Today we took a drive to New Mexico to visit this museum. It houses over 40 vintage aircraft, some very rare ,and all still fly today. Mr. John MacGuire and his wife put it all together, and opened in 1989. all the aircraft here John flew here himself, he has since passed away. There was no one there when we got there, so we were taken on a private tour, by volunteer Elliot. His insight to some of the planes there was very welcome. We have been to other museums before, but here there were planes I have never seen before. So it was really cool to have Elliot talk about them and even get us up close and personal to them, when normally you are not allowed. Elliot served in Vietnam as a door gunner on the Huey helicopter, transporting troops to and from the combat zone. He said I was young then and didn’t know any better.
During World War II, almost all combat planes were flown from the United States to war zones by Women, or WASP’s.
C-47 troop transport to a DC-3 commercial aircraft. This plane has a lot of history, the C-47 was built in the thousands to transport goods, and troops. This aircraft took off on the early morning of June 6 1944 with about 30 young paratroopers in it. It flew over France and when the green light went on all of the guys jumped out. It made it back and a few months later took more troops and towed a glider of troops over to Belgium, where they also jumped out. The plane then went on to be converted into a DC-3 passenger airliner in the early 1960’s. It flew passengers all over the Caribbean for decades.
This plane is pink???. Two women flew this plane in the 1954 air race, and they won, using only a watch, a compass, and a map in the 8 stop race.
The museum also has a collection of old cars that are on loan, they were pretty neat. It was a fun time and thanks to Elliot, we learned a lot.
We are now in El Paso Texas at the Mission Rv park. El Paso is in the northwestern part of Texas, right next to Las Cruces New Mexico. Be here Two weeks, it’s not as nice as, or open as Elephant Butte, as we are right in the edge of the city, but it will be fine. Drove only 150 miles today so it was a nice jaunt. As we have traveled down Ne Mexico it has gotten hotter, today it was 94. Be seeing a number of things in the area.
We’ve been here since Friday and it’s been a good place to be.
Our site and surroundings
Taking our walk to the beach . . .
We pass these flowering bushes that smell very nice . . .
We ventured out to check out a near by town Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. I wouldn’t want to have to write that as my address, it’s kind of long.
We then went to check out The Elephant Butte Dam Overlook.
Construction of Elephant Butte Dam began in 1911 and was completed on 1916. The dam was built to provide flood control and irrigation down-river. Upon completion, Elephant Butte Dam was reported to be the largest irrigation enterprise in the United States. The largest body of water in New Mexico was also created by the construction of this Dam and also the state’s biggest park.
Checking out the dam and where our campsite is by the Rio Grande. We had a great weekend at Elephant Butte State Park.
We are now at Elephant Butte Lake State Park in Elephant Butte New Mexico, right next to Truth Or Consequences. I-25 runs along here and the lake is right on the Rio Grande river, so it has a dam here. Where is that you ask about 95 miles north of El Paso Texas. We are definitely now in the high desert area. Drove 276 miles today, was a nice drive, but seemed long. Here till Monday and will just hang out for the week end.
We weren’t disappointed on our stroll through “Old Town Las Vegas,” I wanted to see if they had any old original buildings that looked like an old Mexican town. They did still have some and we got to go inside The Plaza hotel and check it out, so that was exciting too. It was a fun time in the old town yesterday.
Yesterday we went to Fort Union National Monument, it is about 25 miles north east of Las Vegas. In order to talk about the fort you have to talk about the Santa Fe trail. It ran for about 1200 miles from Franklin Missouri to Santa Fe New Mexico, where other trails were. Just like the Oregon trail, it was fraught with danger from Indians, bandits, the heat, lack of water, you name it. A journey of three months or so, by wagon train, pulled by oxen. There were many stops, and Las Vegas at the bottom of the Rockies, became one that grew into a thriving town in the 1820’s. After the Mexican war was over, the U. S. decided it needed a military presence in the area, and Fort Union was born. Built in 1851, mostly of wood, and only about twelve acres in size, it was built at a split in the Santa Fe trail, as it came down to Las Vegas. The first fort helped protect immigrants, wagon trains and the like from attack. Nothing of this fort is left.
