South in 16

South in 16 

Feb 20,21,22


WE MADE IT!!  The journey was a long one but we now are camped on the beach in the Gulf of Mexico.  Port Aransus  charges $12 for two weeks of camping anywhere along the 9 miles of beach.  Thats less than a dollar a day.  There are trash cans, cold showers and porta poti’s all along the way.  This truly is the best deal around.  Mrs O did her sahdna while Kiowa and I ran for miles along the beach.  The water is not cold and certainly not warm.  We will stay here until???   The only problem  is the amount of plastic trash washed ashore from Mexico.

The country has changed rapidly since crossing the Pecos River.  The grass is green and the trees continue to get larger and more numerous.  It is hard to say what the original countryside looked like but now it is either dense misquite or farmland.  This is also deep in oil country and there are many rigs and refinement facilities.  Padre Island is a tremendously long barrier island that shields the continent from the ocean.  Off the coast line you can see oil rigs and huge ships that find safe harbor along the Texas shore.


Life with the O’s, waking up to coffee on the beach watching the sunrise.  It is a cloudless day and without the breeze may be too hot.  Rajni is in heaven.   I will work on the book and repairs between walks along the surf.


Whats become of us?  lazing away our lives on this beach.  It is the second cloudless day and little wind.  How much sunning, running, reading, drinking, eating, and making love can you take?  Ours lives have lost purpose and without the internet or TV we have become disconnected.  All is lost.

South in 16

South in 16 

Feb 19


Awaking in Del Rio and I felt like I was in Louisiana, with overcast sky, humid and warm.  I actually find it most pleasant.  Taking the dog for a walk I had a hunch that instead of continuing to follow the Rio Grand to the gulf we should go east to San Antonio and then south to the gulf.  The distance was about the same to get to our beach destination and I would get to see THE ALAMO!!  The Alamo has been impressed into the American mentality by the movies and books, but the real Story is far more impressive.  The Texas revolution against the corrupt Mexican Government at the time which gave birth to the nation of Texas and later the State of Texas is fascinating.  The Alamo was pivotal for the whole thing.  The characters of Travis, Jim Bowie and Davie Crocket only enhance the story.  WE did make it there and against my disinclination to large cities.  It is in the heart of the city, and super crowded on a Sunday afternoon.  We parked illegally in a tow zone and did the quick tour.  Touching the stone of the old church and seeing where the events played out was deep for me.   These  200 plus men knew their fate was sealed.  Santa Anna had told them there would be no prisoners.  The fighting against numerical odds of some 6 to one or more, it was a hopeless endeavor.  In the end the fighting was hand to hand.  The numbers are not exactly known but they fought hard and the toll on the Mexicans was at least twice in numbers.  The anger was intense and the bodies of the Texans were shot and bayoneted over and over and then the bodies burned.  The brutality of the Mexicans only incensed the population and gave rise to a greater will to overthrow these cowards.  In the end Santa Anna was defeated and was shamefully caught trying to escape in women’s cloths!!

In route we crossed an almost unremarkable river called the Nueces.  This small river was the focus of another nation changing event with Mexico.  We stopped in a nice city park in the neighboring town of Ulvado and did Yoga.  The Mexican American War started out after Texas had won its independence from Mexico.  When the new country wished to be annexed by the U.S. there was a discrepancy of where the border with Mexico would be.  The  country of Texas had always considered it the Rio Grand River but Mexico determined it to be the Nueces River.  The strip of land in between being the contention.   The U.S. offered to resolve the dispute by buying the land in question for 30 million dollars, a healthy sum in 1840.  The Mexican president refused to even consider it still believing that all of Texas was part of Mexico. The U.S. sent a contingent of troops to the Rio Grand River and built a fort called Ft Texas.  Stop here, and it is worth mentioning the people of the U.S. believed in Manifest Destiny, the future being one country from sea to sea.  We had already purchased the “holdings” of France in the Louisiana Purchase and the Conflict with Britain over Oregon and Washington were resolved.  Back to Ft Texas.  The Mexican Government attacked the fort creating an avenue to incense the American People to retaliate and go to war.  Long story short, in the end the treaty of Guadeloupe ceded not only the land in contention but the entire states of California, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico for half the cost originally offered for the small piece of land.  While this is a huge savings the true cost of the war with Mexico came in the loss of men, the highest loss in percentage of any war. Most of the casualties were due to yellow fever and Malaria.  It was also a training ground for two young lieutenants who would later need those skills  Robert E Lee and Ulysses S Grant.  Also during this War some men and in one case an entire unit deserted and fought for the Mexican Army.  These were largely Irish Roman Catholics who felt loyalty greater to their religious beliefs than to their country.  Mexico’s Government and the Roman Catholic Church were then one and the same.  While it is within ones right to vote or support your religious beliefs as a citizen,  This is not the case when serving in the military.  Those that defected and fought alongside the Mexicans were rounded up and hung as traitors as they should.  I give a couple of quotes however that give some idea of the anti war and opinion of how Mexico was treated.  One from U.S. Grant himself

