Silver City, New Mexico - a western town with a rough and tumble history. First an Apache campsite, then a Spanish settlement, then a mining town. First town to arrest Billy the Kid. And for us, a respite from a couple of predicted days of wind, and a scare with a wildfire.
We came up from an overnight at the City of Rocks. The drive was short, and we got an early enough start to beat the winds. We heard later they closed Highway 180 coming into Silver City due to low visibility caused by blowing dust. We settled into the Rose Valley RV Ranch - which turned out to be one of the nicest (if not *the* nicest) private park we’ve been in on this trip. Large sites with privacy fences, bushes, angled for ease of backing in, very well-appointed laundry and bathrooms that were completely self-contained with shower, sink, and toilet. And..AND..2 ply TP! Oh, the extravagance!
A few hours after settling in however - in the midst of trailer-shaking gusts of winds - we received word from a friend on the Early CJ5 board that there was a large and growing ground fire in the area. Sure enough, we stepped outside and could see smoke rising over the ridge to the East of the park. We scrambled around online and found out that they were starting to evacuate local residents in the path of the fire. One frustration with constant travel is you’re rarely completely comfortable in your bearings, plus many weather and emergency alerts are communicated by county - which is tough to know or find out when fresh in town. I sought out the camp host for advice and he told us the fire was south of the RV park with the prevailing winds pushing it further away from us. As of this writing the fire is still only 50% contained, has consumed 13 houses and dozens of other structures. We passed by the origin on Highway 90 as we headed out and was hardly remarkable from our vantage point. The direction of the fire took it over an immediate ridge and we just couldn’t see the full impact of it.
I spent some time in the city library getting some work done, and tried but failed to get the family interested in walking around the historic downtown. This turned out to be a good thing as it was a great place for a photo walk, but was otherwise largely a collection of art galleries and restaurants. The most interesting thing about the downtown is the “big ditch”, which I walked along but didn’t even bother with a photo of since there is little water in the ditch and everything was just brown. My initial thought was “here’s another San Antonio wanna-be” as we’ve seen a few towns try to re-create the Riverwalk found there. As it turns out this ditch is a bit more interesting as it’s man-made in response to a flood at the end of the 1800’s. It actually used to be Main street! After the flood they dug the ditch 15 feet down to prevent a future disaster, and businesses located on main street simply switched their doors - the back entrances became the front and vice-versa.
The RV park also gifted us with number of coupons good for a free bowling game at the Alley located just next door - so the kids and I each did 3 games for only the cost of shoes while MsBoyink finished some chores and had some rare “alone time”.
Even though we were close to a number of other things to see (including the Cave Dwellings in the Gila Mountains) we just felt like we were done with New Mexico and ready to be in another state. On that note we pulled out after 2 nights, bound for Green Valley, AZ.