August 24, 2001
Dear Subscriber:

Could it be? The last week in August is approaching. Perhaps
it is the influence of the calendar that makes the air feel a
little more brisk. No, that was the furnace coming on that woke
me up before dawn this morning.

I go over in my mind the list of things I wanted to do this
summer and I barely got started. Either my list was too long or
the summer was too short.

No need to panic. Cloudcroft is almost 2 miles high, but it is
also about as far south as you can get in the US and still be
in the upper altitudes. That means short sleeve days that may
extend as far into the fall as November.

The merchants around the village are preparing to grab the last
piece of tourist pie during the Labor Day weekend. Since there
are no competing functions in Zenith Park, Labor Day weekend is
by far the busiest weekend of the year on Burro Avenue.

The Cloudcroft kids went back to school this week. While we 
have no school-agers in our house, it has changed our routine 
a bit, nevertheless.

The youngsters in our neighborhood meet the school bus at 
around 7:30. That means that our 4 dogs no longer have the
summer luxury of sleeping in. They must go out the doggy-door,
run to the fence, and "bark" the kids to school.

After the big yellow doors of the school bus close, they come
back in the doggy door and hit the snooze button for another 
half hour.

The Chamber of Commerce is fond of saying we have 4 distinctive
seasons here in the Sacramentos. It's not just propaganda. Fall
is one of my favorites. The ridges and hills change into a more
colorful coat. The smell of fireplace smoke lets you know 
winter is not far away.

So many things left on my "to do" list and so little summer 
left. Hand me that Magic Marker. I'll fix that "to do" list.

Don Vanlandingham

It IS getting cooler. Highs in the Cloudcroft area are barely
making it to 70 and the lows are dropping into the low-40s.

Still raining just about every other afternoon. It has been a
good summer for moisture.
Cloudcroft Bears vs Hagerman this Friday night in Hagerman.
First football game of the season.


The Forest Service has removed about 4 dozen trees from the Ski
Cloudcroft slopes to enhance the safety of skiers. No new word
on whether or not Ski Cloudcroft will be open this winter. A
village spokesperson says the issue is still under litigation.
The ski area has seen only very limited operation in the past
3 years due to a lack of natural snowfall.
Recapture the almost forgotten ambiance of the Boardinghouse!

This updated version of a log home is furnished with comfortable
country antiques, complete with wood burning stove, decks that
overlook Cloudcroft, and a cozy kitchen where an old fashioned
breakfast is served daily. All rooms have queen beds, private
baths, and lovely views. Just a half block from the "boardwalk"
shopping area.

See their link the Lodging page of Cloudcroft.com for more


The Sacramento Forest Ranger District Office now has a 24 hour
toll-free number for public use to report possible wild fires.

The number is 1-(887)-695-1663.
Q - It seems littering is more of a problem this summer in the
village than in past years. Is this so?

A - Most of the littering is not the doing of two-legged
culprits. It seems more bears have discovered the easy pickin'
around village dumpsters. Village officials are asking that
residents be extra vigilant in keeping dumpsters secured.
August 24 -- Cloudcroft/Hagerman football game (away).

September 1-2 -- Labor Day Fiesta. Sidewalk sales,
entertainment, street dance, and games for kids.
For more information, call (505) 682-2733.

September 1 -- Cloudcroft Bears vs Jal (football) (home).

September 7 -- Cloudcroft Bears vs Tularosa (football) (away).

September 8 -- Mile High Grand Prix. Ski Cloudcroft.
Proceeds benefit Special Olympics.
For information call (806) 794-0624.

September 9 -- 42nd Mile High Enduro. Starts at Triple M
Snowplay Area. Route is environmentally correct.
For information call (806) 794-0624.

September 13 -- Demonstration by Jim Folan on Batik.
Cloudcroft Art Society 1-3pm.
For information call (505) 682-2494.

September 15 -- Enchanted Jazz Festival.
Alamogordo, New Mexico.
For more information, call (505) 434-0559.

September 15 -- Cloudcroft Bears vs Hatch (football) (home).

September 15-16 -- Hot Air Balloon Invitational.
White Sand National Monument.
For more information, call (505) 682-3785.

September 16 -- Governor's 10k Run/Walk.
40k Time Trial Bike Race.
For more information, call (505) 687-2133.

September 21 -- Cloudcroft Bears vs Ft. Sumner (football)

September 22 -- Oktoberfest. Holloman AFB.

September 28 -- Cloudcroft Bears vs Lordsburg (football)

September 29-30 Aspencade Tours.