President Ulysses S. Grant, who as a young army lieutenant had served in Mexico under General Taylor,

recalled in his Memoirs, published in 1885, that:

Generally, the officers of the army were indifferent whether

the annexation was consummated or not; but not so all of

them. For myself, I was bitterly opposed to the measure,

and to this day regard the war, which resulted, as one of the

most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker

It was an instance of a republic following the bad

example of European monarchies, in not considering justice

in their desire to acquire additional territory.[176]

Grant also expressed the view that the war against Mexico had brought

punishment on the United States in the form of the American Civil War:

The Southern rebellion was largely the outgrowth of the

Mexican war. Nations, like individuals, are punished for

their transgressions. We got our punishment in the most

sanguinary and expensive war of modern times.[177]

This view was shared by the philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, who

towards the end of the war wrote that “The United States will conquer

Mexico, but it will be as the man swallows the arsenic, which brings him

down in turn. Mexico will poison us.”[178]

What I am about to say does not come from fear, that is anger or hate.  My experience with Mexico and Mexicans has been long and well rounded.  I have worked with them,  traveled with them, lived with them.  I have travelled extensively in Mexico by car, bus and hitch hiking.

A small part of the country has had negative experience with illegal immigrants.  Maybe their taxes are being sapped by providing services to anchor babies.  Maybe your less employable because you can’t compete with the low wages they draw.  Maybe your daughter was smooth talked and became pregnant only to become a single mother while the father sends his checks to his wife and family in Mexico.  Maybe  as a Rancher you have fences cut, or animals killed or you had a relative gunned down.  Maybe you just had a theft or collision, or some other criminal act and they vanished or the police would not apprehend them.   Maybe a juvenile latino gang is terrorizing your neighborhood or school.  These things would illicit a call to stop the flow.

On the other hand maybe you have a fine new son in law and wonderful grandchildren.  Maybe your community is enriched with the new beliefs and customs that come with the new immigrants.  Maybe you got your vehicle repaired or painted, or a landscape job at a bargain price and NO Taxes!!  Maybe you have an unlimited workforce to choose from that instead of having to pay $15/hr  half the FICA and health expenses which Bernie Sanders wants you get it for $10 cash.

A vast majority of the country are still untouched and are deceived by the misguided belief that this wave of immigration is no different than that of their ancestors many generation ago.  The bottom line is, there is solution.  It is not building a wall!  Solution that can be beneficial to all concerned.  The Libertarian approach of level playing fields, fairness and open borders.   It would require ending the War on Drugs and rescinding Nixon’s “Controlled Substance Act”.  It would require an easier path of visa and work visa that could be used to monitor and hold responsible for actions while in this country.   It would require that Mexico allow U.S. citizens to work and own land in Mexico.  These actions are simple and no doubt would reduce the existing expense of border control and burden on communities effected.  The differences between our counties is indeed large.  Some day there might even be a General Blackjack Pershing state park across the border in Mexico, but I doubt it.   Therein lies the difference in our countries.

We got out of the big city and landed by the city park in Poth Texas. It is a fine little park and we asked the neighbor Fernando if they were cool with us parking for the night. They said no problem.  Tomorrow I will get Mrs O to the beach!!!!   Well about 10pm just before a rain storm the police visited us.  The officer was kind and almost apologetic.  He told us there was a city ordinance against camping on the city streets.  Hard to believe a small town would have such and ordinance like this.  Boulder and Vail are the only other towns that I know of that have them and they are Socialist high income snobs.  We packed up and drove 8 miles to a Walmart just as the rain started to pour.

South in 16

South in 16 

Feb 14,15,16,17,18


Valentines day cool and cloudy, My beloved broke tradition and prepared the coffee meditation for ME!  We spent the night in the library parking lot using the internet to watch the news.  Its amazing what you miss and realize its of no impact at all.  This area of Texas is so different than what I had pictured.  The old town of Ft Davis nestled up against the stone cliffs and hoodoo’s  was very nice.  Alpine is a college town and the College (originally for ranchers)  is a beautiful facility.  We had a conversation with our waiter during our Valentine dinner.  He received a masters at the college in language Arts.  His many stories of the town and the area were fascinating.   We passed one Ranch that at one time consisted of 40 square miles of land! thats about half of the  length of the Black Hills  by one mile in size.

