Sunday, March 30, 2014

Pancho Villa State Park, Columbus, New Mexico. Also; Paloma, Mexico

Driving west from El Paso, Texas, along a long dusty road just  a stones throw from the Mexican border, there was little to see but miles and miles of plains, but Pete loved the trip.

The destination was Pancho Villa State Park, Columbus Texas.  The park was named for Pancho Villa the Mexican general who pulled off an attack against the small town in 1915, killing mostly civilians and torching a few buildings.

This however, ended up with General "Black Jack" Pershing amassing 10,000 US troops and taking them into Mexico for retribution.

Interesting note on aviation!

There are remnants of the troop build up here in Columbus and a decent number of the original buildings, but not much money has been spent on preservation.
 This vehicle was not used here but several of these were stationed along the border, one in El Paso.

A view from the front opening port looking at the drivers seat and then to the rear.. Comfy huh?

The Park does have a quality little museum though and the town has set up the old train depot into a nice museum of rail road and local artifacts.  I really did enjoy visiting both.

In the park museum, a cloth bi-plane hung from the ceiling.

General Pershings personal Dodge Touring Car (Yes, he traveled along with his troops, but in the back seat of this car.  By the way, he found chasing Mexican soldiers was more effective using these cars rather than on horseback, so he ordered 250 more cars!

This FWD  (Four Wheel Drive) heavy vehicle was made in Chicago and used in the expedition.
 Note the hand controlled spark advance and throttle under the steering wheel.  This was common on vehicles prior to 1920.  My father had a boat with a Model B Ford engine in it and I remember as a kid being allowed to drive it on fishing trips.. Cool stuff, history.
This American La France fire engine also used the same kind of controls

 and all instrumentation was mechanical.. No electrical stuff back then.

 Water Pressure gauge
 Flex cable speedometer common until the 1990's in most vehicles.. now all is electronic digital instrumentation.
 Valve adjustment for water pressure, had a mechanical readout for adjustments.  Of course all of this was high quality 100 years ago...........and also Made In America.

 Even the drive train was simple chain drive...  It was the years before the differential gear system was worked out for mass production in vehicles.

A French early model machine gun with a flat magazine was often used by our troops in daytime skirmishes but the soldiers often installed the magazine upside down at night causing failure, so this gun saw little use.

This area was used as a trade route to California, so wagons were common. This one was still in very good condition.  Dry climate does help preserve.

In town, there is little to see except the evidence of time and poverty.

However I ate lunch at a la Casita restaurant... a throw back to the 50's with Mexican flair of color.

the food was good but twice the volume and price I would normally wish for lunch but I chose "the Special".  Left overs were at hand.
I crossed the border on foot entering Palomas, Mexico.

I ate a late lunch at good restaurant in Mexico, just a block away from the dividing Border Patrol station.  Outside was a wonderful and very large statue of Pershing on the left and Pancho Villa on right.  They actually did meet years later and did shake hands.

A couple of young Indian girls work the street with their mother and grandmother but I chuckled how they played together in the courtyard, when they were given some time off. See video..

Once open, enlarge it by clicking on box in lower right corner of video. Hit escape key to return.

Outside the Pink Store was a large metal sculpture of a street musician.
 Except for this Pink Store and courtyard, I saw little evidence of aesthetics in this town, I'm sure is due to it's poverty.
 Behind some stores on a side street, I came across this old Dodge
 and a field filled with old VW bugs.  Found out later they were owned by the owner of the Pink Store, who also has a side business of restoring and reselling these bugs.
 The towns museum was the cleaned up but not rebuilt or restored...train depot.

 Displays were well organized.
Many Indian artifacts were on display.  Grave robbing used to be a perfectly acceptable hobby.
Note the large turquoise hand grip on the horn of this saddle!

 Close to my parking spot in this park campground, was a male horned owl.  His mate was in another tree guarding a 3 week old.  (another camper gave me the scoop here)
the female above.

By the way, I forgot to mention how windy it is down here almost all the time.

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