January 11, 2002
Dear Subscriber:

Some years ago I was driving down a Texas highway when I came
to a small town. On the sign board at the city limits it said
"Population 1300 wonderful people and 4 old sore-heads."

I thought that was probably true of just about every town.

When I started doing this newsletter almost two years ago, I
decided not to be one of the sore-heads in town. I would just
report the weather and little bits of news and my Tiptoe-Thru-
The-Tulips opening monologue each week and let the "letters"
section of the newsletter be where all the issues could be

I am compelled to break my own rule this week. At issue is the
Western Cafe on The Boardwalk in downtown Cloudcroft. Since
I've eaten there at least a half zillion times, I feel qualified
to make a statement with regard to their quality of food and

Sure, the owners of The Western are friends of mine (I may be
fooling myself, but I would like to think that most of the
people in this village are friends of mine), but that alone
doesn't compel me to eat at their restaurant. I eat at their
restaurant because their food is good and their people are
friendly. Otherwise I'd just eat whatever me and my can-opener
could find at home. (An attempt at humor. No intended offense
to Peggy's cooking. That's right...I'm tap dancing.)

The two letters we received last month complaining about rude
service has since been rebutted by others who feel otherwise.
Even those negative letters said the food was great. The fact
is it is easier to leap tall buildings at a single bound than
it is to please everyone all the time.

I guess my compulsion to speak up is derived from the fact that
Peggy and I had a cafe on The Boardwalk in Cloudcroft for 4
years. We had one hard and fast rule while we were in the
business...make the customers glad they came in. Alas, as hard
as we tried, we got complaints. There was the case of the
invisible hair on the hotdog, but that's a story for another

The fact is, two restaurants have closed in town in the past
two months. The Western doesn't have the most seating capacity
in the county. Of late, those two factors have likely produced
longer waiting lines, hurried waitresses and frazzled customers.
That's my reasoning...not the reasoning of the owners of The
Western. When I contacted Carol and told her I was thinking of
writing this article, she made no excuses. She said she and her
staff would simply try harder to achieve that unachievable goal
...to make everyone happy.

The next time you're in The Western, try the chicken fried
steak. You'll love it. And smile at the waitress. I guarantee
she'll smile back.

Don Vanlandingham

The snow came when it was supposed to...during the holiday
season...but since the decorations have come down it has been
pretty balmy. Highs in the mid-50s. Lows in the low-20s.
Still enough snow on the ground for tubing, sledding and
snowmobiling. The ski area is not open in Cloudcroft, but the
2 area tubing lifts are.
The village of Cloudcroft will likely pursue a Congressional
Withdrawal as a means of acquiring 81 additional acres for
Cloudcroft from the Forest Service.

US Senators Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman have both indicated
they will support the land acquisition for the village.
INSIDE THE SHOP -- Green Mountain Real Estate
Offering 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.

For more information, see the link to their site on the Real
Estate page of Cloudcroft.com:


The New Mexico Museum of Space History is located in Alamogordo,
New Mexico (17 miles from Cloudcroft). It is a complex
consisting of the space museum, Planetarium, IMAX® dome theater,
and the International Space Hall of Fame.


Q - I was on a tour at Cloudcroft one time and our tour guide
showed us a haunted house. I heard that they rented it out,
but I don't know what house it is. Do you know any thing about
that, or know of anyone I could get in touch with that would

A - If your tour guide was Carl Woods (Cloudcroft Trolley Rides)
the house he usually referred to as haunted was one of the old
residences on Grande Avenue. I can't remember which old house
he referred to, but his story has been disputed by other old-
timers that say it was just Carl's tall tale.

Carl discontinued his trolley rides 3 years ago.

Stories of haunted houses come and go around here (they even
say the golf course is haunted). Check with the Cloudcroft
Chamber of Commerce for the latest haunted house story or you
might check with Pat Rand at the museum.
January 11 -- Yesterday: Beatles tribute. Flickinger
Center. Alamogordo. 7:30pm

January 15 -- Bears vs Tularosa (BB) home (JV&V)

January 15 -- Lady Bears vs Tularosa (BB) away (JV&V)

January 17-19 -- Lady Bears in Dexter tourney (away).

January 25 -- Bears vs Hatch (BB) home (JV&V)

Thru January 31 -- Refael Vega. Featured artist. Eagle Ranch.

Thru February -- Oils by Jack Schuller. Ruidoso Village Hall.

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 January. The February 3 meeting subject is
"Perspective." Call (505) 682-2494 for more information.

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:

I'd like to use your newsletter to extend an early (but large)
THANK YOU! to the crews running the snow plows around

I regularly drive highways 82, 130 and 6563 between Alamogordo
and Sunspot, and the snow plowers have been doing an excellent
job in keeping those roads open and safe to drive within a few
hours of each snow fall. Good going, guys!

