Monday, October 31, 2016


From Socorro, NM into the depths of Arizona--it will lift you into high country, cool you with its breezes,  show you the real meaning of SPACE--let you see the wide prairies as the indians saw them---show you the stars as you've not seen them before.

Some do not like lonely roads like this one and the famous hwy 50 across Nevada---but I do. 

 One of the great paradoxes of life is that a seeming NOTHINGNESS can be a well of creativity.      (Perhaps the entire universe came from nothing.)

This highland plateau grassland between mountain ranges is an historic 200 mile cattle trail from the alpine grazing country of Arizona to the bustling railhead town of Magdelina up ahead.  What a gift from the Gods these cool grasslands must have seemed to the cowboys driving their vast herds. With lots of cattle feed underfoot, all they had to do was dig strategic wells to water them along the way.
 A string of these wells remains to this day.
 Notice on the right the remains of the railroad that took the cows to the eastern market.

The town the Cowboys aimed for was Magdalena.--This charming Lady runs the information center there.  She has historic photos to illuminate the story. I found her personal story so enchanting that I wrote her a poem and gave her one of my books.  She traveled the world then chose this spot to settle; explaining that she fell in love with SPACE. She has worked on several of the huge ranches in the area--each the size of an empire and "got hooked" on the glory of openess.

Her house (shop) was filled with antiques.

I'm about to show you a magical valley---only 20 miles beyond Magdalena,

on the other side of those mountains.  

It is called "the plains of  San Augustine--and during the day you might see this.

And at night---this.

Image result for photos of vla nm
And from the air--these 27 whopping telescopes.  each dish is more than 80 feet across.  Each works 24 hours a day and all of them are aimed at precisely the same spot.  The "pictures" they reveal are added together with giant computers to reveal.....

Image result for pictures taken by the vla
things like this quasar in a galaxy far far away

I pose to show their size.  They will let you visit this one.  Up close you will be impressed at how "busy" they are---moving every few minutes---all 27 of them precisely coordinated.  The mind blowing news is that in the last few decades giant computers have enhanced their powers about a million times---so that now we can see back into time and perhaps to the edge of the cosmos.

Furthermore they can now coordinate its "pictures" with hundreds of other telescopes to make ever-clearer the deep secrets of the heavens.  Click here  and  have a look.

In Datil I took a walk and took this pict for my friend Laurie--who is looking for a rig.

I camped for the night at a campground nearby and got intrigued with the couple camping in this old vw.  Try as I may I could not engage them.  When I approached they would retreat inside and close their door.

Outside their car were these two mysterious objects.  Anyone imagine what they might be? 

Moving on to Pie town.  Much TV hoopla has been made of it---Charles Kuralt did a piece on it some years back.  The cowboys of yesteryear stopped here for a piece of pie---and the tradition continues.

Nearby is a rare business---a windmill store.  These devices are underappreciated by everyone
except  ranchers.  They know that this invention along with barbed wire made ranching possible. Windmills pump water---and later they generated electricity to charge batteries. 
Inside the pie store--there they are--- a spectrum of pies: $6 a slice---$27 for a whole pie. 

As we ate---two familiar people entered the cafe: Pish and Barbara.  What are the odds of crossing paths in this remote place.  My friend Wayne would likely believe it was a whispered message from the universe. (synchronicity)
And Glory be--sitting nearby was a genuine astronomer and a genuine anthropologist---I asked both of them lots of questions.

CB and I moved on to Springerville--a big time rancher town---stopping for the night at this "waterhole.".  A friend of mine: Architect Joseph Smyth designed this structure in classic western storefront style. Read about him here. (A man with a plan to save the world)

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  So what have we learned?  I think it's this:  EVERYTHING IS INTERESTING--when looked at closely.   And EVERYTHING IS RELEVANT--even an anthill is an integral part of the whole.  Bored people are those whose curiosity is asleep.  My last remaining
boondocker companion stayed 2 more days with me then departed for an eastern adventure.  I will now drift alone for awhile and report my findings to you.


Rob said...

Nice post Randy. I liked the telescopes

If Laurie is still looking for a toyota camper you might point her at these yahoo groups. and

Anonymous said...

I'm confused , isn't Route 66 The Great American Highway ??

Kimbopolo said...

Love those Lonely Roads. Really want to see that array too.

Sooper Edd said...

It's interesting to encounter people and places not poisoned or indoctrinated by popular culture. Pop culture is a mind killer.

coupe2u said...

Great post Randy. You have captured the essence of travel and the nomadic life. Running into Pish and Barbara at Pie town was a great addition. Your blogs are an inspiration and a wonderful portrayal of slices of life.

Anonymous said...

To the first poster, he said "A great american highway" not The. As he mentioned in his blog, 50 across nv is another great american highway

jack man said...

Keep up the best work guys, nice posts are here to get more benefits.
Geek Repair

Randy said...

Thanks all---and especially you Jack Man--It's nice to have a reader on the other side of the world. (New Zeland)

Marit said...

Hi Randy, just discovered your blog here after watching the documentary 'Without Bound' again- so inspirational! Thanks for sharing your experiences and reflections. Heartfelt greetings and bright smiles from Holland.

DougR said...

I live in Belen New Mexico and my wife and I use Highway 60 (east and west of the Rio Grande) for our weekend escapes. We love the wide open roads of New Mexico especially after spending a few decades in California.

Take care!

Doug Rietz
(See my YouTube Channel: RioAbajoBelen for great videos about New Mexico)

DougR said...

I live in Belen New Mexico and my wife and I use Highway 60 (east and west of the Rio Grande) for our weekend escapes. We love the wide open roads of New Mexico especially after spending a few decades in California.

Take care!

Doug Rietz
(See my YouTube Channel: RioAbajoBelen for great videos about New Mexico)

Colonel Panik said...

You can take Highway 60 east, all the way to Illinois. You did hit the best part though.
You are bookmarked now, please keep writing.