October 6 -- Cloudcroft vs Faith Christian (football) (home).

October 6, 7 -- Art in the Aspens. Juried art show. Zenith

October 6, 7 -- Aspencade Tours.

October 12 -- Cloudcroft vs Capitan (football) (away).

October 19 -- Cloudcroft vs Animas (football) (away).

October 20, 21 -- Apple Festival. High Rolls.

Cloudcroft Art Society meets the second Thursday of each month
in the Old Red Brick School House. Call (505) 682-2494 for
more information. Beginning in October, the monthly meetings
change to the first Sunday of each month, 2-4pm.

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

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:

I read with interest of your first encounter with Gerald Thomas
and in a small way I could relate to it.

I try to collect books by local authors and when Dr. Thomas 
wrote "Torpedo Squadron Four" I picked up a copy. I decided it
would be nice to get it signed and called Dr. Thomas to see if
it could be arranged. He invited me to come to his office at 
NMSU at a mutually agreed time where he would be happy to do

But, I'm getting ahead of myself. A little background first.
I had seen Dr. and Mrs. Thomas around at college events and so
on. I could tell this man was the genuine article from the
onset, the "real deal" as the saying goes, even before I met
him. Do you ever have that feeling about someone? It was
obvious he was highly regarded in the community.

Being a college dropout, I was a little intimidated when I
arrived at the hub of academia for the signing, but Gerald, not
surprisingly, turned out to be very personable and immediately
put me at ease. We had a great conversation! He was interested
in who I was and what I did and suddenly the book signing 
seemed to take a back seat to a friendly chat. How gratifying
it was when he related to me that he had almost entered the 
same profession as myself, a US Border Patrol Agent, when he
returned from WWII and was starting out.

In today's world, we tend to be suspicious of public figures,
but I have always felt there are many leaders of institutions
and government who honestly have our best interests in mind.
Certainly, my visit with Gerald Thomas served to re-enforce
that belief. 

By the way, the inscription reads, "To Paul - In the interest
of individual freedom and world peace." 

Not much else to be said....

Paul F. Wells
Las Cruces, NM.

Dear Newsletter:

RE: Your Dumpster story (or) you know you're retired when....

We city folks actually have a name for it - "DUMPSTER DIVING"!
My girlfriend & I occasionally take score on what we've found
in dumpsters of late....

Me: 25 feet of bubblewrap; her: cat (live one).

Of course, her dumpster is in the country, much like yours.

I have the pleasure of having my entire 12-floor office peering
out of the window while I go after some bubble in the building
dumpster! Hey it's $12.00 a role!

I was trying to figure out how I could get a potted plant out
of there last week, but I was afraid the sides were too high &
I would get trapped in there. There hasn't been much news 
around here lately, so that could make the front page.

I have no pride,
Wilma Flintstone

(No way am I giving my name on this one!)

Dear Newsletter:

Yes, it is also hot in Temple...just 65 miles N of Austin. 
Liked the story from the Austin Nut as well as the trip to the
dump! My husband can remember back 40+ years ago when he used
to go to the dump to "shop" with his Mother.

Cloudcroft sounds heavenly. We lived in Colorado Springs for
a couple of years and can understand that no AC is needed in
the mountains. I want to move to Cloudcroft and I have never
even seen the place. My pastor and music leader goes on and on
about Cloudcroft and I found you guys on the "web".

As soon as we are able, we will come visit!

Temple, Texas

Dear Don:

Well, you must live in a pretty "high brow" neighborhood! I know
for a fact that if one of my neighbors and I had spotted a
potential dumpster diving jewel like a workbench, we'd have
been elbowing each other and arguing over who saw it first.

By the way, I can see right through you. A family of 2 generates
enough trash to necessitate a daily dump run? Really, now.

A Fellow Cloudcroft Dumpster Diver

Dear Newsletter:

I'm sorry to hear you lost the battle of wits with your dump-
diving neighbor.

As an artist who used to have enough shop space to work larger
sculptures, I used to dumpster dive on a regular basis. It's 
truly amazing what we, as a society, throw away. One person's
trash is truly another's treasure, often times. My favorite
dumpsters were those located in commercial manufacturing
complexes where I could always find some new and interesting

It kept my creative juices flowing trying to figure out what
sculptural wonder I might construct from the variety of scrap
I accumulated. If you find a lot of broken ceramic tile on one
of your daily visits to your dump, would you please let me

All the best,
Jack Schuller
Ruidoso, NM.

