arrive at Alibates. We look through the museum with its historical information. Then we take a look at the garden outside the museum. We found Christmas cactus in fruit, little blue stem grass and wild rose (Rosa acicularis).

Took some photos of the surrounding area.

47964. Start heading back south to Amarillo.

47970. Back at Rt. 136 and now heading south. Rosemary writes that there were tumbleweeds caught on the fences; she saw an antelope with its white belly (Pronghorns); little tiny tumbleweeds are being blown across the road.

47995. Back in Amarillo.

Stay at the Best Western for the second night.

The odometer reads 48009.

The total mileage racked up for the day was 221 miles.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park I

Palo Duro Canyon State Park II

Lake Meredith National Recreation Area

Day 8. Amarillo to Caprock Canyon State Park to Lubbock, TX.

The odometer at the start of the day is 48009.

We are going back to Conway on US 40 again, but this time we will head south on Rt 207, not north. The whole route from Conway to Dickens down south is marked as a scenic drive.

48063. Stop for photos of beautiful views. The mountains have lots of red rock and the mountains are peppered with green shrubs and trees.

48060. Stopped for photos.

48062. More reds and greens in the mountains.

48081. Lake Mackenzie.

48082. Two rock formations, both isolates. Before Silverton take Rt. 86.

48092. Town of Silverton.

48108. Town of Quitague.

48109. Turn left onto Rt. 1065 to go to Caprock Canyon. Lots of agriculture here. I see our third road runner of the trip.

48112. Exit for Caprock. Flat ground at the entrance. Canyons are here involved with the Little Red River and the North and the South Prongs of the Little Red River.

48113. Caprock has a small visitorís center and gift shop.

Took photos of mesas on the left and ahead of us. Take a photo of a lone bison on the left.

Our fourth sighting of a road runner.

48113. Lake Theo.

48114. We see twelve bison together near a massacre site of buffalos by the Native Americans. Saw two yellow flower species. At the end of the road is a small lake.

Go towards Hone Flat Camping Area. On the left we see a large, open, roofed shelter. By it are flat statues of bison on the lawn. We visit the shelter. Barn swallows have their mud nests amid the rafters of the roof. From the shelter we see great wide open view of red rocks and green vegetation. A cactus is in bloom.

48116. Descending down the road. Stop for photos.

48117. Pull-off with shelter. Take photos because the mountains clearly show their rock layers and we get closeups of the red rocks. Itís a nice, open area.

48118. Photos of a river bed with a very small amount of water.

48119. Stopped on a bridge. There are small ribbons of water down below.

48120. South Prong Tent Camping Area with Upper Canyon Loop Trail. The stream is dry as an old bone. Now we turn around to go back.

48122. Another yellowish flower in bloom.

48123. 10 or so buffalo. Saw more of them. The total is 29. We havenít seen any prairie dogs yet.

Now we spot a prairie dog. And now we see them all over the field on both sides of the road. Rosemary laughs as she takes lots of prairie dog photos. The area is a field after the Discovery Center. Rosemary writes: "I had good laughs and big smiles watching them."

48125. Back to Lake Theo. 5th sighting of a road runner. Rosemary thinks she got a photo of the bird as it waited to cross the road ahead of us.

48125. Now we are leaving Caprock Canyon State Park.

We drive back to Quitague.

48138. The Town of Turkey. There are alot of deserted stores in the town. Took of photo of a colorful turkey statue in town.

48139. We are now heading south on Rt. 70.

48152. Go over the bridge for the North Pease River, which has about six inches of water.

48162. N. Pease River again.

48178. S. Pease River. Green area with small trees on both sides of the river.

Route 70 seems empty of cars.

