My wife and I spent a week in southeast New Mexico, from February 3rd to the 10th. I’ve broken this trip report into three segments; Las Cruces, Silver City and Truth or Consequences.
Truth or Consequences Part III of III
We headed for Truth or Consequences (spoken of as TorC by locals) on Tuesday, February 7th. Using Route 152, which on a map seemed like a short cut, we again found ourselves on a treacherous side of the mountain road. Although only ninety miles away, Route 152 takes forever to drive over. The roadway itself is fine, a fairly wide, well maintained road. The problem is, there are no barriers to the side of the road and the thousands of foot drop-off alongside it. There seemed to be innumerable hair-pin turns and you’d be heading for a curve with nothing but thousands of feet of air between you and the ground if you went over the edge. There are no speed signs on that road except for the 15 MPH warnings at the sharp turns. No speed signs were necessary, as we couldn’t go much faster than 20 miles an hour anyway. Once we got into TorC we found out that not many local folks use that road. It’s actually quicker to get from Silver to TorC using a route with more miles. Be warned. Don’t use this road at night, period, or during inclement weather and don’t use it if you have a fear of heights.
A word about the how the town of Hot Springs (its original name) got to be called Truth or Consequences. It seems there was a television show in the 1950s which ran a contest. Any town that would change its name to the show’s name would be honored with a yearly event. At any rate, this little town took them up on it and it’s still a big deal there.
After settling into the Sierra Grande Spa, a 1929 building that clearly has been renovated recently, we went off exploring the area. We started at the Geronimo Springs Museum (also the next door tourist information center). It’s a good place to start with lots of local information to be seen. One should remember that it wasn’t that long ago that this was a pretty wild place. It took tough folks to live their lives out here and that spirit of independence continues.
In truth, there isn’t a heck of a lot to do in TorC. We drove over to Elephant Butte (pronounced “beaut”), which has a damn and the largest body of water for may miles. Lots of boats were to be seen, with businesses built around their storage and maintenance. Unfortunately we were informed that the area was in a 500 year draught and the water level in the dam was quite low. I was also told that during their season, the summer (hard to believe due to the heat of the day at that time of the year) 120,000 people come into the area for the boating recreation available.
TorC has two main roads, Broadway and Main Street. Lots of small businesses and a few restaurants are located along these streets. On the side streets are lots and lots of trailer parks, with a handful of private homes situated mostly in the parts of town which afford a nice view of the distant mountains.
Economically the area seems quite depressed. Which is too bad, as the folks were nice and the area has the potential for a productive tourist industry due to its great winter weather. I noted lots of chatter and press about a “space-port” which people hoped would come to the region. This is supposed to bring jobs to the locals and be a boon to the area’s economy. I certainly hope the projections are correct, but it seemed to me that the people there are putting an awful lot of hope into a single, on-the-planning board only, and highly speculative venture.
On Thursday we left for El Paso. On the way there we stopped in at the War Eagles Air Museum. It’s located in NM, off of Exit 8 on Route 10 (7 miles from the exit, but easy to get to). If you’re an aviation buff it’s worth the detour. Lots of flying condition WWII military aircraft plus some former Soviet fighters.