Friday, November 20, 2009


For the past eight years or so, I’ve wanted a windmill for my yard. Not one of those lawn art type imitation windmills, but a real full sized one. Why, you ask? Because I think they look neat and I want to watch it turning from my front window. Over the years I have looked for one on our travels in the southwest. We see lots of them standing abandoned on vast rangeland and next to old farm houses throughout the west, some still in use, but many standing derelict and in a gradual state of decline. When on the rare occasion, I’ve checked online to find one for sale, the price has been out of reach for me, as I am always looking for a deal. But I’ve always continued looking and on occasion photographing them.

After returning home from our last trip, on which I saw numerous windmills, I got a call from my neighbor Willie. Willie told me about a windmill in Sunnyside, just three miles from our house that was for sale. The asking price was something I was willing to pay and far less expensive than anything I have seen before. I went and took a look and discovered that it was down on the ground, saving a lot of headache getting it down. It also appeared that all the parts were there. According to the owner, he had bought it in West Texas in 1969 with the intention of putting it on his well. He never did, so it just sat in his yard for the last 40 years. The 30 foot tower seemed to be in pretty good shape, but the engine, the part the wind vanes attached to, needed work. After several days of consideration and in serious consultation with my engineer friend Duane, I decided it was a project I could tackle. I made the owner an offer he couldn’t refuse, shaving several hundred dollars of the asking price. The owner, who had been tipping a few at the time of our negotiation, made a counter offer and we had a deal. I was now the owner of a real life Aerometer model 702 30 foot windmill. Now I had to get it home.

Luckily, Willie happens to own a construction company, has a 30 food flatbed trailer in his inventory of equipment. So with sons, Gray, Eric, friend Duane and Willie and his trailer, we managed to load the tower on the trailer for the trip to its new home.

The windmill is now in my back yard, and Duane and I have begun the process of overhauling the windmill engine. It is nearly completely dismantled, with the exception of the final gears, which are rusted in place. With a little luck and a gallon of WD-40, in due time we’ll manage to break though the rust and begin the reassembly portion of this, my new project.

I don’t know how long it will take to get everything ready, but there will be a windmill raisin party when we raise the windmill at its new home in our front yard.





Saturday, November 07, 2009


We stayed three days in Silver City and one of those days we drove north about 60 miles to Glenwood, New Mexico and the Catwalk National Scenic Trail. The Catwalk follows the path of the pipeline built in the 1890s to deliver water to the mining town of Graham. Workmen who had to enter the canyon by crawling atop the narrow pipeline named the route the "Catwalk." In the 1930s the Civilian Conservation Corps rebuilt the Catwalk as a recreation area for the Gila National Forest. The Forest Service built the metal walkway in the 1960s. Parts of the trail have been rebuilt several times since then due to the flooding of Whitewater Creek. The path leads to the unique feature of Catwalk. Metal walkways are bolted to the narrow canyon walls where there was no room to cut a trail. One expanse of the walkway is on girders stretched across the canyon. Between the creaking metal grates of the Catwalk you can see the swiftly running water below. In other parts the walkway hugs the canyon wall. The rock, worn smooth by years of erosion, arches over the pathway

There are times when writing this blog I make mention of great campgrounds we’ve discovered. I can’t recall a time that I’ve mentioned a private RV park as usually they are not very scenic or worth pointing out. In Silver City we found one that is. Manzano’s RV Park is owned by a semi-retired couple who take great pride in their small RV park. Sites are not close together and each is divided by the natural landscape. It's off the highway and very peacful. If you’re ever in the area, it’s a great place to stay.


We are now nearing the end of our trip, with the last couple of days spent in Bisbee, Arizona, an old copper mining town situated in a narrow canyon above a large abandoned open pit copper mine. Today the town survives because of the tourists who stop here.



Tomorrow we hook up the trailer for the last time and head for home. Once again we’ve had a great trip. The first six weeks of the trip was spent with Gray and Diane, their longest trip to date. We revisited some places and discovered new ones, but since we’ve run out of money, not to mention "Two Buck Chuck", it’s time to head for home.
Here's a link to Gary and Diane's Blog"

Tuesday, November 03, 2009



Well it was snowing in Albuquerque so we figured we should follow the snowbirds and head south. We had a great visit with our hosts Terry and Sharon and we will return the favor when they park their RV in our yard in December.

From Albuquerque we stopped for three days at Oliver Lee State Park just south of Alamogordo, a really nice campground at the base of the Sacramento Mountains. While in the area, we spent some time at White Sands, walking and bike riding. With great weather with temperatures in the 70’s we are staying south with the next stop in Hatch, NM, the Chili Capitol of the World. Real chili lovers buy fresh or fire roasted chilies in 20 pound burlap bags, but we stuck to a couple of Chili Ristras and of course some hot green chili salsa.

Today we arrived in Sliver City, NM and plan on staying for the next couple of days. The city is an old mining town with lots of history and lots of place to explore in the area.

Here’s a couple of links if you’re interested.

Also some recent photos: