South in 16

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Jan 18,19,20

18

We said our goodbyes to Aunt Jeanette and headed out of town.  We landed on BLM land probably 15 miles as the crow flies from where Lori my sister live in Green Valley.   It was good to get back into the country and out of the city.   This choice little piece of public land was a real find in that we are the only ones camping.  The obscure entrance is a well used dirt road which says no motor vehicle traffic??  We can let the animals run free, have a fire, and well….   This is desert.  To our northeast is a drastic pointed mountain  Helmet peak which i would like to climb.  To the east is the valley and beyond it a massive mountain with snow on top in Coronado National Forest.  Between us and the valley from north to south is probably the largest mining operation I have ever seen with tailings that make their own small mountain range. To accumulate such an amount of ground up rock boggles my mind.  I took Kiowa for a 5 plus mile run in the late afternoon to the West.  Between our BLM land and the public land beyond is a small private section with dirt roads and little ranchettes.  Here I encountered an individual walking his dog.  Along the run I came across a fenced area with signs that said it was an archeological site.   I asked him what it was and he said it was a rock outcropping where primitive people cooked.  I asked him about the road I was on and he told me that it was another access to their subdivision but the BLM put the signs up.  People obviously still use it and in fact I saw at least two vehicle on it.   It is a good road so why stop people and put up signs?  He had no idea.  I will take Mahatma Rajni to the cooking site tomorrow.  We had a wonderful fire and dinner.

19

This was a very laid back day.  Cloudy and with some wind.  I took Mahatma Rajni on a walk up to the  archeological site.  Along the way we encountered a hunter.  Apparently January is bow hunting month.  He was hungry and Rajni gave him her apple.  He was the first person to date to actually welcome us to Arizona.  He was a local firefighter and we conversed for some time about the public lands and laws in Arizona.  Rajni and I surveyed the Arch site.  It consisted of a rock outcrop where holes had been carved in the rock to catch water and an overhang for shelter.  While this is remarkable it is not worthy of becoming a national monument which it probably will someday, complete with paved road, campground and interpretive center complete with 3-4 employees.    Oh well.  we have to spend those tax dollars on something.  For now the O’s get to enjoy it in solitude with the hunters.

I gave birth to a poem

Winter 2016                       EMF

We have devices

Locaters, Communicators, Pacemakers, Games

Batteries included but must be recharged.

Salutations, Interactions, Relationships,Entertainment

Passing through the air

The phoenix prison complex

Snobville

Somehow we are forgetting

Who we are, and who we are not

The leash gets shorter every year

The Ruse’s are getting better

The use of Sacred a commonplace term

Cursive writing a foreign language

And those important three words forgotten

Verify Verify Verify

The Electromagnetic force

Fixed, Funneled, Filed, Foisted

Its all in THE CLOUD

And in the end

We still keep procreating

I have been reading a book about the first sail across the famed Northwest passage by two men in a catamaran in he mid 1980’s.  It is truly epic and  just reading it makes me cold.  It was done over the course of 3 summers and you might say sailing is a misnomer since a great deal of it was rowing and dragging their small craft over ice and snow.  The NW passage is now done regularly with the use of massive ice breakers and sometimes even with them it is impossible.  This passage north of Canada through the arctic sea has been a quest since 1576 with the most famous being Franklins expedition of 1845-1848 in which his two ships the Erebus and Terror were lost without a trace.  Massive search’s and modern investigations have pieced together the story of that ill fated mission that ultimately ended in cannibalism.  Although the descriptions of the sights and wildlife are stunning I have no desire to go to this arctic place where survival is a daily struggle.

20

The intrepid Kiowa and I made the assault on Helmet Peak.  It was without a doubt another Lincoln County man first.  The problems arose when Kiowa after helping him up the last lift of rock climbing would not come to me and help him down.  The endless whinning and barking forced me to reclimb and find another route he would follow which required an accent on the other side of the mountain.  The circuitous route back along various washes was most enjoyable.  Then it was time to head to Green Valley to Stalag 14 to visit my sister and brother in law imprisoned there.  We also want to watch our new President be inaugurated.

