Our Lady of the Blue Highways

Our Lady of the Blue Highways
Portrait in oils by Jackie Poutasse

Thursday, January 29, 2015


 (Once more, no photos - I have them, but cannot attach them)

The day began sun shining, sky blue and clear and we decided it would be a good day for a road trip.

Silver City is 57 miles from the LoWHi ranch.   We drove through the desert terrain - flat land surrounded by pop up mountains.  By that I mean - there are no mountain ranges, the mountains just individually pop up out of the ground - no foot hills, just like a jack in the box.    The land is brush land - mostly low growing shrubs with some yucca plants thrown in for punctuation.

We stopped at the visitor’s center and picked up some brochures and a map of the old town.  As we left the visitor’s center, there was a sign on the corner of the lot proclaiming the site of Billy the Kidd’s home and a cabin typical of the area at that time.   The cabin was donated to the town by Ron Howard - it had been part of a movie set.

Across the arroyo and into the historic area.   The arroyo or as they call it “the Big Ditch” has quite a back story.   Originally, when the city was platted, it was decided that this mining camp would have permanent structures - all to be built of brick or stone.  During the time of the mining hey day, there was a lot of clear cutting for lumber and cattle grazing up stream from Silver City.   All this contributed to major erosion in the vicinity.

Then the floods began.   Before the floods, Main Street ran right along the bottom of what is now the Big Ditch.   After the floods, the bottom of Big Ditch is 55 below street level and about a block wide.   The floods were devastating - one featured a wave 12 foot high and 300 feet wide.  During one flood - a man attempted to drive his wagon across the flood.  He got to the middle and the current swept the horse from it’s feet.   The man was tossed from the wagon and managed to grab a rock and hold on - the horse and wagon turned over and over while headed downstream.   The horse was found - alive - quite a ways downstream, bruised, but otherwise unharmed,  and the wagon was smashed to bits and scattered along the banks of the Big Ditch.

Another time, a 1000 head herd of cattle was driven down the Big Ditch to a feedlot about 4 miles from town - can you imagine how what that looked like?   It was a particularly easy drive for the steep banks of the Ditch kept them under control.

We found a parking space and started walking - all the old buildings are now shops - a lot of galleries, restaurants and various kitch.   We walked about 4 blocks to Nancy’s Silver Café where we had outstanding Mexican food for lunch.  Great service, basic food and a huge so papilla with honey for dessert.

After visiting the city museum, we started home.  We decided to take a different route - a loop that would bring us back to Hwy 180 about half way to Deming.

We cut off to the loop, stopped to see the Santa Rita open pit mine where they mined copper and gold.  Ho-Hum - being from Montana and having seen Butte’s pit before they stopped operations, anything else is just a little hole in the ground.  

From the overlook, we could see the rock formation “the Kneeling Num”.  It really looks like someone praying at an alter.

We continued along the road - looking to swing around back to the desert - but instead, all of a sudden we were climbing hills - then high into the mountains.   10 and 15 mph curves -and icy spots.  As we climbed, more and more snow was on the hillsides.   These hills, (mountains) were not pine covered, shrubs and bare rock were the norm.   We crept along, and the sun started to set.

 The curves came one after the other, and we kept climbing.  Finally, finally, we came to the summit - 8700 ft.   (remember my coments about pop-up mountains?   Well, there are ranges, too!)  Actually, the Continental Divide runs a bit west of Silver City.

A cyclist was there reading the historical marker.   Diane rolled down the window and said, “we’re lost”.   Turns out the young man was from Switzerland and was biking through the southwest.   He had a very detailed map and told us we couldn’t get to Hwy 180 from there - but that we were only 20 miles from Hillsboro.    !!!?????   Hillsboro is no where - a tiny, tiny town that we have plans to visit later because the café is famous for hot dogs and bumble berry pie.   We had no choice to to continue down the road.   The cyclist was headed down hill, also - to find a camping spot for the night - in the snow!?

A short time later we were overtaken and passed by a small dark car - I commented that “he” must know the road well, cause he zoomed by us.    About 15 miles later, we came across the same car (we could tell it was the same cause it was the only car that had passed us and there was no where else it could have come from)  Hazard lights on, partially pulled off the road.   We stopped to see if they needed help - turns out the driver was a young girl with another girl and young man as passengers.   They did not know how to change a tire and there was no cell service in the area.  We got information from the driver and when we got to Hillsboro, I went into the only open establishment in the town - a bar, made a phone call to get help for the flat tire.   What do you want to bet that the next day three young people learned how to change a tire?