The ghost town of Turlenga once one of the major mining areas of mercury is right next to the National Park.  Its many small stone and adobe structures have slowly been fixed up to live in and it is a small version Crestone  or Bisbee but much more remote.  At first we thought about camping there but  decided to go into the park.

The Park is full of wonderful mountains but nothing really spectacular.  The campground we came too was once a huge cotton farm. We were fortunate to find a space.  Immediately the rules and strangling influence began to suffocate me.  One guy wanted to know if my leash was over 6 ft long???   Mrs O and I slipped thru the fence and took a hike down and along  the Rio Grande.  Across the river were cattle that probably crossed back and forth with impunity.  We sat on the banks and listened to the river flow by.  In El Paso it was bone dry??  Across the river is a Mexican town invisible for the dense trees.


Awakening in the early morning I let the cat out.  It was not too long before we had a knock on the door.  The ranger telling us no animals off leash and threatening us with a ticket.  Even Rajni is getting fed up.  We plan on doing a bike ride today and then head to the hot springs on the other side of the park.  After this, we will hesitate to visit our National Parks.  I checked into other options for camping.  All full except the campground we are in.  I asked what are the options if everything is full?  The answer, was you will have to leave the park.  What if we just pulled over and spent the night.  The answer, at ticket and loss of use of the park.  It was afternoon by then so we headed back to the old campground.   This entire valley was once a farm and they cannot make overflow camping instead of telling people they have to drive 2 hours to get out of the park, really.   And don’t tell me your underfunded and then have people to drive around and ticketing people for camping on the side of the road.  ENOUGH,  we ended up having a wonderful day of picking, hiking and exploring this end of the park.  Tomorrow we will head to the other side and see what happens.  I enjoyed  the canyon of the Rio Grande some 8 miles long and only 30 feet wide and 1500 ft deep, basically a slot canyon for the river.  There are many buildings or whats left of them from the 1900’s.  These were either abandoned or purchased by the Park.  It is interesting that they are treated like historical treasures and the people that farmed or used them carefully notated.  This is a scant 100 years or so and people would probably still be living here or their descendants given other circumstances.  One such place was a small town given the name  La Harmonia.  It was a store and such dedicated to servicing both the mexican and american populace during the Mexican Revolution 1910=1920  as well as the Army camp nearby.  They named it such to bring harmony between our countries.  Our countries history is so short I guess they feel this must be preserved in minutia detail.


We made the move to the other side of the park.  Along the way we stopped in the headquarters and said hello to Vidal Davila.  He is the superintendent of  Wind Cave National Park and is doing temporary duty here.  He told us He was in this Park for over 13 year? and raised his family here.  I truly do appreciate the mission of the National Parks to preserve both nature and history.  They in my opinion just need to be more pet friendly and accommodate  all the citizens that come to THEIR  park i.e. over flow camping spots and maybe even camping on the road instead of being told to vacate the park if the campsites are full.  It is a very long drive from any point to get out and then find a place to camp in this remote area.

The Mahatma and I decided to walk the 4 miles to the hot springs from the campground.  We took the dog and enjoyed the walk and the springs.  This spring is a very comfy 104 degrees right on the river so you can jump in and get cold again.  This was a very nice resort at one time and the buildings are carefully preserved by the parks dept.  It was a  little .crowded as there was a bicycle tour of some 500 people going on.  I decided to do a cross country along the river back to camp instead of the trail.  Rajni was not inclined to go on this adventure.   While not difficult it required some wading in the river and some scrambling on the hillside as well as heavy growth of  tamarisk   in a couple of places.  At one point i was sitting and watching the river and along the opposite bank some Mexicans rode by on their horses singing and laughing.  We waved at each other.  They are probably the same ones that cross and put their little crafts along the trails with “donation” cans.  Remarkably they are never confiscated, yet if I attempted to sell anything in the park  I would be ticketed heavily.  Also remarkable is that no one takes a sovenir without paying and no one takes the money from the cans.  I can not imagine the reverse would be true on the other side of the river!  My thoughts as watching them on their horses was they were far more free than I was sadly. HMMMM.  I relate the heavy rule obsession in the United States to Dogs.   When you take a dog to a dog park where there are no leashes they all get along very well with little issues.  Put them on leashes and see what happens!!  Rules are like leashes.


