A Landing a Day

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Posts Tagged ‘Rio Puerco’

Belen, New Mexico

Posted by graywacke on October 18, 2016

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2302; A Landing A Day blog post number 732.

Dan:  Today’s NM landing is just the second (in my last 86 landings, since I changed how I get my random lat/longs).  Since NM is so big, it’s still undersubscribed, so my Score went down from 632 to 615, a new record low.

Here’s my regional landing map:


And my local landing map, showing a string of little towns along I-25 (35-50 miles south of Albuquerque):


My streams-only map shows some ill-defined and unlabeled drainageways near my landing.  They carry any run-off east towards Rio Puerco (3rd hit); on to the Rio Grande (you’ll have to trust me on this):


And that’s my 47th Rio Grande landing.

Time for my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight to Central NM.  Click HERE, enjoy the flight, then hit your back button.

Here’s an oblique GE shot, from the Rio Grande, across the Rio Puerco, past my landing to the Sierra Ladrones:


Of course, I checked out Street View, and was able to kill two birds with one stone, sending the Orange Dude on a bridge over the Rio Puerco, looking out towards my landing:


And here’s what he sees:


As I typed the words “kill two birds with one stone,” I realized that society in general has moved away from violent imagery.  When I was kid, this was a common expression, and no one gave much thought to the image of two bloodied, dead birds lying on the ground.  But today?  It seems a little barbaric.  So, it’s time for a new expression.  These two birds agree (jantoo.com):

' 'Kill two birds with one stone'...I've always hated that expression!'

I did a quick Google search, and look what I found!


And then there’s a list of 75 possible alternatives (most of which didn’t make much sense).

They range from the mundane “Catch two birds with one net” to “Tickle two people with one hand” to “Catch two fish with one worm” to “Kill two flies with one swat:”


And then there’s the inevitable bathroom humor entry:  “Dump two turds with one flush.”

Back to business:  Here’s Street View for the Rio Grande:


And what the Orange Dude sees:


I think that the Rio Grande is typically more modest than the rain-swollen shot above.

So, I dutifully checked out all of the little towns along I-25, but had to settle on Belen (the largest by far, pop 7,200) for my titular town.

According to Wiki, “Belen” is Spanish for Bethlehem.  Really?  Seems a little strange.  I went to a translating web page, and they let me know that belen (with a small “b”) means:

  • nativity scene
  • crib

And colloquially:

  • mess
  • bedlam

And then, with a capital “B,” it in fact means Bethlehem (it can also be a man’s name).

Wow.  What a crazy homonym!  In Spanglish (accent on the glish):  Belen was a difficult toddler.  When he was upset at bedtime, Belen made a belen of his belen.  It was total belen!

Moving right along . . .

From Wiki:

In 1927, Belen native and movie stunt pilot Arthur Goebel took up the challenge by James Dole, the Hawaii pineapple magnate, to race with other pilots to be the first to fly nonstop from the mainland United States to the Hawaii territory in what is known as the Dole Air Race.

Here are some Wiki factoids:

  • Eleven planes were certified to compete but three crashed before the race, resulting in three deaths.
  • Eight eventually participated in the race, with two crashing on takeoff and two going missing during the race.
  • A third, forced to return for repairs, took off again to search for the missing and was itself never seen again.
  • In all, before, during, and after the race, ten lives were lost and six airplanes were total losses.
  • Only two of the eight planes successfully landed in Hawaii.

[Belen’s own,] Arthur Goebel, flying Woolaroc, landed first in Hawaii after a nonstop 26 hours, 17 minutes and 33 seconds, receiving the $25,000 first prize.

A quick word about the name “Woolaroc.”  Woolaroc was the name given to a nature / hunting retreat in Oklahoma founded by oilman Frank Phillips (of Phillips Petroleum).  The name Woolaroc is a portmanteau of the words woods, lakes, and rocks.  The retreat is located in the beautiful Osage Hills of northeast Oklahoma.

The property is still going strong as a museum & wildlife preserve (woolaroc.org).

From ThisDayInAviation.com (caption below):


The start of the Dole Air Race at Oakland Field, California, 16 August 1927. In starting position is Oklahoma. Waiting, left to right, are Aloha, Dallas Spirit, Miss Doran, Woolaroc, El Encanto, Golden Eagle, Air King and Pabco Flyer. (San Diego Air and Space Museum Archives)

And here’s a shot of Woolaroc, getting ready for departure:


You may have noticed a mountain range not far west from my landing, the Sierra Ladrones.  From Wiki:

Ladrón Peak is an isolated, highly visible peak in central New Mexico, lying about 50 mi (80 km) southwest of Albuquerque. Ladron Peak is the only major peak in the compact range known as the Sierra Ladrones.

Despite its conical shape and its proximity to lava flows and small volcanoes, it is not itself a volcano. The core of the mountain is Precambrian granite (i.e., more than 600 million years old).

The peak rises dramatically from its surroundings on all sides; the summit is almost 4,500 feet above the Rio Grande Valley

The name of the peak means “thief”, and “Sierra Ladrones” means “thieves’ mountains.” Navajo and Apache raiding parties, and later Latino and Anglo rustlers, used the mountains as hideouts, hence the name.

Evidence of human occupation goes back over 10,000 years, and more recent prehistoric use occurred by the Mogollon and Anasazi cultures.

Ecologically, Ladrón Peak is a “sky island,” supporting vegetation and wildlife not found in the surrounding grasslands. It is high enough to have coniferous forests on its upper slopes. Animal species include mountain lion, bear, pronghorn, elk, deer and reintroduced desert bighorn sheep.