It was a blustery cold, windy, rainy day when we arrived at Lori’s.  While I poke fun at this gated restrictive community phenomena I totally get it.  While to me it seems so restrictive and lacking in freedom, it presents a safe, stress free environment where you choose to partake.  Diversity is not important.

Being with my sister in her home is a real treat.  There are pictures of our family, the chime of the old clock that has been passed down thru the years.  An amazing meal cooked by John and a hot shower and bed without animals!!  Home, and family so precious.

We watched the Inauguration of our 45th President that Lori recorded for us.  In patriotism there is no room for prejudice.  I love that statement.  Donald’s words were straight forward and his promises formidable.  My hopes rise and just maybe this man will break the entrenched bureaucracy and indeed return the government to the people.  One can only hope

 

South in 16

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Jan 14,15,16,17

14

Another day to while away.  I went to two movies.  Deep Sea Horizon was about the catastrophe in the Gulf where an exploration drilling rig blew up leaking over 12 million gallons of oil.  It was certainly damaging to the British petroleum Corporation and apparent greed fro profit.  They were charged with the 11 counts of manslaughter of those that died.  The charges were dismissed.  I read in the paper that the lawsuits against the EPA for the recent debacle in Colorado poisoning the Las Animas river were also dropped.  But Hell,  have your dog off the leash  or not wear a seat belt and you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.  The other movie was The Accountant.   This movie, totally unrealistic, about  an autistic  ninja accountant was (just like magnificent 7) so full of rampant killing you become numb to it.  However, in the same fashion, its goodness over badness prevails is the redeeming theme.

The best part of the day however was meeting my relative Laura Luallin from the John branch of the family.  This branch had many who settled in the Imperial Valley of California.  She is a sweet woman and her two children  Liam and   Kathryn  whose father is a Navajo were wonderful.  We took them out for pizza and i hope they come visit us in South Dakota some day!!

15

The Ides of Winter have arrived and we begin the slow journey back to south dakota after Rajni finishes her classes.  More visiting of relatives and americana in store!!  Last day of Rajni’s classes!!  two more movies to occupy my time.  Allies,  a good WW2 flick, story of love and betrayal.   The woman on the train,  turned out to be a surprisingly good who dannit keeping you guessing till the end.  Ready for some open country

16

Finally leaving Phoenix, and in my mind I do not ever wish to return.  To me it was becoming like a humongous executive prison.  The labyrinth of walls around each house (jail cell) and neighborhoods (cell block).  The police, just prison guards to keep the inmates from becoming unruly while they go about they’re duties as worker bees.  Not judging this self prescribed maybe desired  behavior I only wonder if this is the future.   Coming into Tuscon was a completely different flavor.  There was far fewer walls,  there were weeds, unkept lawns, and even homeless people!!  There were vehicles that actually were more than a few years old.  The imposing mountains to the north of town had snow on them.  We found Aunt Jeanette and we had a wonderful reunion taking her out to one of her favorite restaurants Denny’s which was one my mothers as well.  It is -America’s Diner.   There seems to be a large population of elderly here.  We witnessed a drive thru pharmacy,  is there nothing Americans won’t do in their cars LOL.   We reminisced and looked at pictures.  We plan on driving up Mt Lemon on the morrow.

17

A wondrous day with Aunt Jeanette,  we drove up to the top of Mt Lemmon and she shared many memories with her husband Wayne.  Rajni made a meal in her apt and she talked about her growing up on the farm near Lawrence.  She seems to be having trouble with her phone and internet and Rajni is a big help in this area.  We will head out on the morrow.

If you remember the shooting of the patrolman near Tonopa when we were there, the story came out today.  An Illegal Mexican rolled his vehicle on the Interstate killing his girlfriend. A trooper stopped and was lighting flares to slow traffic when the mexican pulled a gun and shot him twice then proceeded to beat his head against the ground.  A passing motorist who had no military or police training but was a christian man witnessed this and stopped.  He fortunately had a pistol and knew how to use it.  He ordered the mexican to stop but he did not so he shot him.  He then proceeded to give medical assistance to the trooper.  The mexican revived and began to beat the trooper again so the man shot him again, this time fatally.  This was in the paper NOT on the front page, with the ending about the loose gun laws in the state.  Its appalling really that the thrust was not about illegals and crime and the heroism of a common man who owned a weapon and came to the assistance of the police.  Shocking really.

