Sunday, June 25, 2006

June 25, 2006
As I type this there is a light rain on the tin roof of Casa de Patron, one of my favorite spots (and definitely my favorite B&B!) on planet earth. I got here, in Lincoln, New Mexico, just after six p.m. after a wonderful visit with my aunt and uncle, Bud and Jean Linn, in Fort Sumner, New Mexico this afternoon. They lived and ranched in the Kingman area for some sixty-some-odd years, bought a ranch near Yeso (locally pronounced Yay-so), then they bought two farms and moved into the Bosque Redondo area, about a mile from Billy the Kid's grave. I got the big tour of the farms. And I got excited because, by my calculations, on the evening of December 19, 1880, Billy the Kid, Chuck Bowdre, Tom O'Folliard and others rode across my uncle's land on their way into Sumner from the Bazil-Wilcox ranch. They were ambushed at the old fort by Sheriff-elect Pat Garrett and a posse and rode back through this very area. That realization was quite exciting.

After catching up on family stuff, we joined Stormy Linn, their daughter, and her Kingman boyfriend Bob and had a late breakfast at Sadie's in downtown Sumner. I had the huevos rancheros and we laughed and laughed. This is the same place the late Joe Bowlin brought me for lunch after my first visit to Stinking Springs in the summer of 1991 when I was doing research for my Billy the Kid book.

I left Moriarity at seven this morning and had a serene drive out I-40 to Cline's Corners. I stopped at The Longhorn Ranch exit to see the location of the Longhorn Museum where I bought an alleged authentic photo of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid for a quarter in 1957, and when I found out it was a fake photo (in True West!) it pissed me off so bad I vowed to find out about the real Billy the Kid. Hard to believe that was all but a half century ago. The Longhorn sign was still there, but only the foundation of the old musuem remained. Across the road was a strip bar ("Totally Nude 203"?) and it was surrounded by semis, idling in the early morning twilight, a surreal image of American trucks surrounding the teat of tawdry sex, across Route 66 from the site of my historic awakening. Oh, the sucking symbolism!

Heavy rain is now falling at the Patron de Casa. Jerry and Cleis Jordan have the front door open and we are luxuriating at the sound of pelting rain. I am staying in the room where Billy the Kid was held during the Lincoln County War and I must say, for Maniacs like me, it doesn't get much better than this.

It hailed at the End of Trail Festival on Friday night, so hopefully (Whoa, it just started hailing here: 9:06 p.m.). Amazing.

I didn't meet one car coming down Highway 285 from Cline's Corners to Vaughn. These New Mexico back roads are so wonderful. Coming from Reserve to Datil, on Saturday morning, I encountered only two pickups (both pulled off on ranch roads after a mile or two), and then when I got on Highway 60 at Datil and cruised past the Very Large Array to Magdalena, I only met 14 cars and one truck (I counted, and by the way, nobody was going my way). This is so relaxing, to drive and not have to worry about the guy behind you, the guy ahead, you just cruise, listen to Bob Dylan and John Hyatt and The Hives on the iPod and dream about being alive in the Old West. Theraputic? Oh, I think so!

Ditto for this morning: I never met a car from Cline's Corners to Vaughn. It's so serene and the most ideal way to travel. My theory is that all the traffic is on I-40, I-10 and I-25.

Jerry and Cleis had a great little salmon dinner as we caught up on Lincoln real estate. I still really want to have a second home here and there are quite a few little adobe bungalos here I'd like to have for an artist retreat. Kathy's not big on the place (she really can't stand Billy the Kid and I think that clouds her judgement almost as much as it clouds mine, the other way!) Ha.

"When it rains, it pours. When it hails, it hurts."
—Old Vaquero Saying

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