May 18, 2019
by David Ryan

Wandering on a Road Trip to the Odessa Meteor Crater

Earlier this week Petey and I took advantage of some unusually cool weather for May to drive southeast to check out the meteor crater near Odessa, Texas. Although not nearly as dramatic as Meteor Crater in Arizona, the Odessa crater is the second largest meteor crater in the country!  I had seen the crater some time ago and thought a revisit would be a good excuse to check out the oil-rich Permian Basin.

The drive from Albuquerque includes a 90-plus mile stretch on U.S. Highway 285 (between Vaughn and Roswell) without any services what so ever. There is nothing that resembles a commercial enterprise and only other one paved road along the way. Except for a handful of ranches, a few scattered junipers, and some antelope, it is empty.

And then all of a sudden between mile markers 184 and 183 we saw on the horizon two ranchers on opposite sides of the very wide road arguing. Whoa! I immediately hit the brakes just in case  one of them decided to run across to the road to finish the fight.

From a further distance, my first reaction was that those were real people.

But then I noticed that they weren’t moving, and when I got closer I could see that they were two very large and very realistic full-color cutout profiles facing each other. One on each side of the road. Continue Reading →

April 15, 2019
by David Ryan

Wandering Around El Paso on a Streetcar

Long before automobiles took over our streets, urban dwellers got around by streetcar or on foot. By the end of the 1960s most American cities had surrendered to the automobile and converted what remained of their streetcar lines to buses. By 1970 the list of U.S. cities with streetcars was down to eight: San Francisco, New Orleans, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Newark, Boston, and El Paso, Texas. Most of the remaining streetcar lines had stretches of private right-of-way and were an integral component of their city’s mass transit network.

El Paso’s streetcar line ran exclusively on the street. It survived because it provided an efficient connection between Ciudad Juarez in Mexico and downtown El Paso, Texas. It was the only international streetcar line in the world and was never converted to buses because the transit company’s franchise charter with Juarez only called for streetcars.

Unfortunately, from the point of view of Juarez merchants, the service was too efficient as it made it too easy for Juarez residents to shop in downtown El Paso. In 1973, at the merchants urging, the Juarez city government shut the line down on their side of the Rio Grande river. With that, the line soon shut down on both sides of the Rio Grande and the streetcars were taken to a desert storage facility.

El Paso’s distinction of having the only International streetcar line was never forgotten and many people talked about reviving the service. One of those was Peter Svarzbein, an El Paso resident studying art in New York City. For his Master’s Degree art project, he combined public, visual, and performance art to create an advertising campaign complete with  posters, videos, murals, and even a mascot/spokesperson making guest appearances to encourage you to take the completely fictitious “El Paso Transnational Trolley” across the border. Campaign slogans included, “Let Us Take You Home on Either Side of the Border” and “Here to Make the Border Safe Again.”

Here’s one of Peter’s posters!

Continue Reading →

March 17, 2019
by David Ryan
1 Comment

60 Hikes Albuquerque Updates

This is a quick blog post for some updates on 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Albuquerque.

  • The book is now available in local bookstores
  • Over 17 book events have be scheduled! Click on the Events tab to see if any are convenient for you.
  • The first public event will be next Saturday, March 23 at 7:00pm at Tractor Brewing, 1800 4th Street NW, Albuquerque. It’s an Albuquerque REI offsite event. You can have dinner and drink beer while I show pictures of all the great places you can hike! Hope you can come.
  • Any finally if you need any reason to get out, check out the picture below. It’s a picture of bald eagle that my wife Claudia took while we were hiking in the Rio Grande Bosque (Hikes: 4, 11, and 13) with the dogs. If you’re interested in the Bosque, check out previous blog post about the porcupines.