What the 1st old fort looked like and also the post commanders quarters
In 1860 with the civil war looming it was decided to build a bigger fort. In August of 1861, A star shaped earthen fort is built on about twenty three acres, over a thousand men worked 24 hours a day in four hour shifts. In February 1862, the fort was completed. It has 28 cannon on it’s parapets, officer’s quarters, enlisted barracks, storerooms, powder magazine dotting it’s interior. Even a tunnel leading out to the creek, so fresh water could be brought in. Even as the fort was being built those in charge thought it was being built in the wrong area. A high bluff was only about a mile and a half away, thoughts were that cannon atop the bluffs could hit the fort. The new commander decided to test it out. Cannon were placed atop the bluff and fired down to the fort area, sure enough the cannon shot could reach the interior of the fort and beyond. Cannon fired from the fort however could not reach the heights on the bluff. The fort was a sitting duck if attached. The confederates at this time took Santa Fe ,and were on the march toward the fort, however troops from the fort intercepted them at Glorieta pass, near Santa Fe and attached and burned all the wagon trains loaded with supplies. The fort never fired a shot or was attacked.
What the 2nd fort looked like
In 1863, not even two years old it was decided to build a larger stronger fort. The third Fort Union, was massive at least a half mile, by half mile and bigger. Built better with adobe, fire brick, lumber, tin, this fort would replace the earthen fort and become the largest military outpost west of the Mississippi. It was a little city and grew and grew. It was the hub of the west. Wagon trains, military goods, people all had to pass through Fort Union before heading west. For almost 27 years until 1891 the fort was the guardian of the trail and territory. then the railroad came and it was all over. Ordered closed in February of 1891, it is then abandoned. Soon after the fort falls prey to relic hunters , salvagers, and even the army helps demolish parts of the fort. In 1938 Marian Sloan Russel, visit’s the fort, she is dismayed at the decay and destruction. Now in her early sixties, she was born in Fort Union, at the peak of it’s time. She starts a movement to save the fort. Even though she only lives for two more years, the movement gains strength and in 1954 the Fort is declared a national monument. Even though much of it is gone this was an impressive sight to see, and learn about.
We began our walk outside on Fort Union’s Grounds
We headed out where the first & second forts were.
A cannon was placed right where the 2nd fort would have been.
What it looked like once upon a time . . . sitting on their porches
For 24 years the officer in command of the cavalry and infantry troops at Fort Union lived here. The post commandant issued the orders that determined the daily duties and routines for hundreds of enlisted men, non-commissioned officers, officers, and civilian employees. He made the decisions about who would patrol the Santa Fe Trail — and for how long.
From 1867-1891 over 100 Regular Army officers held this command. Some served as little as one week in this position. Some stayed in charge as long as 36 months. Some captains, majors, and colonels only held command once. Other commandants returned to duty at Fort Union as many as 14 times.
They have an accurate sun dial that was built here in 1871
Looked a little different back when.
The cistern now and before
Calvary solider & his horse in Mechanics Corral and depot office and quarters
Imagine 2,000 to 3,000 freight wagons a year being off-loaded into these enormous buildings. In these five warehouses, the United States Army stored, inventoried, organized, and redistributed thousands of tons of food and equipment to support the troops operating in the Southwest.
Here you would have seen both civilian storekeepers and enlisted personnel bustling and toting an endless stream of crates, boxes, and barrels of salted meat and fish, hardtack, coffee, tea, sugar, salt, vinegar, hominy, corn meal, onions, potatoes, canned foods, bottled foods, flour, clothing, bedding, tents, cooking gear, paper and ink, heating stoves, furniture, lamps, lanterns, tools, and building materials. In 1870 there were 100 civilian employees here at Fort Union. About 40 were teamsters driving wagons to deliver the supplies from these warehouses to distant outlying posts.