48194. Got on 82 West in Dickens to head for Lubbock which is about 60 miles ahead.

48214. White River.

48217. The town of Crosbyton. Itís not in good shape either.

48220. Lubbock is about 35 miles away.

48226. The town of Ralls.

48227. Leaving Ralls.

48235. Town of Loren.

48236. Lubbock is 18 miles away.

48237. Lubbock County Line.

48243. Town of Idalou.

48250. Town of Lubbock. We decided to see the statue of the famous rock and roll singer Buddy Holly. I used an old map and an old book and so we could not find the Buddy Holly statue. They moved the statue. Rosemary went into the library and found out where the statue is now located. Itís on 19th Street and Crickets Avenue, near US 27.

We drive to the statue. Behind the Buddy Holly statue is the names of famous Texas musicians comprising a Music Hall of Fame. Across the street is the Buddy Holly Center. Interesting information on Buddy Holly, who, along with the Big Bopper and Richie Valens, died in an air plane crash, February 3, 1959. "The night the music died."

48266. Stay at the Best Western Lubbock Windsor Inn off Route 27.

Total mileage for the day was 257 miles.

Rt 207 Conway to Caprock Canyons

Caprock Canyons State Park I

Caprock Canyons State Park II

Caprock Canyons State Park III

Lubbock: Buddy Holly Plaza and Center

Day 9. Lubbock to Pecos.

The odometer is 48270. Head south on Route 87.

48328. Stop at Stripes gas station in Lamesa.

There are quite a few oil rigs pumping away. There are also wind turbines in the area.

48368. Welcome to Big Spring.

48372. Gas fill-up.

48373. Exit 176 to pick up of US 20 heading southwest.

48375. Exit 174.

48381. Exit 168. Picnic area.

48386. More windmills.

48390. Exit 158. Stanton.

48393. Exit 156. Stanton.

48395. Exit 164. Stanton.

48405. Exit 144. Midland.

48406. Exit 143. Midland.

48410. Exit 138. Midland.

48418. Midkiff Road, Midland.

48422. Exit 126. Airport.

Next seven exits are for Odessa.

48428. Exit 121. University of Texas at Permian Basin.

58431. Exit 118. Grandview Avenue.

48433. Exit 116. Odessa College.

48434. Exit 15. Odessa City Limits.

48435. Exit 113. Kermit.

48440. Exit 108. Meteor Crater and Museum.

Exit 101. Penwell.

There is really heavy traffic here on US 20. After Odessa, the traffic is lighter.

48456. Exit 93. Fort Stockton.

48464. Exit 86. Sand Hills State Park. At stop sign turn left for Monahans Sand Hills State Park.

Dugan Visitorís Center.

Plants at the state park:

Canaigre Dock (Rumex hymenosepalus)
Claret cup cactus (Echinocereus triglochidiatus)
Purple headed sneezeweed (Helenium flexuosum)
Big center of composite flowers
Western peppergrass (Lepidium montanum)
Harvard shin oak (Quercus harvardii)
Southwestern prickly poppy (Argemone pleiacantha ssp. ambigua) blue-green leaves are divided into sharp, toothlike lobes
Tansy aster
Mormon tea (Ephedra viridis)
Gypsy Bluecurl
Day flower
Desert willow (Chilopsis lineares)
Hearts delight
Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens)
Thick sepa cryptanth
Sand goldenweed
Wooly white
Heart sepal
Wild buckwheat
common sunflower
Western horse mint (Agastache occidentalis)
prairie stickleaf (Mentzelia multiflora).

The most common dune is the transverse dune. Long and straight and with parallel ridges. There are also dome-shaped dunes.

We now drive the park roads. Itís pretty nice place.

48474. Exit 82. Town of Monahan.

Exit 80. Monohans. The speed limit here is 80 mph.

48481. Exit 73. Wickett.

48488. Mile marker 66. Pyote.

48514. Exit 39. Just before Pecos, we pick up Rt. 17s off of US 20. We decided to go to Fort Davis today instead of tomorrow. The speed limit is 75 mph.

48532. Pass by Trans-Pecos Materials.

48534. Verhalen.

48545. Getting onto US 10 west and Rt 17 south.

48548. Mile marker 210. Exit 209. Go under US 10. Turn right onto Rt. 17 south. Take photos of the Barilla Mountains.

Fort Davis is 38 miles away.