Seems appropriate to close with some Sierra Ladrones shots.  First this, by Michael Zanussi, on MatadorNetwork.com:


Here are some GE Panoramio shots of the Sierra Ladrones.  First this, by GoOutsideAndPlay:


And this, by BWHallett:


I’ll close with this shot overlooking the Rio Grande Valley, by Jeffro24:


That’ll do it . . .




© 2016 A Landing A Day

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Correo, Suwanee and Highland Meadows, New Mexico

Posted by graywacke on March 20, 2015

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-three-or-four days blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2165; A Landing A Day blog post number 593.

Dan:  Today’s landing marks the 53rd  straight western / midwestern landing (but at least it’s a USer). . . NM; 79/87; 4/10; 31; 150.7.

Here we go again.   53 landings in a row that haven’t touched the east!  Just like my last bunch of posts, I’ll do the statistics:  Each landing, I have a 0.82 chance of a western / midwestern landing.  Raise that number to the 53rd  power (and then take the inverse) and I get one chance in 36,971 that I would not land in the east for 53 straight landings!!!   Phew. . .

Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

Here’s my very local landing map:

 landing 2a

Look at all those streets!  These must be fairly substantial communities . . .  (obviously, more about that later).  Let me zoom back a bit to show you that I’m way out in the boonies:

 landing 2b

OK, so Albuquerque is just off the above map to the east . . .

I have a straightforward watershed analysis:

 landing 3

I landed in the Rio Puerco watershed (2nd hit); on to the Rio Grande (43rd hit); which, of course, discharges to the G of M.  The Rio San Jose, while close to my landing, is immaterial and is on the above map just for the heck of it.

Ouch.  Rio Puerco is translated as either Dirty River, Nasty River, Pig River or Pork River.  One Spanish-English website definitely translated Rio Puerco to “Nasty River.”

Here’s a Google Earth (GE) Street View shot of the Rio Puerco about 10 miles south of my landing:

 GE SV Rio Puerco

So, here’s my GE trip in:


Now I’ll take a GE trip over to Correo & Suwanee and see what’s up.  But first, I’ll repeat my local landing map (a little closer in and at more-or-less the same scale as the GE shot that follows), so you can readily compare the network of roads:



Anyway, here’s the GE shot:

 GE 1 correo & suwanee

Right off the bat:  The GE place name feature is turned on, and GE doesn’t recognize Correo and Suwanee as towns.  This is peculiar to me, because generally speaking GE recognizes more towns than my landing map program, StreetAtlas.

And then, you can see that the only streets appear to be the trapezoidal area on the north side of Route 6.  All of the StreetAtlas streets south of Route 6 just ain’t there . . .

So, of course, I Googled Correo & Suwanee.  The only bit of information I could find anywhere was an entry on Ghosttowns.com, entitled (strangely) “Correo or Suwanee.”  Here are some excerpts:

Correo started out as a post office on US 66 (where the railroad & highway converged) in about 1920.

Correo was never much more than a store, a school and a post office for about 60 years.

A one room school house (a box car) was provided for the railroad crews children. The school teacher in 1935 & 1936 was Tillie Sanchez from Belen, New Mexico.

The Santa Fe railroad had an Operator at Suwanee, just down the tracks from Correo.  Correo and Suwanee were both referred to as one and the same by the residents and ranchers of the area.

In 1931 the State of New Mexico built a new road from a junction west of Correo to Albuquerque and that road became US 66.

The post office was discontinued in 1960. A trading post and beer joint is all that’s left of Correo and Suwanee. How sad.

Submitted by: Samuel W McWhorter

Well now.  Based on the above, the community north of Route 6 has nothing to do with Correo & Suwanee.  But what is it?

I was using GE Street View, looking for the trading post & beer joint when I stumbled on this impressive gate that apparently leads to nothing.  We’re looking south on Old Route 66, just west of Route 6:

 GE SV highland meadows gate

Looks like Highland Meadows Estates never got off the ground.  So, of course, I Googled “Highland Meadows.”  Most of the websites had to do with real estate for sale, including one 337-acre lot for $2,361,380 ($7,000/acre), subdividable down to one-acre lots. 

I found a subdivision map that had all of the streets shown on StreetAtlas south of Route 6 and Old Route 66.  So these are wannabe streets that were never built!  But how about the little community north of Route 6 that was actually developed?

Well, I believe it is part of Highland Meadows and in fact has its own volunteer fire department!  From their website:

Highland Meadows Volunteer Fire Department

Welcome to Highland Meadows!

We are located in Laguna, New Mexico [the nearest actual town, 12 miles west of Highland Meadows].  About 35 miles west of Albuquerque on I-40 at exit 126 [the Route 6 exit off I-40].  We are a small community of about 250 families.  Our fire department was founded in 2000 and our station was built in 2003.  We are proud as a community for what we have built together.


So the community appears to be a somewhat ramshackle trailer park.  It actually has Street View coverage; here’s one of the nicer properties:

 GE SV highland meadows house

So, I continued my search for the bar & store that, according to the Ghosttowns article, was all that remained of Correo/Suwanee.  Well, I found the Wild Horse Mesa Bar, and I think that’s it.  Here’s a GE shot showing the bar’s location:

 GE 2 wild horse mesa bar map

And here’s a StreetView shot of the bar:

 GE SV wild horse bar

And I found this GE Panoramio shot (by Elisabeth Poscher) of the sign for the joint:

 pano elisabeth.poscher bar sign

See the mesa in the background?  One might think that it’s the Wild Horse Mesa, but it’s the Rodonda Mesa (translated as Round Mesa.)  Here’s a Street View shot of the Mesa, with a clue to its name:

 GE SV Mesa Rodonda

I’ll close with this Pano shot by Brian Dean, taken along Route 6 about 5 miles southwest of my landing:

 pano brian dean

Funny little post, eh?

That’ll do it.




© 2015 A Landing A Day




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