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Safford, Arizona to Lordsburg, New Mexico - Am I Going The Wrong Way?

Lordsburg, New Mexico

March 1, 2020

First, I am sorry for all of my typos and thinkos in my posts. I proofread each post BEFORE I push the “publish” icon, but clearly that’s not working.

Second, sorry for the number of videos I am posting. It seems I am incapable of selecting a handful of photos from each day to post. Bear with me, I’m a work in progress. I know looking at all the photos probably gets tiresome - if you do look at the videos. 🤔

End of my apologies.

Google Maps tells me I drove a whooping 77 miles today along US 70 from Roper Lake State Park to the Pilot Truck Stop in Lordsburg, New Mexico. Those 77 miles took me four hours - so many photo opportunities.

For the most part, the drive is through, well, nothing. I drove into Duncan, Arizona (population < 800 and high school mascot is the wildkat (yes, with a “k”)). I have several photos of Duncan in the slideshow. Another town that time has passed by. I imagine it’s a Trump-leaning population (see photo of church sign in slideshow).

Here’s the Wikipedia entry for Duncan:

Duncan is in the Gila River valley, 4 miles west of the Arizona-New Mexico border. The town limits are on both sides of the Gila, but the primary portion of the town and the entire downtown area lie on the south side of the river. Duncan was founded in the mid 19th century, and the land was added to the United States as a part of the Mexican Cession. The town of Duncan has been destroyed twice by flood and once by fire.

The town and area are primarily populated by ranchers and miners (especially from the Freeport-McMoran copper mines in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico). Surrounding smaller towns such as Franklin and York in Arizona and Virden, New Mexico, use Duncan public works and public schools. The Duncan area along the Gila River is renowned for Native American artifacts such as arrow heads, pottery, burial sites, cave paintings and other remnants of the Anasazi and other pre-historic cultures, as well as artifacts from garrison camps of the expedition of Francisco Vázquez de Coronado.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connorwas born in El Paso, Texas, but grew up near Duncan on the Lazy B ranch, which straddles the border between Arizona and New Mexico. The Day family ran the ranch for many years until selling it; it continues to be run as a ranch. O'Connor later wrote a book titled Lazy B: Growing up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest about her childhood experiences on the ranch.

I drove into Lordsburg around 4 pm and saw the sign for Lee Trevino Drive. He is not from here so I’m not sure why there is a street here with his name. Lordsburg is a town of less than 3,000 people located on The 10. Wikipedia tells us that it is an eight-hour drive from LA making this town a popular stop. There are > 10 hotels near the exit for Lordsburg off I10. The rest of the town is mostly closed businesses and a number of trailer parks. ☹️ As I have learned, who am I to judge. This is home for 3,000 good people and it’s not their fault that whatever supported the town previously apparently doesn’t anymore.

Wikipedia lists a number of cultural references for the town:

Lordsburg is the final destination in Stagecoach, the 9th greatest Western film of all time according to the American Film Institute, starring John Wayne in his breakthrough role as the Ringo Kid, and directed by John Ford. In 1995, this film was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in their National Film Registry.

Lordsburg is mentioned some 20 times in the movie Comanche Station, but not visited once.

In 1965, Lordsburg was mentioned as the main town in the movie Apache Uprising starring Rory Calhoun, Corinne Calvet, Lon Chaney Jr. Gene Evans and DeForest Kelley.

Lordsburg is also cited in the 1954 film Dawn at Socorro. In it, the character played by Piper Laurie tells the Rory Calhoun character that she had seen him in Lordsburg killing someone in a shoot-out. Thus, Rory Calhoun was in two western movies that used the town of Lordsburg.

In the book 'When the Emperor was Divine', the father is mentioned as having been taken away to the Lordsburg internment camp during World War II.

In the book Interred with their Bones, by Jennifer Lee Carrell, the city of Lordsburg is mentioned as near the ghost town of Shakespeare, which ends up being part of the protagonist's search. At one point in the story, the characters fly into the airport in Lordsburg.

Lordsburg is cited as the place where an important event takes place in the fiercely honest and deeply empathetic experiences of a border patrol agent, in the book "The Line Becomes A River", by Francisco Cantu.

Like I said, in 77 miles I saw a lot of photo opportunities. I grouped them into two videos - one video is of a cluster of desert flowers I saw. I tried to get artistic - you be the judge. The second video is of the other scenery. I know you are probably tired of the “Lucian standing in the middle of the road” shots but, yeah, I took some of those. I’m getting better at the landscape shots - they are getting closer to capturing the image that I see in person.

Late breaking update. This was the sunset tonight in Lordsburg, New Mexico.

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