48550. Balmorhea. Itís a small town.

48554. Balmorhea State Park.

Now we start a really scenic road to Fort Davis. This alone would make the trip for the day.

There is a huge patch of flowers, with yellows and purples and some oranges. Beautiful!

Getting close to the mountains now. Enter Jeff Davis County.

48558. Going through a pass. Itís a pretty area of green. The area is covered with flowers. The road is a winding one here.

48561. Stopping for mountain photos. Itís beautiful here! We see white prickly poppy. The mountains are as if covered in green carpet.

48563. Stop for flower photos.

48564. Stop of flower photos.

48568. Brown and green colors amidst the mountain rocks.

48569. Brown mountains.

48573. A narrow pass. Itís called Wild Rose Pass

48576. Hoodoos here. Lots of thin fingers pointing upwards.

48577. Winding, curving road.

48580. A wonderful opportunity. Cowboys are being taught how to separate the young cows from the older cows. Rosemary is so thrilled and takes lots of photos of the cowboys and cowgirls along with the cows. She really enjoyed herself. The cows were staring at her and mooing at her. Rosemary enjoyed mooing back at the cows. The cowboys were laughing at her. What a thrill for her!

After turning left, we have only one mile to get to Fort Davis.

48586. Fort Davis. We see a movie on Fort Davis in a former mess hall. The fort buildings were made of stone and adobe. The fort existed from 1854 to 1891. Antonio de Espejo was the first white explorer of the area. Whiting established Painted Comanche Camp. Seawell established the fort here.

In 1861, during the Civil War, Fort Davis is abandoned. Confederate officer Sibleyís Army of New Mexico was defeated by the union troops.

Wesley Merritt rebuilt Fort Davis. There were 50 structures at the fort. Black troops, known as Buffalo Soldiers, were stationed at Fort Davis. There was definite tension between the Buffalo Soldiers and the white soldiers with lots of racial slurs.

Henry O. Flipper was the first black graduate of West Point. He served at Fort Davis in 1880 and was accused of embezzlement of funds and was thrown out of the army. Posthumously, the charges were overturned against Flipper.

In the 1870's the Indian leader Victorio was active. The Buffalo 10th Calvary got control of the water holes and drove Victorio out of the area.

We took lots of photos in the museum part of the visitorís center. Got lots of good information and maps. Limpia Creek flowed through the area.

Rosemary wanted to go see the horse and cavalry man across the parade ground. She found out the manís name is Hank and his horse is named Dudley.

Took lots of pictures of the buildings at the site.

Heading back to Pecos.

48594. Photos of mountains.

48598. Photos of a wide open area.

48599. Back to Wild Rose Pass.

48612. A large area.

48661. Arrive at the Holiday Express Inn in Pecos.

We were going to eat at Dennyís but the hotel clerk said that all her customers who have been to Dennyís say that they have very bad service there. So we went elsewhere. It was a local hang-out with really good Mexican food. I hope we took a photo because I canít remember the name of the place.

The odometer reads 48668. We drove 398 miles today. Thatís the highest mileage yet for us on this trip.

Monahan Sandhills State Park

Rt 17 From Balmorhea to Fort Davis

Fort Davis

Rt 17 Returning From Fort Davis

Day 10. Pecos to Big Bend National Park.

The odometer reads 48668. Head southeast down to Fort Stockton.

48718. Sign for Fort Stockton.

48721. Stopped for directions.

48725. Itís 58 miles to Marathon and 127 miles to Big Bend National Park. We take Rt. 385 southwest to Marathon thatís at the intersection with Route 90.

Took photos of Wood Hollow Mountain south of Marathon.

48790. There are various peaks here. Horse Mountain is on the left side. There are sweet smells from the many flowers blooming along the road.

48802. Mountain photos. Santiago Mountains, maybe.

48818. Clouds touch the mountains. There is a pine sap smell coming from the creosote bush. We see a bush with white flowers. The ocotillos are in bloom.