Dear Newsletter:

Your dumpster article was great! This of course makes you and
your friend excellent candidates to start the southern New 
Mexico chapter of FOODD, better known as the Fraternal Order Of
Dumpster Divers. You two could become the rallying point for
all the other divers around which can then gather to compare
notes, discuss their treasures and their disappointments.

Hey, you may even find the ones that found your old "treasures".

Keep up the good work, and keep us informed on your treasures
and how you find them ;-))))>

Andy Homeyer
Mayhill, NM.

Dear Newsletter:

Well, have I got some "TRASH" stories for you.

Before Jay & I moved to Wimberley, TX, I used to walk from 5
to 6 am every morning in our neighborhood. Most everyone was
still in bed and I had the entire neighborhood to myself.

On trash days, which were twice a week, I could hardly wait to
get out of the house.

I just couldn't help myself. I brought more stuff home than you
can imagine. Remember, in my previous letter, I told you how
my friends and I would have 2 garage sales a year. Well, most
of the stuff I sold once belonged to my neighbors.

Believe you me, the $$$ I made from this Sanford & Son business
kept our daughters in designer jeans for years.

On one very cold morning, about 6 blocks from our house, I ran
across a 4-piece set of luggage. I had to have it. I would get
about $5 for each piece, but it was too far for me to carry all
the way back so I ran home as fast as I could and got Jay's car
and drove over and picked it up.

Since Jay was leaving early that morning to go to work, and
since it was so cold out, I thought I'd just leave his car
running with the heater on and when he got ready to leave he'd
have a nice warm car to go to work in. He thought that was so
thoughtful of me until he saw the luggage sitting out on the
back porch and asked where it came from. I had to give in and
tell him I had driven his car to pick it up. He just about died
because now if anyone had seen his car they would think "HE"
was rummaging through their trash. He was not too happy with me
and asked why I didn't take "MY" car. I couldn't take "MY" car
I told him, everyone in town knows what it looks like.

Another morning I found a big pinball machine. I wasn't too far
from home so just decided to carry it. No one was up anyway and
surely I wouldn't be seen since it was still dark out. As I
walked along lugging that thing, I hadn't thought about the
metal balls rolling around in that durn thing, making all kinds
of noise every time they hit the gongs and rolled against the
plastic sides.

I was almost home, though, and for the first time ever, coming
down the street was a couple out for their morning run. I had
never, ever seen anyone else out at that time of morning and
all I could do was say good morning and keep going dinging and
donging. Got $15 bucks for that little jewel though at the 
spring garage sale.

We also never bought a new TV in all those years. We had one
for almost every room in the house. Did you know for hardly
nothing you can get one back in working condition?

I had just about pushed Jay to the limit with my excursions so
he laid the law down and told me to stay out of the trash, but
I couldn't help myself, I was addicted. I don't know where you
send people with this kind of addiction, but he was going to
find the place if I didn't stop.

Well, I did stop for awhile, but it killed me. Until one day in
the mail I received a miners hat with a light on the front of
it. My friend had moved to Ohio and she found this hat in a
garage sale and knew I could use it. Believe you me, it worked
like a charm. I could use both hands to dig with and now could
see what I was digging for. Hallelujah, I was going to be the
richest stay-at-home-mom in town.

Finally, when we decided to move to Wimberley, Jay said no more
garage sales and no more digging in the trash. We're sort of
out in the country and don't have many neighbors close by, so
he figured I could get a new start and he would have a 
respectable reputation of not being married to a "trashy"

While we were building the house, we came here every week-end
and brought stuff to put in a storage building so we wouldn't
have so much to move when the time came.

Well, you'll never guess what they have at those storage building
sites? Huge DUMPSTERS! That's right, and as I was throwing some
stuff away in one of those dumpsters, it was full of the best
stuff you've ever seen in your life. "GOLD MINE" Las Vega Jack
Pot! I called Jay and our friend over to look and Jay kept
hollering at me to get out of that D*** dumpster before he came
over and pulled me out. I said no, come quick you're not going
to believe it.

Finally they strode over and peeked in and gasped when they saw
an entire store of scuba equipment. Everything you can think
of. Well, of course we thought it was stolen because everything
was new and who uses scuba equipment in the Hill Country? Nobody
I ever heard of. I finally talked Jay into taking it all out to
survey what was there and ran across someone's name, address
and phone # on some paper work. We called the person and he
told us he had been a salesman and was closing out his line and
just threw everything away. We could have it if we wanted it.

