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Halfway Across the Empty Land



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4/9/10, Encino, NM - Tonight, Iím halfway down the road from Fort Sumner to Santa Fe.  Back when I was planning this trip, I knew that while I was traveling in this part of New Mexico, there would be little chance for me to resupply with hay and oats.  The countryside is beautiful, but Iíll be glad to pull into Santa Fe. So far on the road from Ft. Sumner, Iíve passed through three towns.  The first one, Yeso, was almost a ghost town. The second town, Vaughn, would be a ghost town if it wasnít at the crossroads of three US highways. Today I passed through Encino, which is well on itís way to becoming a ghost town. 

The landscape is dry and getting more arid as I travel.  Many of the ranches in the area are 100 sections or larger. Range conditions are poor and it looks like they are still suffering from a lack of rain from last year.  Itís strange to look out over several square miles of range land, and not see a single cow.

Itís interesting to note, but on this whole trip, the only time I have seen anyone else mounted on a horse is at the barrel racing contest in Athens, TX.  But, I have seen a lot of horses being hauled down the road in $50,000 horse trailers.  It does my heart good to see folks out driving with their horses and going for a ride with their horses (even if ití in some expensive horse trailers). Itís not exactly how the west was won; but, itís what folks won, once they got the west!

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Three nice ladies who pulled over to greet the horses. The guys are waiting for the treats.

I had Bob and Doc hitched today and they pulled well.  As usual, I had to offer Bob a little encouragement to lean into the collar and do his share. He spends so much time philosophizing and dreaming of being a Western Movie Star, he has little time left for such mundane activities as work.

Just before pulling out for lunch, I noticed that one of Billís hind shoes was broken. I tried to get too many resets out of the  old shoes and the drilltek finally wore off.  Once it goes, the steel doesnít last long. This resulted in a 45 minute delay while I tacked on a new set of rear shoes.

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A nice hilltop setting for lunch.  Thereís a large freight train passing below us, and a small mountain peak (on the left of the wagon).  Tonight, weíre camped just a few miles south of that peak.

Tonight, weíre camped along the road, about 4 miles north of the town of Encino.  I found a pretty good spot. Weíre at the top of a hill, which offers great views and good internet access.  Also, the grass is fairly green, proving some pretty good grazing.

It was a warm evening, with a beautiful view.  After doing chores, I pined away the time sitting outside until almost dark.

In Vaughn, I picked up some Chorizo sausage, jalepeno peppers and tortillas, so  I had burritos for supper.  The nice thing about Hispanic communities; you may not find hamburger at the connivence store, but you can find some pretty good Mexican food!

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One of the options of traveling roads with rumble strips is to straddle it.

Tomorrow, Iíve got a 24 mile run to the town of Clines Corner. Iíll also be crossing back north of I-40. All in all, this was a nice travel day.  The weather was nice, but not too warm for good pulling. Traffic was fairly light.  And, except for the rumble strips, the roads were great as well.

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The almost Ghost Town of Encino. Most of the old businesses, and a good deal of the houses were abandoned.

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Our roadside camping spot. A big right of way leaves plenty of room for a playpen. I let the horses graze until sunset, then pulled them in and tied them to the wagon for the night.

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Itís hard finding a place to set the camera when I have in timer for a self portrait.  Hey Mom, thatís not a smudge on my chin, itís a shadow.