About the bar -  something I never do is walk into a bar alone - this was a different experience.   It was like walking into someone’s living room - it was full with about 8 people there.   They let me make the phone call on their phone (no cell service) and were just generally very friendly - men and women both - and one guy that was the image of Sam Elliott - Be still my heart!!!!    That is one thing we have talked about since arriving in NM - the people are all so friendly and helpful- and they all look so happy.  

Anyway, from there it was another 50 miles to Deming - we cruised in on fumes and found a station open to get a transfusion of diesel.

What an adventure - beautiful country, beautiful people - what more could you ask for???

Until next time,
Bear Hugs

Boots & Tucker,
And Diane, too.

“She believed she could do it, and so she did!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


I now have internet connection here at the campground.

I will start posting again either tonight or tomorrow - hopefully with photos.

I have to leave here shortly for Rock Hound State Park for a program on the Ibex - another post, I hope!

Until next time
Bear Hugs

Boots and Tucker

She believed she could do it, so she did!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


January 5-

I’ve just returned from the Visitor’s center where I successfully posted to this blog and I look forward to posting about once a week as long as we are here.

I still will be slow in answering e-mails, so please bear with me -  I’m looking into getting a Hot spot box so I won’t run into this problem on later trips.  It takes me a while to decide on issues concerning new technical toys, especially when there are no kids around to teach me how to use them

Last post, I explained my dishwashing routine - well it has been expanded -  A sewer pump serving  two rows of sites blew up and we can’t empty our tanks until it is fixed.  First it was suppose to be today - now estimated Thursday.  They have to fly in a part from somewhere.   So……  since I don’t have a gray water holding tank, I can’t drain water from the sinks - so I’m using 2 large bowls as sinks - then taking a bucket of the used water over 2 rows to an unused site to empty the bucket into that drain - only one problem,  there are no empty sites except in the two rows that can’t empty their tanks.
My neighboring camper suggested I empty the bucket on the plants.   Yes, there are plants here - there are several wonderful Cactus Gardens - so that is what I’ve decided to do.

The reason there are no unused sites is that 11 new rigs came in yesterday.   What a busy day -

Monday’s are Pot Luck night - but now that I have the ability to cook more things (Brooke sent me a Nu-Wave cook top,  I can’t think of what to cook!!!!  Anyway, we didn’t go to the dinner tonite - I have a whole week to come up with some ideas.

Woke up to a beautiful day - it was 24 when I woke up - which is why it takes so long to get moving in the mornings - We snuggle up in bed with books until Tucker says it’s time to get up.  High Temperature expected today is 55.   I need to reset the corner jacks. - then crawl into the back of the truck to get more paper plates and find the plastic flatware - so I can cut back on the dishwashing.

Today is Pink Tuesday - when many of the park campers gather together for a trip to the Pink Store in Paloma Mexico.  We didn’t go this time, but we will go next week.   ‘

The Bunkhouse library has the whole series of “Thorn Birds” on VHS - so we have started watching it.   I suggested to Diane that she go to the Bunkhouse and get movies that she doesn’t have instead of watching all that we have with us

Today has been an absolutely gorgeous day - was forecast to be 45 degrees, but I’m sure it far surpassed that - it was T-shirt weather.

This morning was a continuation of yesterday’s beautiful weather.  The breeze has picked up a bit, but the sky is crisp, clear blue.  When I woke up, instead of burrowing down in the covers, I jumped out of bed and headed outside with Tucker - and it seems half the park was out with their dogs.   One fellow spotted Tucker and had to have a closer look - it ended up with us going to his camper so his wife could meet Tucker and we could meet Lizzi - a short hair Chi - the most unusual color I have ever seen - a very soft light tan color with white points.   I got one photo - hope it is not out of focus.

Yesterday, we watched the entire Thorn Birds mini series, and today started  “Thorn Birds - the Missing Years”  I hadn’t known that the “missing years” existed!

The book I am currently reading (not listening to) is Hawaii - I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve read it over my life - but, well I can’t down load any audio books onto my Kindle - so I have no choice but to read -   Hopefully when I go back to Phoenix to visit, my Kindle will straighten out.

We’ve decided to go to the Museum today - I’ll let you know how it goes!

Actually, the museum was very interesting.   We only got about half way through it.  We’ll go back another time to see the rest of it.   Of course, I was very interested in the “wild” west part of it.   One article I found particularly interesting was  about the “flying Grandmother”  I couldn’t read the whole article cause it was hung about 6 inches off the floor -  In the late 30’s a widow who owned a  ranch, went to the local air field and announced she wanted to learn to fly - the owner thought that was persp…. Prosper…… well, heck - ridiculous!!!!   Imagine, a woman wanting to fly.   A woman couldn’t learn to fly!!!!   Her response was  “Why not?  You learned!”    In any event she learned and she, along with one ranch hand and a plane, managed the whole 50,000 acre ranch  on their own.   My kind of woman!  (and here, I couldn’t even get down on the floor to read the entire article)

At one point, Diane and I got separated.  When I caught up to her again, she was talking with an old Geezer  (don’t know why I said that - he probably was younger than I am)  He was quite interesting to talk with - he stopped me later on and we discussed how the “wild west” was all about young men - out sowing their wild oats; and how women brought civilization with their arrival.    Thus tying into my interest in the flying Grandmother.