South in 16

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Jan 11,12,13

11

The deed was done!!  The first Lincoln county man to summit vulture peak. Poor Kiowa the dog could hardly make it the last steep part but in the end he also summited.  He has so many cactus thorns in his feet and around his mouth.  Mrs O tries to remove them with needle nose pliers but he will have none of it.

I decided to treat Rajni to some great relaxation in the hot springs in Tonopa.  It is a clothing optional hippie type place — just our style.   The soaking areas are either private or the general area with thick stands of bamboo for fencing.  The tubs are stock water tanks or old claw foot tubs.  We had a fine discussion with a man who just got back from touring Mexico for 3 months.  Things have not changed down there.  The gas is much more expensive, about a dollar a gallon more despite it being completely controlled by the government.  Hmmm capitalism not at work.   Then of course there is the corrupt police extortion stories.  It did not make me want to go back.  Tonopa is nothing more than a couple of gas stations and restaurant off the interstate.  Calling this a spring is somewhat of a misnomer.  This was a melon farm whose well of a mere 420 hit water at 112 degrees.  Originally, it was artesian but with additional wells in the area the pressure subsided such that they have to pump the water out. Weird since a couple of miles away is the largest Nuclear electric production plant in the West.  Pollution free power for the Southwest including L.A.  The only problem is what to do with the spent radioactive rods????   There must be a use for them.

Soaking deep into the night I reflected on my youth and the mid week prayer meetings that we religiously attended in the Church of Christ growing up.  The vivid and precious memories flooding my mind.  That night I had one of the most lucid dreams I have had in a long time.  Rarely do I remember my dreams.

There is something extraordinary about soaking in a hot springs with other nude people.  The openness , honesty, and transparency is without a doubt a result of being naked.  There is nothing to hide.  It is what it is.   The stories are fascinating.   We met one young couple who just became engaged to be married from Georgia.  The real find was a magician traveling with his pet goose Gracie whose life and intimate details of his relationships and struggles in life kept you spellbound.  The most poignant was his personal relationship with Yogi Bhajan.  Rajni truly was attentive.  Life on the road.  In the early hours of the morning there apparently was a police officer shot on the interstate some two miles from us.  Details are sketchy since we are off the net here.

12

coffee in the hot springs, soaking and then it was time to go.  We made our way back to Tempe to Frank Kee’s house.  A very nice neighborhood and Frank is so very kind and generous.  The afternoon we met with Johnny Thomas at ASU.  He is finishing up his doctorate.  I encouraged him to finish his book.  The evening was a most wonderful dinner with my Aunt Joyce and cousin Deana and her husband Jeff.  It felt like home to be among kin.  The drive back from Mesa to Tempe was a drastic difference on almost empty massive hi ways as compared to the congestion earlier.

13

I worked on the generator all day finally determining it was the magneto. Had to order it online, this is the way of the future.  Even in a huge city as this, no one stocks it.  We watched the magnificent 7 movie last nite.  Did anyone notice that the hero was a Lincoln County Man????

South in 16

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Jan 8,9,10

8

This was the last class day for Rajni until next weekend.  I took the dog to the dog park and also found some grass to do my yoga.  On the walk back I struck up a conversation with a guy on his bike at a stop light.  He had just gotten back from skiing in the Austrian Alps.  He has a home here in Scottsdale, one in San Fransisco and one in Idaho.  He commented that even in Austria they talk about the pheasant hunting in South Dakota.   I came back to fix my bike tire.   Turns out the police had been by and told Rajni we had to leave.  It was inevitable despite all efforts to meet the merchants and get their okay to stay here while she is in class.  As always, it was complaint driven.  Someone did not approve of our lifestyle or something as weak as just being an  unhappy person who wants to control.  Instead of simply meeting us and communicating first like a human they complain and bludgeon with various rules and laws at their disposal.  Its classic, we have one such person that lives across the street from us back home.   I don’t care for it, but I understand it.  It runs back to the basis for such a refuge like Scottsdale.  That is the inability to deal with difference and confrontation.  In human history it was always the norm to deal with relatives, friends, neighbors and such in a mutual respectful manner because you may  be in need or have request of them in the future.  Strangers were a different story.  Its interesting when looking at cultures and religions how they treat this subject.  The Bible and the Koran both are explicit in treating travelers and strangers with hospitality and protection.  Even the heathen had such rules.  In any case we had to rely on the benevolence of corporate giants like Walmart to find a place to rest our heads.  In the parking lot I struck up a conversation with Texas, a Viet Nam vet who has been living on the road now for many years.  He has been to all 48 states and turned me on to helpful hints on how to operate living on the road.   I love meeting people like him.

