Friday, February 6, 2009

A loose caboose

We are at the Old Depot visitor center
parking lot in Columbus, New Mexico (map). This location is right across the street from Pancho Villa State Park, where we stayed when we came through here four years ago.

While the state park is relatively inexpensive, we certainly did not need the hookups last night, and we had already explored the park and its exhibits on our first visit. Our Days End guide said that overnight parking here was free; when we arrived, the visitor center was still open, so we went in to ask.

There is actually a pretty extensive collection of exhibits in the Old Depot, including railroad memorabilia, historic artifacts from the local area, and, of course, exhibits on Pancho Villa and Pershing's punitive raid into Mexico. The volunteer on duty said we could, indeed, park overnight, and even let us put some water in our tank (we were nearly out). She also handed us free drink coupons for the Pink Store restaurant across the border. We made a small donation, and bought a pin for our collection.

After we got squared away, I pulled a scooter out. We rode the three miles to the border crossing around 5ish, parked, and walked across into Puerto Palomas, Mexico. It's a small town, so the gauntlet of hawkers was rather short. We were hungry, so we headed directly to the Pink Store for dinner.

This is a gringo joint -- run by gringos, for gringos, with gringo prices. But the food was good, and we had those free drink coupons, which softened the bill a bit. We got out for around $30, which is high for Mexico, but less than we normally pay for the same food state-side. We both had fajitas, which were authentic. There are really no dinner establishments in Columbus, anyhow.

Today we will continue west on NM-9 to Animas, where we will divert from our route of four years ago by turning north on 338, which will get us to I-10. We should be in Arizona tonight, somewhere around Benson or so.

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