November 30, 2001
Dear Subscriber:

I was smitten by Cloudcroft in 1984. Peg and I were newlyweds
that shared a love for the mountains. We were in search of a
small piece of land where we could some day build a cabin.

We began our search in Ruidoso. The land there was, to our way
of thinking, overpriced and underimpressive.

We drove to Cloudcroft. Peg had been to the village before, but
it was my first time. It was perfect. We were in Cloudcroft
about an hour when we bought the lot where we live today.

When you're caught up in a dream coming true, you're often
hesitant to be confused by facts. I didn't know, nor did I
care, that as heavenly as Cloudcroft was in 1984, television
reception was pretty much nonexistent. In 1986 when we moved
our mobile home onto the lot, there was a cable TV company in
the village, but no such thing in the remote area where our lot
was located.

Let's face it. No matter how wonderful your surroundings, you
can only watch the birds and squirrels and put together jigsaw
puzzles for so long before you have to have your video fix. It
is my contention that the Uni-Bomber wouldn't have gone crazy
if he had had a little television in that mountain shack of

Remember, now. This was the mid-80s. Home satellite TV
reception was in its infancy. Even those monster dishes were
rare and extremely expensive.

I went to the Alamogordo Radio Shack. I told the guy I wanted
the biggest most powerful television antenna he had for my
cabin in Cloudcroft.

He grinned one of those I-know-something-you-don't grins and
said, "Is your place on the East side of the village or the
West side?"

"The West" I played along.

"Get yourself a short-wave radio" he said.

I left the store with the huge antenna I had requested plus 2
signal boosters. I went to the hardware store and bought a
metal pole that was long enough to violate Federal Aviation
regulations. In another day I had the whole thing set up, just
in time for the 6 o'clock news that I was sure was going to
boom into my living room.

After turning on the set I began final adjustments. I slowly
turned the antenna in search of a television station. Two hours
and about 50 full revolutions later, my hands were beginning to
blister. Peg yelled out the front door "I think I see
something!" I ran into the house. All I could see was a bunch
of sparkly stuff on the screen.

"What do you see?" I asked...wanting dearly to see what she

"There..." she said. "...that bunch of sparkles is moving
together. I think it's somebody's head."

My hands were shaking and I was breathing heavily from Video

"I think you're right!" I said. "Peggy, we have TELEVISION!"


Nine years later, in 1995, we made the decision to move to
Cloudcroft from Lubbock on a germinant basis. Over those past
9 years, during numerous weekends and vacations, we had built
a deck, remodeled the old mobile home and had all the comforts
of city life.

We had stayed busy enough during that time to forget we didn't
have TV.

By 1995, the big 10-foot home satellite dishes were all the
rage for rural folks (Johnny Carson called them "The state
flower of Arkansas").

Next to water and oxygen, television was a necessity. We bought
a big dish.

Lots of channels and a good picture, but there were some
drawbacks. When we changed from one satellite to another, the
big dish would swing wildly with a creaking noise that scared
the Bewocken out of the dogs. Every evening it was change the
channel and listen to the dogs bark.

When a big gust of wind would blow the dish off-signal, I broke
out my set of socket wrenches and twisted and cursed the thing
until it was back on line.

Premium channel subscriptions were expensive, but with the old
giant dishes you could pick up several channels "in the clear"
(unscrambled). We watched a lot of Japanese and Middle Eastern
channels back then. We could even intercept network news feeds.
Those were fun to watch. The reporter could be seen standing
in front of the camera waiting for his cue, primping his hair,
flirting with the cue-card girl, and using words you don't
normally hear on TV.

Four years ago a little man knocked on our door. He said he
could set us up with one of those newfangled satellite systems
that would deliver over 100 channels in full stereo sound for
less than the cost of cable (if we could get cable). He showed
us the dish. It was a foot and a half wide.

"Son," I said, "the dish I have is several times bigger than
that little thing. How do you move that little critter from
satellite to satellite anyway?"

"You don't." he sez. "It stays on one bird all the time".

I scoffed. What kind of fool did this runt take me for? He
wanted me to believe that little dish the size of a pie plate
could replace my UFO? I wasn't impressed. OK. Maybe I hadn't
seen a network TV show since the first Bush was president...
but I was becoming pretty fluent in Japanese.

I finally saw the error of my ways and bought a DSS (that's
what they call them. Digital Satellite Systems). The picture is
so clear that you can not only see the fly on the football, you
can see the flea on the fly. I may live in the sticks, but me
and my friends can watch the New York Philharmonic in full quad
channel surround sound. We're getting "citified" again. Peg and
I have even quit calling each other Maw and Paw.

The giant dish I paid $2000 for was taken to the dump. The
large pole it was mounted on was transformed into a yard lamp.
I gave my neighbor the old receiver. He uses it as an anchor
for his bass boat.

The old TV antenna? It never attracted anything but a lightning
bolt...burned that puppy dog into the shape of a big spider and
I finally took it down. Low flying aircraft were once again
safe over Cloudcroft.