Hope you get over your cold soon, Don. Seems like most everyone
I know has had it (even friends in England!).

Pete Newman
Apache Point Observatory

Dear Newsletter:

My children had their first white Christmas!! We had a great
time in the village!!! It was as beautiful as I remember from
my childhood years. The snow we ordered was right on time and
a perfect touch!!!

We look forward to many more trips!

Rhonda Schwab
Avery, TX (Texarkana, TX)

Dear Newsletter:

I read where the guy that wrote a song called, "The Hokey
Pokey" died.

When he was laying in his casket they noticed his left foot
sticking out, WELL...

They put his left foot in...

You know the rest....

That really is what it is all about.


Dear Newsletter:

Hope your cold is better.

My daughter's dogs are her "children", just as yours seem to
be. She asked how they survived the stay at the kennel while
you were gone. I'll forward your message to her snail mail.

Thank you. We love Cloudcroft and your newsletter.

Ellen Watson
Honey Grove, TX

Dear Newsletter:

Don, you need to try this to get rid of your cold:

Take 3 aspirin. Follow with 2 or 3 large glugs of your favorite
bourbon. Get in a tub of hot water, submerge yourself and turn
on the hot water.

When you start sweating, dry off, wrap yourself in a blanket
and go to bed. If done right, you'll be sopping wet within an

This works for me about 50% of the time. If it doesn't work the
first time, try again. Anyway, the bourbon sure hits the spot.

Archie Scott
Levelland, TX.

Dear Newsletter:

Sick or well you are seriously funny. For a chest cold try a
tablespoon of Mentholatum melted in an old pot full of boiling
water. Stick your head over it and imagine you are in a sweat
box. Smile! Remember to cover yourself with a towel while
sweating. It is a good idea to follow up with a hot toddy.


A coffee cup:
Fill with 1 shot brandy or something similarly horrible.
1 tsp. butter (excellent for throat)
1 tablespoon honey (helps heal inflamed membranes and makes the
alcohol taste better)

Put in cup and follow with boiling water. Stir a lot. Try your
darnest to get it all down before getting cold. Curl up with
about three blankets.

Prepare to sweat, a good thing. Then you will sleep like a
baby. If that does not work a 20 pound hammer will do the trick
or Nightquil. Smile! Joking.

Here I am butting in again, but excellent writers have to be
well otherwise nothing is put on paper for history.

Dedrianne from Dedrianne's lotions, potions and notions.

Dear Newsletter:

January...Hmmmph! What is it good for? Absolutely Nothing!
(Stolen and badly modified from War.)

Anyway! Now that I got that out of my system! I'm with you --
I just want to crawl into bed & come out in February. As I was
crawling into bed last night I was thinking about this very
subject. We're having a cold snap and I was thinking that that
was one thing I was dreading about moving to the mountain -- 
the prolonged cold!

I'm still living in Tennessee now and though it gets cold, the
teens are still not a common reference for temperature. But I
must console myself, the one thing you guys have is sunshine,
and plenty of it!

We don't have sun here. We check altimeters frequently to make
sure we didn't slip below ground level at some point because you
sure can't tell it by the sun! You can count sunny days per
month on one hand in the winter around here. The groundhog....
well, they left... -- I'm obviously off on a tangent! I'm one
of those people who gets depressed when there is no sun so I'll
just add this to my list of reasons to GET MOVING!

Anyway, all my friends have colds, even Sweet Pea (one of my
cockatiels) has a cold -- she gets medicine twice a day through
her clenched beak. My two huskies -- Tipper & Dakota, I used to
have a 'Phoenix' as well -- yellow lab, LOVE the cold weather
(good for them)!

Take care -- and hope you are feeling better. I'm counting the
days until spring and my next visit "out there"!

Diana Powell

Dear Newsletter:

Sorry to hear about your illness, but as a wise man once said:
“Better you than me!”

Now let me think about that for a moment. Was that a wise man?
Or a wise “$%&#”? Oh well, by the time you read this, it’ll be
next week and you’ll be feeling better.

By the way, the green stuff isn’t any better on the rocks. But,
just before you go to bed, try this experiment. Put two or three
crystal clear ice cubes in a glass. Then pour just enough
Canadian into the glass to cause the cubes to float. Now pour
the contents of the glass out. Put the glass in the sink and go
to bed. You should sleep like a baby, if you don’t then you
messed up the part where you pour out the contents.

I thought about you description of icicles hanging from your
rooftop, as you looked out into your winter world from the
office window. The cold weather and snow embracing the
mountains. The peaceful sounds made by the wind blowing through
the pine trees.

My dad asked me, not to long ago, about my decision to retire
and live in the mountains. He pointed out the fact that I was
born and raised in the desert. That I had always used the word
“cold” to describe temperatures dipping down into the 60’s.

