Hello! New Mexico-home of the “THING”…0_0

Ah, nice to have a change in billboards;) You know you are in New Mexico when “the Thing” billboards start to show up several hundred miles before the actual “thing”. We must have stopped here 10 years ago to poke about the moccasins and trinkets that look like they came from Mexico but are made in China and the dusty displays of the odd and curious. According to Wikipedia:

The exhibit—which used to cost one dollar for adults and seventy-five cents for children to enter—used to lead to three prefabricated corrugated steel sheds with overhead fluorescent track lighting. Inside are a variety of exhibits, including odd wood carvings of tortured souls by famous wood carver Ralph Gallagher, the “Wooden Fantasy” of painted driftwood purchased from an Alamogordo, New Mexico collector, framed 1880s to early 1900s lithographs, historic engraved saddles, guns and rifles of historic Western significance, a Conestoga wagon from Oklahoma! (Southern Pacific 1673, also appearing in Oklahoma!, is located at the Tucson, Arizona, train station), a buggy without a horse, and a vintage American automobile from the 1930s. Most of the exhibits are dusty but historically significant, and worthy of restoration. A sign by a 1937 Rolls-Royce mentions that it may have been used by Adolf Hitler, a supposition reiterated by the originator of the exhibit. Winding corridors and exhibit halls with painted monster footprints on the floors eventually lead to the “Thing”, a mummified, likely female “Mother” of possibly Chinese or Native American descent (note the facial features and the addition of the Chinese worker hat and clothes) who died or likely was killed in the 1880s to early 1900s, and a mummified “Child” age and descent unknown but inferred to be the son or daughter of the “Mother”. They are presented in separate but closely linked displays, coffin, and small coffin, bedding, and scratched plexiglass covering. One story as to the origin of the “Thing” are that the “Mother” and “Child” were illegal border crossers who were found and slaughtered by unknown cowboy bandits during a shootout and found decades later as mummified bodies by a rancher in the area who sold them to the owner/originator of the “Thing”. But in this story, the harshness of the truth will never be uncovered, and the “Thing” will remain a mystery.

In August 2018, the Bowlin Travel Centers unveiled a brand new modern museum building and other updates to house, in some order or theme, most of the items formerly ‘stored’ in the three sheds. The new owners have also added a new Alien & Dinosaur theme that visitors first encounter upon entering the museum. In addition to the upgrades, the cost of admission has also increased to $5 per person or $10 per family. It is worth a stop if you never have;)

Our first night we spent at a lovely Harvest Hosts-Sombra Antigua Winery near Anthony, New Mexico. They have electric available for a $12 charge and as the temperatures were headed South we decided to plug in, keep old Beezil’s fireplace going;) The next day dawned clear and cool as we left for City of Rocks State Park. We only managed to get a reservation for one night, only two of the electric sites are reservable at all but hoped we’d get one of the first come/first serve sites. The clouds and wind started to roll in as we headed North at Deming, the park is about 30 miles off the 10. We were treated to the most spectacular rainbow we have ever seen, the colours were so vivid! Rain and sun, rain and sun until the turn off to the park, past a hot springs resort called Faywood and on to this small 640 acre park.

“City of Rocks gets its name from the incredible volcanic rock formations found here. The park encompasses a one square mile area in the scenic Chihuahuan desert region of southwestern New Mexico at an elevation of 5,200 feet. The “city” is a geologic formation made up of large, sculptured rock columns, or pinnacles, rising as high as 40 feet and separated by paths or lanes resembling city streets. These rocks were formed about 34.9 million years ago when a very large volcano erupted. Then, erosion over millions of years slowly formed the sculptured columns seen today, creating a stunning, otherworldly landscape.” Thanks Parks New Mexico!

We had site #8 reserved for the night but #6, a first come first serve site was also available so we took that! Yeah! at least two nights here! We wandered down to the beautiful visitor center and told the ranger we had switched sites, no charge, and paid for an additional day. There is a total of 9 W/E sites here with 30 and or 50 amp hookups but no sewer, or dump station except at the Valero gas station in Demning. The cats were waiting at the door. They missed their walk at Sombra Antigua Winery due to the old, but large loose German Shepard on the property, they were chomping on the bit to get out! It was a 5 paw stop they said after their walk, the highest rating there is;) Excellent paths, rocks to climb on, bunnies and birds…heaven:)

We had a few showers and by morning the rabbits and hares were huddled under the bushes, a few house finches had found the feeder but it was cold and windy. A Raven came and wandered about the site. We crossed our fingers for it to clear for the upcoming meteor shower:)

We contemplated going for a soak at the Faywood Hot Springs next door but the thought of getting in the truck and going anywhere kept us walking and exploring instead. next visit, as there will certainly be one on the way back!

It did eventually clear but the wind was howling and it was cold and sadly…we only saw four or five meteors in several hours of watching. There was a pair of Great Horned Owls hooting back and forth at each other! Magical! I did take advantage of the dark sky to do a short star trail, I headed in after 57 minutes! Getting too cold! I should have had my Canadian parka and long underwear! The trailer who had a light on that I was cursing actually lit up the rocks a bit for the shot so I forgave them;) Who in their right mind leaves their outdoor lights on in such a beautiful dark sky!

Sad about the meteor shower but you never know with these things! The sky was sensational! They have regular star parties here so hopefully we can meet up with some fellow sky gazers in the future!

I have to admit to wanting to stay longer but with our reservation made in Tucson it was time to pack up and go. Progressive Insurance was also scheduled for a visit to look at the branch damage done we think, going into Del Rio, Texas. Our bathroom skylight was torn open, bathroom vents flung to the ditches and the Digital TV antenna swiped off and everything scratched and scraped on top including some roof tears…but that will be another story;) Saludos amigos and stay tuned for Tucson!

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