29 July 2010


Albuquerque and Santa Fe both had glorious buildings in its rich architectural history, sadly, many fell into ruin and because of a lack of funds and low community interest in historical preservation at the time as a whole many were demolished by the 1970s. [To their credit, the people of Santa Fe have preserved many more historical buildings than Albuquerque.]

How I would have loved to have seen the Hotel Franciscan in downtown Albuquerque restored.

It was demolished in 1972 and is now a parking lot.

The grand Alvarado Hotel at the train station could have been an amazing shopping and tourist destination today if it had been preserved:

In 1970 a wrecking ball knocked it down.

It is said that after a heated discussion at city hall over $3000 was pledged to purchase the building from the owners - the Santa Fe Railroad. The very next day only $25 was donated to buying it and that came from the Mayor.

And now it seems another cherished landmark has met its doom: the Paolo Soleri Amphitheatre on the grounds of the Santa Fe Indian School in Santa Fe.

Tonight Lyle Lovett performed the last show ever at the theatre before it fades into history:

"Experience has shown collecting pledges is a lot easier than collecting cash...remember, we had to put the raising of funds for two antelopes at the zoo in the hands of the city's children."

-- Louis Saavedra, Albuquerque City Commsion, 1970, on trying to raise money to save the Alvarado Hotel.

...mood: sad

27 July 2010


This morning was chilly.

The State Fair is only about 40 days away, the hot air balloon fiesta about 90...

I am SOOOO not looking forward to winter.


24 July 2010

Would You Pardon a Cop Killer?

RUIDOSO, NM — The history of Billy the Kid is fueled with enduring debates: Was he a hero fighting for justice in a corrupt landscape? Or was he a scoundrel, unworthy of respect, who sank to the level of his enemies?

It might seem politically questionable for Gov. Bill Richardson, on his way out of office, to wade into the debate, but the governor appears to be doing just that. And think of the field day his critics will have if the governor pardons a serial cop killer.

The Governor's Office confirmed that, during a spring meeting in Santa Fe, Richardson asked syndicated columnist Jay Miller to put out feelers to historians and others enthralled with the history of the Lincoln County War to assess the reaction to a pardon for the Kid.

After the Lincoln County War, Gov. Lew Wallace offered to pardon the Kid if he testified about heinous crimes. The Kid did, but Wallace never held up his end of the bargain, and the outlaw subsequently killed two Lincoln County deputies in his infamous escape from the Lincoln County jail.

A spokeswoman for the governor said last week that there's nothing new about Richardson's consideration of a pardon and that the idea just "came up" during the meeting with Miller.

But someone close to the highly publicized Lincoln County investigation of the Kid's 1881 slaying told me he was contacted in recent months by someone from the Governor's Office asking for his reaction to the idea of a pardon.

Richardson first talked about a pardon back in 2003 during a press conference in Santa Fe to announce the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department had opened an investigation into the Kid's slaying on July 14, 1881, by Sheriff Pat Garrett.

The idea, investigators said, was to try to refute, by DNA evidence, claims by several men, such as John Miller and Brushy Bill Roberts, widely regarded as impostors who professed to be the Kid after the historical record said the outlaw had been killed. Those claims, the thinking went, cast doubt on Garrett's character, and modern forensic tools could lay the stories to rest.

In any event, publicity about a new investigation was said to be good for New Mexico tourism.

But critics lambasted the case. Officials in Silver City and Fort Sumner fought off legal efforts to dig up the remains of the outlaw's mother and the Kid himself in the hunt for DNA. They said the investigation just fed doubts about established history and undermined the value of Billy's Fort Sumner grave as a tourist site.

There are even disagreements about whether a pardon would boost state tourism today.

"Leave him (Billy the Kid) alone," said former Fort Sumner Mayor Juan Chavez. "As far as pardoning, what good will it do now? He's dead."
The investigation has since ground to a halt, beset by lawsuits and the rebuffed attempt to dig up the remains of Brushy Bill.

At the Wild West History Association Roundup at the Inn of the Mountain Gods on Tuesday, the question about a pardon was still a hot topic 129 years and one week after the Kid's death.

Santa Fe resident Bob McCubbin, outgoing president of the Wild West History Association, said he and some others would welcome a pardon as long as the claims of "impostors" were not raised and the governor "doesn't mess around with history too much."

Albuquerque historian Chuck Usmar, who is writing biographies of the Kid's adversaries Lawrence Murphy and James Dolan, said the Kid should never receive a pardon, given his role in gunning down lawmen. "Whatever one thinks about them, they were still the legally constituted lawmen in the county, and he (Billy) killed four of them," Usmar said.

English author Frederick Nolan, considered one of the pre-eminent historians of the Lincoln County War, said he could see both sides. Nolan said a pardon by Richardson, to make up for Wallace's broken promise, would be "wonderful" as long as no validity is given to any claims by Kid impostors.

But Nolan said he could "just as readily move to the other camp" and question the value of a pardon for the Kid's earlier crimes since, after Wallace reneged, the outlaw murdered two other deputies during his escape.