This section had a “privy” to put their unwanted items, and the military band had their quarters here
Here you get one night in bed… tonight you are on Guard, tomorrow morning at 8 o’clock you get relieved… one hour after coming off Guard You have to Saddle up and go on Herd. Come in with the Herd at 4 p.m., spend one hour grooming your horse, then get your supper. At sundown the Bugle calls you to Retreat to answer your name, and hear who are detailed for Guard on the morrow… from Retreat till Tattoo (2 hours) you have to shine your belts, clean your gun and brasses so they shine like a gold piece in the dark. Next morning at break of day you fall in ranks for Reveille, answer your name, and then march to the stables, spend half hour on the… horses, come back, swallow your Breakfast, and then put on all your good clothes, comb your hair… put on all your Belts, shoulder your Carbine, and then you are ready for Guard Mount… At the first sound of the Bugle, you rush in ranks to be inspected first by your First Sergeant … [then by] the Sergeant Major… [who] opens your shirt collar to see if that bit of apparel has been to the Laundresses in the course of a couple of months… the Band strikes up those patriotic tunes… You are then marched to. William Walton Private Company F, 10th U.S. Infantry
1887the Guardhouse. During the day you escort prisoners around camp, emptying swill barrels &c. At night you… guard over a stable, lots of wagons &c with these orders ‘take charge of this Post, and all Government property in view’… That is soldiering, in a nut shell.” —Eddie Matthews, private, 8th U.S. Cavalry, 1870
Oh no! Look who’s in jail!
front and back of hospital
hospital courtyard and lecture room.
Their caseload was overwhelming: blisters, boils, burns, cuts, colds, coughs, childbirth, fevers, flu, pneumonia, ulcers, gonorrhea, syphilis, scurvy, scarlet fever, typhoid, small-pox, diarrhea, delirium, opium overdose, alcoholism, rheumatism, broken bones, and gunshot and arrow wounds. In December 1876 — a typical month — Fort Union’s medical staff treated 425 patients, of whom 166 were hospitalized. About 40 percent of the people who lay in these hospital beds were civilians — who had to pay 50¢ a day for treatment.
The Chaplin’s quarters, he had a nice place.
As Dave mentioned, this was definitely an impressive place to visit. I know we learned a lot about being here, as well as were in awe of just how much went on in the fort, even on one particular day, and how much everyone needed the fort for their survival. It was their whole lives, most of them worked there, ate there as well as slept and even played here, they even had a baseball team. Heck, It served the whole South West area for a long while.
We are now at Storrie Lake State park in Las Vegas New Mexico. The city is on the east, bottom side of the Santa Fe mountain range, with the city of Sante Fe being on the west side about 30 miles away. Las Vegas is very historic and a lot older than the tinsletown of Las Vegas in Nevada. Drove 274 miles today and it felt like 1000, mostly uphill driving today, at Raton pass at the border of Colorado and New Mexico, which is at 7600 feet in elevation, I could only get the rig up to 30mph on an uphill stretch of 5 miles or so. We have a nice pull through site, will be here till Friday. Some rain in the forecast so hope it does not dampen the places we want to go.
You get on the Cog Railroad in a historic town called Manitou Springs. When Native Cheyenne were at the base of Pikes Peak in Manitou Springs in the 1700s, they thought the eruption of bubbles in the mineral water was the breath of the Great Spirit “Manitou.” Then Dr. Edwin James, a westerner, discovered these healing waters and hiked Pikes Peak. Inspired by stories of the healing waters and Pikes Peak, General William J. Palmer and Dr. William A. Bell visited the area in 1868. They began carrying out a vision to make the Pikes Peak region into an amazing tourist location. In the early 1890s, Manitou Springs was established as a health resort because of its mineral springs and clean mountain air. Then in the 1980s the National Historic District was formed in the town and it’s once again a tourist destination.
We parked in the town and walked to the Cog Railroad to see a bit of the town. We passed restaurants, shops, galleries and two of the eight natural springs in town.
Cheyenne spring is suppose to be a sweet soda spring, and tastes the best of the mineral springs in Manitou Springs. This spring is among the highest in both magnesium and potassium content, both essential minerals for a healthy body and brain. To bad we didn’t even think of bringing any empty containers.
the other spring we saw is Iron Springs Geyser
You can take a guided or self-guided walking and tasting tour of the 8 famous cold-water mineral drinking springs, as they are all suppose to have unique and different tastes. I believe they will even throw in a container.
