Pulling out of Escondida was exciting and nerve racking. The anxiety hadn’t subsided a bit even though the bus was rolling down the road. Final good-byes were quick though, since we had been a month making them. The excitement for what new adventures lay ahead was running high though. And after 100 miles. some of the anxiety started to slip away.
Contrary to what a lot of people think, the landscape and scenery in New Mexico are pretty breath-taking. Unfortunately, we were unable to get any pictures along the way. We hadn’t charged the cell phone (no cell phone service were we were headed) and the batteries in the camera were shot and we didn’t know it.
We headed South down I-25 to a dot on the map known as San Antonio. Their claim to fame is a small diner with “the worlds greatest burger”. We didn’t stop for one of those things though, but it was full of people. Cars, trucks, and RV’s lined both sides of the one road running through the village. Just down the road from there are two “ghost towns” that only exist as memories today, Tokay and Carthage. But also in that area are the remains of two Native American pueblos, Qualacu Pueblo and San Pascual Pueblo. When Don Juan de Oñate came through the area in 1598 the local natives provided him with life saving supplies and assistance and he re-named the pueblo (as only the righteous superiority of the Catholic Church would allow him to do) Socorro. Translated it is “succor”, which is assistance in a time of distress. In other words, without the assistance of the native people, Don Juan de Oñate and his group would of died. It also became the site of a concentration camp for the native people.
All through the United States these concentration camps existed, many of them are the modern day “reservations”. All part of the “final solution” to the Indian Problem. From the 1500′s through the 1800′s, 150 MILLION natives were killed off. The treatment of and containment of the native peoples became the models for Nazi treatment of the Jewish people and South African Apartheid. Not that US school children are taught this. In the public school system they are taught about “manifest destiny”, about European diseases wiping out tribes, and maybe a paragraph or two on the “Trail of Tears”. The native people are presented as blood thirsty savages, the equivalent of modern day terrorists, who had to be “tamed” and “civilized”. But the largest genocide in the history of mankind happened here in the US, and continues today. Today kids are bombarded with the evils of Nazi Germany and Apartheid, and rightly so, but the evils of European expansion into North America are glossed over, painted over, and repackaged for easier digestion. Today it is nothing to hear people say stupid shit like “they should have fought harder”, or to try and dismiss the past and present conditions on reservations with things like, “they get free college”, “their housing is paid for”, “look at their casinos”, and “they are just a bunch of drunks”. I double-dog-dare one of these assholes to show up where a survivor of a Nazi concentration camp is speaking to show up and tell them to quit whining about it. Remind them they got “free housing”.
We traveled from this area and headed for Lincoln, New Mexico, made famous by Willam H. Bonney, better known as “Billy the Kid”. Here is another piece of American History Revisionism. It is presented as a war between cattle barons, when the truth is it was a war between rich land owners who had the backing of the state and the politicians they held in their pocket, and their compatriots who had a monopoly on trade and information. But the story is always deeper than history tells us. John Chisum was a rich cattleman and backed the McSween faction of the war, the faction Billy the Kid belonged too. It wasn’t out of a sense of high regard for the poor folks that wanted to have the freedom to trade where they wanted, or who wanted to break the stranglehold on information for the area, but because he wanted to make money. While the McSween faction might have had ambitions to break the stranglehold, Chisum just wanted to make some more money. When the tides turned and he was able to freely get his share of the pie, he dropped the poor folks like a hot potato. This is when the Lincoln County Wars actually hit full swing.
As we made our way through these historical areas, the transmission on the bus started acting up. The bus would slow to a crawl going up the hills and the engine would rev on the way down. By the time we made Lincoln, the transmission was on it’s last leg. We stopped and tried to figure out what was going on, but lacking x-ray vision we couldn’t tell what was up. We hoped back on the bus after a bit of sight-seeing and headed down the mountain towards Roswell. And it is a good thing it was mainly downhill, because top speed was 20 miles an hour. A drive that usually takes about an hour ended up taking several hours. We had to stop and let the transmission cool down just so we could get a little further down the road.
We finally limped into Roswell in the wee-hours of the morning. We pulled into a spot that was supposed to have a mechanic on duty, but he was off hunting and wouldn’t be back until the end of the weekend at the earliest. We braved a trip further into town and found a Wal-Mart parking lot. By the time we hit the parking lot, we were rolling only on momentum, the transmission was shot and the bus wasn’t going another inch.
Next week I will tell you the story of living in a Wal-Mart parking lot and the people we met there in similar situations as us.
OH YEAH!!!…..We are also trying to raise some money to pay for the transmission repair. If you have a couple of bucks you can help chip in, please do. Here is a link…