March 22, 2002
Dear Subscriber:

Peggy just put up new curtains in the office. Pretty prints of
dogs and cats. I love dogs. I tolerate cats.


A few weeks ago in The Newsletter, I took a smartish, satirical
view of the operator's manual that came with the 6-wheel-drive
ATV we brought into the family for maintenance purposes.


I made fun of the constant reference in the manual with regard
to "failure to follow these instructions can result in serious
injury or death."

Funny then. Not so funny now.

I took my mini-monster truck into the woods last week. It was
an innocent excursion. I was supposed to be on my rounds
checking our properties, but I wanted to see what this baby
could do.

I was following a clearing made by the power company for some
recently installed lines. The grade was fairly severe. My mind
reflected back to the picture and accompanying paragraph in the
manual admonishing owners not to attempt climbing severe hills.

The stupid surfaced in me. Forget the manual. I decided to
see what this baby could do.

Mistake number one...I attempted the hill in high gear. I
should have been in low gear. I should have been at home.

Mistake number two...I was in 4-wheel-drive. This particular
ATV is equipped with 6 wheel drive. I should have been in 6-
wheel-drive. I discovered my error when the machine stalled and
began rolling backward. I applied all brakes. Now, instead of
rolling backward downhill, I was skidding backward.

Trying to keep my head above a growing flood of panic, I
remembered the manual. It said (synopsizing and embellishing)
"If you're dumb enough to get yourself into this situation,
turn the vehicle and try to get it headed down the hill nose

Lord knows I tried.

Physics took over and the ATV began tipping sideways. All of a
sudden this toy I had taken lightly became a giant mass of metal
and rubber that was rolling over. I shoved myself away...trying
to put as much distance between me and this lost cause as I
could. I hit the rocky ground hard but it didn't hurt. I was
too busy trying to dodge this growling machine tumbling my way
to notice any pain.

I rolled head over heals down the hill. Every time I rolled
within the field of vision of the ATV, it seemed to be gaining
on me. It, too, was coming down the hill end-over-end.

It's true what they say. In situations like these, things seem
to move in slow motion. I had time to remember that this was
the classic tragic situation involving such vehicles. They
roll over and smush their riders. I was coming precariously
close to becoming the smushee.

I'm not sure how, but on what seemed to be my umpteenth roll I
regained my footing. The machine was still coming toward me but
it had quit tumbling and was now rolling on it's wheels wildly
from side-to-side.

"Whoa, boy," I said out loud. I instantly became aware those
silly words would become my last if I didn't get out of this
beast's way.

Providence presented a large rock under the ATV's left-front
tire. It jerked to a stop. The motor was still idling...as if
nothing had happened.

My first thought was "that is one tough piece of equipment."

My second thought was my knee hurts...my leg hurts...my other
knee hurts...my shoulder hurts...where's my hat?...boy, am I

Carefully...VERY carefully...I manipulated the ATV into a
nose-first trajectory down the hill and drove home. While riding
along, I recalled with a new-found respect the admonishments of
the manual. I also remembered my mom saying years ago "Don't do
that! You'll put your eye out!"

I laughed out loud. I was glad to be alive and in no immediate
need of an ambulance.

You're not too old to learn. From now on, the ATV will be used
for what I bought it for...a work vehicle around our properties.

Cheryl, our neighbor from down the road, came by yesterday on
her ATV.

She said when we all had the chance, we should saddle up and
take our machines out into the great unknown and blaze some new

I didn't tell her, but I think I've had enough blazing for a

The wilderness calls...but from now on the answering machine
will have to pick up.

Don Vanlandingham

In the early spring, the weather is erratic in the Sacramentos.
Two days ago the high temp was in the 60s. Now it is chilly
with a light snowfall. It looks like snow, but it smells like
rain. In any case, it is much needed moisture.

High winds and a lack of recent moisture has increased the fire
danger. No restrictions on forest use as of now.

Highs in the 60s. Lows, on average, in the mid-20s.
Arson is suspected as the cause of a forest fire on the
Mescalero reservation this past week. A total of 60 acres were
involved in two separate fires. About 150 people were involved
in fighting the blazes, which are both extinguished. No
property damage and no injuries reported.
Fun for kids of all ages! Located in Alameda Park, 1991 N.
White Sands Blvd in Alamogordo. Open Wednesday through Sunday
12:00 noon to 5:00 pm. Our 16 Gauge Train Ride runs every 30
minutes. Visit our Model Train Display and Museum!
(505) 437-2855.
The National Atomic Museum is located on Kirtland Air Force
Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico, approximately 6 miles from the

Hours: Open every day from 9am to 5pm. (With the exception
of New Years Day, Easter, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.)