9

We made it out of the concrete jungle!!   Our maps are out of date and there seems to be a concerted effort to keep adventurers  from doing just that.  The legendary Castle Hot springs just some 30 miles north of Phoenix  was once a thriving resort with golf course and healing waters.  JF Kennedy himself recuperated there after the war.  It had the first phone in Arizona with the number 1.   Try and find anything about it now??  The internet discourages you with ridiculous descriptions of perilous roads and the maps we have don’t even show roads.  Not sooooooo.  Rajni and the high plains drifter were not deterred.  Truth be known the road is graded and easy for a 2wd pulling the casita.  The resort is under new ownership and the new owners who purchased it for 1.9 million dollars  are feverishly  working to make it a high dollar get a way.  Not open yet, so we continued on the allegedly horrible road deep into Apache country.  We skirted the Hell Canyon Wilderness area and camped on BLM land in the high desert.   We are seemingly the only ones here.  It has rained and there is water in the wash.  Mrs O encountered a wild burro near camp.  I have picked out a deep ravine to take her on a hike tomorrow that I found while running.   It should be epic!!

10

Well, it was epic, the greatest hike EVER!!  We took a picnic lunch and ventured into What I will call Rajni gulch.  There were many Havolina tracks and we were very close to a wild burro.  We discovered several old mines and made love in the desert.  The remainder of the day we made our way to the town of Wickenburg the lasso capital of Arizona.  It is also one of those small towns that are welcoming to tourists from the north (unlike Phoenix).  I hope people from the south that come north to South Dakota feel welcomed in Hot Springs.  I certainly will make an extra effort in the future.  We headed south Back out onto the Desert and BLM land.  Pulled into the trailhead for Vulture peak which we will attempt to climb.  I am sure that I will be the first Lincoln county man to ever attempt it.  A wonderful fire to contemplate why the generator will not start.  I got the phone message that an old friend of mine’s wife had passed away.  As I get older this is going to happen more often.  Laura Settle was a very loving and kind human being.  I will try and call Reed tomorrow.

South in 16

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Jan 6,7

6

Rajni’s first day in her training.  I took the dog for a mega run, fixed Rajni’s bike tire, and decided to go for a bike ride myself.  We need to talk about Scottsdale.  This is a surreal place of gated communities.  Everything is squeaky clean and all the bushs and trees are manicured.  The streets are wide with large sidewalks.  The shopping centers are, well perfect.  I found some green grass to sit on and watch the traffic go by.  I realized that my vehicle a 97 Ford Ranger is without a doubt the oldest vehicle in this town— by a long shot!!   The people are friendly in the stores and parking lots— thats the only place you actually meet.  Children are a rare sight.  It is a very controlled atmosphere and I am wondering that this cannot be the norm of the greater phoenix metro area.  Tapping into the SOM it was not love or fear but a struggle in a very neutral state.  It was almost a comfortably numb.  Curiously I did not actually see any churches???  The humm of traffic noise is constant unless your in a building.  It is all so very interesting.  Sunny, warm, and short, T shirt and sandals.  Life is good.

7

While Rajni was in class I decided to go to the movies.  I had to ride Rajni’s bike since mine now has a flat.  It was some 6-7 miles away riding on almost flat wide sidewalks along Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard.  The Movie, Assassins Creed was fun.  In a weird twist, the Assasins were the good guys dedicated to stopping the Templars (church) from acquiring the small globe called Eve’s apple which holds the information used when the extra terrestrials programed the human race with free will.  If they can acquire it they can re program the human race to become completely one of servitude and of course without any aggression.  FANTASY!!!

