Odyssey Day 36 - 42

Now for most of my trails you can download my GPS track (bread crumb trail) as well as the map of my track. For more info Click Track Info

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Day 36 Friday

Day 3 of the Chili Challenge

We signed up for "Upper Broad Canyon" a moderate trail.  When we got there at 8:00 for the 8:30 departure and there were already 25 jeeps in line!  O-Boy it is going to be a Slow Long day.  In the line next to us was Fred Huff (remember he helped me with the jeep fire) He was leading a trail Called "Hopping Jalapeno" also a moderate trail.  He had only 4 jeeps, so we acted like rats and jumped ship over to his trail.  We left at 9:00 AM and again, we took side roads to the trail head north west of Las Cruces.  We entered a sand and gravel Co. road and drove to a canyon rim that overlooked a wash a hundred feet down.  In the bottom of the wash you could see a dozen or so jeeps and buggies crawling up the wash. Fred said that since our trail was a short one we had time if we wanted, to watch the "Big boys" play. The general consensus was yes.  Since I was the only descending vote it was decided that we would watch the big boys play and then leave at 12:00 for our trail.  When everyone else grabbed their water and headed down into the wash to get a closer look at the fun, I left for Las Cruces to run some errands.  As we headed out through the sand and gravel pit there where so many trails I would have gotten lost except for my GPS with its bread crumb trail to follow.  After we ran our errands we headed back to where we left the group on the trail.  We got back at 12:10 just as the last of the group where climbing up out of the wash to their jeeps.  We all climbed back into our jeeps and headed for our trail.  (See the Trails Page area to find out how the trail ride went).

Hopping Jalapeno Trail

Day 37 of the Odyssey
Day four and last day of the Chili Challenge
Rustlers Fire Trail

We arrived at the arena at 9:10 for Rustler's Fire Trail.  Rosie and Paul are our leaders today, there were only 4 jeeps in our group.  One of the gentlemen was from Machias MN. He came out just for the Chili Challenge. Rosie and Paul a young couple fairly new to the sport, the only modification to their jeep was 31 inch tires.  That was fine as this is an easy trail we're doing today.  The trail is mostly on BLM land, access to the trailhead is through private land that is open to the public, as long as the public does not abuse the privilege.   The start of the trail is a one-hour drive on pavement. We get off Route 10 at the Las Cruces airport exit and turn west on frontage road shortly we turned right on private property.  Most of the pavement is on private land.  This area is fairly flat (4,400.ft) but you do have to watch out for washes,  rather than putting in a culvert or bridge in the road they put a severe dip  in the road made of concrete for the water to flow over.  If you do not slow down, it could get real nasty.  Ahead of us we could see some foothills.  Rosie said that we can't see our destination from here; a hill, the trail goes up on top of where we can have lunch with a view.

For the rest of the story go to the Chili Challenge in the Trails

  If I liked last night's dinner this was a real treat we had steak and all the trimmings and even seconds if you wanted it.  After dinner came the raffle when you registered for the Chili Challenge you got a free raffle ticket and you can purchase them for a buck apiece.  I usually don't do well in raffles, but I purchased five buck's worth anyways to help support the club.  Remember our trail leaders Rosie and Paul?  Well they won the winch.  And surprise surprise I won a discount coupon to four-wheel-drive hardware.  And then Rosie won an air compressor!  Then they won tire deflators!  It is a little gauche for one person to win three items and two of them, the winch and compressor rather substantial, but it couldn't have happened to better people.  And they actually needed all of those items.  Since I didn't need the gift certificate I gave it to Fred Huff.


On the ride back to Las Cruces after the festivities, we stopped at a rest stop on the east bound side of I 10 just west of Las Cruces. The view was wow! If the moon had been up I bet you could have seen the Organ Pipe Mt. behind Las Cruces.

