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New Mexico: Recap

Observations Specific to New Mexico:

1. “Thank goodness this terrain is fla…WOW THESE MOUTNAINS ARE STEEP.”

2. As one gentleman told me, when it comes to employment in New Mexico, remember the 3 C’s: copper, cattle, and cotton.

3. Pecan orchards and chile farms blanket the countryside.

4. Loose dogs. What is this? Louisiana?

5. Speaking of dogs, loose dogs are inclined to chase after cyclists. The problem is that towing an eighty-pound trailer makes it difficult to outrun ol’ Sparky, particularly on hilly terrain. But as soon as a vehicle emerges, the chasing dog immediately flees the roadway. It’s as if dogs have been conditioned to avoid traffic, which makes sense given that all of the unconditioned dogs are likely road kill. As a result, whenever a dog begins its chase, I always hope for a passing car. Vehicles are much more effective at deterring dogs than my pepper spray, primarily due to my wild inaccuracy.

6. RV parks are a common sighting. Got to accommodate the snowbirds, I suppose.

7. There are two ways to bail cotton: brick bails or round bails. Case Corporation processes the brick bails and Deere Corporation processes the round bails. That little nugget came complimentary from a Warm Shower host.

8. Like Texas, many of the rivers are devoid of water. Again, this is great if you’re looking for a long and windy sandbox.

9. You don’t eat “burritos.” You eat “burros.” New Mexican burros are tastier than burritos from anywhere else.

10. Like many towns west of Austin, New Mexico maintains its fair share of boomtowns. These boomtowns have largely emerged as a result of the extensive mining operations—principally copper—located in New Mexico. When the price of copper soars, so do the profits of local businesses, including hotels and restaurants. One hotel owner told me that without the influx of mining contractors her hotel business would not be financially sustainable. These small New Mexico towns serve as a great case study for trickledown economics.

11. One person referred to a mining town as “being owned by the mining corporation.” At first, I thought this comment implied that the mining corporation exploited its deep pockets to corrupt local politics. However, I soon discovered that this comment was meant to be taken literally—the mine literally owned an entire town, including the real estate, houses, businesses, and gas stations. I thought the Pullman, Chicago’s of America were a relic of the early Industrial Revolution, not a reality of contemporary America.

12. It seems like every town has some claim to fame (e.g. “Chile Capital of the World” in Hatch, New Mexico). These “claim to fame” titles appear unimpressive in light of the mass exodus of folks from many of these small towns. After all, how can you justify promoting a town when 30% of the homes are abandoned or in disrepair?

13. Many houses are constructed using a pueblo-looking architecture. Pueblos look cool. So do many of the houses.

14. It seems like everyone drives a pickup truck. Is there a state in the southern USA where less than 85% of the people drive pickup trucks? No wonder Americans consume so much oil.

General Observations:

1. I found an occupation which people hate worse than lawyers: war brokers. Selling F-35s to Israel makes practicing law look like charity work. Thanks for making me look like the good guy, Rob. :-)

2. A lot of folks trek across the USA, either on foot or bicycle. Cool to know that such a community exists.

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