48822. Big Ben National Park entrance sign. We see yucca and the creosote bush in bloom. In fact, thereís a lot of plants in boom. The mile marker is 28.

Persimmon Gap northern entrance for the national park.

There are quite alot of mountains around the area.

48825. Thereís a wide open area on the right. Lots and lots of Texas blue bonnets in bloom.

48826. Mile marker 26. Mountains on the left and right with wide open space between them.

48826. Dog Canyon Trail.

48827. Mile marker 23.

48829. Rosilla Mountains on the right (west).

48830. Mile marker 20. Took mountain photos on the right side of the road.

48831. Mile marker 19. Purple and yellow combo of blooming flowers with some white blooming flower.

48832. Blue bonnets can get very tall, from two to three feet high. Never seen so many blue bonnets along the sides of the road.

48834. Dager Flat Auto Trail.

48838. Mile marker 11. Mountain photos.

48840. Mile marker 9. Mountain photos. Purplish colors along the ridge. Honey mesquite here.

47744. Can see the Chisos Mountains. The roadsides are ablaze with color from the wild flowers. There is some green on the Chisos Mountains.

Reach the visitorís center. They have a garden here:

Texas Bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis)
Strawberry Pitaya (Echinoecereus stramineus)
Big Bend Silverleaf (Cenizo leucophyllum minus)
Wax Plant (Candelilla euphorbia antisyphilitica)
Lotebush (Ziziphus obtusifolia)
Sotol (Dasylition leiophyllum) has little spines on its leaf edges
Foothill Beargrass (Nolina erumpens)
Guayacan (Guiaicum angustifolium)
Tarbush (Flourensia cernua)
Giant Dagger Yucca (Yucca faxoniana)
Torrey yucca (Yucca torreyi)
unknown fuzzy purple flower plant
a plant with dark green, small leaves with purple flowers
Prickly pear cactus (Opuntia sp.)
white finger flowers
light-yellow (very pale) flowers
Whitethorn acacia (Acacia constricta)
nightshade flower? reflexed petals
Yellow trumpet flower with kelly green leaves
Thompson yucca (Yucca thompsoniana)
Hedgehog or claret cup cactus
Brown-flowered cactus (Echinocereus viridiflorus var. Vussanthus)
unknown cactus with reddish flowers
Lechuguilla (Agave lechuguilla)
pink mallow flowers
tiny yellow asters
little white flowers.

48867. Never saw so many blooming ocotillas or cacti.

48868. Going through a tunnel in the rocks. There is a Rio Grande overlook here. The overlook is not that good. Just see the cars on the road below along with some desert.

We then drove to Rio Grande Village. Took a nature trail walk starting from a camping area. Saw yellow trumpet flowers on a bush. Cattails and Phragmites grass in the wet areas. Go through a wetland. We go far enough to see a long view of the Rio Grande.

Bought some cold water bottles at the little store here. Also bought two shot glasses.

Leaving the store we drive down to the picnic area which is close to the Rio Grande. Now we stand right next to it.

Conifer-like plant (small tree) by the Rio Grande. Saw a Palo Verde tree and another type of Rumex (dock). See another view of the Rio Grande from the picnic area.

48898. We are now on the road to the lodge and restaurant in the Chisos Basin.

48899. A sign says this is bear and mountain lion country. Took more mountain photos.

48901. Three big peaks, one of which is straight ahead of us. Then a view opens up.

48902. We are overlooking the settlement of the Chisos Basin.

48903. Then we drive to the lodge area. Not that many buildings here. A lodge, a restaurant, a store and a visitorís center. The place is surrounded by mountains.

48909. We are now out of the Chisos Basin. Itís 22 miles to Terlingua just outside the park boundaries on the west. We see our 6th road runner.

Big Bend Resort and Adventures messed up the reservations. It took awhile for the woman clerk to figure out a place to put us. She ended up giving us half of a duplex. It was much roomier and had a kitchen. I was willing to pay the extra cost of the duplex as compared to a room, but the nice manager said no.