While in the museum, the wind started kicking up, and the temperature dropped considerably.   We returned home, picking up some of Pepper’s fried chicken on the way.

The good news:   the part for the sewer pump arrived.    The BAD news:  It was the wrong part - no idea when it will arrive.   More days of hiking up to the public restrooms and watering the trees with used dish water.  

I talked with Myra who is in Harlingen, TX right now.   I told her we’d be leaving here March 15 and she said she would find a place for us near her to stay for a bit, while waiting for the wildflowers to bloom.

My friend Joy will keep us informed as to the progress of the wild flowers so we won’t miss out.

I played cards again tonite - only 3 of us showed up so we were done in less than an hour.  I won one game - 70 cents!  Yippee!


Maintenance jerry-rigged a way to allow us to dump our tanks today -  How exciting!

The bad weather seems to have flown right past us - it was chilly - but no heavy wind or icy slush.  Sun, clouds, overcast - alternating all day.

I started typing up my collection of recipes - trying to find ones I can use for pot luck dinners.   Not much luck -  most of my recipes are for desserts. However, nothing wrong with making cakes for all these bachelors in the camp.   But, for the first use in my oven, I think I’ll make Taco Touchdown Dip - my favorite.


This morning a neighboring camper stopped by to see if he could get the furnace started.  He did manage to light the pilot, but the burner didn’t catch.   He determine that the thermo coupler needed replacement.   While here, I had him go over how to light the oven.  Good thing I did cause I didn’t know it had two pilots and it takes a while and I might have given up on it.   The oven can do some heating on really cold days.

We then went to the library.   I got a card based on my LoW’s membership.  Diane will have to wait until she has a piece of mail addressed to her to get a card.  I checked e-mails, got my Kindle connected and downloaded some books.   We checked out some movies for Diane and audio books for me.  

We also picked up a brownie mix to try out the oven.

Time to try out the oven - and it shall remain a supplementary heat source.   I finally turned it up to 500 degrees, but the oven only got to 250 degrees.   There I was…… stuck with brownie batter and no way to bake it.   Then I thought of the 1-2-3 cake.   I spooned about 3 heaping spoonsful of batter into a coffee mug and cooked it in the microwave for 3 minutes - and there you have it - a brownie - spoon on the ice cream - and it’s like heaven!

The rest of the day was spent indulging in listening to a book on tape.


Road Trip!   In the morning, we were still trying to decide where to go for the day - at about 8:50 Diane mentioned church.  I told her if she could get dressed in 10 minutes we could make it to Las Cruces.   We left 30 minutes later - and then had to stop at Micky-D’s for breakfast.  We hit the highway at 9:45 - and it’s just about 60 miles to Las Cruces
Of course, services were over by the time we got there - but we located the church.

We located the visitor’s center and picked up a brochure or two.  My attention was drawn to an item about the old Mesilla plaza nearby.  The little town was founded in 1850 on what was then Mexican territory.   They built a central plaza and a Catholic church - now known as the Basilica of San Albino.     The square is surrounded with original adobe built buildings featuring arts and crafts from the Southwest, Mexico & Central America.

We wandered in and out of shops on one side of the square checking out jewelry, pottery and embroidered clothing - Those of you who know me well, will not believe I didn’t buy a thing!  I made note of several items, though.   Beautiful hand work.

Diane bought a silky shawl like item to throw over her outfit - beautiful!

Tucker was the star of the day - in and out of stores - people stopped to ask about him, and we exchanged dog stories.  We cut across to the plaza to talk to a vendor who had a Chi-Yorki cross - not much bigger than Tucker.   Cars stopped in the middle of the sleepy street so people could look at these two tiny guys.

About then Diane decided she needed a rest - she sat on a bench in the central plaza, taking charge of Tucker and listening to the live Mexican music while I checked out the “Chocolate Lady” store.  Still I bought nothing.

Then Diane suggested I go get the car and pick her up - On the way, I stopped at the Basilica.  What a beautiful church - The stained glass windows and relief work representing the stations of the cross were awesome and the statues of saints were very well done.  But the center of attraction was the alter piece.

And that was our road trip.

Until next time,
Bear Hugs

Boots and Tucker

“She believed she could do it, so she did!”

PS  No photos yet - just cant them set up.   I will keep trying, though.