We got our tickets and then waited to board . .
The Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway climbs the 9 miles to the 14,110-foot summit of Pikes Peak. The railway is the highest in North America and was built as a tourist attraction in the late nineteenth century. Other cog railways can be found on Mt. Washington in New Hampshire and throughout the Alps in Switzerland.
I read that it snowed 2.4 inches yesterday at Pikes Peak.
Time to board . . .. You go thru Pike National Forest, travel along Ruxton Creek, by Diamond Rock, within the steep, rocky walls of Englemann Canyon, past stacked boulder formations, a waterfall, and through Deer Park before getting to the top.
The whole Cog Railroad was shut down between October 29, 2017 and May 20, 2021, for a complete refurbishment that saw the replacement of the track infrastructure, the rebuild of older railcars and the purchase of three new trainsets. Plus a whole new visitor center complex on top.
You Can Only Get These Incredible Donuts at the Top of a Mountain in Colorado. Get ’em while they’re hot at 14,000 feet. Thanks for the tip Bill & Sandy, it was a great treat!
The Pikes Peak Summit House is known for its high elevation donuts. They are the only donuts produced at an altitude above 14,000 feet anywhere in the world. With the highest deep fryer in the United States, the donuts here are made differently than if they were made at sea level. At nearly three miles above sea level, the air is thinner and water boils at a lower temperature. Therefore food is cooked differently here. The Pikes Peak Summit House has used the same recipe since 1916 to make their delicious fried donuts. Some claim that the donuts must be devoured while at the top of Pikes Peak, because if you bring them down to a lower elevation they just don’t taste the same. “The recipe is top-secret and wasn’t even shared when filming on location for a Food Network special featuring high-altitude sweets.” Employees who work anywhere near the doughnuts must sign a confidentiality agreement to ensure the recipe doesn’t leave the property.
The view from here is absolutely incredible!
Katharine Lee Bates actually wrote the poem, which became an iconic song, “America the Beautiful” when she visited Pikes Peak in 1893.
Bates finished writing “America the Beautiful” before leaving Colorado Springs but didn’t think of publishing it until two years later. The poem was first printed in a weekly newspaper, The Congregationalist, on July 4, 1895. Bates’s patriotic words were soon set to music, most popularly to composer S. A. Ward’s “Materna,” the tune to which we sing it today.
The original Summit House, atop Pikes Peak, was constructed in 1873. It originally served as a “signal station” to research atmospheric phenomenon and its relationship to weather and forecasting. The house was constructed in just four weeks, and stood 18 by 30 feet long, and ten feet high, with walls 18 inches thick. There were two rooms. One was the office and bedroom for the officer in charge (typically a sergeant). The other served as the kitchen, storeroom and sleep quarters for the assistants.
It was an amazing experience taking the cog railway that climbs one of the most iconic mountains in the United States.
Is located in Colorado Springs. The site is a National Natural Landmark, having been recognized by the Department of the Interior as “a nationally-significant natural area.” It’s also city-owned and free to the public, truly one of a kind. The Park has towering sandstone formations, a wonderful view of Pikes Peak, both paved and unpaved hiking paths, horseback trails, a mountain bike area, and several picnic areas.
The park was privately-owned until 1909, at which time 480 acres of land that includes the large rock formations was gifted to the city by the children of railroad magnate Charles Elliot Perkins. It was Perkins’ wish that the park be kept forever open and free to the public. Since 1909, other lands around the original 480 acres have been acquired by the city. Currently, the Garden Of The Gods Park is 1320 acres in size.
We booked a trolley tour from “Adventures Out West” to get us familiar with the park.
Adventure Out West’s open-air trolley tours seat 14 guests at a time and last 45 minutes. The trolley we rode in was a replica of the original one used at the park in 1909.
We came across a rock formation called “Pregnant Squaw”
This rock formation is called “Cathedral Spires”
Here is a rock formation called “Sleeping Giant”
“Steamboat” rock was once privately owned and tourists climbed upon the rock for photographs.
Our trolley ride ended and we walked to see other sights and sounds.
The rock formation on the left looks like a left hand with the thumb in the air.
Dave is checking our progress. . . We are here . . .