Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Public is Welcome

Raton, New Mexico
NRA Whittington Center

Today was a travel day and you couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day.  We stopped at Cline Corners Truck Stop since it's a little famous that it's been around since 1934.  Actually, I had some old cheap route 66 road sign earrings I bought years ago in Oatman that I lost in Paris and was hoping I could find a replacement.  FYI they also have a nice looking overnight campground.





In the past we visited Fort Union so we didn't stop today.







We started looking for exit 446 from I 25 which is south of Raton about 8 miles.  There isn't a lot of signage but at the exit we drove 4 miles west on highway 64.  Anybody been here before?




The entrance is very impressive.  The entrance has all the state flags lining the driveway.





Bill drove the rig to the western RV park which has 72 sites.  We stayed in this one last time.  The east park also has 45 full hook up sites.  Did I mention that they are all pull thrus?  The rate is the same whether you are a NRA member or not.  $32 for 30 amp and $35 for 50 amp.  The sites are huge but not perfectly level in some sites.  They also have primitive campsites for those who do not want hook ups. Yes, it is open to the public.  



This guy decided to check out our site for us.  I took this photo through the living room window.


The center has 33,300 acres of which 10% is developed and the elevation ranges from 6,300 to 8,100 feet.  It reminds me of our trip to Alaska last year.  
These are the competitor housing.  There is housing for youth and different cabins. There are 17 separate shooting ranges.  If you like to hunt they offer 5 day all inclusive hunts.  They do rent firearms if you want to rent any.  There is so much going on here, police training, self defense programs and youth firearm training.

There are a lot of signs warning you about bears.



I could practically touch this one it was so close.








Bill avoided running over this creature.








Besides enjoying a different kind of RV park, there is also history here.  Imagine camping in the same area as those on the Santa Fe Trail.



"The Scout--Charlton Heston as the Scout Providing Everlasting Vigilance Over the Santa Fe Trail And Sacrifices Made Along the Way"




The buildings in this photo are at the entrance of the center.






Here's a picture of the front gate and the buildings that house a free museum, gift shop and a library.  We'll tour them tomorrow.  






If you love the wide open spaces, you'll love NRA Whittington Center.  If you pick a park by pools and spas you won't want to stop here.





I forgot to mention  yesterday when we drove to Tinkertown we also drove the musical highway on old route 66 returning to our RV park.  Bill drove over the rumble strip at precisely 45 mph and we could hear America the Beautiful.  

Turtle Safely.........

Friday, June 22, 2018

Don't Pass This Place Up!

Tijeras, New Mexico
Leisure Mountain 

It's been a very long time since we've enjoyed a place as much as we did today.  How do I explain what this place is?  Well for starters it was featured on quite a few TV shows.  It's also listed on Trip Advisor as "12 One of Kind Places Not to Be Missed."

I picked up a brochure about this place at a welcome center.  Bill is an excellent  wood carver and appreciates any form of art.  I thought this place looked a lot like the National Museum of Wood Carving in Custer, South Dakota, but the two can not be compared.  This was so much fun!  It is incredible and can't be duplicated.

Now, know before you go, the parking area is very small and down over a steep driveway.  If you are in a RV you'll need to park along highway 14 and walk in.  If we ever return we will not take the long bed truck into the parking area.

Now you're wondering where we went today, aren't you.  If I said Tinkertown, what would you visualize?  Well it is called Tinkertown and it's definitely for all ages.  I didn't see one tinkertoy in the whole place.  


It's no secret I love a bargain.  For example this RV park is also a Passport America park and it is $17.50 a night for 50 amp full hook ups, pull thru and WIFI.  I loved the admission sign--$3.75 for adults and $3.25 for Geezers.  I knew this was going to be fun.  When Bill paid for the admission we were given a quarter so we could play one of the machines.


Even before we entered the museum we found the building interesting.  There are over 50,000 bottles in the walls.









Since there was a large group ahead of us, we opted to look around on the outside before we went into the museum.





There was an area off to the back that looked interesting.






The archway has a sign on the opposite side that says "Live Life As the Pursuit of Happiness".



Naturally, Bill was impressed with this old wagon complete with a cowboy.





Even the walkways were interesting as there were license plates used to join sections of the wood.




