Columbus, New Mexico with the Colorado Traveling Ducks

Columbus, New Mexico is a small border town with about 2,000 permanent residents.

Columbus, New Mexico

Located in a high desert valley, between the Florida and Tres Hermanas mountain ranges, Columbus is only 3 miles from Palomas, Mexico.   Mom and I have been here 3 times, usually looking for warmer weather for a couple days.   Columbus is small and not a touristy town.   The first time mom and I arrived, it was night and we were lucky to find a motel.   Our cell phone did not have service, (that was 2013) so we went to the gas station to call the motel owner to come rent us a room.

Hacienda de Villa Motel

We stayed here at Hacinda de Villa Motel.   Not fancy, but the room was large and very clean.   The people here were very friendly.   We went to the train station, now a museum.

Columbus museum

The museum is interesting, and shows the history of Columbus.   This time we noticed a new sign.

Susan Parks sign

This lady, Susan Parks, was a real hero.   During the attack by Pancho Villa, she called nearby Deming, NM for help.  While the bullets were flying, she placed her young child on the floor, under a desk, and continued calling for help.   The soldiers from Deming did arrive and the attack was over quickly.   I’ll tell you more about this battle next time.   The train was important in earlier days, but it is not running now.   The train station was converted into the museum, and the post office.

Post Office

We enjoyed wandering around outside.   There were train cars.


Also a few pieces of old railroad equipment.

Railroad equipment

This classic old car.

Classic car

and old farm equipment.

Old equipment

Each time we visited this museum, there have been very few other people.   The people inside are so knowlegable and so nice.   Here is the safe from the bank.

Safe from bank

During the Pancho Villa attack, the safe was shot.   The bullet hole is marked.   What a great museum.   Columbus had rich mineral deposits.   Miners found silver, copper, lead and zinc here.   There is not much mining in Columbus now.   We like this small church.

Holy Family Church

It is Holy Family Church.

Church bell

We admired the church bell, on its own post.   Columbus is not a tourist destination, but if you go, wander around town and you will find several little pieces of history, and very friendly people.   It is a nice change from the busy lives we all live.


Hatch, New Mexico: Chile Capital of the World With Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck

If you love New Mexico cuisine or if you love chile peppers, Hatch, New Mexico is the place for you.

Hatch, New Mexico

I, Zeb the Duck, have visited Hatch a few times, so you will see photos from various trips.

Chiles everywhere

Hatch chiles are famous in most parts of the United States, and beyond.   After harvesting, the chiles are strung and become ristas.

Zeb with chile ristas

Here I am with so many fresh red chile ristas.    But red is not the only color.

Not only red chiles in these ristas.

These ristas have more than just red.   There are also ristas of green chiles, and ristas with red and green chiles.   In the fall, after harvest there are so many ristas and the aroma of fresh roasting chiles is everywhere.   Hatch, New Mexico, with population from the last census, of under 2,000 is the self proclaimed Chile Capital of the World.   On this road trip, Hatch was a necessary stop.   We stopped at Hot Stuff.

Hot Stuff Restaurant and Gift Shop

It is winter, although rather nice temperatures, so things are little different.

So many colorful pots

Look at all these pots.   We love these things.   So useful and so colorful.   Often they are out in front of the restaurant, but now being protected from any bad weather.   The restaurant is open and most people sit inside.

Eating out here is perfect in warmer weather

But in the summer, out here at these tables is the place to be.   Soapy’s mom bought green chili stew here.   Lots of pork and perfectly seasoned with Hatch green chile.   She will be back for more whenever she is in the area.   Next door, more chiles.

Hatch Chile Sales

Hatch Chile Sales was open.   So many more ristas and many bags of chiles.

More ristas with our Soapy

And more than chiles to eat.

Chile pepper wind chimes

How about chiles painted on wind chimes.   Again, Hatch is the place for chiles.   Now another place.

Sparky’s Burgers BBQ and Expresso

Sparky’s Burgers and BBQ.   Sparky’s always has a line, but it moves rather quickly.   But, Sparky’s is only open Thursday through Sunday, and we were there on Tuesday.   Sparky’s has many unusual and larger than life statues around the restaurant.   First an alien.