For more information contact: Becky Kenny - rekenny@sandia.gov,
or call the Museum at (505) 284-3243.


Q - Are there skunks around Cloudcroft?

A - There are skunks everywhere...including around Cloudcroft.
An encounter with a skunk is unpleasant and isn't something the
Chamber of Commerce likes to talk about, but the little urchins
are a part of our ecosystem.

The good news is they feed on mice and other undesirable

The bad news is they occasionally stink, but only if provoked
or cornered.

The best way to avoid a smelly encounter -- do not leave a food
source outside such as dog food or uncovered trash. Seal off
access under your house. If you suspect a skunk has taken up
residence under your house, put several moth balls into an old
sock, tie it closed with a string and toss it under the house.
Skunks don't like the smell of moth balls. After a couple of
days, having given the critters a chance to move on, retrieve
your moth ball sock and seal up the access.

Don't leave the mothballs in place. People don't like the
smell of mothballs, either.

There are dozens of concoctions claimed to get rid of the smell
of a skunk, but the only one that works is time.

Do you have a favorite skunk smell remedy? Let us know.
March 23 -- Dance and auction fund-raiser. 6:30pm. Weed, NM.

March 23 -- FCE quilt show. Otero County Fairgrounds,
Alamogordo. 9am-2pm.

March 25-29 -- Easter Revival at Cloudcroft United Methodist 
Church each night at 7pm.

March 27 -- "Big River". Broadway Musical. Flickinger Center,
Alamogordo. One performance. 7:30pm. (505) 437-2202.

March 30 -- Easter Egg Hunt, Zenith Park, Cloudcroft, 10am.
For more information, call (505) 682-2733.

March 30 -- Easter Bonnet Parade. Downtown Cloudcroft. 2pm.
For more information, call (505) 682-2733.

March 30 -- Community Easter Egg Hunt and luncheon. Rio Panasco
Park, Mayhill.

March 31 -- Timberon Easter Egg Hunt. 1pm.

March 31 -- Easter Sunrise Service, 7am at the Cloudcroft
United Methodist Church. Dr. Lowell Swisher will bring the

March 31 -- Easter Breakfast, 8am at the Cloudcroft United
Methodist Church following the Sunrise Service. The Breakfast
is a fundraising project of the Methodist Women's Group.

Lydia Aspen will have an autobiographical art exhibit at the
NMSU-A Townsend Library Gallery through March.

April 6 -- Trinity Site Tour, line-up 7:15am Otero County
Fairgrounds, depart 8am.
For more information, call (505) 437-6120 or 800-826-0294.

April 12-14 -- Trinity All-Arabian Horse Show, Otero County
Fairgrounds, for more information, call (505) 437-9367.

April 14 -- 14th Annual Bataan Memorial Death March, White
Sands Missile Range, for an application booklet call 
505-678-3374, register on-line at www.wsmr.army.mil.

April 20-21 -- Rattlesnake Roundup. Otero County Fairgrounds.
For more information call (505) 437-7116.

April 26-28 -- Cloudcroft Dance Theatre, Artesia.
For more information, call (505) 687-3192.

April 27 -- Moonlight Bicycle Ride, 8:30pm, White Sands
National Monument, advance registration required.
For more information, call (505) 479-6124 or (505) 679-2599.

May 4-5 -- High Altitude Classic Bike Race.
For more information, call (505) 682-1229.

May 11 -- Old Timer's Reunion, Cloudcroft High School, 12pm.
For more information, call (505) 682-2932.

July 4-6 -- 35th Carlsbad NM Senior High Reunion. For more
information, contact csi@greymane.com or visit www.chs68.com.

Cloudcroft Art Society meets the first Sunday of each month,
2-4pm, in the Old Red Brick School House. Call (505) 682-2494
for more information.

Senior Van from Timberon to Alamogordo leaves the Timberon
Lodge promptly at 8:30am every Tuesday morning.

For information on highway closings for missile testing between
Alamogordo and Las Cruces/El Paso, call (800) 432-4269.

If you have news of public events in the Cloudcroft area, email

For an online calendar of area events, click the Events Calendar
link in the left column of our home page:


Dear Newsletter:

The nerve you must have. Cranking out these newsletters every
week that describe all of the hometown small items and functions
that we don't have and can't get here in the big city. What a
gyp. I can't believe that you put out this mindless dribble
designed to ease our minds and help us remember the days spent
in the Sacramento's frolicking with no cares and worries.

