February 7, 2003
Dear Subscriber:

I have been a space groupie since that day in 1961 when I was
13 and I sat in Texas History class listening to the school
P.A. system as Allen Shepherd made that short 15 minute space

My friends and I decided to be astronauts after that.

One guy in our group even went so far in his astronaut training
as to ride the merry-go-round in the city park until he threw
up. His mom, fearing permanent brain damage, made him stop.

Many of us think she was too late. He's a TV sportscaster now.

In subsequent years, we learned it took more than a driver's
license and a taste for Tang orange drink to be an astronaut,
so we settled for other less demanding avocations.

I feel lucky to have been born and raised during such a
progress-rich period in history.

My earliest memories of advancing technology reflect my Dad
putting up an antenna in our back yard in 1953. I asked Dad
what it was all about. He said "It's a TV antenna."

My Dad was always a bit of a joker. I thought "TV" was a word
he made up just to entertain us kids. I wasn't aware then
that that long pole with that spider-like gizmo on top would
introduce me to Milton Berle, Luci and Dezi, Ed Sullivan, Joe
McCarthy, the Beatles and Viet Nam.

The old TV antenna wasn't grounded very well either. You
didn't want to touch it just after the lawn had been watered.
It would give you quite a jolt. For years I thought that was
just another example of my Dad's off-center sense of humor.

In the 40 years since, I have beheld the miracles of global
satellite communications, magnetic resonance imagery, world-
wide internet computer communications and Viagra.

I admit some miracles have been more impressive than others.

We lost 7 very special people last week when the Columbia space
shuttle went down. It didn't take long after the tragedy that
many were suggesting we discontinue space exploration.

Lots of folks that enjoy the ride get a little skittish when
there's a bump in the road.

I've been watching the television coverage of the Columbia loss
since Saturday. One thought keeps recurring to me:

They were our best and brightest and our collective loss is
profound. Their lives were dedicated to going forward. They
were brought down in their quest for the future. They
represented the leading edge of technology that puts America
first in a myriad of areas.

It would be a crying shame to demonstrate to their legacies that
what they were doing was unimportant. It would also be woefully

The best thing we could do in their memory is to pick up the
flag and keep moving forward.

Fear has no place in our move toward the future. The future is
coming, whether we like it or not.

Don Vanlandingham

A cold front brought light snow on Wednesday with the
possibility of more precipitation as the weekend approaches.

Highs in the upper-30s. Lows in the upper teens.
You may already have seen this spectacular photo of the lights
of earth at night, but if not, you will be astonished (or 
astonished again). This image is 395,000 bytes in size.


Two incumbents were defeated in this week's Cloudcroft School
District board elections.

Alan Henry was defeated by challenger Neil Mitchell (419 to
244). Bill Mershon was unseated by Terry Winkles 412 to 247.

Terry Buttram was unopposed in his re-election bid and received
521 votes.

The two mil levy question for the school district passed by a
vote of 463 to 180.

These are unofficial results.
For gifts, party rentals, basket/balloon delivery service in 
Cloudcroft for Valentine's Day, contact Camy Russell-Atkinson
at Alta Vista Chalet Motel. Will deliver for free in the
Cloudcroft area and to middle and high school students. Call
(505) 682-2221.
In Ruidoso.


Q - Have the Stealths at Holloman Air Force Base been sent to
the Middle East?

A - Yes. According to an AP wire report, they left New Mexico
Tuesday (Feb. 4). The number of F-117s deployed is classified.
February 6 -- Cloudcroft girls and boys basketball vs.
Capitan at home.

February 8 -- Cloudcroft girls and boys basketball vs.
Hatch at home.

February 14 -- Cloudcroft girls basketball vs. Tularosa. away.

February 14 -- Cloudcroft boys basketball vs. Tularosa at home.

February 15 -- Cloudcroft girls basketball at Lordsburg.

February 21 -- Cloudcroft girls basketball at Capitan.

February 28 -- Mardi Gras in Cloudcroft. 5 days of festivities.
Call (505) 682-2733 for more info.

Cloudcroft Art Society meets the second Sunday of each month,
2-4pm, in the Old Red Brick School House. Call (505) 682-3004
for more information and details on the Cloudcroft Summer Art

Would you like to help deliver meals to the homebound around
Cloudcroft? Monday through Friday deliveries. Call the
Cloudcroft Senior Center at (505)-682-3022.