We were pleasantly surprised this morning that Vidal came and found us and visited for awhile.  We talked of events in Hot Springs.  I am hoping we will get to know him and his wife better in the future.   I am totally getting the mentality in a way of the National Park.  If you are coming from the Urban environment this whole experience is unique and amazing and they bring with them the need they have for rules to feel safe.  Having grown up with nature my experience is dampened by the constraint of so many rules and punishment for ridiculous things.  Balance please if you will.   Our campmate Steve is from Tulsa Oklahoma and fun to talk with.  He has pointed out some great places to visit on our way north through Oklahoma.   He is quite the traveler himself and as always i love hearing stories and experiences.

Today we went on a hike to the exit canyon of the Rio Grand.  Not quite as striking as the entrance canyon, but very beautiful, and what a nice hot day.  I even got Rajni to wade in the river to go beyond the end of the trail and explore around the bend.  We drove over this time to the hot springs and enjoyed an afternoon/evening soak much less crowded.  We are out of coffee now and there has not been a donut for a week. Five days without the internet or phone. Its time to go


We made it past the Border Patrol without incident.  We were told how bad they were with dogs and everything.  Jacking up American Tourists does not seem to be in the mission statement for the Border Patrol?   I guess they are easier marks than the cartel and of course our little friends that cross the river day and night to set out their wares and collect their cash “donations”  Really…    All I can say is I ate the last brownie and was high as a kite when we went thru the check station LOL.  It did make for an interesting days drive which was a long one.  All of South Texas it seem is some of the most barren useless land and incredibly vast.  We made it to Langtree and checked out the Judge Roy Bean Museum.  The law west of the Pecos River.   My brother has a picture of the Judge and his saloon which is still there and looks just like the picture.  I took some pictures for him.  At least now Mrs O knows who Judge Roy Bean was.  We stopped at the confluence of the Pecos and the Rio Grand.   It was amazing that there was water flowing and its a long way from its source in  New Mexico to here.  I asked the information lady just  what exactly warranted a great road and railroad across this vast expanse of nothingness.  Her answer made sense.  Nothing warranted it here.  The  road and railroad were established to get to San Francisco California and the Gold Rush in 1849.  Everything out there now is a result of the Railroad!

Well, back in civilization!  The town of Del Rio is quite large with all the amenities.  I took Rajni out to the Sirloin Stockade for the all you can eat buffet.  I always over eat t the buffet.  Its a Luallin thing.  We decided to camp in the Walmart parking lot always the safe sure thing.

South in 16

South in 16 

Feb 10,11,12,13


We awoke in El Paso and spent the morning on the net at a Starbucks coffee shop.  I had been to El Paso many years ago with my friend and neighbor Pedro Arzate. He had grown up on both sides of the border in El Paso and Juarez.  We arrived by clandestine van with many other Mexicans that make the journey to the Denver Area and back.  Everyone knew the location and departure times in a non descript neighborhood in Denver.  It was a night drive and after arriving in the early hours of the morning we walked across the border into Juarez.  At that time and maybe now it was the murder capital of the world and the Mexican government had sent in troops in marshal law since the Cartel had more or less taken over the city.  Tourism was all but vanished and the legal city operations were languishing.  This was all a product of America’s voracious appetite for drugs.  The war on drugs was lost a long time ago and too many have died, particularly Mexicans!  In fact, Mexico alone has lost more than we did in Viet Nam. It was an eventful trip and I witnessed many things while I helped Pedro work his property and visit with his relatives.

We drove some 100 miles east to Guadalupe National Park where Mt Guadalupe 8751 ft is the highest point in Texas.  In the process we crossed one of the many border patrol crossings and they waved us thru.

Texas is part of the great plains states of which I love.  These states have little if no BLM or NFS land.  Any public land is State, county or city parks or recreation areas and some National Parks like this one.  There is a feeling of less restrictions to parking/camping on city streets and rural roads.  I don’t know if it is because of the lack of public land or the flavor of friendly attitude?   In any case this Park is a berg for travelers like ourselves and was packed.  Visiting with our fellow americans/travelers is always a treat.  While i like some of the things about National Parks they have a very restricted agenda.  No hunting, no pets, no camping except in pay for parking spaces, and here you cannot even  hike without paying for a permit.  I will pay the fee and climb/run up the mountain on the morrow.


