#139e Smokey of the Capitans

Fleeter Log #139e
Smokey of the Capitans
2009 April 26

Day 12 - Sunday
April 26, 2009
206 miles

Roswell to Socorro 
New Mexico

Giving up on the search for aliens in Roswell, I thought it time to saddle up and continue my westward trek. It's after 12noon by the time I choose the lesser traveled road of NM246 rather than US380 to take me out of town. Both would serve to get me west, but how could I pass up this road. I saw a total of three vehicles in the 77 miles to Capitan, NM.

Much of the way, I have the El Capitan Mountains as a far off target on the lonely flat stretch of asphalt.

Capitan, NM offers travelers respite and a chance to visit the burial site of the original Smokey Bear.

Smokey was so named after a firefighter found him orphaned by a forest fire in the Capitan Mountains in May of 1950. The fire spared his life, but left the five pound cub with burned paws and no home. He went to live in a zoo in Washington, DC for 26 years, but in death was returned to Capitan to be buried near the mountain where he started his life.
(click on any photo to enlarge)

While stopping to learn about the original Smokey Bear in Capitan, I saw a Vstrom pass by that I had first spotted almost 100 miles ago at the Walmart on my way out of Roswell. Then I saw him again fueling up at the Shell station on the west side of Capitan. I pull and in say hello to my fellow two-wheeled traveler from the east. He rode from West Virginia and is headed to Silver City for the night. Leaving the green pines of Capitan, I led the way while the Vstrom rider followed me across the flat expanse as we passed to the north of the White Sands Missile Range.

When I saw the sign for the Buckhorn, I was reminded that I had read that it has a good reputation as a burger joint. I made a u-turn and pulled in with Vstrom rider seemingly in tow. When he heard my explanation for the stop, he agreed that it was good time to eat and this looked as good as any place. We were disappointed when the riders sitting in the shade called out to us that the Buckhorn was closed today. The other burger joint in town, Owl Bar (also with a good burger reputation), was also closed. No burgers in San Antonio today for us. He turned south on I25 and I turned back through town for a couple more photos.

San Antonio, NM is known in history as the place where Conrad Hilton got his start in the hospitality business. As a young boy he carried travelers' luggage from the train station to his family's hotel. San Antonio isn't a big place. What you see is the whole town. If you look closely, you can almost see the windmill on the other side of town where I took the above photo.

I turned north onto I26 and went just a short 10 miles up the road to the Super 8 where I would lay my head for the night. But before finding the Super 8, I found the Old San Miguel Mission of Socorro, NM.

I stop early tonight since tomorrow I have a long day planned -- not in miles, but in planned stops. The K-Bob next to the hotel takes care of me meal-wise. Not high on character like I supposed the Buckhorn to be, but open for business and within walking distance of my room. There's always trade-offs.

Tomorrow: Will I make "contact"?
Copyright 2009 Fleeter Logs

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