“What are you going to do when the snow is up to your cheeks?”
he asked me. I answered him with “Stay in the house!” I then
described the above experiment.

Hope you get better soon.

Bill White
Phoenix, AZ

Dear Newsletter:

Per my understanding, when you have lots of ice hanging from
your roof, it means you are loosing heat and it should be
checked out. I was told this by a home contractor.

Wayne Cave 

Dear Newsletter:

Happy New Year.

Have toddy for that old cold...good excuse to have strong nog.

And what tha? I stay up there for a couple of weeks a year.
Eat at the Western lots. Never have I had reason to not show
my gratitude for service and a smile. Heading that way soon.
See ya. 

Get well.
Bert N Shipp

Dear Newsletter:

TJ, Big W, & Lil'J, your experience with the Western was a
rare one. Having lived in Cloudcroft for 8 years, and perhaps
a once or twice visit to the Western each week, we have always
found the waitresses and owners to be courteous and helpful...
in fact they have gone out of their way to serve us promptly
and efficiently.

We find the food reasonably priced and tasty, with better than
average quantities. They are very busy most of the dining
hours, BUT BY GOSH, they try hard. Their hotcakes are the best
in this area and you might have difficulty consuming the full
stack, as they are large. The daily specials are generally 
generous and reasonable. Did you speak to the Hostess and tell
her she was rude?

Suggest you take a little trip across the pass and try
Ruidoso...if you can find a parking spot, and cross Sudderth
Drive safely...or better yet, Wendy's or The Colonel's will
welcome you...in Alamogordo. 

Best regards,
A Western Bar and Cafe Patron
Dayton New Mex Tex
In Scenic Hills, Cibolo, Texas

Dear Newsletter:

In defense of the"Western Cafe," I have visited it a number of
times and have always had the best of service, every time. And,
the food has been very good, hot, and fairly priced.

I would suspect there are times that some of the services or
food have not been up to par, but we must remember, we are
visiting your fine Village and we are on vacation, putting us
in a state of mind that sometime may not be as patient as

And, if we turned the tables around and we were the ones
working, I would think, we would be nice too. However, I am
fairly sure we would get tired and exhausted and maybe by
chance let our guard down if only for a minute. As customers,
we should remember that the work force in the Village may not
be as large as in other towns, but I think all the staff is
great. I'll take my "Waylon" over easy please! 

Tony Cantu 
San Antonio, Texas

Dear Newsletter:

My parents live in Truth or Consequences and I just spent a
week or so there. During that time, I visited Cloudcroft with
the intent of buying a small cabin. The realtor I had an
appointment with could not make it, so I went without an
appointment to ReMax and they worked me in immediately.

Bob White was very helpful and spent a lot of time with me,
resulting in my offer being accepted on my dream cabin. It may
not be everyone's idea of a dream cabin -- but it fits me
(and my budget).

I ate at the Western Cafe. They were really busy, but were very
friendly and nice. I was by myself, so sat at the bar (I like
it in there anyway). The food was excellent and I really enjoyed
my visit there. I have been reading the negative remarks about
the Western Cafe, so thought I would temper it with my story
of a very enjoyable meal there. 

Mickie Warwick

Dear Newsletter:

Hi. I have been a reader of your newsletter since last July,
which was my first trip to Cloudcroft.

We stayed with family who have a cabin at Ponderosa Pines. It
has got to be the loveliest spot in the world. The week between
Christmas and New Year's, four other teachers and I rented the
large room at the Cloudcroft Hotel and drove up from San
Antonio to play in the snow.

The "Inn" was full at our relatives house, so we chose to stay
in town in the Hotel. We were greatly rewarded with the snow
that fell on New Year's Eve. I have never seen a more magical
place than Cloudcroft covered in snow and ice. It was beautiful
beyond description.

Though I am a native of South Texas, I do not think of myself
as a "Country Bumpkin." I have traveled in London and Paris
during the snow as well. However, I did not feel the magic there
as I did in Cloudcroft.

I wanted to write this note as a public "Thank You" to all the
wonderful residents of Cloudcroft who helped to make this the
most enjoyable trip ever, especially Kathy Dougherty and Gary &
Wendy Mack who run the Cloudcroft Hotel. These lovely people
did everything to make our stay extremely special and 
comfortable. We had so much fun sitting on the balcony watching
the snow fall on New Year's Eve. I feel that we have made
friends to keep for life. I wish to tell them, "Mi casa es su
casa," when visiting in San Antonio.

Thanks for making a beautiful and lasting memory. It will take
an incredible New Year's Eve to top this one. We are extremely
lucky to have family with a cabin in Cloudcroft. Being dear
friends as well, we spend time together and they have shown us
many of the sights in the area.