An amazing day really.  Mrs O packed a lunch and headed out to the top of Mt Guadaloupe a 4.2 mile climb of some 3000 feet.  I left a little later with the intent to run the entire distance to the top clad only in my vibraim toe shoes shorts and a bottle of water.   We both achieved our goal and then had a leisurely walk back down the mountain together.  The 8 and a half mile round trip was a little long for Rajni but she enjoyed it.  You could see for many miles in every directions from the top, perhaps even to the Big Bend National Park to the south east, and the great plains to the north east.  We intended to pull out for old Fort Davis but the distance was too far.  On old 118 we began to see trees and at dusk almost hit some deer.  Fortunately we came upon a picnic area where other gypsies had taken refuge and we pulled in for the night.  Nearby, I heard turkeys gobble and coyotes howl.  spring has arrived in this part of the country already!!..  Rajni wondered why there is not more public land in this vast land where we see very few roads or houses?   I am thinking it has to do with the history of Texas.  First  claimed by the Spanish and certainly large land grants were given to privileged few.  These were probably honored by the Mexicans after their revolution to Spain.  Mexico actually encouraged Anglo immigration with promises of land provided they married a Mexican.  The Texas rebellion of these Anglo’s that made Texas a country probably also acknowledged all the existing land holdings.  With the annexation as a State into the Union, once again all land holdings regardless how vast were acknowledged.  The big question is how can anyone pay property tax of such huge holdings??

Lately I have been contemplating the two extreme emotional currents that impact SOM, Love and Fear.  In particular fear.  The greatest fear I believe is the fear of dying.  If one can master this fear it would greatly diminish the other ones that grow out of it.  While fear has some helpful attributes in that it influences what we do or not do to maintain safety and curtail pain, those same decisions could and should be made from the avenue of love.  The fear of dying is so innately tied into the concept of the eternal soul and the afterlife both which are fictional but preached by every major religion in the world.  This concept makes us  not only afraid of dying but even more distressing it keeps us from truly living.  The many acts of selfless valor by soldiers has always been of great interest to me.  In them is the moment of disregard for the slavery to the fear of death.  Camp Rucker and Rucker canyon was named for Lt Rucker whose fellow officer’s horse had stumbled while crossing a flooding creek.  He selflessly went in after him and drowned in the process.  His body was found a mile and a half down stream.   Originally he was buried at Ft Bowie, later exhumed and buried at Golden Gate National Cemetery and exhumed once again and buried in the our highest honor cemetery Arlington in DC.  Greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for a friend.


The weather has changed to partly cloudy and cooler.  Unknown to us or any indication on the map we have happened upon a sky island in Texas.  This small remote mountain range has water, wildlife and yummy trees and almost no traffic or people.  Apparently down the way a few miles is a university observatory.   Next door to us we discovered a Nature Conservancy area complete with a 2.2 mile nature trail.  While I typically dislike the Nature Conservancy that buys up private land with donated money I have to say this was a nice change from the massive private lands we have been passing through.  The kiosk was not full of rules, particularly that you cannot have pets, and the trail was little used.  Typically Nature Conservancy is very restrictive, no hunting, no camping,  no trespass, and unique features like hot springs are reserved for their special guests.   I kissed the sky and we spent the day doing yoga, hiking and enjoying this entire area all to ourselves.  The animals roamed freely and we decided to spend another night in the sky island.  I started chapter 1 of the second sequel to Maroons A Human Epic!!!!!!!


Yesterday on our hike we encountered something I had never seen.  Sections of the hillside appeared to have been hit by artillery fire.  The ground was pockmarked and disheveled.  In my mind I knew it was the product of wild pigs that have now become a part of the environment.  Despite a hunting season or maybe even open season the population is growing.  They are perfectly adapted to a wild existence in their feral nature.  They are here to stay much like humans.  I decided to take Kiowa for a run in the cloudy cold morning on the nature trail  before we headed out.  Kiowa had the large boar at bay before I could see what it was he was barking at.  I moved closer to see what it was and I was stunned by the size of the animal.  He did not appear to see me but when his nose went up I knew he caught a whiff and off he went.  My first encounter and no camera SORRY.

We spent a wintery afternoon at old Ft Davis.  Another national treasure that if it had not been for the locals would have vanished.   The Fort and the town are truly a find.  The history amazing.  This is a quaint little town and we stopped in the Library to check our email.

Down the road is Alpine Texas.  This is about twice the size of Hot Springs but has a lot of the same flavor plus a small college.  Since this will be the last town for a week or so I took Rajni out as my valentine for a very impressive Italian meal in what was an old Gas Station.  Classy I know.  I have the best Valentine EVER!!


South in 16

South in 16 

Feb 9


The morning ritual of Coffee Meditation is on the same vein as the Japanese Tea ritual.  Every movement must be precise and with meaning,  It is done by the male for the female in great reverence and respect.  Including the boiling of the water, the grinding of the fresh coffee beans and the preparation of the cups to the exact ingredients to bring a smile.  All done in the nude.  This is the beginning of each day with the Ouroboros.