It is absolutely unforgivable that you would week after week
shower us with your wit and fancy expecting us to take it
calmly and not say anything about this outrageous injustice
you have created every week.

Well I only have one thing to say about it. FOR GODS SAKE PLEASE

Philip Duncan
The Woodlands, Texas
By way of Carlsbad, New Mexico

Dear Newsletter:

A very interesting story about your Mother-in-law and Father-in
-law. Glad things worked out for them after all. I guess that
was a shock for you guys.

Thanks for the newsletter again. I love to read them.


Dear Newsletter:

I can't tell you how much I enjoy your newsletter! I can only
compare the tone and manor to one other....

Your style is very appealing to me...(now mind you I actually
took comp and ret in High School and 101 as a freshman in
college), so I surely would recognize skills above the average,
you see.

In addition to the pleasure of your writing, I happen to have
the pleasure of your brother's friendship. He is a true friend,
one I can count on, as I'm sure you do. I am glad you are doing
well, and kudos again on the excellent letters!

Hope to see you sometime, maybe I'll drag Dick along, and we'll
"chase the pill" around again.

Robert Frizzell

Dear Newsletter:

I must admit, when I first arrived at Holloman AFB in 1973, I
hated the place. After all, I came from Florida, where the green
was everywhere. And you must agree, it can be pretty brown in
the Southwest.

But after a while there, I really got to liking the desert. One
day soon after I had arrived, I decided to drive up to
Cloudcroft. I can still remember the first time I drove through
the tunnel - I thought I had entered a new state!

It was really beautiful, compared to the stark desert back
below. Driving on, I remember the first time I saw the trestle,
it was like a scene from a movie. What a neat place!

The real eye-treat came when I reached Sunspot. Wow! It was a
beautiful day and you could see back towards Holloman and White
Sands. It was just breathtaking. As a flatlander, I was truly
impressed with the view.

I have other memories there, but for now I wanted to add my
"natural phenomenon story" to the growing list you have

The time was between 1973 and 1976. We were driving towards El
Paso via Highway 54 on a beautiful, cloudless day. About the
time we were passing Orogrande, we noticed a thunderstorm off
towards the Southeast.

So what? Thunderstorms are common on the desert, but this was
unique. It was the first, and only time that I ever saw a
complete thunderstorm by itself! You could see it in 3D -
completely around it. It was just hanging around by itself,
like it was the only storm in the world.

While it climbed tens of thousands of feet, it was maybe 10
miles across (I'm guessing) and was raining hard on some poor
rabbit below (I'm guessing again - but I have a good chance of
being correct). Bolts of lightning fell on the earth directly
below the storm, while we drove along in the sunshine. Truly,
it was a most memorable experience. And I would have missed it
all if I had gone to Bitburg AFB in Germany instead of Holloman.

One day soon, I'll be back in Cloudcroft. More stories, later.

(Jim Tippins)

Dear Newsletter:

Thank you very much Ms. Scott

I got an e-mail Friday morning from my sister. In it she asked
my wife not to let me read this weeks newsletter (#101). Fat
chance! I get the letter delivered to both my home and office
address. Since I'm at my desk by 4:00 AM, I had read the
newsletter (my first choice) before opening my sister's note.
It appears that she was worried that I might get a big head,
when I found the "fan letter" as she put it!

I would first like to point out, that I am not the sort of
person that lets a little recognition go to his head. I must
also state that although I do have a big head, it is physically
big, NOT emotionally big. 

(Remind me to tell you where you can find hats for people who
are cranially endowed)

Now, although Beth Scott seems to be a highly intelligent person
(and I base this opinion solely on her letter) I would hardly
refer to her intuitive perspective of my writing as being a fan
letter. I believe that her note was short, to the point and I
thank her for it.

Bob, Ray, I didn't see anything in the "Dear Newsletter" section
from you.

Don, I would also like to add my congratulations, as to you
reaching the century mark. For the newsletter that is! The
haircut story was great. It flashed me back to when I was just
wee lad. Carol was right-on; the smell of bay rum is right there
at the top of the list, for comforting scents.

Bill White
Phoenix, Arizona

PS. Sorry I almost forgot... I have no connection with the
following business. But being a person with an exceptional gourd
on his shoulders, I have always found that when it comes to ball
caps, one size most definitely does not fit all. For anyone else
out there that might have a similar problem check out

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Copyright © 2002 Cloudcroft Online
The Travel and Visitor's Guide to Cloudcroft, New Mexico.
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