If you are not lucky enough to have family with a cabin, I wish
to encourage your readers to please visit the Cloudcroft Hotel.
You will not be disappointed. The location is great as it is in
the center of town.

In defense of the comments on the Western Bar and Restaurant,
there were long lines to get in for dinner. Many of us didn't
want to drive down the mountain to Alamogordo, so we ate there
many times during our stay. We did not find the wait staff
unfriendly. But, they were extremely busy.

Check out the "Western Omelet." YUMMY!

Thanks again to everyone for a fantastic vacation. Alas, next
week we go back to the real world!

And to the newsletter, please keep on writing your anecdotes.
We enjoy them all!

Linda M. Vos
San Antonio, Tx

Dear Newsletter:

Spent this past weekend through New Year's day in Cloudcroft.

Loved the snow. We noticed in driving around that the Aspen
Cafe had closed and looked like the whole thing was for sale.
Do you know if they are planning on reopening at least the
restaurant or is that, too, for sale?

Sure hated to see that close. My wife and I really enjoyed the
service, the staff, although I can't say we knew or met the
owners. Probably did and didn't know it. Anyway, if you have
any information you can share, please do so.

And thanks for the great newsletter. It is always a treat.

David Burks,
El Paso, Texas

Dear Newsletter:

My wife and I just spent a quiet, beautiful night at the Wraven
Wind Bed and Breakfast, located a stone throw from Cloudcroft
in Weed NM. It was what the doctor ordered, rest, great food
and most of all folks that care and share.

The morning after, we drove into Cloudcroft to the Far Side
restaurant and had the most delicious green chili soup. We
bought a few things to take back home and stopped at our
favorite bakery to get our dessert.

Thanks Don for writing the Newsletter and sorry to hear about
your cold. Today is about 68 degrees in Chaparral NM and it's
about time for school to begin again.

God bless and keep on writing.
Jim & Ruth See

Dear Newsletter:

First of all, I miss your radio personality in Lubbock, Texas.
I always got ready for the day listening to Don, Jon and Jane.

Second, I enjoy your newsletters, although, honestly, it took
me a few times to figure out who you were! I knew I recognized
your name, Peggy's name, etc...duh! Then it finally hit me!

Third...I need a little "history" help. Didn't parts of New
Mexico, especially the mountainous parts, used to go to school
on Monday-Thursday and NOT on Friday's?

I was thinking the school day was just a little longer and only
a four-day week. And when, if indeed this is true, (I nearly
know it is), did they do this? I don't have a bet on this, but
I would like to know for sure I just didn't make it up! If you
could help me in this matter, I would appreciate it.

We really like Cloudcroft, but it has been a while since we
have visited. Thanks for your help!

Gina McKinnon
Littlefield, Texas

[Anyone know anything about this 4-day school week?]

Dear Newsletter:

Hope you are feeling better since #91 emailed.

We were in Cloudcroft yesterday to drop off the January Ink.
Being only the 3rd winter we have experienced in our village
drivebys we noticed the phenomenon of "tubing" for the first

Coming towards the village from Ruidoso we saw the tubes in
action in several spots after we had made the turn, Several
questions came to mind. Do they bounce? How many people can
they hold? Will they turn?

As we proceeded we found ourselves behind a convoy of 3 tubers
(not potatoes), with at least 2 inner tubes each in the beds
of their pickups. The lead vehicle had a tube bounce OUT,
thankfully towards the shoulder, and all 3 cars and ourselves
pulled off or at least came to a stop on the road. Now being a
city boy, of which I am not proud, the act of STOPPING on a
highway is not one routinely contemplated, especially when you
are the tail vehicle in the group. This made me a tad nervous.

But being the real world and not the metropolis I grew up in -
nothing happened. None chanced on our stalled convoy, the tube
was reloaded and we were off.

Getting closer to the village we noticed several variants in
how the tubes are transported. 2 were lashed onto the top of a
sedan. "He must have bagged his limit," I quipped. I was proved
wrong further down the road were we spied 5 bungeed in the
upright position on top of a jeep-most impressive! My wife
noticed another manner of moving these huge inflated tubes on
a side street. The occupant in the passenger seat merely clung
onto the tire-which was OUTSIDE the car and they made their way

On entering the village we noticed several vendors renting inner
tubes. To an ex-Canadian who grew up sledding on cardboard boxes
on an ice slicked hillside it seemed odd to CHARGE for this but
there lies the difference between those living on either side of
the 49th parallel. Only Americans would turn something as simple
as sliding down a hill into an industry. My hat is off to your
sense of enterprise.

We had a great afternoon observing this strange and wonderful
practice. For me it only reaffirmed that the best way to enjoy
snow, for those of us on the downhill side of 40, is from the
inside of the car.

Your friends in journalism,
Roy and Robin, The Ink

Perhaps you could cover tubing in a future issue?

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