This  day was spent in the two museums in Columbus NM named for Christopher Columbus.  This small berg is intricately tied to the Socialist revolution in Mexico from 1910-1920 to which the U.S. had sworn to stay out of.  The Revolution is a fascinating and complex story but the main player in this scenario is Pancho Villa.  There are two questions that have no answers and maybe never will.  The first is why Pancho sent some 450 men into the U.S. to raid the town and army post (back then the Army was responsible for watching the borders).  Some believe a merchant had taken money from Pancho Villa and never delivered the goods of arms and munitions.  Others think he was just in need of resupply after his recent defeat in Mexico.  Still others believe it was a designed and funded by the Germans to keep the U.S. occupied with a war with Mexico and out of the war in Europe.   An any case we do know the orders were to kill all anglo males over the age of 16.  On the morning of March 19 1916  they came across the border 3 miles away and began killing pillaging and burning the town.  The surprise would normally flush and create havoc especially since the commander was not even on the compound.  3 lieutenants  under fire rallied their men and remained calm under fire.  Particularly Lt Lucas who in his bare feet organized his men who had recently been equipped and trained with the new device, the machine gun.  They set up a killing cross fire and by the light of the burning buildings hammered the Villistas.   In the end  7 soldiers and 15 civilians were dead, one by friendly fire.  Villa made off with over 300 rifles and ammunition much of which were strewn across the desert in the retreat chased by the U.S. Calvary.  The cost to Pancho was dear, all toll some 100 of men would die.  Which leads to the other question.  There are writings and pictures of gathering up the dead in a pile burning them with kerosene and then burying them east of town.  No one knows where?  And no one seems to care, not even the Mexican government who you would think would want to repatriate their honored dead.  The aftermath was swift,  Within 6 days under the presidents orders 10,000 men (most of the Army) was amassed and pursuit of Pancho Villa was commenced  some 500 miles into Mexico against the Will of the Mexican Government.  At some point it seemed War with Mexico was imminent.  Woodrow Wilson called the troops out after 6 months and prepared to send them to Europe in WW1.   The blessing in disguise was during this period General Pershing had begun to experiment and utilize the new technology of motor transport, armored vehicles, planes and trained his men well.  He would become the commander in chief of the expeditionary forces in Europe and this force his spearpoint.  Another 2nd Lt that took part would later become a major General in WW2 his name was Patton.  It was also the last use of Calvary in the U.S. Army.

I spent some time visiting with the volunteer at the city museum since there were few visitors.  We talked of the town and how it was dwindling.  She said “We do have a elementary school”.   I asked how when there does not seem to be anyone living here.  She explained that they send a bus to the border and pick up the children there.   I had to ask why?   She explained that when women are pregnant in Mexico they claim they are having trouble in delivery.  Since the nearest hospital is in Demming NM 30 miles north an ambulance takes them there where a healthy baby is born and is of course a U.S. citizen.  This child has the right to be educated under U.S. Law and when the child reaches 18 they can decide to move to the U.S. taking their family with them.   The Anchor baby thing.  hmmmm.  Free ambulance, delivery, education and of course citizenship.  NICE.

We drove to El Paso, a huge city with an Army Base.   We were told we could camp in the Walmart lot.  There Rajni met a black man traveling to the rainbow gathering in Tucson to spend time with his daughter.   Apparently the mother lives on the road and is quite flaky.   The lot had signs saying no camping so I drove to a nearby neighborhood and we camped there on the street with no interruptions.  Life in these United States.

South in 16

South in 16 

Feb 7,8


We camped near the previous spot in the national forest, public land.  Rajni let the Odessius the cat out with my coaxing and he did not return till after dark, sauntering in as if he had not a care in the world after we had been frantically out searching and calling his name.  His reappearance probably saved our marriage!!

I acquired a book that I am reading  “Hold Back the Night” written in 1952, a Historical fictitious account  from the perspective of a Marine Cpt of the battle of Chosun Reservoir in Korea.  I can relate is a small way having been stationed there for 13 months as a young private.  Even without the actual combat I vividly recall how cold it can get on the 38th Parallel.  One time I awoke in my sleeping bag and despite being in the bag with me my canteen had frozen!.  Too often we forget the things that brought us freedom and the sacrifices made.   Recently I read the book  “The Things They Carried”  a similar book but too close to home for me about a privates experience in Viet Nam.  I highly recommend them both.