We ate at the BBR&A Cafť next door. We had a real nice waiter, Wendall Hurst. He was curious about us and we talked to him for awhile. He even called me "amigo" when I left the Cafť. Now thatís some service for you!

I was surprised at how pretty Big Bend was. The videos we watched show almost the whole park as a brown color. Itís certainly not predominantly brown. The flowers were beautiful and there were plenty of them. The roadside plants were especially beautiful: purple and yellow with blue of the blue bonnets. The mountains were covered in green vegetation like those of the Davis Mountains.

The final reading of the odometer was 48931. We went a total of 263 miles for the day.

Rt 385 Marathon to Panther Junction

Visitor Center Garden & Rio Grande Overlook

Rio Grande Nature Trail & Picnic Area

Drive to Chisos Basin & Lodge

Day 11. Big Bend National Park to Alpine.

At the start of the day the odometer was at 48,931. Filled up at the Alon Gas and Food Mart for coffee, cold water and turkey and cheddar cheese sandwiches.

48931. The sun is still rising. Itís a bit dark outside.

48934. The western entrance to Big Bend. Castolon is 22 miles away and Santa Elena Canyon is 30 miles away.

48946. Past mile marker 3. Thereís a mountain on the left.

48949. Stopped just before mile marker 4. Stop for mountain photos on the left.

48950. Before mile marker 7. Photos of mountain on the left.

48951. Just past mile marker 8. Mountains on the left and an open views on the right.

Homer Wilson Ranch. There is an overlook here. Great open views on the right.

Before mile marker 9. Sotol Vista. Really huge open space; just gorgeous. Santa Elena Canyon visible from here.

Just before mile marker 10. Another overlook.

48954. After mile marker 10. Santa Elena Canyon photo.

48955. After mile marker 11. Santa Elena Canyon photo.

48957. Burro Mesa Pouroff. A narrow box canyon. And another Santa Elena photo.

48959. Back to the main Maxwell Scenic River Road. Lots of rabbits running across the road.

48961. Can see mules. Ahead is Kit Mountain.

48963. Past mile marker 15. Mule Ear Overlook. Surrounded by mountains.

48964. Back on the main road.

48965. Before mile marker 17. Isolate mountain between two closer mountains.

48967. After mile marker 18. The mountain isolate again.

48968. Tuff Canyon. Just before mile marker 20. Itís below the ground level

48969. White rocks in the mountains on the right and left sides of the road. We go between two big rocks. Some red and white layered rocks are visible.

48970. Just before and after mile marker 21. More white rocks. Another isolate: Cerro Castellan (Castolon Peak). We go to see Camp Santa Elena. The army built the camp just as the Mexican Revolution (1910 to 1920) was ending. The camp went from Cavalry Post to Trading Post.

48972. Mile marker 0. A new highway. Maverick Road.

48973. Stop for an overlook of the desert and mountains but the sun is in the wrong place. Desert Mountain Overlook. There is a very impressive wall of cliffs on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande known as Sierra del Carmen.

48975. Stop for photos of Santa Elena Canyon. We can see the Rio Grande on the left.

48978. Santa Elena. Lots of rabbits crossing the roads. And now we see one Jack rabbit.

Before mile marker 6. Santa Elena River Boat Access. We took photos of the Canyon.

48980. See Santa Elena Canyon close up. Nice. Some people climb up the trail on the American side of the Santa Elena Canyon off to the right.

48981. Old Maverick Road. We turn around because itís a dirt road.

49012. We get off the Ross Maxwell Scenic Driver. Study Butte is 22 miles away off to the west.

49018. Stop for mountain photos.

49020. We pass by the ranger station. Stop for mountain photos on the left.

49024. Terlingua. We pick up Rt. 170 going somewhat parallel to the Rio Grande. Lajitas is 17 miles away.

49028 Terlingua is a ghost town. There are lots of mountains in the area. Pass by the Warnock Center visitorís center.

49040. Reach Lajitas.

49041. Presidio County. 49 miles to Presidio. The road is up and down, up and down and a lot like the Big Bend National Park.