Many people believe an alien space ship landed in New Mexico many years ago, so aliens are a popular theme here.  But not only aliens.

Statue collection

Teako Nunn grew up in the 1960’s and loved the larger then life statues from that era.   And now he has several.  We loved the red and green chiles on the bucket ofKentucky Fried Chicken.  Teako Nunn and his wife, Josie, own and operate Sparky’s.   Next to Sparky’s we enjoyed seeing Uncle Sam.

Uncle Sam

With chile peppers, of course.   Chloe, Soapy’s dog, was really sorry we were here on a Tuesday.

Wonderful for dogs. But only open Thursday through Sunday.

She could have had her own 7 ounce burger patty.   Next trip will try to plan our time in Hatch better.   And you can be sure we will be back here again.   Hatch is a nice, friendly town with great chiles.   And fabulous food.    You will smile a lot when you visit Hatch, New Mexico.

Colorado Traveling Ducks at Fort Union, New Mexico

Another road trip.  Everybody is happy about road trips.   Our moms just decided to get in the car and drive, preferably south.   It is winter here in Colorado.  Let’s take a quick trip looking for warmer weather.  We are an unusual group this trip.   I, Zeb the Duck, Soapy Smith Duck, my mom, Soapy’s mom and Soapy’s dog Chloe.

Chloe. Soapy Smith Duck’s dog

Chloe is part Pit Bull, part Labrador, and probably has some Dalmatian.   Under her white fur, some black spots are on her skin.   This is Chloe’s first long road trip.   This will be her first time in a motel, first time in an elevator, and many more firsts.   Heading south from Denver on I-25, we enter New Mexico, and about 100 miles further this rest area caught our attention.

Fort Union National Monument

We are near Fort Union and this rest area is part of Fort Union National Monument.   The rest area has all the normal things, rest rooms, information maps and vending machines, but there is more.

Nice picnic area

Isn’t this a nice picnic area?  We liked the overhead cover.   Gives protection from snow, rain and the intense New Mexico sun.  Maybe we will stop here for a picnic on another trip.  We liked this wagon wheel.  Part of old American history.

Wagon wheel. Maybe from Santa Fe Trail travelers?

Santa Fe trail was here

The Santa Fe trail passed through here.   Can you imagine traveling across the desert and over mountains in a covered wagon?   It was still chilly and windy here, so we did not go Fort Union this time.   But mom and I have been here before, so I want to show you more about Fort Union.   I, Zeb the Duck, was very young and this was one of the first trips in my blogging career.   Mom, I, Zeb the Duck, and my Alaska uncle visited here in 2013.

Fort Union, NM with my Alaska uncle

The park rangers told us there were 3 separate forts built on this location.    The first was to protect the Santa Fe Trail, the second to establish a Federal presence in the territory, and the third Fort Union was a Union response to the Confederate invasion.   Those interested in our Civil War should visit here.

Ruins of Fort Union. Two previous forts were closer to mountains.

Also history of Santa Fe Trail.

Santa Fe Trail goes to Fort Union, NM

Ruts from wagons on the Santa Fe Trail are visible in the hard, dry ground.   The third Fort Union is the one most visited.

Adobe remains of officers quarters

This fort was a large supply facility for the southwest.   At one time about 5,000 soldiers lived here.   We were warned to stay on the paved walkway and to watch for rattlesnakes.   It was a sunny day.   Pleasant for us, but rattlesnakes also like sunshine.   We stayed on the path, read the signs, and did not see any snakes.   About those supplies:  In 1868, 44 tons of bacon were brought to Fort Union in 22 wagons.   That’s a lot of bacon.   Many other supplies were also delivered here.

Waiting for supplies

Fort Union had the premier hospital in the region with 6 wards and 36 beds.   You could get treatment and care for 50 cents per day!  Fort Union was abandoned in 1891.   Fort Union is easy to visit, just a rather short drive from I-25.  It is interesting.

Visit Fort Union National Monument

If you visit, watch the film at the Visitor’s Center, and don’t miss the gift shop.   More about our new road trip next time.