We headed east thru Douglas and stopped at the NF office.  They also did not have any idea of where the Battle of the Rocky Mesa was or what happened there???  They said they were going to look into it.  It was interesting as they showed us pictures of the recent floods and how the USFS was underfunded to repair  (or unwilling) the damage.  The people of the area stepped up and volunteers worked and donated to make many repairs but as we were soon to see a great deal of the camp grounds and roads are shut down or officially closed.

The next stop was the monument to Geronimo surrender.  It is a lonely place in a wide valley between two mountain ranges.  Geronimo was and is the epitome of gross celebrity status.  He has been immortalized not for what he was but some imaginative fluke of the american psyche on the same vein as Bonny and Clyde or  Dillinger.   He was never a Chief, in fact he was disliked by most of his people, thats why it was easy to recruit other apaches to hunt him down.  He was a renegade and terrorist of the worst kind.  Geronimo had an intense hatred for Mexicans who killed his mother, first wife (he had nine) and first two children.  Throughout his life it never abated. He confessed that he had personally killed over 500 Mexican men, women, and children in his life.  His voracious desire to pillage and kill spilled over to the Americans, and it is unknown exactly how many non combatant civilians he killed.  His only followers were a few troubled individuals that were of the same ilk as himself.  While his ability to evade the authorities is legendary, his depredations have not been given the same press.  Mexico actually allowed the U.S. military to cross the border with impunity should they need to to track him down.  He was, if you will public enemy no 1.

Geronimo actually surrendered 3 times.  The first two times he was treated with incredible grace and allowed to return to the reservation with his people.  The third time General Miles treated him as he should, as a prisoner of war and shipped him and his nere do wells to Florida to prison.  He was later transferred to Alabama, and finally to Ft Sill Oklahoma.  In his later life he converted to Christianity and said it was a far better religion than his native one and helped create good people.  On his death bed he told his son that he wished he had never surrendered and should have fought to the last breath.

This happens a lot when people don’t know their history.  Even today where I live they are trying to immortalize someone like Geronimo, but not quite as bad.  His name was Crazy Horse.  Crazy Horse was never a Chief, in fact in many aspects he was a reject.  He was denied being a carrier of the sacred bundles because his behavior was detrimental to the tribe.  His firsts kill was a woman and it is unknown how many non combatants he slew but the number is very high.  He stole another mans wife and paid the price with a shot to the face.  His courage was indeed well known in battle and the young braves looked up to him.  At the battle of Little Big Horn the bodies of the dead were mutilated.  Thomas Custer one of the few if only winner of two medals of honor was so horrible hacked up he was identified only by a tattoo on his arm.  Who does things like this?   Crazy Horse’s  inglorious death was the result of a struggle to get away while being detained so he could be transported to meet with General Sheridan in Cheyenne who wanted to try and talk him out of going back on the warpath.  While I think the effigy of a native being carved in stone in the Black Hills is a great idea, Crazy Horse is a very poor candidate.  He symbolizes all that is wrong but the name sounds good.

Our last stop in Arizona probably is THE PORTAL.  This place is another sky island as they call them in Arizona.  Amidst the vast deserts of this State the many small mountain ranges are enchanted islands containing, Wildlife, trees, and most importantly water.  Each one seems unique, and the portal is indeed that.  We parked and took the bikes off and did a ride/hike deep up Cave creek named for the amazing amount of Caves big and small that dot the valley sides.  We camped  among some of the largest trees I have seen yet in Arizona in a former camp ground that they no longer provide bathroom facilities.  In its place is a bulletin board with the proper way to dig a cat hole and shit in it, and bury it.  I marveled that this is such a basic thing, and we have to be instructed???  WE are the only ones here and below us is a waterfall most delightful.


We both agree that the Portal is the choice spot of Arizona on our trip.  It is not a coincidence that the other main places we have at the top of the list are in the vicinity all in the Charicahua mountains the Jewell of Arizona.  Kiowa and I went for a long run in the morning to Ash Spring.  The woods are delightful and there is  much green grass.  The springs were a real treat and I ditched the laundry and we both took a bath.  I could not help but see the Apache villages that had camped here with children laughing and playing and know that Cochise, Mangus Colorado and even Geronimo had bathed here as well.  A very leisure morning, and by the normal afternoon time we headed to our next destination, Columbus NM.  It was a longer drive than I thought along an abandoned railroad that no doubt will be a rails to trails someday.   I treated the Mahatama to the comfort of the Poncho Villa State Park!! It is the only park in the United States named for a foreigner that invaded and attacked this country.  Named thus to show a hand of friendship in forgiveness to our neighbors  for what they have done.    WE have electricity, Water, a sewer dump and hot showers for $14!  It is good the breath the air of New Mexico, the land of Gary Johnson the Libertarian Presidential candidate in 2008 and 2016.  The campground is nearly full of snowbirds, it occupies a great deal of the original townsite that was burned by the Mexicans.   Rajni and I walked the few streets of this small town in the evening light, which has a new Bank building and a quaint park which was full of old hispanic looking  men playing cards.



