Leaving Roswell a day later than we had planned due to weather wasn’t a problem. While we aren’t afraid of the little bit of rain that would fall in this area of the Southwest, we know that wind can be ferocious here, with a serious effect on high profile vehicles such as ours. Besides, we have no schedule for a while, and sitting for a day is okay.
Friday we followed US 70 east to the town of Clovis, New Mexico. If you’ve heard of the Clovis Point or Clovis Man, you have heard of Clovis, NM. In 1929, archaeologists digging at Blackwater Draw, 12 miles south of Clovis, discovered evidence of human habitation in the area from 13,000 years ago. Fossils were found of Columbian mammoth, ancient bison, large horses and large turtles. The Clovis Point is a spearhead from that time, unique in design, with fluted edges and a concave base. The names Clovis Point and Clovis Man were derived from the nearby town.
We decided to stay the night in the area, doing something a little different for us. There is a city park north of Clovis that was reported to have eight sites for RVs. No hookups, but you can go into town for a key to open an electric box at the site. It took us nearly 45 minutes to find the sites, which were pleasant enough but not compelling. In addition, we would have had no phone coverage, and with the particular structure of our health, we don’t like to be totally without connection. So we ate lunch at moved on.
Where we did stop for the night was in the community of Texico, NM, just seven miles east of Clovis and right on the New Mexico / Texas border. The New Mexico State Visitors Center allows overnight parking for RVs in a well-lighted lot behind the building. There were no hookups, of course, but we are self-contained and can use our generator when we need “real” electricity (for the microwave, coffee maker, or morning heat).
This was only the second time since we started full-timing on September 5, 2002, that we have done what is called “blacktop boondocking,” The more formal boondocking is done out in the desert, up in the mountains, by a lake, or just along the highway, often using solar power for electricity. Blacktop boondocking is done often on a Wal-Mart parking lot (which we did the first time at Omak, Washington, waiting to cross the Canadian border), or at a Cabella’s store parking lot, or some casino along the road.
At the visitor center we happened to see a pair of birds we couldn’t identify. The agent at the visitor center said they were Guineas, birds that aren’t from here, but which serve as watchdogs for their home territory. The farmers and ranchers use them, he said, because they raise a ruckus when strangers come near. We looked on line and found they are native to Africa. How did they get here? Your guess is as good as ours.
Saturday found us moving into Texas, headed for Palo Duro Canyon. But we took a side trip to … MULESHOE, TEXAS! When we found that on the map, not far from our destination, we had to go. Fifty years ago, while I was attending the University of San Francisco and Suzy was in high school not far from there, we had an LP (anybody remember those? 12 inches in diameter, and they contained a lot of good sound) titled “My Enchanted City.” It was a love affair with San Francisco, featuring our favorite morning DJ from KSFO Radio, Don Sherwood. One of the pieces had folks allegedly from “out there somewhere” telling why they loved our City. One character announced, “I hail from Muleshoe, Texas."
For fifty years, Suzy and I have wanted to find and visit Muleshoe, Texas. Today we did.
Muleshoe has a population of about 4300 souls. It was named after the brand one of the early cattle ranchers used on his herd, the “mule shoe” brand. We didn’t see it, but learned later that there is a monument in town to mules. From their website: “What better place for a monument to mules than this uniquely named town? Mules pulled the covered wagons west, plowed the first sod for pioneers, hauled freight, and built the first railroads and highways. With the disappearance of mules from the American scene in recent decades, a group of Texas citizens determined to erect a memorial to those unsung beasts of burden. Donations for the monument were received from throughout the nation; in fact, a gift of 21 cents was sent by a mule driver from Samarkand, Uzbekistan, U.S.S.R.”
At the Muleshoe Heritage Center, off U.S. 84, in the restored Santa Fe depot, is the "World's largest Muleshoe" at 22 feet high, and 17 feet wide at at its widest point. Sorry we missed the photo op.
Now we are here in Canyon, and will visit Palo Duro Canyon and the Panhandle Plains Museum before we blog again.
Thanks for being with us again on … Our Life on Wheels.