Las Cruces from rest stop on I 10

Day 38 of the Odyssey

Day 38 Sunday
Since the Chili Challenge is over we get to sleep in today! Today we find a cheaper hotel and do some writing, laundry, shopping... We found a hotel about four blocks from where we are staying (Baymont hotel) the Townhouse motel it's only $20 a night.
  We went to dinner with Fred and Linda Huff where we were regaled with tales of the start of jeeping in Las Cruces.  Many of the trails were found by Fred and his father! They used to have jeep races in Las Cruces in the early 60s, remember the Donna Ana trail and the eye of the needle, the needle and parts of the trail that we went on were also the racing trail. I hate to admit it but the food at the OutBack restaurant was excellent.
  After dinner we headed back to our new motel and Sue picked up a local paper.  Well that was a mistake letting Sue get the local paper! Right there on the front page was murder robbery and assault, and all in the last week, and all taking place on Pichaco drive hey that’s our street. Murder, robbery and assault all took place within two blocks of our hotel!  Well, at 11:30 PM we threw all of our baggage into the jeep and headed right back to the Baymont hotel.

Day 39 of the Odyssey

Day 39 Monday
  After I wake up and figured out where I am it's off to Kinko's for free high-speed Internet access.  Where can I find some copper plate to make a bus bar? Then I remember seeing Hobby Town yesterday out by I-25. Hobby Town is one of the largest RC mail warehouses. (Radio Control, Airplanes, Cars and boats.) A quick trip over to pickup some copperplate to make a replacement bus bar for the broken winch. When I got there I was very confused, they had NO RC stuff at all.  It turned out this Hobby Town was a local craft store, but they still had copper plate. So for $3.50 I had a 4X6X1/16 copper plate, back to the hotel.
  Back at the hotel I started to disassemble the relay housing.  This repair is going to be a real pain in the @$%*&*&@!! Ramsey had mounted the relays in a nice little housing on top of the winch. Let's put the emphasis on little, and of course the broken bus bar was on the bottom. This required extensive finger pinching and prying to gain access. Once I had the broken bus bar out I found that the copper sheet I had purchased was not as heavy a gauge. So I doubled up on the copper. I was still left with the problem of putting two 3/8 inch holes in the bus bar to mount to the relays, as I did not have any drill bits with me... I did have a grommet repair kit for tarps and it had a hole punch of just the right size. After trying that for 15 minutes I realized this was not going to work. Then I remembered how helpful the Mule Barn was, and since they were only three blocks from the hotel I headed over it was at quarter to 5 PM.  So I was hoping they would not turn me away. Ten minutes later and no charge I left the Mule Barn with my finished bus bar!  Back at the hotel, again with a lot of pinched fingers and prying and @#$%@#$%$@$# the winch was back together, and the important part, working!
  Well, I feel like it is time to move on. I get out my list of contacts I got off the web and make some phone calls. I get in touch with the AZ jeepers, they put me in touch with Rodney from Parker AZ. and Joan from Kingman AZ. I eventually got in touch with Jim in Gallup NM arranged to meet with him on Sunday to go out jeeping. This gave us the whole week to run around on our own. I remember looking at the map when we were up in T or C, NM and seeing a whole bunch of jeep trails up in the Caballo Mts.

Day 40 of the Odyssey
We start a 2 Day trip along the Caballo Mts

9:00 AM Left BayMont hotel for T or C.
We are headed out to do what I really enjoy doing, while going to events such as the Chili Challenge is fun and you get to meet new people and make a lot of contacts. What I really love doing, is getting the map out and finding the road less traveled to interesting places.
From T. or C. I called home and left my itinerary with a family member, that I was headed up to the Caballo Mountains for a two day jeep trip.
The map shows a trail that would take us up a gap (Palomas Gap), and then run along the ridge of the Caballo Mts.