This medicine show wagon was built by Ross Ward on a Studebaker wagon frame as a puppet theater in 1994. 








I loved all the signs everywhere.








Family members are still adding more bottles today.








This is still outside the museum.  I love the use of the bottles and the old red wagon.












Shall we enter the museum now?







We used our quarter to play the first mechanical that we came to.  I had no idea there would be more.






We then walked down narrow walkways that had rows and rows of carved villages and scenes that were either moving or you pushed a button to see them light up and move.




Ross Ward said "I did all this while you were watching TV".






Incredible!








The detail is amazing.









You can tell by this photo the rooms are narrow and packed with stuff.









There was so much to see in each little village.






Even the ceilings were covered as we entered the circus section.







The old west and the circus were definitely something Ross loved.





This circus scene had moving tigers, trapezes moving, spinning girl with knife throwing, elephants and dog acts all moving.  It's just something a photo can't convey.  



  Here's some of Ross's talent.







Tinkertown is someplace everyone would enjoy.  I'm sure we probably missed a lot as there was so much to see.  







Tomorrow we head north on I 25 to Raton.  I wonder if the elevation will be any higher than today.

Turtle Safely..........












Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Harvey Girls

Bernardo, New Mexico
Kiva RV Park and Horse Motel

Yesterday we had a nice drive from Deming.  We both gave a sigh of relief when we passed our previous site of the battery blowing up back in April.

Our original plan was to stay in Truth or Consequences.  There were many parks listed and I saw one on the internet that said it was brand new and described a beautiful park.  Well the only thing new was the name.  It was a dump with permanent trailers that must not have been moved for at least 20 years.  We checked out the others in the town and decided we'd find something else.  We saw a billboard for a brand new casino rv park at exit 140.   The only problem when we arrived at mile marker 140 was there was no exit.  It turns out the park is on I 40 not I 25.  

About 10 years ago we stopped here before going to the Albuquerque Good Sam Rally.  It hasn't changed much but for $17.50 Passport America rate for 50 amp full hook ups and add in they are all pull thrus, we were happy campers. I've never seen signage that says "Yes, guns are allowed".  Another one says "Kiva RV Park--not a gun free zone."

Today we drove up to Belen to see the Harvey House Museum.  Somewhere in our travels we saw an exhibit of the Harvey Girls but neither of us can remember where it was.  

I'll give a brief story of the place so I won't spoil your visit.  Fred Harvey, a perfectionist, who worked for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway came up with an idea.  He thought that there was a real need to have stops along the railroad for food and hotel rooms.

At a cost of $25,000 the Belen Harvey House was built by the railroad.  It was said that Mr. Harvey walked in one day and the place was in total disarray.  He fired everyone and that's when he resorted to having women working.  Harvey Girls were all single and came from many farm towns.  The girls could make as much as $17.50 a month with room and board.  Their uniforms were included and they could keep any tips. Mr. Harvey was very strict and a perfectionist.

Their uniforms were kept spotless and they were even taught how to take care of them.












Two girls shared a room, but the rooms were large with huge windows.  They were allowed to decorate them.  A white bed and brown dresser were provided for the girls.






The uniforms the girls wore were all custom made from the girls measurements.













The chefs for the Harvey Houses were all from Europe.











There would be a marble lunch counter for the railroad workers or local working people and the dining room would be first class.  Men had to wear a coat and these were kept in a room for those who didn't own one.


The docent who gave us a private tour was excellent and very enthusiastic.  She said the building and furnishing were about 95% original.  I didn't get a photo but they even have the original blue prints.



 Even today the building is beautiful.  The entrance is opposite the railroad track.








It was an excellent tour made so much better by our wonderful docent, Heide.








Of the 18 hotel, restaurants, lunch room, eating house, depot and rest house, there are only a few in existence today.





As we were headed back to the RV park we took a detour.  The Ladd S Gordon Waterfowl Complex was worth driving through.







There were several observation decks for viewing.  









I'm not sure what these cages were used for, but they were a few feet apart down one section of the road.  There were large holes where some creature has burrowed into the ground.



Here's a photo of one of many water towers from Las Cruces north on I 25 that I took yesterday.  







Tomorrow we head north.  The weather has been great and we've been enjoying being outside.

Turtle Safely........