2008.07.04 Independence Day in the Mountains


Happy Birthday, America! We decided to celebrate in high style by attending two parades and a fireworks show.

Our plan was to leave the house at 9:00 for the 10:00 parade in Red River. We pulled out at 9:20 (we think we’re getting better with age) and pulled into Red River about 15 minutes later. We found a great spot at the starting line of the parade. The people are so friendly in Red River, not that we met any locals. We have heard that the population is 400, but all of the tourists seem very personable. We have found that when we wear our O-State orange, we tend to make a lot of friends.


Miles, Mallory and Marissa enjoying the Independence Day Parade in Red River, NM


This was a good, old-fashioned parade in Red River. It contained the customary police cars, fire trucks and Shriners. Aside from that, there were mariachi bands, dance teams, and family reunions that had made their own float and made themselves an active part of the parade. There was also a float celebrating Roswell’s first contact with aliens! (That was a family favorite!)


The best float in the Red River parade - the Roswell float


The parade lasted a good 45 minutes and we literally brought back an ice bag full of candy. Being at the front of the parade does have its advantages, as far as the parade participants are very free & easy with the candy!


A pic of the parade route in Red River


After the parade, we came back to Elizabethtown (sometimes conveniently known as E-town) and paid a visit to the Elizabethtown Museum. The museum is run by the Mutz family and several of them were there when we arrived. We first watched a 10 minute video that was from a “Ghost Towns of New Mexico” DVD that was very professionally done. We then took a tour of the museum, which contained artifacts of early E-town as well as some other older assorted pieces (such as a 1950 era television and a fancy “Buck Rogers inspired” 1930s tricycle). There was also a livery stable that contained an old tractor and some other hay-cutting equipment.


Group photo at the Elizabethtown Museum. Notice the attractive beads we had received at the Red River parade!


To top off the experience, Beni Jo’s friend, Ken, brought out a tomahawk and we all took turns throwing the tomahawk at a stump. Mallory, KK and PK all threw the tomahawk but could not get it to stick, but myself, Miles, Scott and Erin all were able to successfully throw the tomahawk. While Erin was the first to get it to stick, and proved to us that it could be done, Scott was a professional tomahawk thrower by the end of the session. He stuck it in the stump at least six times. (Note to self: Don’t make Scott mad when he’s holding an axe!)


Scott, the Tomahawk Champ!


After a very quick lunch at the hacienda, we went into Eagle Nest for the 2:00 parade. We found us a spot on the road to set up our lawn chairs in front of the Gold Pan Motel. The parade in Eagle Nest was excellent. They even had a 15 piece band playing patriotic songs being hauled down the parade route. The sun was out in full force, and several of us got sunburns!


Enjoying the Eagle Nest Independence Day Parade


While we were at the parade, Scott and Erin went to the Lucky Shoe Saloon to enjoy the complimentary wi-fi we have been utilizing on the trip. They also ordered a piece of pie as a courtesy. But what they found was the continuation of the poor service that we have received while on this trip. They actually saw four or five tables of people get up and leave because they could not get any service. Scott and Erin actually didn’t care, because they were happy using the internet even if they didn’t get any food. But after they had been there a while, the internet connection went down, and they are suspicious that the staff actually turned off the wi-fi just to get them out of the restaurant. The few times we have received good service, you just want to throw your money at them in appreciation.

After the parade, we traveled back to Red River for our horseback ride. It rained on us during our drive, and up near Bobcat Pass, we again saw that snow had fallen. Scott, Erin, Mallory and I all rode on the 1 hour ride. They took us up the side of a mountain and back down. There about 20 horses in our group, so it was a pretty good sized group and we were spread out considerably. The ride was pretty dusty as the trail was crushed rock, but that didn’t stop us from having a great time. I was riding behind Mallory and about once a minute, she would turn around and look at me with a huge grin on her face. Mallory’s horse’s name was King, and mine was Roadrunner. Roadrunner was a pig of a horse, so he was constantly trying to get off the trail and eat some grass.


Mallory and her horse named King


Scott and Erin on their horses, Clay and Captain Jack


Mallory and Steve on horseback


During our horseback ride, Stephanie, Miles and Marissa went into town on a quest to find an electric car for Miles to ride. Unfortunately, they were told that you had to be 16 to drive one, and they only held two people, so that turned out to be a long hour for them. Stephanie did find a nice man who owned one of the local businesses who told her quite a bit about Red River, its population and best times to visit (January/February for snow skiing).

We made an effort to eat in Red River, but the few places we stopped at had a 45 minute to hour wait, so we ultimately came back to the hacienda and grilled some hamburgers. PK and KK had decided to spend the afternoon back at the ranch, instead of going back to Red River. Sometimes you can only stand so much excitement!

We drove into Eagle Nest for the fireworks, which were shot off over the Eagle Nest Lake (a man made lake). We found us a good spot on the side of town closer to E-Town, and settled into our lawn chairs. Half of the group enjoyed a rousing game of Phase 10 cards. It was also very interesting in that we were all bundled up like it was winter time. The temp was down at least near 60, and everybody was wearing all of the warm clothes that they brought. We enjoyed a 40 minute fireworks show, but it is definitely better when synchronized with patriotic music like they do back in Tulsa.

The traffic getting out of Eagle Nest after the fireworks was amazing. Heading back toward E-Town, we traveled at a brisk pace of 5 mph for several miles, and looking back toward the road to Angelfire, you could tell they were doing about the same, with the miles and miles of red taillights.

We got back to the hacienda a little after 10 and the packing commenced. It was nice to have most of the stuff sorted and put away before the day of departure.

We enjoyed our last day in the mountains by celebrating our country’s freedoms and beauty. Even though we packed a lot in, everything we did was close to base camp, so it felt like more of a leisurely day. Mallory’s favorite part of the day was the horseback ride, Marissa’s favorite was the parades (with candy!) and Miles’ favorite part was the fireworks show.


Miles likes to display his purchases while vacationing. Here are his rocks that he has bought and found, while on this trip.



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