Yep. We have just about all the modern conveniences here on the
mountain. Take this here computer for example.

Keep peddling, Peggy. I'm almost finished with the newsletter.

Don Vanlandingham

Jack Frost didn't just nip at our nose this week, he gave us a
left uppercut.

A cold front moved into the Southwest on Tuesday, dropping temps
in the Sacramentos to near zero. Highs during the day are only
about 20.

The good news...snowfall is not melting off. About 2 to 3
inches on the ground. Light snow today (Wednesday).
The highway department has built a new pedestrian cross-walk
over Hwy 82 between Cloudcroft and Alamogordo (about 4 miles
outside the village). It is a part of a project including a new
hiking trail that will be constructed in the near future.
A complete package of real estate needs to the public.

Our operation consists not only of property sales, but also a
full-time property management team, the largest, most active
construction firm in the area, a land surveying service, a home
design staff, a complete custom cabinet shop, a retail lumber
and supply facility, and most recently, Custom Concrete, a
six-day-a-week concrete service.

Two of our most notable accomplishments have been the
development of Bear Park Subdivision and the construction of
the Burro Street Exchange in downtown Cloudcroft. Considering
these services, and combined with in-house financing ability
for customers, people agree that we are the most comprehensive
real estate firm in the Cloudcroft area. This has made us a
dependable, steady leader in the field of real estate.

For more information, see our link on the Real Estate page of


Over 23,000 students on the main campus in Las Cruces. Four
branches around the state. For more information, see their
web site at:


Q - We have several persons in our group that are elderly.
Cloudcroft's elevation is 9000 feet. Is it safe for older folks
to visit?

A - We have many elderly full-time residents in the village
area. Many of them have lived here all their lives.

It is true that there is a certain amount of adjustment for
persons of any age when they leave the lower elevations and
come to Cloudcroft. It seems that children are more susceptible
to the affects of the high altitude because, in their
excitement, they "over-do" their activities before becoming
accustomed the the altitude change.

It just takes a day or so before the altitude adjustment is
November 30 -- Chamber of Commerce Banquet, Middle School.

December 1 -- Christmas Parade. Alamogordo, 6pm.
For more information, call (505) 437-6120.

December 2 -- First Baptist Church Open House. 5:30pm.

December 8 -- Pet Parade. Burro Avenue. 2pm.
For more information, call (505) 682-2733.

December 9 -- Cantata. Cloudcroft Baptist Church. 11am.
For more information, call (505) 682-2266.

December 12 -- Preschool Christmas Program.
Cloudcroft Methodist Church. 6pm.
For more information, call (505) 682-2266

December 15 -- Santa Town. Zenith Park, 5-7pm.

December 16 -- Community Cantata. "Do you Hear what I Hear"
Cloudcroft Methodist Church. 4pm.
For more information, call (505) 682-2266.

December 21 -- Santa Town. Zenith Park, 5-7pm.

December 21 -- Late Night Shopping. 5-7pm.

December 21, 22 -- Cloudcroft Light Opera Company. Free!
For more information, call (505) 682-3317.

December 22 -- Caroling in the Clouds. First Baptist Church.

December 22 -- Santa Town. Zenith Park, 5-7pm.

December 24 -- Christmas Eve Service.
Cloudcroft Methodist Church. 7pm.
For more information, call (505) 682-2266.

December 28 -- Cloudcroft Museum Open House. 6-9pm.

December 31 -- Torch Lighting Parade. Ski Cloudcroft
For more information, call (505) 682-2733.

Cloudcroft Art Society meets the first Sunday of each month,
2-4pm, in the Old Red Brick School House. There will NOT be a
meeting in December or January. The February 3 meeting subject
is "Perspective." Call (505) 682-2494 for more information.

Community Cantata practice meets at the High School Music
Room from 5:30-6:30pm every Tuesday. For more information
call Bob Myers at the high school.

Senior Van from Timberon to Alamogordo leaves the Timberon
Lodge promptly at 8:30am 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:

What a great Thanksgiving we had in CC. I brought my 83-year-
old mother up for a visit to my new cabin in the mountains. The
last time she had been to Cloudcroft was in 1956 when she
brought the family up to stay at The Lodge so my dad and
brother could play golf at the highest 9-hole golf course in
the US.

We had Thanksgiving dinner at The Lodge -- it was terrific.
Then to top it all off, it snowed on Friday. It was simply
beautiful and we had a great time. And then we had a Caramel
Apple Nut pie from the Mountaintop Mercantile. If you haven't
tried their pies, you're really missing something. 

Mother didn't want to come home and is ready to return for more
R&R relaxing in the mountains by the fire and watching it snow. 

See you in the Spring!
Becky Virtue 

Dear Newsletter:

I support an organization called "Rails To Trails", a non-
profit that is dedicated to enriching America's communities and
countryside by creating a network of public trails from former
rail lines and connecting corridors.