Any time you go into a remote area you should call a reliable friend or family member and leave your expected route and when you will call them up next, the reason is if you break down or get injured you want somebody to go looking for your body. I used to check in with the forest service until I learned that the forest service will NOT go looking for you!  Until a family member calls the forest service to say you are missing!
  I would not call these true mountains the map shows the east side of the mountains to be a gentle slope up and the west side, pretty much vertical cliff.  As if the crust were tilted up.

From T or C Head east on Rt 51 Just after crossing over the Rio Grande it’s a hard right turn onto dirt.  The graded dirt road runs between the Caballo Mtns and the Rio Grande.

For the rest of the story and more pictures, Maps and GPS Coordinates go to Trails Page and click on Caballo Mt traill

Day 41 Wednesday
We finish the 2 Day trip along the Caballo Mts
Day 41 Wednesday
Finished the two day trip across the Caballo Mts (see Day 2 of Caballo Mts trip)

On our way out toward T or C we passed Elephant Butte Lake State Park.
Since it was only 3:00 we decided to check it out.
This is a nice State Park! The campground was clean and you weren't packed in, the trailer sites had electric and water, they were arranged in a circle of about seven or eight sites with a sunshade over each picnic table, and in the center of the circle were six picnic tables under one large sunshade. This state park had remote campsites all up and down the east side of the lake, while I did not go visit them I expect they were just as nice. We decided to stay in the park for the night. We did decide to go to town for dinner, and headed up (north) on Rt 52. About 3 miles up we came to the town of Elephant Butte. The town gets its name from a butte in the lake that looks like an elephant, most of which is now under water. 

On the corner of route 52 and 171 is a cafe, it's pretty hard to miss as it is pink and blue and with a great big sign, it announces that they have Internet access. I found the place so funky that I had to eat here. They had just about everything on the menu.  I ordered a boneless pork rib sandwich and asked about the Internet access. The waitresses (who came to the US. from New Zealand to "flap her wings") took me around back to a trailer.  In the trailer was a computer with dial-up access to the Internet and an old Indian watching TV.  As I worked on connecting my lap top up to the internet I chatted with the Indian.  I asked if he was a native of Elephant Butte? He looked kind of blank at me and said "I'm Indian".   "Well I know that.  I meant native to the town?" I said.  "Oh…. yes" he said.    (This is a carved wooden statue of an                                                                                                                               Indian holding a fish)

I checked my e-mail and went back out front to have dinner.  It was OK nothing great. There is such a diverse menu. here, I think its all pre-packaged and frozen. So when you order something he just thaws it out and serves. Back to the state park to do some writing and have a warm night's sleep.
As the sun settled and we puttered around camp, very faintly we heard a burble and then a second, a third suddenly we were surrounded by burbles, the sound was coming from everywhere! Then a movement, out of the corner of your eye, you weren't sure, by the time you got to look at the spot, nothing! It was spooky, I knew it had to be a life form, the question is was, is it a terrestrial life form, and would it eat us? Finally I was able to actually see what was making a burbling sound, it was a (flock?) of quail! I would guess there were about 20 to 30 quail. They came across us like a tide, they washed through and left. As they washed through camp they managed to keep their distance from us, this kept them in the bushes and made it very difficult to see them.

 Well it wasn't that warm it was 25 degrees. 

