Sunday, May 11, 2014

Arizona vacation with Mom: Silver City, NM

Apr 10 2013

Rested and feeling better about the world today, I continued on down US70.
The Union Pacific railroad runs right between US70 and the casino but soon turns off to the north, makes a loop, then swoops under the highway heading south near San Carlos. That looks like it might be an interesting route as the RR heads down to the San Carlos reservoir then follows the course of the Gila river until it rejoins US70 near Bylas. One of these days I'll have to try it out, but not today.
From Bylas to Stafford the RR parallels the highway but there was no action today so I had to content myself with taking in the sights of the several small communities and the Gila River along here.
The railroad hugs the shores of the reservoir and the Gila river while the highway,
up there in the top right corner, takes a straighter route.
The RR, highway and river all part ways in different directions just east of Stafford and then all briefly come together again around Duncan. Not long after that the highway crosses into New Mexico and makes a nearly flat bee-line across the Lordsburg mesa towards - well what do you know! Lordsburg. There was some road construction along here that slowed things down a little but I put that behind me and picked up SR90 just north of Lordsburg.

Straight and flat across the Lordsburg Mesa
This road gradually climbs up through a small, orphaned patch of the Gila National Forest where it crosses the continental divide before coasting past Copper Mountain and some restored mine tailings on its way to Silver City.

Make sure any passengers are awake as SR90 crosses a small patch of the
Gila National Forest and the continental divide; it's pretty through here!
I’ve been here before, Silver City that is, because while I was working in the technology field there seemed to be a lot of professional conferences held in Las Vegas and I rarely passed up the opportunity for a road trip, so Silver City, right there between Las Vegas and home, has been a stopover several times.

I like this little town and always find it fascinating to look down into the deep ravine that used to be Main Street until the night of July 21, 1895 when runoff from the overgrazed hills around town washed it, and one or two people, away.

That blue river cutting through Silver City used to be Main St. at one point!
That's what happens when city planners and Mother Nature collide.
Parking at the visitor center sandwiched there between SR90 and The Big Ditch, as it’s now called, is free and convenient. A couple foot bridges take you across The Ditch into the main part of town. On the other side, if you pay attention, you’ll notice that the addresses along Bullard St., which parallels the missing Main St., are all mixed up. That’s a result of businesses that used to front on Main St. just turning around and using their back doors on Bullard St. as their main entrances now. Pretty cool!

Today I climbed a few blocks on up the hill to the Silver City Museum on Broadway. The museum is housed in a really cool old house that looks small but it seems to have plenty of exhibit space. And they are always changing some of the exhibits so I’ve been back several times and see something new every time.

Eventually it was time to walk back down the hill and head east on US180, past the new big-box stores, (New in that when I first started visiting here they didn’t exist.) to my usual stop at the Silver City KOA. Besides being a really nice campground far enough off the road to be quiet, this is a good place to pick up information on hiking and biking the area, much of it compiled by the campground owners, Jim and Jackie.


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