As part of my membership, I receive their magazine, and
Cloudcroft is featured in the Winter 2002 issue that I just
received. Starting on page 8, there is a 6-page spread with
many details about the old rail lines in your area, and 
trails that have been created around them. The beauty of your
area is extolled in words and pictures, and I was able to
relive gorgeous views that I had enjoyed this past summer.

In case any of your readers care to learn more about this
organization or obtain a copy of this issue of the magazine,
their web address is www.railtrails.org, and their phone number
is 202-331-9696.

Thanks, Don, for the work you do on the newsletter; I always
enjoy it.

Russ Ingram
Plano, Texas

Hello Cloudcroft Neighbors:

I have been sitting on the sidelines reading stories about this
and that group and their agendas. Protect this species (any
animal you happen to see one of) and that, don't let this
species graze here nor there. This species has the right to
survive, this species has too many of its kind.

Cloudcroftkins...don't be fooled. The new religious movement is 
environmental protection and it really is another religion of
sorts. The primary deity is Mother Earth. The natural calamities
of earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes and floods are her weapons
on mankind according to this new faith. But let me warn you this
has happened before, read the City of God by Saint Augustan of
the 3rd century. It is about pagan religions, and he exposed
these pagan religions. And now it is popular to revisit them.
I know I have stepped on a few godly toes here, but this
religion whether real or imagined has a great following. Many
succumb to the spin off religions of PETA, Green Peace, and
John Muir societies just to name a few. But that is a different

I have lived in Colorado, Alaska, Kentucky, Georgia, Texas, and
I now live in California. I hope to retire in Cloudcroft, NM.
Every where I have been the environmental groups have used the
same tactic to achieve their goal. Keep humans away at all
costs. These groups in the name of saving the environment do
not want you to do anything with your land. They will not let
you build on your own land unless it is constructed to their 
specifications, and that is if you are even given permission
to build. Under this pretense of wildlife protection you cannot
hunt or introduce livestock, which you might need for eking out
a living, or for pure enjoyment of seeing horses, cattle or
sheep grazing on your land.

As a person of faith, I believe in being a good steward of the
land, and of the wildlife, but I do not believe in stealing the
owners constitutional rights to be forced into compliance. If
we want to protect the land and/or if we want to establish a
wildlife reserve in an area where there are existing land
owners then what the environmental organizations, or the
citizens of the state of New Mexico, or the people of the
United States of America must do is purchase this land. If, we
as citizens believe we must protect land for wildlife use then
the protection must be done in a way as prescribed by the US
Constitution. The eminent domain clause is a legal way and can
be enacted for establishment of parks and national forest
lands, but land owners must be compensated accordingly and at a
fair price (remember that cabin in the woods overlooking Sierra
Blanca should have a high value to it and not at the undeveloped
rate for land.)

What is currently happening is that these environmental groups
site EPA guidelines to set into motion the endangered species
act (ESA) to protect the designated animal of the month. What
is frustrating to see is private citizens obeying and following
the ESA rules only to find the government acting indifferent
to the same set of laws. Common sense is thus thrown out the
window. Worst yet, is hearing of landowners losing their lands
by not having the ability to pay enormous fines, which they
were fined for not complying with outrageous ESA rules.

You have a government bureaucracy gone amuck. In essence the
Environmental Protection Act has created the KINGS FOREST and
no one shall enter without permission from the KING. Only the
Forest service, the Bureau of Land Management, and selected
Government groups, to include people who act as the Earth's
protectors, are allowed in. If you have a pass (membership of
one of these groups) or have connections you are able to
partake of nature's beauty.

I am offended by these groups. We all love our planet and we
all protect it. No person or one group has a monopoly on good
earth stewardship. The common sense is that we live in harmony
with nature not against it. Many of these Environmental groups
have good intentions, but in the long run, if things don't
change we will be separated from our land. Maybe not in
ownership, but eventually we will be stripped from access or
basic rights of improvement.

Save the butterfly, save the elk, save the kangaroo rat, save
the snail darter, save the spotted owl, save the wolf, save
the grizzly bear, save the caribou, save the moose, save the
silver fox, save the desert tortoise, save the alligator, save
the bald eagle, but most importantly save the right for me to
own and do what I will with my land. Trust me to be the good
steward of it! Otherwise buy it from me, so that you can do
as you will!

Dan Barnes
Fort Irwin, California

To unsubscribe, email: unsubscribe@cloudcroft.com
To subscribe, go to
If email to an address bounces (returns to us), that email
address is automatically deleted from our mailing list. If you
cease getting this newsletter suddenly, probably your provider
bounced your newsletter. This can happen when a provider is too
busy or is shutdown for some reason. If this happens to you, 
just revisit our site and re-add your email address to our list.
If you have comments or suggestions for this newsletter, please 
direct them to: newsletter@cloudcroft.com
Please feel free to pass this newsletter along to your friends.
However, we ask that you keep it intact and forward it in
its entirety.

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