49045. Nice colors in the mountain ahead: white, black, green (from the grass) and brown. The Rio Grands is close to us now. Lots of blind spots at the top of the ups of the roads. Contrabando Creek Movie Set.

49047. Green covered mountains.

49048. Lots of mountains here. On three sides are mountains. Some black, white and green.

49049. Some big mountains.

49050. Low lying grass covered mountains then big mountains behind the smaller ones. A white grouping in the side of the mountain reminds us of Georgia OíKeefeís "White Palace" in New Mexico.

49051. Presidio is 40 miles away. See the Rio Grande and a smaller White Palace with green covered mountains. Hoodoos. 7th sighting of a road runner.

49053. Three tepees cover over three picnic areas on the left side of the road. Very impressive. And now comes a spectacular pull-off view of the Rio Grande quite a distance below us!!

49054. Another great pull-off. We are way up high. Thereís a big sand bar below in the river. On the other side of the road cut are more great views of the Rio Grande and the mountains. We stop on the way down the hill and again see the Rio Grande in a valley.

49065. Rio Grande is wide with open spaces. Tapado Canyon.

49070. Out of the mountains and into Mesa Valley (?).

49072. We are in a valley and away from the mountains.

49074. Redford. 8th sighting of a road runner.

49081. Now the mountains are closer to us.

49083. Big Bend Ranch State Park entrance.

49084. Alamito Creek.

49087. We stop at the Ft. Leaton Historic Site. It was never officially a fort with real soldiers, but unofficially the home was used like a fort for brief periods.

Soon we reach the Presidio City Limits.

49090. We stop for gas in Presidio at Exxon. We get on Rt. 67 north going to Marfa.

49091. Cibola Creek.

49097. 9th road runner sighting.

49105. Mountains in the asrea.

49107. Chinati Mountains. Good looking mountains with lots of green vegetation.

49110. Shafter Ghost Town.

49116. Pretty grasslands.

49117. Chinati Peak on the left.

49124. The mountains are no longer with us. Just rolling hills.

49128. Big open grasslands. Mountains far away.

49146. U.S. Border Patrol check. They ask us are we American citizens. We say yes and they let us go ahead.

49150. The town of Marfa. Took some pictures of the town. They have a lot of art galleries. Now we pick up Rt. 90 east heading to Alpine.

49174. We reach Alpine.

49178. Arrive at what used to be a Best Western. Itís now the Alpine Classic Inn.

Total miles driven for the day: 247.

Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive I

Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive II

Rt 170 West to Presidio

Fort Leaton Historic Site & Marfa

Day 12. Alpine to Guadalupe Mountain National Park, Hueco Tanks State Park and El Paso.

The odometer reads 49178 miles.

We head back to Marfa first. We get back on Rt. 90 which will take us to Marfa and then head north to Van Horn.

49233. All grass lands. Pretty deserted out here.

49241. The town of Valentine has only 216 people.

49279. We reach Van Horn and pick up Rt. 54 heading north.

49289. Stop for mountain photos. Sierra Diablo Mountains are on the left side of the road and in front of us.

49291. Photos of the same mountains, only closer.

49305. Photos of the mountain ranges.

49324. Photos of the Guadalupe Mountains.

49329. Ditto.

49334. Reach the junction of Rt. 54 with Routes 62 and 180.

49336. Take photos of El Capitan in the Guadalupe Mountains.

49338. Ditto.

49339. Photos of El Capitan but from a rest stop on the highway.

49343. Stop to photograph a sign for the Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

49344. Reach the national park.

We take a walk through their garden:

Bear-grass (Nolina micrantha)

bunched ferns?