The long bike ride was good for contemplation.  The only color apparently allowed for buildings is brown, and it is astounding how many different shades of brown there are!!  It also hit me like a crystal bullet between the eyes what this place is.  This is a refuge for the affluent, primarily white but inclusive of many races.  I cannot be judgmental, I respect them and totally get it.  These people have earned their money and need a place to enjoy it.  They don’t have to see homeless people or have confrontations since they decide exactly when and where they interact and have social contact.  They don’t have to feel guilt for what they have amassed nor be forced to share it.  The comfort of rules and sameness shield them from the stress and strife that comes from differences.  It is without a doubt the perfect solution in a free world to have such communities for like minded people.  I will of course never live in one.

 

South in 16

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Jan 3,4,5

3

Awoke to coffee and soaking in the hot springs again, irresistible.  We  had it to ourselves.  Las Vegas to me seems like a very nice town with at least 3 colleges and a quaint downtown —and Walmart!! It could have been high on the list of placed to retire too if we had not made Hot Springs our home.  After making the repairs and restocking of the SS Casita we were off again at about 01200.   We were heading to Albuquerque.  It was hoped to have a chance meeting with Carlos Davila my Nicaraguan brother.  Carlos has been driving the mail truck from Denver to Albuquerque now for many years.  He is presently almost there and will immediately go to sleep until 6 pm when he gets up to eat and then drives back to Denver.  If we arrive around 6 we will dine together.  The route he drives is both beautiful and often treacherous.  Today he warned of high winds from Las Vegas on.  He hopes to bring his new bride and son to live in the U.S. I went to Nicaragua on an epic trip when he first received his green card and passport after being gone for some 15 years or so.  I videoed it and showed it on my TV show, it was a big hit of course.  We arrived in Albuquerque  around 1500 and decided to move on and try and get to El Morro to camp.   The 30 miles between Albuquerque and Masita was vast wind swept chaparral and I don’t recall any evidence of human habitation or existence the entire way!!  After the turn off at Grants the ecology changed drastically to  ponderosa pine sub alpine with few inhabitants.  It was called El Malpais National Monument and very beautiful to me.  It was here that we crossed the Continental divide an astounding 7000 ft!! When we did see humans it was mostly mobile homes and junk cars, my kind of place!!!  We made El Morro at dark thirty.  Snow on the ground but above freezing temps.  Tomorrow we will investigate this crossroads of the west.

In this location there is no phone service, hence no internet.  The long dark night must be occupied by reading, writing, telling stories, giving massages and other things!!  Is this what life used to be like??  Here is another curiosity.  There are town names that appear in more than one state.  I think Springfield is in every state.  In New Mexico there are two towns of the same exact name??  Ojo Caliente.  They are both on “sovereign nation land of the “natives”  Can we say disfunction here.  New Mexico has as much or more Reservation land than our native South Dakota.  Each has its own Casino and truck stop.  The completely dysfunctional and false nature of the Reservation system is an open festering sore on this nation and must be faced at some point.  These are dignified human beings being treated like children (wards of the state).  Either give them nation status for real or assimilate these amazing people into the melting pot.  Just my opinion.

4

El Morro, the point, is a must see for anyone interested in history.  It is true Americana.  For years my brother Rich Johnson had told me about this place and finally I got there.  It was everything he said it was and more.   This camp/water hole on the ancient east west road of upper New Mexico has been used and visited by people since about 1200 AD.  The water hole itself is remarkable, the only water in a 20 mile radius.  The massive stone point can be seen for miles and on top are the remnants of an ancient pueblo.   Sandwiched in the massive block of stone is a deep box canyon complete with huge ponderosa pine and grass.  And on the rock all who have passed that way have left their mark.  Starting with crude figures of the primitive heathen, then the signature and message from a Conquistador in 1592 long before the pilgrims landed on plymouth rock.  Indeed there are several hundred signatures and dates of military, trappers, traders, and immigrants.  It is one of the benefits of taking the road less travelled.  Since the Interstate this old route has become just a backroad of history.