Mountain Garden Club meets every third Monday of each month.
Call (505) 682-2910 for more information.

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

Free Vitals Clinic. Cloudcroft Senior Citizens Center, every
Wednesday. High Rolls Senior Citizens Center, first Thursday
of each month.

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


Dear Newsletter:

I had no idea who Bill Mauldin was...wow!

I am impressed! I researched him and put a page of links to
sites about him on my website. I got tired after seeing a
bazillion tributes to the guy...he must have been one neat

Here is the link:


Houston & Florida

Dear Newsletter:

Bill [Mauldin] was several years older than I am. Since he was
one of the older kids, we didn't associate, and I don't remember

However, my mother was teaching at High Rolls when I started
first grade. Mother remembered Bill and often remarked about
the many antics that he pulled. I also had two cousins that
were in Bill's class and remember him very well.

R. L. Posey

Dear Newsletter:

I really enjoyed reading your letter this week. I really look
forward to the newsletter every week. What a brave man was Bill
Mauldin. Sorry to hear about his death. We all need to pray for
our leaders of the USA. And please pray for our troops and their
families as they prepare for war. My heart really goes out to
these families that haft to let their loved ones go to war. I
pray for these every day.

God Bless America!

Shirley Myers
Amarillo, Texas

Dear Newsletter:

Here is an interesting sidelight to your praise of the world's
first invisible airplane, the Stealth F117. When they were first
presented to an air show audience long before they even thought
about moving here from Nevada, every one wanted to take
photographs of the black arrowhead.

Many store-bought cameras use an infrared beam to auto focus the
lens. Infrared light is one of the wave lengths that the Stealth
skin is designed to scatter, so just about everybody's camera
was way out of focus. When the prints came back from the drug
store, a lot of people were disappointed that all the had was
a very fuzzy photo of a black object.

They were suitable impressed however with just how invisible
the aircraft was. You couldn't even capture it on film.

And thus another legend is born.

Richard Haskell

Dear Newsletter:

I have been following with great interest your initial comments
on viewing the F-117 from your ground position and the
subsequent comments from your reader's gallery.

I like what you said. This has prompted me to relate a parallel
incident which occurred some time ago on the 8th Green of the
Lodge Golf Course.

A brief background. I am a retired Air Force Pilot, having
served over 30 years as both a Meteorologist and Pilot. My
service covered all the major conflicts beginning with WWII,
where I was assigned to the 43rd Bombardment Group, 5th Air
Force in the Pacific Theatre of Operations.

Our airplane was the B-24 Liberator which was one of the most
dependable bombing platforms to be born in WWII. I flew combat
missions in New Guinea, the Philippines, Formosa, Okinawa and
Japan. The integrity of this airplane bought me safely home
after 25 missions.

Now to continue... being a resident of Cloudcroft, I am
enamored with The Lodge Golf Course and play it frequently.
One afternoon I was playing with my foursome, and had just
finished playing number 8 and was proceeding to the 9th Tee
Box. Lovely weather, as usual with just a few puffy cumulus
overhead. Cool temperatures, as usual. 

My ears have been tuned to aircraft sounds for many years...I
can identify some jet sounds, but I am more adept at the great
sounds of conventional aircraft, both multi-engine and single

As I was pulling my driver out of the bag, I heard a distant
drone emanating from an easterly direction, perhaps from James
Canyon. It was different from the regular engines we hear
overhead. The pulsating drone came closer, and in my memory
bank, I knew it was four-engine driven.

After hearing B-17's, B-25's and of course B-24's, for many
years, the engine noise was unmistakably Pratt and Whitney.
I had not heard this sound since 1945 when I last flew the B-24.

It drew closer and finally appeared at low level headed straight
for the Golf Course. As it passed through a cumulus, the
beautiful sound of a B-24 became an overhead reality.

What a nostalgic thrill! It was a goose-bump raiser! I knew it
was traveling at 165 miles per hour, it's cruising speed, and
it faded from sight as it headed west toward High Rolls and
Alamogordo, leaving its distinct engine trademark behind. 

The next day a brief article in the Alamogordo News indicated
the airplane would be on display at the airport.

I drove to the airport and contacted the pilot, who was making
a tour of the US for the Collings Foundation, who restored the
airplane to its original condition at a cost of three million

It was in mint condition.

The pilot was some 40 years younger than I was; he was
interested in my experiences, and we sat in the cockpit while I
relished viewing once again the multi-instrumented dashboard of
this wonderful old airplane. 