Banana Yucca (Yucca baccata)
Texas Madrone (Arbutus xalapensis var. texana)
One-seeded juniper (Juniperus monosperma) bright orange brown under bark
Alligator juniper (Juniperus deppeana) the bark resembles an alligatorís skin
looks like a pink flax flower
Red berried juniper (Juniperus pinchotii)
Mexican orange (Choisya dumosa)
Texas madrone tree (Arbutus xalapensis)
Gray or shin oak (Quercus grisea)
Yerbe-de-pasmo bacccharis (Baccharis pteronioides)
Desert ceonothus (Ceonothus gregii)
Claretcup cactus
Fragrant sumac (Rhus trilobata) a shrub
tiny white asters
Little-leaf sumac (Rhus microphylla)
Cane cholla (Opuntia imbricata)
Yellow primrose

We see the ruins of ĎThe Pineryí or ĎPine Springí Stage Stand. Built in 1858 as a station on the Butterfield Overland Mail Route St. Louis to San Francisco. Abandoned in 1859 when the line was shifted to the Davis Mountain Route.

Thereís a cool wind blowing here.

The gift shop is small. They have a nice display of some of the animals found in the national park. The national park is more for hiking than anything else.

We get back on Routes 62 and 180 heading west for Hueco Tanks State Park.

49361. Salt flats.

49382. End of a long wait for road work delay.

Flat land, "nothing". Abandoned buildings.

49419. Desert.

49427. Turn right for Hueco Tanks State Park on Rt. 2725. We then drive 8 miles north.

49333. Hueco Tanks sign. Take photos of granite rocks.

49435. We arrive at the visitorís center. Then we have to see a mandatory short film on Hueco Tanks. The Native Americans consider the area to be sacred. You can only visit the North Mountain. The other mountains can be viewed but only in the company of a ranger guided tour.

A guide shows us salt bush and felt bush.

Take photos of the ruins of the stables.

We see some cave paintings.

Claretcup cactus is in bloom.

Cane cholla cactus.

We take the Canyon Trail. There are picnic tables all along the canyon trail. In bloom are ocotillo and a plant with pink flowers. Very quickly we reach Laguna Prieta. There are a lot of willow trees around the Laguna. See bunched ferns, sotol and the soap tree yucca.

49443. We get back on Routes 62 and 180 heading west. Itís now 24 miles to El Paso.

El Paso is one busy place as far as the traffic is concerned and they drive fast which forces me to go faster than I wanted to go.

49463. We turn left onto Airway Boulevard.

Run under US 10 and get onto a service road. Have to make a U-turn under US 10 to get to Best Western Airport Motel.

We eat at Dennyís on Gateway Boulevard East.

We drove 288 miles today.

The odometer reading is 49466.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Hueco Tanks State Park

Day 13. El Paso, TX West Through NM to Fort Bowie and Safford, AZ.

The odometer reads 49466 miles.

49519. Stop for gas at a Chevron station in Las Cruces, NM.

49540. Inspection stop again in New Mexico. Dust storm warning for the next 15 miles.

49583. Mile marker 77. Changed drivers.

Exit 42 around Separ grasslands.

Penocillo Mountains of AZ and NM on or near the border.

49661. Mile Marker 0. Reach the border with AZ. Exit 390 for Cavot Road.

49663. The rest area is closed.

Exit 382. San Simon.

Go over the San Simon River.

Exit 378. San Simon.

Exit 371. Mountains on the left and right.

49685. Exit 366. Turn right for Bowie. We drive two miles to Bowie.

49687. Bowie. We turn right again to head south on Apache Pass Road. This will take us down to Fort Bowie.

49688. Mile marker 20.

49691. Mile marker 17.

49696. Take photos of the mountains ahead of us. Fort Bowie is located in Apache Pass that runs between the Chiricauhua Mountains to the south and the Dos Cabezas Mountains to the north.

The road is paved. The last time we were here, it wasnít paved. And this time we are going to the visitorís center and not the trail head. Most people go to the trail head and walk to the Fort.

49699. A sign tells us to bear right and to go 1.5 miles. We are going right between the two mountain ranges.

49701. Another right turn. We arrive at Fort Bowie.

Fort Bowie is set right in Apache Pass. The pass was used by the Chiricahua Indians under the command of Chief Cochise. Because Union soldiers needed to pass through the pass, and later the Butterfield Overland Mail would come through Apache Pass, the Union troops of the California Volunteers built a small first fort on one of the hills in the area. It was such a primitive fort that it was a rough duty fort for the men there. They dug holes in the side of the hill like caves and would sleep there. Later some buildings were built.

