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Saturday April 18 — No Scum Allowed

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .
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Ann and her aunt Cindy with Smokey Bear in the background

I was feeling better Saturday morning, so rather than rest, Uncle Fred and Aunt Cindy joined Ann and I for a short road trip into New Mexico’s mountains to hunt down a former gold town called White Oaks.

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The first hour of the trip consisted of flat New Mexican landscape and an even less interesting highway. However, the company kept that part of the journey interesting.

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Sign in Carrizozo.

We stopped in the tiny town of Carrizozo to grab some Advil, as Fred has suffered a serious and life-threatening elbow injury at the hands of his grandchildren, whom Fred has discovered are now big enough to mob him and take him down. And by life-threatening elbow injury I mean the injury effects his dominant arm, thus it seriously curtails the ability for him to eat or drink with it (hence, threatens his way of life).

It turned out that the arm injury was a blessing for the rest of us, because as Cindy and I sat in the Jeep waiting for Ann and Fred to return, we spotted a donkey (or ass??) on top of a building a block away that was off the well-traveled highway. When Ann and Fred returned, we decided to investigate.

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Donkeys on the roofs of both buildings in Carrizozo. There were also donkeys on the sidewalks. You might also recognize this area from the movie “The Book of Eli” which was filmed along this street, though there were facades added in certain areas.

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More donkeys and other sculptures in a hidden alcove.

As we explored a little more of Carrizozo, we found more donkeys. Then, we stumbled upon the town’s local museum. There was one other car in the parking lot when we rolled to a stop. It turned out to be the woman who ran the museum. It was cold inside, so she was in her car keeping warm until someone showed up.

We entered the free museum with low expectations. The museum turned out to have a great book selection (I bought two books and Cindy bought four), making the ‘free’ museum one of the more expensive museums we’ve visited. The museum also had some great town history and dioramas.

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We wondered at first if this was a museum of frozen food lockers.

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Fred and Cindy somewhere in the photo. . .

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Small display about The Book of Eli and a mockup of the changes made to 12th street for the movie.

We strolled and read until we felt it was time to leave. On our way out, the proprietor asked if we’d like to see the other building. Yes we would, we told her. So, she walked us over to a second building and unlocked it. Inside were some completed dioramas, some projects, and storage. We spent another twenty minutes looking around and talking with her.

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Mining diorama from the second building.

After Carrizozo, we soon found ourselves in the ghost town of White Oaks. We saw far more people than ghosts, not that there were all that many people. Apparently, one of the big draws to White Oaks is a bar called the No Scum Allowed Saloon. It was recently named the best Cowboy bar in New Mexico by the Discovery Channel. The owner thought that title humorous, since he felt his place was a biker bar. It was also called the 6th best saloon in the West by Truewest Magazine.

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Outside of the saloon. The entrance is in front of the red car.

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Entrance door.

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Unexpectedly nice patio band and fire pit area.

Since I was still not 100% and I was driving, I felt having a drink wasn’t on my list of things to do. Fred and Cindy imbibed with a shot of the bar’s famous Snakebite cocktail. They walked out of the bar warm and smiling, so it must have tasted pretty good. Next time we are here I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up back there so I can have a taste.

From White Oaks we took a dirt road that wound out of cell phone range through some remote forests and ranches. It was a fun drive. We circled north before heading south to the town of Capitan, home to the real life Smokey Bear (note, not Smokey the Bear — these folks are sensitive about that — there is no “the” in Smokey Bear!).

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The Smokey Bear campaign was launched by the Forest Service during WWII. In 1950 a forest fire in the Capitan Mountains of New Mexico nearly took the lives of a group of firefighters, but quick thinking and a dive into some rocks saved their lives. When the fire passed, they discovered a small bear had also dove into the rocks. The bear was eventually rescued and named Hotfoot Teddy due to its damaged feet. However, the bear’s name was soon changed to Smokey Bear.

That very same Smokey Bear is now buried at the Smokey Bear Historical Park, which consists of a visitor’s center and an outdoor walk area that takes visitors past Smokey’s gravesite. Adjacent to the privately run historical park is a museum store run by the National Park Service. If you like Smokey Bear (or Smokey the Bear), you’ll enjoy this step back into your past.

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I found some jeeps inside the museum:2015-04-18-fred-cindy-smokeybear3 2015-04-18-fred-cindy-smokeybear2

 

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Smokey Bear’s gravesite:2015-04-18-fred-cindy-smokeybear6

And, if you remember yesterday’s post about the bear in Alamagordo, you now understand that Smokey Bears are a hot commodity around this part of New Mexico.

By the time we finished with the museum and park, we were hungry. Cindy called upon Urbanspoon to locate a good restaurant for us in the Ruidoso area, some twenty miles from where we were in Capitan. Urbanspoon eaters claimed that Disco Tacos was the place to go.

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Despite it’s less that stellar facade, the ‘eaters’ were correct. The food was excellent and the proprietor warm and welcoming. We had a good meal. From there, we headed back to Tularosa. So, many thanks to Cindy and Fred for their company on this adventure 🙂 (See Cindy, you did make eWillys!!)

Sunday we have plans to relax, get laundry done, and finalize some early Texas travel plans. But, who knows what will happen!

(Want to see more of the 2015 Texas Trip? View the posts from the beginning)

 

4 Comments on “Saturday April 18 — No Scum Allowed

  1. Jay Knight

    I just wanted to drop a note to say how much I really enjoy your web site and your trip blogs. I am new to your site……about 4 months….but look at it daily. I plan on reading about your past trips also! I am almost done restoring a 1955 Willys pickup. I have told several people of your site and they enjoy it also. It is amazing that no matter where one goes that Willys and Jeeps are and have been so much a part of our lives over the last 65 plus years. Have fun and safe travels!

  2. Idaho Todd

    Uncle Fred and aunt Cindy seem like nice people. Always nice to spend time with family. Glad his elbow will recover. Can’t tell if that’s a smart ass or dumb ass for being up on that building…loved that movie “Book of Eli”. Interesting it was shot there. Museums look great. Probably a wise choice not “tipping one back” at the saloon, you don’t need a case of “hung chow” way out there. Smokey bear is just plain cool. I remember the story from grade school just as you tell it. First Smokey jeep looks like a high hood cj5! And it has an axe holder…second has a great color match for US forest service rigs, third is pretty accurate cj5 (cool ’56 ford pu, too). RIP Smokey 🙁 I love mexican food…There is a peaceful comfort knowing you have a Jeep vehicle while traveling remote places like where you’re at… happy trails, Dave and Ann!

  3. mmdeilers Post author

    Jay: I’m glad you are enjoying the site and our travels. It still amazes me to see much jeeps have been intertwined in peoples lives, through ownership, advertising, and relatives who owned them. I’m also fortunate to have found a wife who enjoys road trips as much as I do. It would be so much less interesting without her (and the photos WAY worse). When you finish your restoration send some pics. I’d love to see how it turns out!

    Todd: Oh yeah, Fred and Cindy are great fun. I’m going to have to watch The Book of Eli again to see if I recognize the area. Carrizozo is fairly remote, so it has the Book of Eli feel even without the sets. Well, having a jeep in those areas is sure a lot more reassuring than the BMW 540i that I used to drive semi-remote locations. On the plus side it has a posi-rear, but on the minus it has very little clearance and terrible tires for off road. You can take the boy out of the jeep, but not the jeep out of the boy.

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