Then again, Nolan added, the Kid may have felt justified killing to escape a death sentence set up by Wallace's broken promise. After all, the Kid was the only person ever tried and jailed for any of the killings in the bloody Lincoln County conflict. Why die for that brand of justice?
"It's an awful difficult dichotomy to find yourself in if someone puts you on the line and says: What would you do now? You're the governor of New Mexico, what would you do?" Nolan said.

"I don't know that I wouldn't just say, 'I think I'll duck.' "

Rene Romo
Albuquerque Journal

For my posts on Billy click on the link at right.

I'm out.

HIS handiwork

It was 17 July around 06:20 hours.

I stopped and looked up at the sky.

How delicate HE is with his brush.

How fortunate I am to witness it.

19 July 2010

The Half-Way Point

It may only be the middle of summer...

...however, the signs of its demise are on the horizon...

Monsoon season is once again upon the southwest.

Late afternoon dry lightning storms and thunderstorms appear seemingly out of nowhere. One hour it is sunny, the next dark clouds roll in with sudden cloud bursts.

So i have not written much lately...man it has been hot, hot enough to make me not want to drive into the desert.

My sister and I did; however, travel to Arizona for July 4th. I thought it would be nice to spend it with my aunt and grandfather.

It was.

Whenever I can hit the open road, I do. I really do not mind driving on highways at all.

We headed to Winslow, Arizona - our home town.

And like the Eagles' song TAKE IT EASY there IS a corner with a 'flatbed Ford'.


Every Fourth of July, the city of Winslow, Arizona holds the largest fireworks show in northern Arizona at Vargas Field.

My Aunt Ruth was actually headed out of town the next morning to attend her grand daughter's soccer tournament, so my sister and I stayed at the La Posad Hotel in downtown Winslow.

I've written about the La Posada before, it is a restored railroad hotel, a Harvey House from the 1930s and man is it magnificent!!!

I did not feel I was at a hotel. That night I did not need the a/c so I just opened my window and turned the ceiling fan on low. I slept great. I felt like I was at someone's home. Beautiful place.

That night after the fireworks show we got back to the hotel around 10pm. Instead of air conditioning, all the windows in the building were open and this wonderful breeze flowed through the building. It was the coolest feeling ever. No modern fluorescent lighting or a/c.

Only light from old fashioned light bulbs and a breeze.

People were in the Grand Room...get this...READING!!

People were out on the patio....get this...TALKING TO EACH OTHER!!

Unbelievable!!! Who ever heard of such craziness???

Oh, and Dale... we ate in the Turquoise Dining Room. For dessert I had the bread pudding...check the cookbook...man it is DELICIOUS...best I ever had. Your clients would like it.

Anyhow.. I still have a few trips up my sleeve before the chill of winter creeps in.

Promise...I will do a better job of keeping in touch.

I'm out.

02 July 2010

Men Who Sleep With Horses

Here in Albuquerque we have a television news reporter named Stuart Dyson.

I remember listening to this guy on the radio when I was a kid.

His style reminds me of the fast talking over the top radio newsmen from the 1930/40s who would sensationalize the headlines.

He is always serious but has this streak of odd humor sometimes. He stands out from the other run of the mill reporters on local TV news.

In a recent report he did a story of a 'horse watchman' at the fairgrounds who was brutally beaten late one night while by another stable hand. He was having trouble getting a statement from a witness.


I'm out.

01 July 2010


Having made it back from Wanderlust 3 I would soon be on the road again.

This time I was headed to Tulsa and to Cain's Ballroom to see Drive By Truckers.

If you are thinking this sounds familiar it is probably be cause last year I was in Tulsa seeing the same band. The Drive By's are touring with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and will not be playing as many solo shows this year.

In fact you can see that post here:


I would actually be staying in Cushing, OK visiting with my buddy T-Rob.

Summer airfares are in full effect and pricey, so this time I thought I would drive. OKC is only nine hours by car and I had been wanting to drive to the state so this was as good a time as any [plus, tornado season was over... I think.]

Needless to say, there is not much to see driving across eastern New Mexico and the pan handle of Texas.

Oklahoma was; however, H U M I D.

I had never experienced humidity like this... the cars SWEAT!

The morning I was getting ready to leave, I went to pack the car and it was dripping with moisture. You could feel the air pressure pressing up against you. I felt I could drink the air.

None the less, Oklahoma is a beautiful green state.

I didn't visit Oklahoma City this time around and did not see much damage from the floods in the area.

Keystone Dam sure was flowin'.

We took a drive over to Catoosa, OK to see a Route 66 icon, The Blue Whale. Essentially a swimming hole in its day, it is now just a curiosity.

...did I mention how humid it was here...?

We also took a drive to the eastern edge of the state to Wilburton, Ok to visit Robber's Cave State Park. What a beautiful drive.

Robber's Cave was a hide out of such notorious gangsters as Jesse James and Belle Star. It is a cool place to hike.

On the drive back I stopped in Clinton, OK and the Route 66 Museum.

All in all a nice weekend getaway.

Oh...and if you find yourself in Tulsa and your stomach is growlin, check out the White River Fish Company, a local landmark since 1932.

I had the grilled salmon...oh man was that excellent. I will definitely return next time I'm in Tulsatown.

I'm out.