Day 42 Thursday
Day 42 Thursday
Temp last night 25 degrees Up at 8:00 temp 39
While I cleaned up the Jeep and re-packed it, Sue made us breakfast of bacon and egg omelets. The tide came and whent several times this morning.  It was while trying to see the Quail that I noticed a bush near us that sparkled! At first I thought somebody had covered it with little plastic balls, upon closer examination they look like large wrinkled salmon eggs, with a hard black egg yoke inside.  The outer casing looked and felt like wrinkled plastic it was quite tough.  And the wrinkled outer covering refracted the light. These are the most unusual berries I've ever seen
Rolled out of camp at 11.30
Went to the forest service office in T or C and talked with a ranger about camping in the Gila NF. She kept talking about camp grounds and I kept talking about wilderness camping, finally she admitted that "Primitive” camping is allowed in all areas of the NF.  (except I don't have access to the wilderness areas)
Gila NF has two wilderness areas separated by 1 road FSR 150 (my GPS has that road as Rt 61 a paved road.) After an hour of wrangling with maps and calling other NF offices we had a route through the Gila NF (remember there is only one road separating the two wilderness areas).  We were told by Cindy (not her real name) the last time she and her husband went up FSR 150 they had to move rocks 2 feet in diameter out of the road to get through and it was and eight hour trip if we had no problems. And it was definitely a 4wd road.
At this point Sue was not real happy about taking a long trip in the wilderness alone, on what Cindy claimed would be "a definite four-wheel-drive road and may not even be passable". Now I must say at this point in all my travels and all my visits to national forests and national parks, I have never gotten the correct road conditions from the "officials".  If they say the road is impassable I found it to be a mild challenge if they say it's going to be rough you might have to watch where you steer your passenger car.  By now it was 2:00 and my smarter half informed me, “you need to get an extra gas can”.    Tonight is also the first episode of “Survivor Marquesas” and we know one of the contestants. Zoe a lobster boat captain from Monhegan Is. Maine.  A friend of mine in Vermont knows another contestant from Vermont!  To see the first episode a Motel for us. Let's see, where in T. or C. New Mexico looking for a motel, it can only be one place, Desert View Motel.  The rest of the Survivor Marquesas episodes are being taped for us. So off to Desert View Motel. We decided since we have the rest of the day that we will also do laundry and other errands. One of the things I love about traveling is finding unique beauty where you least expect to.  And believe it or not this laundromat had it.  As the title implies all of these bugs were made out of laundry soap jugs. And let’s not forget the lost socks Gallery!
The only place I have to mount an extra gas can is to hang it on the spare tire.  Now I had replaced the stock rims on the Jeep with rims that have less of an offset of 2" less than stock. This moved the tires out 2" in each side or increased my track by 4" that means the spare tire does not rest on the rubber supports on the rear tailgate for it hangs 2" from the rubber supports. This puts a greater strain on the spare tire mount, and then hanging a 5 gal. gas can on top of that would be asking to have the tailgate bend. The quickest way to fix this would be to space out the rubber bumpers so the tire would rest on them.  The cheapest way would be to get some wood and some longer bolts to space out the rubber bumpers.  I found a building supply store and got a piece of one by three strapping and a drill bit, I had to go to a different hardware store to get longer bolts for the rubber bumpers.  Back at the Desert View Motel, I got out my C clamp and my hacksaw, using the C clamp to clamp the wood strapping to my bumper to hold it still while I used a hacksaw to cut the strapping to the proper lengths. Not having a drill, I used a pair of visegrips to hold onto the bit and drilled through the pieces of strapping.  Since the wood strapping was 1”X3” and the tire rim had an extra 2 inch offset I needed to use 2 wooden blocks behind each rubber bumper, remount the spare tire and voila within 45 minutes, I had supports for the spare tire.  With some ratchet straps, the 5 gal. gas can was securely strapped to the spare tire.  And none too soon as darkness was just coming upon us and Zoe was about to be on TV.

[Welcome page]

The Odyssey

[Video, Jeeping 101]

[GPS Track info.]


[Odyssey] [Day 8-14] [Day 15 -21] [Day 22 - 28] [Day 29 - 35] [Day 36 - 42] [Day 43 - 49]

[City Match Name] [Name the Folige]


[the shaft] [airing down] [Salsa] [Air Compressor] [Cooking Meatloaf] [Articles in Low-Range]

[City Answers] [Foliage Answers]


[Choke Cherry] [Holy Cross] [Death Valley] [Chili Challenge] [Caballo Mts] [Gila NF Trip] [Titus Canyon]

[Woodpecker Mine]  [Picket Post]  [Box Canyon]

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