The Spanish had been probing and conquering for a very long time looking for the 7 cities of Cibola.  The Spanish colonist methods were brutal.  They make the English and French look like Angels in comparison.  In Central America they systematically raped every woman of child bearing age before they converted them to Catholicism.  This created the mixed or mestizo culture we now refer to as Mexican.  These subdued  people even consider it a superior trait to have a large amount of Spanish blood in their veins.  The cultures of the South West U.S. were not so docile.  The lawless  Apache, Navajo, Ute, Kiowa, Comanche resisted.  The Hopi, Zuni, and other pueblo groups were relatively easy to subdue and convert because they were more agrarian, but they also had revolts.  When the Mexicans threw the Spanish out it was a blessing but life was still difficult.  When the Americans took over, the Mexicans of the South West rejoiced in their new citizenship and even volunteered to participate in the Civil War.   This despite often being subject to prejudice by the Anglo’s.   One of the many benefits however was the far better protection from the marauding hostile savages.   The Americans brought law and order.  At least the English/Americans attempted to purchase or establish treaty’s with the groups they encountered.  It was, however wasted effort since their primitive understanding could not fathom the concept.

We continued down the road to the Zuni reservation, and the town of Zuni.  I was amazed at the large amount of stone masonry, much of it very fine workmanship!!  The road into Arizona and St Johns was long and barren.  Water was in short supply and there was grass, but i doubt if a calf cow pair could survive on 100 acres!!    Just before ShowLow  the forrest reappeared, with large stands of Ponderosa Pine and deep canyons.  We finally pulled over to camp just before the Salt River in the Fort Apache Reservation.  Cibeque is about 14 miles up a dirt road.  I am thinking it would be something to research and go there.  There is so much to discover.  Tomorrow we will be in Phoenix, back in the big city, my least favorite place to be.  Tonite the quiet country all to ourselves, and its not cold!!  Mrs O cooked a fine meal as she always does. Her companionship, and love for travel and camping may even exceed my own.  Am I not the luckiest man?

5

Waking up high above the Salt River canyon.  We arrived in the semi darkness to find this place to rest our heads.   The light of day revealed copious amounts of trash around us and the dog rolled in I believe human feces.  But, it is the reservation.    Nothing could prepare me for the route down into the Salt River canyon and back up again.  It is a feat of engineering of the greatest scale.   Its hard to believe the rugged nature of this canyon and why there was a need to put a highway thru at this point but it was amazing.  We made it to Globe for breakfast/lunch.  This is a copper mining town and with the price of Copper the economy seems to be good.   We came into town the gas on empty but it was down hill.   We are less than 100 miles away from Rajni’s Yoga training which starts tomorrow!!

Phoenix is remarkable in many ways.  I would guess some 900 square miles of worthless in arible, non grazable land with no water covered by an immense city.  Most of our route is a 1 lane hi way with 2 lane exits and entrances.  It may be the most uncontested driving city i have been in of this size.   The whole thing is quite brilliant.  Put the population on unusable land and leave the good land for better uses.  The caveat is the shear volume of water and energy needed to supply this masons dream of concrete, block and mortar.  Truth be known,  the mind numbing sameness of this whole affair is not my cup of tea.

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Dec  31, Jan 1,2

31

We broke camp at Larry’s and headed south getting to Caleb’s in Castle Rock after noon.  We had offered to watch Blake 6 and Jaxson 3 while they had a parents nite out.  New Years eve and we had a blast playing hide and seek and grandpa games. My Grand daughter Blake can touch her nose and the tip of her elbow with her tongue.  This is truly and amazing feat!   It was awesome time.

1

More grandchild time and then it was time to go.  We made a stop in Colorado Springs to take a walk with Rajni’s friend Chris Miller and her husband.  This was in the largest dog park I have ever seen some 10 acres and it was full of dogs off the leash.  It was quite amazing to see how well everyone got along.  This is the way of future as we get more and more congested with population.   When we headed out I was glad to leave it all.  We did our best but never made it to New Mexico.   I had wanted to make it to Ft Union and spend the nite and part of the day tomorrow but light was fading and I turned us into Ludlow.  Here some 4 miles from the Interstate in the shadow the Rockies  is one of the most unknown and remarkable historic sites you will ever visit.  There  was just enough time before sunset to do a set of Yoga.  Not a soul and the weather was not yet chilly and there was no wind.  We will camp here on this incredible place.

