Just outside Columbus---this thing reared up out of the desert and threatened to blow me over. (didn't)
Columbus RR Station--now a nice museum. Once a railway passed through here---connecting El Paso with Douglas, Az. Gone now.
With the railroad and Army base gone---the town seems inhabited with "getaway people".
A common fantasy to--- "getaway to a tiny town".
I walked the town many times during my week visit---noticing this and that---like this mud wall---looking for interesting people to interview. Found a few: A sculptor who settled here when his car died---14 years ago.
Poncho Villa brought the town to National attention---when his troops stormed in---robbing, killing and burning in 1916.
WHY WOULD HE DO THIS??? I interviewed the local historian---his answer: WE STILL DON'T KNOW!!! It made no sense at all---made US mad---we mobilized---chased him all over Mexico--couldn't find him--gave up and came home. Lots of military first in this futile chase: first use of Air planes militarily---first mechanized warfare--first tank use----got us primed for WWI.
A major surprise---on a back lot---A SHRINE TO MEHER BABA.
Can you read this: says: THE PERFECT MAN SHRINE
This shrine dedicated to the eternal redeemer
AVATAR MEHER BABAborn 1894-----died 1969
I am the ancient one come to redeem the modern world
THE HUB AND HIGHLIGHT OF THE TOWN---THE LIBRARY. Lots of computers---books---air conditioned---everyone comes---even teenagers.
You would not guess what's in this building---a water treatment plant---the likes of which--no other city in America enjoys. Here's the story: I tasted the city faucet water---and was thrilled---Wow!
like mountain spring water---tracked down the engineer----Turns out this city once had the worst water in the US---health dept shut it down----much thought and dithering---Then---Then--they got a grant for this plant----here's what it does: IT TREATS THE MUNICIPAL WATER SUPPLY WITH REVERSE OSMOSIS. You know---the special water you pay .25 cents a gallon for----here, they flush their toilets with RO water. What does it cost? About $30 a month per household.
Saw this growing wild--don't know what it is--but it spoke to me from an old poem:
"full many a gem of purest ray supreme---the dark unfathomed caves of oceans bear"
full many a flower is born to blush unseen---and waste its sweetness on the desert air"
Outside town a few miles in the desert stands this sentinel---a powerful light and camera--scanning the nearby border for illegals.
Meet Robert--75--a world traveler--backpacked six continents---joyful fellow--I asked him to dance for this pict to see if he was loose enough to play. He Was---strengthens my theory that travel enhances personality--lowers defensiveness. That's Linda (a previous story) behind. He 's a "full-timer" like myself wandering the land.
His gear---lightweight---sufficient---carries it all in a small motorcycle trailer-- that he pulls with that car---has his leisurely lifestyle down to a science.
Engaged this unusual couple in the dental office. They live in a soon-to-be ghost town---Hachita---very remote--84 buildings--only 20 people. She's an English teacher--he's a musician and builder. He makes papercrete--a lightweight construction material. They've had it with the desert and are moving next week to Arkansas. A rattlesnake bit her dog---cost $700 dollars for an anti-venom shot at the vet. Dog survived.
RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: I'm drawn to getaway towns---someday I think I will stop and stay awhile----carefully present my being to the mix---the self I have become-- and embrace the consequences. (as in the movie---BAGHDAD CAFE) Easy enough to be Brilliant in flashes---wonder if I would wear well in time---find good friends and quiet happiness.
QUEST FOR COMMUNITY UPDATE--- We are loving it here on this mountain AND---we will move on tomorrow to the vicinity of Springerville, Az.
ADDITIONAL COMMUNITY UPDATE: 3 of us---Laurie, Peg and myself moved on to experience a community of RVers who have purchased cheap land in a failed development---close to each other--settled in for the summer at a relatively cool 7,000 ft--- built a few conveniences--(water tanks etc) and enjoy the PRIVACY & PROXIMITY the world dreams of. It's a cake-and-eat-it-too community.
Some of us in the caravan are considering buying a lot (3-5 thousand for an acre plus) as a sanctuary whenever we wish to just sit for a long while. We envision a reciprocity agreement with other communities throughout the West---so we get to meet interesting visitors and get to enjoy visiting other "sanctuaries".