Pancho Villa Attacks the US

The United States was attacked by Pancho Villa and soldiers from Mexico on March 9, 1916.   That was the last time a foreign military attacked a state in the United States.   In case you are wondering, Hawaii was not yet a state December 7, 1941 when Pearl Harbor was attacked.   Also, September 11, 2001 the attack on New York and the Pentagon in Washington DC, was done by hijackers using US commercial airplanes.   But back to Pancho Villa and his attack on Columbus, New Mexico.   In Columbus, we visited the Pancho Villa State Park.

Pancho Villa State Park in Columbus, New Mexico

This park was previously a US military camp, Camp Furlong.  Now it is home to a museum, with memorabilia from the very brief attack, a picnic area and a camp ground.   Here is Cootes Hill, a look out point from the military days.

Cootes Hill

You can see the cacti and flags of the United States and the State of New Mexico.  First let’s visit the museum.

In front of museum

We like the Mexican architecture and the old wagon here.   During the early morning attack, a young family escaped to Deming, about 25 miles north, in a 1915 Dodge Touring Car.

An antique car that survived bullets

All three members of the family survived, but the man did carry a bullet in him for the rest of his life.

1915 Dodge Touring Car with bullet holes

The car and bullet holes.   A close up photo of the driver’s door.

Bullet holes in the door

We are certainly happy all survived.   But let’s talk about the speed of this attack.   On March 9, 1916, at 2:00 a.m., Pancho Villa crosses the US Mexican border, 3 miles south of Columbus.   At 4:11 a.m. there are simultaneous attacks in the center of town and at Camp Furlong.   By 7:30 the last of the Villistas retreat into Mexico.   This attack lasted a little more than 3 hours, but there were casualties.   Ten townspeople from Columbus, New Mexico died.   Eight American soldiers died.   Eight other Americans were wounded.   Estimates are that 90 Villistas were killed and a small number were taken prisoner.   After a trial,  some prisoners were hanged, some jailed and returned to Mexico in 1921.   We ducks think that was a lot of deaths in a three hour attack.   But, let’s see what else is in the museum.   Soon after the attack, General Pershing was sent to Columbus and a tent city was soon built south of the railroad station and south of town.

A tent city was quickly built south of Columbus

We thought this covered wagon, without the cover, was interesting.

Covered wagon, without cover

Large trucks were brought to Columbus.


And airplanes came also.

1916 JN-3 airplane, replica

This is a replica of a 1916 JN-3 Airplane, provided by Roger Freeman of Vintage Aviation.   These were all interesting, but the question is still why did Pancho Villa attach the United States?

Maybe we will never know why Pancho Villa attacked Columbus, New Mexico

And it is quite possible we will never really know the answer.   The US military spent time and money trying to get Pancho Villa, but he was never captured.   So what happened in Mexico?

Mexican Revolution over

Across the street from Pancho Villa State Park is the first US Military Airbase in the US.

First US airbase in the US

Also in the state park, we visited the headquarters building of Camp Furlong.

Former headquarters of Camp Furlong

Now many people enjoy the New Mexico desert and this picnic area.   There are sites for campers here.

Picnic area

New Mexico is a popular destination for many Americans and Canadians escaping the colder winters in the north.   If you visit Columbus, we hope you take time to explore Pancho Villa State Park and the museum   We think it is quite interesting.

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.

Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck Take a Road Trip to an Ice Cave and Volcano

Road trip!   We love road trips.   I, Zeb the Duck and Soapy Smith Duck are in the car, waiting for our moms.   Like many road trips, there is no rigid schedule.   We are not sure where we are going or when we will return.   Heading in the general direction of the Grand Canyon, but wanting to see things much different also, from Denver we head south on I-25.   Along the way we see several pronghorn, or American antelope.

Pronghorn or American antelope

We often just call these animals antelope.   They are the second fastest animal in the world, behind the cheetah.   Of course, they are the fastest animal in North America.   These animals appear so delicate and graceful.   We love them.   In Albuquerque we leave I-25, heading west on I-40.   This is still rather high in elevation and somewhat mountainous, so the heat is not a problem.   We are near Grants, New Mexico.   Let’s go to the ice cave.   We were here in March 2016, but we want to see it again.  The ice cave is located on the Continental Divide.

Inside we pay our fee, get our map and look at the museum stuff.

There are several dormant volcanos in this area of New Mexico, and the ice cave is inside a partially collapsed  lava tube.   As we walk to the cave, we admire this old, twisted tree.

Ducks sitting on twisted tree with old lava behind and to the right.

And we rest for a moment here.   Ducks have short legs you know.   Last year we showed you some of the things along the way, so we won’t repeat it.   Now, down 70 stairs to the ice cave.

Down the stairs to the ice cave.  And still more stairs!

Photos are difficult here for mom, but this ice is deep and old.

This is really old ice

The temperature dropped as we reached the bottom of the stairs.   There are two levels to see the ice, probably less than 10 feet apart, but the lower level is much colder.   This ice is about 20 feet deep.   The blue-green tint is from the natural Arctic algae.  The oldest ice is on the bottom, and is from 1100 A.D.  That is old!  New ice is added each year from rain and melting snow.   We love icicles.

Permanent icicles

Especially in the summer.   I don’t remember this sign from last year, but it explains a little about the ice never melting.   The temperature here on the ice never gets above freezing.

Inside a lava tube this ice does not melt

The lava tube is partially collapsed, so we can see outside.   We like this place.   If we are in the area again, we will probably stop again.   March 2016 was colder and windy when we were here, so we did not hike to the top of Bandera Volcano.   But today is nicer, so up the hill we go. We pass this lava formation.