You observed the F-117, and I watched the B-24 fade into the
western sky. Similar observations, but a different era. (By the
way, I have sat in the F-117 cockpit and marveled at what I

Best regards to those who appreciate our Air Force, past and

Dayton Blanchard
Lt.Colonel, USAF (Ret) 
Cloudcroft, NM

Dear Newsletter:

I just had to write. My husband and I have been reading the
Cloudcroft newsletter since July 2002 after we bought some
acreage in Weed.

We currently live in Atascadero, California and was very
surprised when we read a letter to the editor from someone
else in Atascadero, California. It is a small world.

We are anxiously waiting 'till the time that we can quit what
we are currently doing and move to New Mexico. We look forward
to your newsletter every week. It is great reading.

Donna Smith
Atascadero, CA

Dear Newsletter:

My name is Larry Madden from Kentucky and I ran across your
e-mail address on the internet.

I have been trying to located any family members of Clifton or
Ladine Williams. I was stationed at Holloman in 1966-1968 and
got to know this family, but over the years I have lost contact
with them.

I believe they may be living in High Rolls which I believe is
close to Cloudcroft. 

They had a daughter named Melinda. I was wondering if anyone
would know of this family. Any help you can give me would be
greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Larry Madden
Dixon Kentucky

[If you can help Mr. Madden, email us and we will pass your
email on to him.]

Dear Newsletter:

We were in your wonderful town right after Christmas.

My 17-year-old daughter saw snow for the first time! We are
buying a lot in the Star's End subdivision between Cloudcroft
and Mayhill and can't wait to move there, although it may be
a few years yet. We really enjoy the newsletter.

Barbara Ray
Missouri City, Texas

Dear Newsletter:

My husband and I have been getting your newsletter for several
months now and really do enjoy it. It allows us to stay in touch
with Cloudcroft even though we can't be there.

Last summer, our family was just "scouting" the area, looking
for a nice, cool, wooded area of the country. We live in HOT
AND HUMID Ft. Worth, Texas and hope someday to move to a cooler,
mountain climate.

We had arranged to meet with realtors during the week, but
arrived a day earlier so we could get to know the area first.

With a Lincoln National Forest map in my hands and my husband
at the wheel, we (well, actually, I) decided our nice conversion
van shouldn't have any trouble following those roads that were
listed as "undeveloped".

By the way, it was June and there had been several days of rain
before we arrived. We had several close calls with getting
stuck, the worst being Three Mile Canyon Road.

We (actually I, again) decided we needed to look at one more
area before evening. We ended up on some back road and realized
it was a big mistake because of the recent rains. We couldn't
turn back and just had to keep moving forward. By the way, NO

As we went down a hill, we slid sideways as our van pushed up
against the embankment. We worked for several hours trying to
get unstuck. We put rocks, branches, etc...under the wheels and
even jacked up the front of the van in order to push it off to
get turned around.

My husband was covered in mud trying to get the van out. At one
point, well after dark, our keys accidentally became locked
inside the van. By this time, I was absolutely hysterical,
because I knew that if we were outside in the dark, in the
forest, we would most definitely be eaten by bears or mountain
lions or SOMETHING!

We were able to force a window open (ruining the power window)
and get the van unlocked again. After several hours (and many
new dents in my beautiful van), we finally got the van moving
again, only to discover later that we had driven up to the top
of a mountain and had no idea where we were or how to get back

Luckily, there was cell service on the mountain and we called
911 and were eventually able to get hold of the Park Rangers for
Lincoln National Forest.

Based on just a description of what the road (and the previous
road) appeared to look like in the dark, the ranger instantly
knew we must be on Dry Burnt Canyon Road and was able to tell
us how to get off the mountain.

We got back to our motel about 1 am, muddy and tired. It's
rather humorous looking back on it now. 

Despite our crazy experience, as we looked at land that week,
we absolutely fell in love with Cloudcroft and the entire area.
The ponderosa pines and aspens are just gorgeous!! We ended up
purchasing some land in the Ponderosa Pines Division and hope
to build a cabin in a few years, or perhaps later when we

Since we can't come to Cloudcroft very often, your newsletter
helps bring the beautiful village of Cloudcroft to us. Please
keep the pictures coming!

Gayla Dixon
Azle, Texas

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Copyright © 2003 Cloudcroft Online
The Travel and Visitor's Guide to Cloudcroft, New Mexico.
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