Las Cruces, NM
In the final couple of days of our stay in Las Cruces we did a bit of touring and visited a couple of “interesting” restaurants in nearby towns. We often make a point of touring college campuses during our travels, using our bicycles to see as much of a campus as possible. We planned to bike around the campus of New Mexico State University but cool temperatures and high winds force us to limit our visit to a drive through the campus in the Jeep. One structure of interest to us was the design of the football stadium. From the parking lot the stadium appears to be a bit small.
But when we went inside the stadium we found most of the seating and the playing field are below ground level.
When we traveled through Ft. Stockton, TX earlier this month, we were astonished by the huge statue of a roadrunner (OK, maybe astonished is a bit strong, but it was pretty big). But that big bird is only the second largest in the world, so when we found that the largest was just a few miles west of us along I-10, we just had to drive out to check it out. Made of refuse from a local dump, the roadrunner is 20 feet tall and 40 feet long. It sits on a rock next to a rest area on the eastbound side of I-10 that has a great view of the Las Cruces area and the Organ Mountains to the east.
We were fortunate during our stay in the Coachlight RV Park to be joined by two other couples we have grown to know during our travels: Paul and Marsha of Where’s Weaver and Bill and Jodee of On the Road Abode. One evening the group drove across town to Farley’s Watering Hole to enjoy a meal and some conversation.
The next day (Wednesday) we planned to go to the town of Hatch with Jodee and Bill for lunch at Sparky’s, the restaurant we mentioned in the previous blog. But not only was it closed on Monday when we first planned to eat there (we hiked instead), but we found that it is also closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. Luckily, Jodee and Bill had an alternative restaurant that they promised was even more “interesting” than Sparky’s. So we all jumped into their Jeep and headed west on I-10 for lunch at Adobe Deli. As we approached the town of Deming we exited the highway and took a side road into a parking lot. Jodee announced that we had arrived at the restaurant, but John kept saying that he couldn’t see it.
The “restaurant” is in an old school building that closed in 1977. The main dining area is in a large room that was probably the gym. It was cold outside but the room was warmed by two propane heaters (normally used on outdoor patios) and a wood burning stove.
The Adobe Deli may have been the strangest looking restaurant we have ever seen, but the food was delicious!
The next day we finally headed north to the town of Hatch with Bill, Jodee, and Tessa. We drove two vehicles as we intended to do a hike on the way back. But we ran out of time so the hike never happened. Hatch prides itself as being the chili pepper center of the country and Sparky’s, a local restaurant, was reported to have the best green chili cheeseburgers in the world (or at least in Hatch). Before stopping at Sparky’s we drove through Hatch (it didn’t take long) and continued west on NM-26. After about 20 miles we turned right on to NM-27 and drove 12 miles to the ghost town of Lake Valley.
The mining town of Lake Valley was founded in 1878 after silver was discovered in the nearby hills. Almost overnight, the small frontier town grew into a major settlement. Today the mines are played out and all that remains is a ghost town. The Bureau of Land Management has restored the schoolhouse and chapel. Other buildings in the town site have been stabilized to slow further deterioration.
The last people to live in the town were Pedro and Savina Martinez who resided in the old Bella Hotel until 1994. Pedro arrived in the town at the age of two in 1904 and lived there all his life.
An old bank safe sits abandoned along one of the town streets. It had been located on the second floor of a bank that burned down in a fire in 1895.
The building below served many purposes including a school, saloon, general store, and gas station.
After taking a self-guided walking tour of the old town, we headed back to Hatch for lunch at Sparky’s.
Odd statues occupy the area in front of the entrance, along the parking area across the street, and in the small parking lot next to the building.
Sparky’s turned out to be a really cool and different place to eat. And the stories about the green chili cheeseburgers are true, they are delicious!
Well, that wraps up our stay in Las Cruces. Next up we head to Naco, AZ located right along the border with Mexico. We will be meeting up with Dave, Sue, and Lewis (he’s a dog) to enjoy a week exploring nearby Bisbee and playing golf. More on that later . . .