South in 16

South in 16 

Feb 4,5,6


Bisbee is remarkably like the many old mining towns in Colorado.  The buildings are primarily brick or concrete block made to look like stone.  The extremely narrow valley is congested and not very easy to get around with the Casita.  We walked the streets and ate fine pizza in a very crowded gas station converted to a restaurant.  When the time came to find refuge I looked on the map and found some BLM land to the north, and in the dark we headed out.  The road immediately turned dirt and very steep so I got out and put it in 4WD low.  I could tell things were not looking good so on the crest of a ridge I spotted a turn off and with great difficulty in the dark Mrs O backed me in to a level spot and with the ability to turn around  and we settled in for the night only 4 miles from town.  Soon we heard a 4wd coming down a nearby road and I got out and witnessed young people having difficulty with their vehicle yet they did not even notice me or our vehicle and camper.  They took off up the road.  At about 1am we awoke to more commotion with yelling, door slamming and obvious tire skidding.  I did not feel inclined to get back up and investigate and no one came to seek assistance so we fell back asleep.   In the morning we got to see our situation, perched precariously on a steep hillside it was obvious this was the only place we could have camped or turned around and we did it in the dark!!  I checked out the source of the late nite incident and there was a 4wd vehicle off the side of the road hopelessly and very dangerously stuck.   No one was in the vehicle and it was obvious a chain was attached to attempt to pull it out with no luck.  We packed up and headed down the very steep incline to town and coffee and internet.  When we reached the saddle of the ridge we camped on, there was a marker stating it was the continental divide—WE camped on the divide in the dark, unbelievable but typical for the O’s.  Rajni found a nice new cell phone on the road so we picked it up.

The weekly Farmers market was taking place on this Saturday so Mrs O wanted to check it out since she is the intregal figure that is working to have one in Hot Springs.  It was a nice affair with fresh farm produce, music and other craft venders.    While Rajni did the laundry I took the opportunity to run the Bisbee 1000 course, a foot race that uses 1000 of the many steps in old Bisbee.  I enjoyed it very much, but even with the map found it very difficult to follow, but with the help of locals that saw me perplexed at times I made it.  It is aprox 4.2 miles long and very demanding physically.  It is distinctly different than our Climb Hot Springs race.  The stairs are very narrow and in poor condition such that a large crowd would be jammed often.  It winds in and out of the many interesting abodes of this tightly packed community on very steep slopes.  This race is very popular as we hope our own in Hot Springs will eventually become.   I recharged the phone we found and called the number under MOM.  The answer was in spanish and I asked habla Engles?  The woman said yes and when I told why I was calling she was excited since it was her sons phone and they had been looking frantically for it.  She met me in front of the museum and she took the phone with barely a thank you?  Pass it on, hopefully we have built up some good Karma.

We camped in the parking lot of the VFW of which I am a lifelong member.  We always know we can find refuge among the patriots of our beloved country.  The border with Mexico is a scant 3 miles or so away and you can see the lights of Naco Mexico.  In the several visits I have had with locals there does not seem to be any issues noteworthy between the communities.  There is a large hispanic population here, but everyone seems friendly enough.


We ate a fine breakfast at the Breakfast Club then watered up and off to the National Forest near Sierra Vista for the day and night.   Sierra Vista is a very large and prosperous town with the Army Post providing over 20,000 jobs.  Our first attempt to find a place to camp was like going to a trailhead in Boulder on a Sunday.   It was packed and no place to camp.  Luckily a man interested in the Ranger V6 Vulcan engine told us of another valley and we headed there.   As the road got steeper I got out to put the truck in  4wd and noticed I had a flat tire on the Ranger.  It became a fiasco from there but due to the brilliance of bringing the air tank we made it to a camping spot and changed the tire which is now a total loss, all amidst the yelling, the screaming the name calling!!   It could be a blessing in disguise as upon inspection the opposite tire is in bad shape.  Sierra Vista is probably the only place for a long way to get tire which we will do tomorrow!   Yoga in the fading sun and prospecting  for certain stones in the creek bed for one of Rajni’s projects.


We made it to Sierra Vista a town that was started the year before I was born.  It is indeed a modern town without the old main streets of the past.  We got two new tires, wipers, oil change and stocked up on groceries.  Where will the wind blow us next??