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Day 6, Thursday, May 25, 2017:
Rosewell, New Mexico -> Portales-> Clovis -> Taiban -> Fort Sumnter -> Santa Rosa, New Mexico

The plan was to follow Roswell with Carlsbad Caverns until we learned that the cavern elevator would be down for maintenance. The trail would be open but that wasn't sounding like a good idea. Scratch the cavern.

Rather than retrace the route to Roswell we departed eastward on to Route 70. It was a long open road on the high plains with light traffic. We came across a few ghost towns and abandoned way stations that we visited.

The next sign of life was the town of Portales, billed on a billboard sized sign as "Home of 17,000 Friendly People (and three or four old grouches)". The town is also known as "The Warm Heart of The Sunbelt". A fighter jet is suspended over the traffic island there this sign is found.

Tucked away in a little in town park we found a Pioneer Dugout Replica. This style of home did well in the windy heat of the treeless terrain. Being largely underground the surrounding temperature was more stable and comfortable. It was closed when we visited.

While in Portales we visited the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds to see the collection of 80 windmills donated by Bill Dalley. He had been 30 years collecting them. Some are unlike anything I had ever seen. Many had vintage paint work as well. It was getting close to lunch. We worked our way into Clovis picking up ice for the cooler along the way. We settled on Eddies Subs and More. It was a small sandwich shop with good reviews. I had the New Mexico Burger, a Cheeseburger with Green Chile dressing. It was different and tasty. It was a small place with a few tables and plenty of people coming and going. We walked the streets a little afterward capturing a few of the more interesting main street buildings. The downtown had vacancies but seemed quite alive.

Clovis is a major rail hub with about 100 trains a day passing through the yard, mainly with intermodal cars. I noticed several grain elevator structures possibly related to the peanut and cotton farming occurring in the region. It is also a major cattle grazing area supporting beef and dairy production. Southwest Cheese is another major producer of cheeses.

The centerpiece of this swing to the east was a visit to the Norman and Vi Petty Rock and Roll Museum. I had never heard of hear of Norman Petty before planning this but I have certainly heard his work as a producer. Norman was the creative hand behind the sound of Buddy Holly, Waylon Jennings, Roy Orbison and others. His work is known as "The Clovis Sound". The museum was in the basement of the chamber of commerce; they sent us down the hall to the elevator and suggested staring with the movie. We stepped out of the elevator and the place came to life, we walked into the movie room and it started. Lunch settled while watching the film on a comfortable couch. There wre many interviews with players that were involved with Petty's work. Vi was mainly part of Normans earlier work when performing as an artist in his own right. The mood of the place was vintage soda shop/ memorabilia showroom. The place was bright, colorful with plenty to look at and read. The recording studio was recreated including the actual equipment including some of the instruments. The use of vacuum tube equipment was a hallmark of Petty's work.

Heading east on US 60 we found the ghost town of Taiban, NM. Homes, shops, a trading post and church were all abandoned and fading into the landscape. The fire department and post office remain along with some agricultural activity. The town is famous for being the location where Pat Garrett captured Billy the Kid and his associates on December 23, 1880.

Down the road on a side road in Fort Sumner we visited the grave site of Billy the Kid. There ended up being two grave stones since one had been stolen and missing for some time before being located and returned. They are now safe inside the steel cage that encloses the grave. Further up on US 60 we visited the Billy the Kid Museum. There was a good amount of Billy the Kid memorabilia and a film room. Added to that was an immense collection of Americana, ephemera, farming equipment and assorted stuff in a rambling array of sheds and courtyards.

At the junction of US 84 we found a roadside rest area created by Raymond Samaora honoring the armed forces, firefighters and others. Numerous engraved granite tablets, signs and illustrative models were located around the parking area.

The coming miles were bringing us to Santa Rosa which was a decision point in the 2012 trip. This time we would head out of Santa Rosa due west, instead of taking the loop up to Santa Fe. A landmark restaurant we saw in 2012 was Joseph's. My understanding from magazine reading was that it had been closed and leveled. Heading toward town we started seeing a series of billboards for Josephs; Flame Broiled Burgers, Delicious Country Breakfast, Mexican Food, Broiled Trout, Charbroiled Steak, and others. Seeking to capture these artifacts I started pulling off the road to get a series pictures while they still stood.

We got to town and registered at the hotel. After dropping our bags we went to a local wholesome looking restaurant, Annie's. I ordered a salad with grilled chicken. While eating it the waiter observed that I may have been shortchanged on chicken and came back with more chicken hot off the grill! We almost stayed for desert; they had some nice pies but decided not to.

We headed across town to revisit the sights. On the way there were delighted to see Joseph's alive and well! At the far end of town Lorna went into a Dollar General and I went up the hill with my camera. We took some time to explore the modest village off of 66 and made our way back across town stopping for pictures. Some highlights were signs for "Master Card" and "Bank Americard" along with Bell Gasoline. We got to Joseph's and agreed that going in for desert was essential while were there. It was good; the place was still busy at around 8:00. We soaked up the atmosphere and Lorna took a few pictures. It's awkward when I'm someplace iconic and busy with people. Not everyone appreciates being taken home as a vacation souvenir.

Back at the hotel we settled down for the night but not until I realized I had an array of tall lit signs outside the window that played nice with the camera in the deep blue dusk sky.


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Created June 10, 2017