Lava Arch

Continue climbing on the path, we reach the top of Bandera Volcano.

At the top looking into Banderas Volcano

The elevation here is 8,122 feet.   This volcano erupted about 10,000 years ago.   The crater is well preserved.

Looking into Banderas Volcano

It is about 1,400 feet wide and 800 feet deep.   This is considered a fragile environment as rocks and other items slide into the crater.   On mom’s phone it indicates we climbed 18 flights of stairs to reach the top of the volcano.   The path was gentle so we enjoyed the climb.   Back down near the tourist store, I liked this cactus growing by the old shed.

Cactus near old shed

And look at this gas pump.

Old gas pump. They sure look different now.

Today’s gas stations and gas pumps certainly look different.   This is great place to hike and see different things.   For more information visit  We think you would enjoy stopping here when you are in the area.  We continue driving west on I-40.   Stay with us to see where we stop next.




An Ice Cave in New Mexico with Zeb, Soapy Smith and JB Duck

We are going inside a 10,000 year old lava tube to see an ice cave.   Wow!   We have never done anything like this.   Grants, New Mexico is a few miles south of I-40, and home to the Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano.

Here we are at the entrance to the ice cave and Bandera volcano.

Here we are at the entrance to the ice cave and Bandera volcano.

We are in the West Central Zuni Mountain Range, on the continental divide.   First we stop at the Ice Cave Trading Post.

The Ice Cave Trading Post

The Ice Cave Trading Post

This is a combination museum, gift shop, information station and where we pay and register to visit the ice cave.   The artifacts and ancient pottery on display are 800-1,200 year old.   This is privately owned property, so we are happy they let tourists visit the ice cave.   The Bandera Volcano erupted about 10,000 years ago, creating lava tubes, leaving volcanic rock and making conditions right for the ice cave.   We are following an ancient lava trail to the ice cave.   This lava rock was tossed all over the ground.

Scattered lava rocks

Scattered lava rocks

Along the way, we are enthralled by these ancient twisted trees.

Ancient twisted tree

Ancient twisted tree

This hole in the ground, insulated by lava rock, served as a natural underground refrigerator, before electricity was available here.

Natural underground refrigerator

Natural underground refrigerator

The native American Indians occupied this land for years.   This cave entrance in the back of the photo, is really an entrance to a lava tube.

Native American Indians used the lava tube like a cave.

Native American Indians used the lava tube like a cave.

Continuing along the lava trail, we go down 3 flights of open stairs for a total of 69 steps.   We are going into the partially destroyed lava tube.

Lave tube with top collapsed. Stair railing on the left

Lave tube with top collapsed. Stair railing on the left

We will never be completely underground and in the dark, as the top of the lava tube is partially collapsed.   We are almost at the ice cave.   This sign explains what we are seeing.   The temperature on the ice never exceeds 31 degrees F.

Why does it stay frozen?

Why does it stay frozen?

And it gets hot here in the New Mexico desert during the summer.   This is the ice of the ice cave.

Ice is very old and never gets above freezing.

Ice is very old and never gets above freezing.

We are here, but mom could not get good photos of us and the ice.

Soapy and JB Duck at the Ice Cave

Soapy and JB Duck at the Ice Cave

The ice shows blue and green colors, reflected from the sun.

Colors reflect on ice and on rocks

Colors reflect on ice and on rocks

This is the first time we were in a lava tube and this is our first ice cave.   Leaving the ice cave, we appreciated the red bark on these trees.

Love the red bark on this tree

Love the red bark on this tree

We hope you will visit an ice cave soon.   It is really interesting to see.   When you come here, you can also walk to the top of the volcano.   It was very windy when we were there and we have seen volcanos, so we did not walk to the top this time.   Maybe next time if it is not so windy.   This is the last stop on our desert road trip.   We really enjoyed all the places we visited and the things we saw.   We hope  you also enjoyed seeing this part of the United States with us.

Roswell, New Mexico

Zeb, the Duck here.  Mom and I went to Roswell, New Mexico.  Roswell is a nice town, pretty far from everything but mom did not tell me everything.  There might be aliens in Roswell.

Many people in Roswell believe that the morning of July 4, 1947 one or more alien spacecraft crashed here near Roswell.  It was a rainy morning, so visibility was low.  Many people believe one or more UFOs crashed that morning and that some aliens died in the crash.



The United States government removed the debris and the official story was that one or more weather balloons crashed.  To this day, there is no agreement about what happened in July 1947.  As a duck, I have no idea what happened, but I believe everything is possible.

In Roswell we toured the International UFO Museum and Research Center.

International UFO Museum and Research Center

International UFO Museum and Research Center

I liked the museum.  There was a lot of material to read and also a display of aliens with lights that flashed.  I, Zeb the Duck like to see different things and this museum had different things.



In one room mom found this statement from a former United States astronaut.  He seems pretty sure that UFOs did crash in Roswell.

Did UFOs crash in 1947?

Did UFOs crash in 1947?

Visit for more information about this museum.

Many businesses in Roswell have signs and merchandise relating to UFOs.  Even McDonald’s has a green alien on their sign.

McDonald's and aliens

McDonald’s and aliens

I like the idea of aliens visiting Roswell.

Even though a big part of Roswell’s identity involves aliens, I want to be sure that you know Roswell is a real town with schools, hospitals, theaters, parks and all the things other cities have.  I hope you visit Roswell and tell me what you think about the aliens.  Were they there?  Are they still there?  What do you think, or do you even care about an event 66 years ago?  I love to hear from humans.

Roswell is on highway 285 about 100 miles north of the Texas state line.  For more information visit