Monday, January 5, 2015


Internet service is nearly nil for me.   I haven’t been able to connect since Christmas Day  Please forgive me if I haven’t  respond to e-mails.   I’m going to the library tomorrow to see if I can connect long enough to post and if I can stay connected long enough, I’ll try to answer e-mails also.

Also, please excuse duplicate information - since I can’t get on the internet - I don’t know what I last posted.

Well, Christmas, New Years, and Birthday have all passed by.  

Christmas Eve there was a party and a gift exchange - Actually, the exchange should have been called a free-for-all as there were several bottles of booze on the table and they changed hands multiple times.   My contribution to the food was a flock of olive/cream cheese penguins - they were very popular and I received many  compliments on them

My gift was a pottery microwave baker.   Since I had decided to get along without a microwave, I wasn’t sure I should keep it, but Diane talked me into it, and then the day after Christmas, she bought Miss Daisy a microwave.   I have to say the microwave baker makes wonderful eggs.

Adventures in cooking have been very interesting.   Before the microwave - not having use of the propane, - I had a crock pot, a George Forman Grill and a toaster oven.  I learned to make poached eggs in the toaster oven - after trying to make scrambled eggs in the crockpot - the toaster oven method was quite an improvement - but the pottery baker was even better.  I had to stop and think about what I needed to cook anything we thought to eat.  

Yes, life in Miss Daisy is quite a rustic experience.   I’m not hooked up to water since something inside is leaking copiously.  Every day, I fill 3 gallon jugs with water to do us for the day.  

As for washing dishes?   First I go out and fill the 3 jugs.  Then I fill my hot pot to heat water..  I pour the whole pot  into the washing sink and fill the pot again.   I pour cold water into the one sink to bring the temperature down.   When the second pot is hot - I pour it into a half full jug - for rinsing.   And eventually, the dishes are washed, rinsed, dried and put away.

Right now, I can’t even wash dishes - the campground has a problem with their sewer disposal - we can’t empty tanks for 2-3 days until it gets repaired.  In our case, that means no washing dishes either, because my gray water does not go to a holding tank - it empties directly into the sewer line instead.

It’s been cold - in the 20’s at night and if there is a wind - it blows right through Miss Daisy.   We have an electric heater, and I finally talked Diane into getting an electric blanket - so we sleep quite comfortably.   Although, for about 3 days after she got the electric blanket, I’d ask Diane if she slept warm and she’d replay - not really, then I’d ask her if she had turned up her blanket and she’d say “no” - so I quit asking

Christmas day we had rain - but the Florida Mountains had a fresh coat of snow.   The mountains are very close to here and seem to poke straight up from the desert floor - no foot hills.

My birthday arrived and I thank you all for the wishes for a happy day.

About the internet - I can’t get on with my computer, but occasionally my Kindle connects and downloads e-mails, but usually by the time I catch it, Kindle is off line again - in addition, I’m a touch typist and have a miserable time typing on the tiny keyboard.

One morning I woke up at 6:20 and caught the weather - “Light snow to commence at 6:30 a.m.”   I looked out the window - no snow yet -   I looked out again at 6:30 and yep!  Snow in large fluffy flakes floating gracefully to the ground.

We had planned a trip back to visit Kit and Ken during the second week in January.  My daughter, Brooke, mailed my Christmas present to Kit’s for me to pick up when I got there.  Then, Kit’s son decided to visit at that time and in order to avoid a crowd, we changed our plans to visit the end of January instead.

A couple days ago, I called Kit and she said  “guess where we are?   We are headed toward your place”   I asked, “where are you going”  She said   “Deming”   She and Ken were on the road to Deming to deliver my Christmas box - It’s a 350 mile drive +each way!   How many of you would do that?  

Well, on my birthday, Kit reminded me we’d been friends for 57 years.   The only person other than family I’ve known longer than that is my good friend Barbara who still lives in Montana.

When we went to the hotel to see Kit and Ken, of course we took Tucker to visit with Sammi and Christi - what a free for all -  Tucker chasing Christi, Christi chasing Tucker, Sammi chasing Tucker and Christi.

Today, I finally figured out how to transfer files from my old computer to the newer one.  That includes putting my photos on an exterior hard drive - that means that starting with my next post, I’ll be including photos again - But before I can do that, I have to crawl into the back of the truck to find the box containing my camera accessories.

Had pizza for dinner the other night at a place called,  “Forghedaboudit”  The pizza was great - but not even close to the delicious pizza made by “Bodacious’ in Virginia!!!!!

I’ve got my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to get on line at the library -  Headed there now!
******** Well, now - I stopped at the visitor's center first and got right on line - so here it is.

Until next time,

Bear Hugs
Boots & Tucker

“She believed she could do it and so she did!”