Later the fort was shifted to a hill east of the first fort. A substantial fort was built here. The fort is famous for its fights with Cochise and the Chiracauhua. Geronimo was here also when he was captured and shipped off to Florida with other Chiracauhua.

Some of the things we saw:

fire hydrant station ruins

powder magazine ruins

gun shed for artillery, 1890 ruins

first Fort Bowie (including the Laundressí Quarters, 1860s).

On top of the first fort hill thereís a lot of stone wall ruins. From here you can see both sides of Apache Pass. From the hill one can see the post cemetery in the distance.

Took photos of Government Mountain.

We walk down off the first fort hill and walk down to Apache Springs. The spring is in a ravine. This was a very important water flow in the mountains and was often used by the people going through Apache Pass. When we were there some young Hispanics came up to see the spring. Then with time more and more came up. Then it occurred to me that these people were not Hispanics but probably Apache students from a nearby school. I asked one of the girls where they were from and I think she said San Carlos (the reservation). Another girl told me almost defiantly: "Yes, weíre Apaches." I said I thought so and that I was being careful about what I said.

See a velvet ash.

Adobe walls of the corrals.

Guard house from 1886.

Remains of post bakery. Quartermaster Store House.

Subsistence store house for 1869.

Old hospital, 1868.

Kitchen-Mess Hall, 1883.

Infantry barracks.

Officerís Quarters

49701. Leaving Fort Bowie.

In the town of Bowie there are lots of abandoned buildings.

49717. Get onto US 10 west.

49718. Mile marker 362. Five Miles to Rt. 191 north to take us back to Safford, AZ.

49723. Exit 355. Rt. 191 north.

49759. Reach Best Western Desert Inn in Safford where we stayed for our first night of the trip.

49763 is the last odometer reading for the night. We travelled 297 miles.

Fort Bowie Historic Site I

Fort Bowie Historic Site II

Day 14. Safford to Boyce-Thompson Arboretum to Phoenix.

Odometer reads 49763.

Stopped at Grant gas station across from Sonic and Taco Bell.

49783. Go through Fort Thomas.

49867. Around half-way between Superior on the east and Florence Junction on the east is the Boyce-Thompson Arboretum. This will be our second visit at the arboretum.

Some of the plants:

Palo verde (Parkinsonia aculeata)
Sierra Boquet (Leucopyllum pruinosum)
Columbine with big yellow flowers Aquilegia chrysantha (golden columbine)
Australian bottle brush plants
Mescal bean from Texas (Sophora rotundiflora)
Desert Zinnia (Zinnia acerosa) from AZ
Damianita (Chrysestinia mexicano)
Indian blanket (Gaillardia pulchella)
Scarlet penstemon (Penstemon barbatus)
Sierra sundrops (Calylophus hartwegii)
Iris "Silken Shadows"
Mexican redbud with fuzzy leaves (Cercis canadensis var. mexicana)
Coral Fountain (Russelia equisetiformis)
Fragile fern
Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa)
Senita cactus (Pachycereus schottii) from southern AZ

Pickerpost Mountain is in the background.

Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) Buxaceae family
Whitethorn acacia (Acacia constricta)
Foothill Palo Verde (Parkinsona micropnylla)
Fairy duster (Calliandra eriophylla) pea family
Apricot globemallow (Sphaeralcea incana)
Snakeweed (Gutierrezia Californica)
Desert willow (Chilopsis linearis)
Trumpet flower (Tecoma stans)
White ratany (Krameria grayi)
Mexican jumping bean (Supium biloculare).

We stopped to see Gold Canyon, but itís just resort living for older people and some younger ones.

49929. Best Western Airport Inn.

The total distance driven for our last day was 166 miles.

On this trip we went almost 3,500 miles.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park

Day 15. Fly home.

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