I have been here before and written about it, but there is so much to say and understand about this place.  To understand Ludlow is to understand America.  There is a monument of a family next to a sealed door to one of the pits where a family died, some information boards and next to that a picnic area with a roof over it.  The parking area is gravel but large.  One could easily miss or dismiss this site by the lack of signage and knowledge of it.  The Ludlow massacre was one of the lowest lows in this countries history.  Ludlow paved the way for Unions and workers solidarity.  The amount of people that  perished was not that great, yet in the time of slow news and only papers it shocked the country!  I marvel at today where hundreds of times that number are slain in places like Syria and we see it up close and instantaniously.  Yet,  the shock and reaction is not there, because we have become numb to it.  Let us renew our dedication to Liberty and equal and fair treatment.  This Ludlow new years day.

2

May day May day!!   This is one of the coldest nights yet, The whole family cuddled in the bed to keep warm,  The battery seems to not be keeping charge and the faucet on the sink appears to have frozen and is now leaking. And the dog ate the doughnuts!!   The SS Casita will need to find a port to perform repairs.  Fortunately we are in route to warmer climes anddddd  Glory.  We need more water, propane, and to dump the waste compartment.  Poor Kiowa got into some cactus and is limping,   Still,  we carry on with the delight of freedom of the road.

We left Ludlow.  That is one thing that is so amazing about the Americans is we actually publicize and actually make monuments to our mistakes.  Lest we forget.  You never hear or see such among the Native American Sovereign nations.   The breakfast was Mrs O’s new favorite an Egg McMuffin and free internet at the golden arches in Trinidad the transgender operation capital of the U.S.   I got some more Doughnuts and it was down the road to Ft Union New Mexico.

Ft Union was strategically located at the intersection of the two different routes of the Santa Fe Trail.  It was the largest fort during the westward march west of the Mississippi.  It is now some 8 miles from the Interstate in the vast grassland of northeast New Mexico.   It truly was a very large complex with one of the largest hospitals in the west.  This was a hub of activity that spanned from 1851 to 1891, when the railroad made it obsolete.  It has a rich history and fulfilled its mission splendidly.  From protecting the frontier from savage indians, the civil war union front in the west, and sparking the economy of New Mexico.

One of the interesting stories is its location and current  status as a National Monument.  A great deal of New Mexico and Colorado and indeed the southwest was claimed by the Spanish simply by just having a spaniard claim it for the crown, despite the fact that there were people living there.  The Spanish Crown often gave huge chunks of un surveyed land to those who found favor as gifts or rewards for service.  Land that they never saw to people who had never seen it.  When Mexico succeeded from Spain they actually recognized these grants legally.  And when the U.S. booted Mexico out of the region they also recognized the ownership of these land grants!  Along comes the U.S. Army under orders and puts up a large fort to perform its mission.  Some years after official survey is done the family of one of these land grants claims it is on their land.  Using stalling techniques the Government delays the court battle until the need for the fort ends and simply hands over the entire thing with all developments to the Land grant owners!!  As the years go by many locals want to preserve the fort as it is slowly being pilfered and decaying.  They have bake sales and donations and finally purchase it from the owners in 1954.  They then donate it to the State of New Mexico who donates it to the U.S. National Park service who has painfully been stabilizing and preserving it.  HMMMMM   Trouble is the fort is in two parcels serrated by about a mile of private land.  This  land owner will not allow access to the original fort section.  This is like what we have in South Dakota with land owners encircling public land and refusing access.  Despite this, I put my running gear on and ran the distance to the oldest fort.  It was awesome, but I forgot my camera so none of you readers will ever see the amazing sights that this trespasser saw.  Too bad.

It was on to Las Vegas, where we camped by Montezuma hot springs.  A wonderful set of hot springs owned by the World College.  It is free and has little development or rules.  It was well maintained by volunteers.  The American way.  Required swim suits- bummer, but we met a Haitian and a Spaniard, and the conversation was very interesting, especially their personal take on the european situation.  Quite different than what the news gives us.  I also learned the meaning of Vegas, it being the plain or place where a water source fans out.  No native hispanic speaker has ever been able to give me the definition.