Summer 2021 Tour Ruidoso, New Mexico Episode 1: We roast in Tucson and arrive in Ruidoso

We left the cool San Diego breezes for the furnace of Tucson, where temps reached 115 degrees or more. Tucson/Lazydays KOA Resort was our stop to split up the 12-hour drive to Ruidoso. It was 6:30 pm when we arrived. About an hour later, Jon walked in the door and sat down. Seconds later someone knocked on the door. It was the security guard who had showed us to our site. He said management wanted us to move.

What? No!

A regular guest wanted our site because it had a tree, and they were staying until October. Really? The tree was a scrawny little thing, and the site was one of several that had a cover for shade. Jon talked the manager out of his crazy idea and averted a heatstroke.

The next day we washed clothes, cleaned house, and stayed cool in the air conditioned trailer. We ended the day with an early dinner at Obon Sushi + Bar + Ramen, a place we had eaten before and highly recommend.

While walking back to the truck, I captured a few murals we saw in an alley and a couple of buildings. It’s never too hot to snap a few photos.

Rialto, California, is where I grew up, so whenever I see the name, I have to take a photo. Wikipedia lists 22 theaters named Rialto across the United States.
Mural found in the alley next to the theater
Love the images and colors in this one
3D Effect

On Thursday, June 17, 2021, we drove the final 6 hours to RV Resort of Ruidoso, New Mexico. The location of our site could not have been better. The park is terraced, and our site was below one site and above another so that we did not feel crammed together. The bonus was that we only had neighbors on the weekend. Compared to all the other sites in the park, I think ours was the best.

RV Resort of Ruidoso campsite.
View from our picnic table

We jumped at the chance to have Bailey’s mother and step-father show us around town. This helped us get our bearings and see where everything was located. The gracious company and our lunch at Oso Grill in Capitan was the highlight. Thanks Dale and Dorothy.

Good eats at Oso Grill in Capitan

On Saturday, we headed to the Hubbard Museum of the American West. Sadly, it had not reopened after its pandemic closure, so we admired the statuary outside.

The empty parking was a sign the museum was closed.

I had seen the galloping horses from the street when we were driving around the day before and wanted to see them up close.

The breeds represented are Standard, Thoroughbred, Quarter horse, Appaloosa, Paint, Arabian, and Morgan.

The Free Spirits at Noisy Water are a collection of eight bronze horse sculptures created by Dave McGary who is known for his realistic and colorful portrayals of Native Americans.

It’s hard to believe the tail and mane are made of bronze too.

The horses appear to jump and gallop, their muscles taut, manes and tails flowing. I was amazed to learn that the eight horses weigh 3,000-5,000 pounds each and are supported and balanced by only nine hooves.

It’s unbelievable the foal galloping next to its mother has all four hooves off the ground.

Plaques detail information on each of the seven breeds represented. The distance from the leaping horse at the top of the hill to these two out front spans 255 feet.

McGary was a master working with bronze

After capturing the photos of the horses, we walked across the street to see if Billy the Kid Scenic Byway Visitor Center was open.

Billy the Kid National Scenic Byway Visitor Center

We picked up maps and pamphlets and wandered around the museum. Billy the Kid (born Henry McCarty and also known as William H. Bonney, Henry Antrim, and Kid Antrim) was a busy guy in Lincoln County. He left a trail of so many historical spots where he committed crimes, where he was jailed, or where he hid out from the lawmen, that he rates a National Scenic Byway. The roads connect the dots between Ruidoso, Capitan, Fort Stanton, Lincoln, and Ruidoso Downs along Highways 48, 380, 230, and 70.

Billy the innocent?

With all the attention Billy gets in this area, you’d think he was a national hero, not an outlaw and murderer. I guess notoriety, no matter what kind, is something to commemorate.

Visitors can learn about many of Billy’s escapades, including his role in the Lincoln County Wars, from the displays.

Billy says, “Learn more about me in Lincoln. I’ll see you there.”

We’ll share a few more tidbits about Billy the Kid in future episodes.

Interested in extraterrestrials? They’re featured here to give a shout out to Roswell.

Extraterrestrials are also featured. Roswell is only 75 miles away.

Smokey the Bear is another popular guy in Lincoln County with a museum dedicated to his life and memory in the Village of Capitan.

Don’t forget the photo op with Smokey.

The Village of Ruidoso is in Lincoln County and next to the Lincoln National Forest. It had a population of approximately 8,000 in 2019 and sits at an elevation of 6,920 feet (2,051 meters). Ruidoso is a popular destination for the ski resorts in the winter. The rest of the year, the village and surrounding area offers lake and river fishing, hiking, exploring local history, and horse racing at Ruidoso Downs.

Artist: Michael Fish

Next we drove to Midtown Ruidoso to check out the independent stores and eateries. We didn’t stay long. With so many out-of-town visitors, it was difficult to find parking and hard to walk on the sidewalk with the families and friends taking up the entire width.

Avoid the crowds on Saturday

We found a much calmer atmosphere when we came back early in the morning one day during the week. With no crowds and few people, I had fun photographing the murals that graced many of the buildings. The Midtown Association funded the public art project, creating a fun outing for photographers and for people who share on social media.

Artist: Jeff Hayes
Artist: Trish Wade
Artisits: Logan Flerity, James Flores, and JB Heard
Artisit: Michael Fish
Artist: M. Rabourn
Artist: Trish Wade

While taking the mural photos, I came across this Citizens Bank building. I sure would like to know why that little wooden door is there.

Little Wooden Door

Another curiosity were the antique vehicles out front of Rusty Balls Speed Shop.

That moving van is going nowhere.

And the final spot in this post goes to the Ruidoso Fire Department’s community-built Wall of Courage mosaic monument. The monument measures twenty by seventy-five feet.

Wall of Courage, Brian Sarinova, designer and lead artist

Stay tuned for more episodes covering our week in Ruidoso.

Safe Travels

8 thoughts on “Summer 2021 Tour Ruidoso, New Mexico Episode 1: We roast in Tucson and arrive in Ruidoso

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