Saturday, September 27, 2008

Las Cruces area

September 25

Continued south. We drove on NM Hwy 185 to Las Cruces. Along the way we passed lots of fields of chili peppers, some corn & pecan orchards. This area, the town of Hatch in particular, bills itself as the chili pepper capital of the US. The land around here is all irrigated by the Rio Grande River and the different dams & impoundments. With this much agricultural runoff there’s no telling what sort of chemicals are in the water. Las Cruces is the second largest city in NM after Albuquerque. It has all the big box stores, traffic, etc. We picked up our mail at the Post Office. Suzanne & Martha Harris had sent accumulated mail to us General Delivery. Next time I’ll pick a smaller, rural post office. The line to pick up the mail was very long. Went grocery shopping, did our laundry and stopped at Lowe’s to buy a new Bar-B-Que grill. Our old one died. A very productive day. About 4:00 we went to the Leasburg Dam State Park Campground. Got the very last spot with electric service. The afternoon temp. is in the mid-80’so a/c is nice. Took a short walk after dinner through the cactus garden. Some of the plants were labeled; very informative. Wish more places did that. On Friday we just hung around. Took some walks, read our books. I went through the action items in the mail we recently received. We would have a difficult time travelling were it not for Suzanne forwarding our mail and the Verizon internet access. I renewed the registration on one of the cars, got Carol signed up for Medicare Part D, verified her new insurance coverage and cancelled the old. All without mailing anything.
Saturday morning. Off to the 28th Annual Whole Enchilada Fiesta. Found a good parking place near where the parade was forming up. A very typical, small town parade. There were marching bands, horses, beauty queens, school groups, ROTC groups, car clubs, on & on. Things don’t get much more typical American than this. We thoroughly enjoyed it. After the parade we went to the Fiesta. During our travels, we have found local fairs, festivals, etc., to be a great way to really get to see the “natives”. It’s a sad sign of our times, but as people entered the fiesta the police were using a metal detector searching for weapons. Based on the fiesta, I would guess Las Cruces is overwhelmingly Mexican. A lot of the signs on the booths were in Spanish only. We ate ourselves silly. The standard burritos (very hot) and something new to us called a chichuron burrito. Chichuron is refried beans and deep fried pork rinds mixed together. Sounds gross but we’re going to look for it again while in NM. We both enjoyed it. It was you typical fair with a Mexican accent. The foods were primarily Mexican, the things for sale, the entertainment, etc. A wonderful experience.
After the fiesta, we drove to the White Sands National Monument. It’s at the northern end of the Chihuahuan Desert. 275 square miles of great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand. The largest gypsum dune field in the world.
Late in the day we went to the Oliver Lee State Park for the night. Took a nice walk through the cactus garden. Must have been 50 types of desert plants all labeled. Now we only wish we could remember the names.
Another wonderful day.

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