Before we took it we checked with the storage people and they
said it was true and we could take it.

Well, when we got back to Richmond with the loot we showed it
to our next door neighbor, who just happened to be a rescue
diver with the City of Houston Police department. He took a
survey, checked out the guy who owned it, and came back and
said for us to do with it what we ever we wanted. It was not
stolen goods.

Well, to make a long story short, every diver with the Houston
Police rescue team came and bought everything. Are you sitting
down for this? $1,800.00!!!!

That's right folks.

A little advice here before I close, one man's TRASH is 
another man's TREASURE.

Gay Lynn Chism
Cedar Hill Guest Quarters
Wimberley, TX

Dear Newsletter:

Another letter to let you know how much we enjoy receiving your

We lived in El Paso for a couple of years in the early 80s.
Cloudcroft was our only escape from the hot summer days and
holds many fond memories.

We moved to Scotland about 7 years ago and no longer have to
worry about hot summers. Much to our delight, when my father
retired last year, he and his wife chose to move from Florida
to Cloudcroft. Now we get to come to Cloudcroft every year on
our annual pilgrimage back to the US.

We were there in January of this year for the first time in
almost 20 years and our visit brought back so many memories.
It is about the only place we have visited after such a long
period away that still looks much the same as it did.

Cloudcroft, don't ever change, we love you just the way you

Marshal Schwenn
Edinburgh, Scotland

Dear Newsletter:

I love Cloudcroft with all my heart. There is no other place I
would rather live out my days on this earth. However, I feel
that I must point out something that some would be retirees
should consider.

The altitude can be very detrimental to anyone with even mild
heart or lung disease. I have seen friends and family members
have to move to lower altitudes in order to keep breathing. My
own grandfather and some of his friends that I remember had to
leave the mountain or die before their time. Some of them still
tried to shovel snow, chop wood, and do other things that are
hard enough in low altitudes.

There is a benefit to living in high altitudes that some may
not know. The human body produces more red blood cells at high
altitudes in order to carry more oxygen to the body. It doesn't
happen over night, however. But it is one of God's ways of
making His creation, the human body, more adaptable to change.

Sorry if this letter is a downer, but it is something to

One wouldn't want to find out after the move that they couldn't
remain in Cloudcroft. At the very least, people should discuss
the possibilities with their personal physicians. They could
follow in the tracks of old Cloudcrofters who had to move to
some hot spot like Alamagordo. 

Janice (Pittman) Fiddler 
Gardena, California

Dear Newsletter:

I read each and every newsletter and often think of writing
back. I usually end up thinking "Oh, I don't have much to say
that would interest anyone." NOW I DO!

As a little girl growing up in Carlsbad, Cloudcroft was a
mystical, almost secret place where we came for day trips,
mountain adventures, fishing, and always deer hunting nearby.
So, often I got to bring a friend along to enjoy the special

As the years passed, I moved away and really didn't give the
village a lot of thought, until my parents died. When the house
in Carlsbad sold, my sons (young men by then) wanted to go to
the mountains for the day. We all fell in love with it again!

We bought a wonderful cabin 8 miles out off of Hwy 130. 
Fortunately, my industry allows me complete flexibility and
unlimited travel benefits. So we have been able to come out at
least every 2 months for the last 4 years. 

Like so many, retirement looms ahead and my husband has already
retired. The nice home on the water in Galveston suddenly seems
too far from NM. (Not to mention the sweltering, sticky heat
and humidity!) So when we were out 2 weeks ago, we began 
looking around for a permanent full-time home! And, better yet,
we put our home here on the Texas gulf coast up for sale!

Low and behold, the sign went up Wed., the first "lookers" came
by Thurs., and the contract came in today! (Fri.) Almost too
good to be true!

Each time we drive out, we come through Hope, NM. My Aunt and
Uncle, Ralph and Fae Lea, taught there at the little white
schoolhouse on Hwy 82. (They lived in the yellow house just
West of the school.) Both have passed on, but I have many 
wonderful memories of summers there and at their cabin near
Weed. I would love to be able to get in touch with any of their
former students. I can only remember a few. Joe and Jane Cono
and the Buckners. Maybe someone remembers!

We will continue to keep up with things through the newsletter
and look forward to being full-timers soon.

Sarah Keith,
Jamaica Beach, Texas

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Copyright © 2001 Cloudcroft Online
The Travel and Visitor's Guide to Cloudcroft, New Mexico.
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