Tag Archives: Truth or Consequences

The Ten Best Things about Truth or Consequences, NM

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The New Mexico towns I’ve spent the most time in are Taos and Truth or Consequences. Each is special in its own way to me. In my next two posts, I’ll share my ten favorite things about each town. Since I was in Truth or Consequences when I wrote this post, I’ll start there.

The Ten Best Things About Truth or Consequences

#1 My favorite thing in T or C (as the locals call the town) are the historic bathhouses with hot mineral water for soaking. Especially when it’s cold out, I love to soak in that hot, hot water. (Read more about the Truth or Consequences bath houses here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/05/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/06/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs-my-experiences/, and here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/08/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs-my-experiences-part-2/.)

#2 The town has a really cool name. Originally the town was called Hot Springs, NM, but in 1950, it became Truth or Consequences to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the radio program of the same name. (Read more about the name change here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/?s=+truth+or+consequences.) I appreciate the reminder to tell the truth or face the consequences.

#3 T or C is warm (or at least warmish) in the winter. When Northern New Mexico is too cold for me, I head south to this town in the Chihuahua Desert. According to https://weatherspark.com/averages/31751/Truth-or-Consequences-New-Mexico-United-States,

The cold season lasts from November 22 to February 14 with an average daily high temperature below 59°F. The coldest day of the year is December 25, with an average low of 28°F and high of 50°F.

#4 Miner’s Claim (318 N Broadway Street) is one of the best rock shops I’ve ever visited. The store is crammed packed with gems, minerals, beads, incense, jewelry, knickknacks, and shiny rocks. The guy behind the counter owns the store, and he’s friendly and knowledgeable. While he does stock high-end items, his prices are fair, and there’s plenty in the store for folks on a limited budget.

The turtle that gives Turtleback Mountain its name.

#5 There’s a turtle reclining on one of the mountains overlooking the town! I love geological formations that look like animals!  (To read more about Turtleback Mountain, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/09/25/another-geologic-formation-that-looks-like-an-animal/.)

The sculpture Joy, by R. William Winkler with one of the Pelican Spa buildings in the background.

#6 Truth or Consequences is an art town, and I don’t just mean the work on display in galleries. The town boasts lots of great art on public walls and in front of businesses. From murals to sculptures, there’s lots of cool art to see while walking around T or C. (Read more about the art in T or C here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/10/art-in-truth-or-consequences/ and here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/12/more-art-in-truth-or-consequences/.)

#7 The town is so into art, it has an Art Hop on the second Saturday of each month. (https://www.facebook.com/Truth-or-Consequences-Art-Hop-2nd-Saturday-of-every-month-6-9pm-188812578899/) The Art Hop is a great excuse to meet up with friends and see what’s new in the galleries. (For a list of art galleries and shops in Truth or Consequences, go here: https://www.sierracountynewmexico.info/shopping/art/.)

#8 The plants are cool in T or C. There are more cacti here than in the Taos area, and the ornamental rosemary grows in huge bushes. I like to break a small branch of rosemary off a bush and tuck it behind my ear for a smell more delicious than any perfume. The last time The Man and I left T or C, we cut several large pieces of rosemary from a plant in front of a gas station and arranged it on the dashboard for a great smelling van.

The Rio Grande as seen from Rotary Park.

#9 Folks can get up close and personal with the Rio Grande in Truth or Consequences. The river runs right through town. It’s accessible from Ralph Edwards Park, as well as Rotary Park. People fish in the river from Rotary Park and south of it too. If a person wanted to, s/he could wade right into the Rio Grande in T or C.

A panoramic view of Elephant Butte Lake from the campground in the state park.

#10 If the Rio Grande isn’t enough water for a desert dweller, T or C is less than ten miles from the 40,000 acre Elephant Butte Lake State Park. According to https://www.sierracountynewmexico.info/attractions/elephant-butte-lake-map/, Elephant Butte Lake is New Mexico’s largest body of water. The lake offers miles of trails, two marinas, sandy beaches, fishing, boating,  and a campground.

I took all of the photos in this post.

Any questions about Truth or Consequences can be left in the comments, and I will do my best to answer them.

So Many Chickens, So Little Time!

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I was hanging out with Sue Soaring Sun of Sun Gallery fame.

(Never heard of Sun Gallery in Truth or Consequences, NM? Check it out here: http://www.sierracountynewmexico.info/shopping/a-z/name/sun-gallery/ and here: https://www.facebook.com/sungallerytorc/timeline. The gallery’s Facebook page says,

Sun Gallery is a folk art and antiques gallery in Truth or Consequences, a fun and affordable spa town in beautiful southern New Mexico.

The gallery is located at 407 1/2 N. Broadway.)

We were talking about a restaurant we both know, a place where the decor is heavy on chickens. One of us piped up with So many chickens…Sue’s boyfriend grinned and added in and so little time. When we quit laughing, we agreed it would be a perfect theme for an art show. Sue decided it would be a fun May show for her gallery, so she sent out a call for submissions.

Here’s the call, as it appeared on the gallery’s Facebook page:

CALL FOR ARTISTS
So Many Chickens, So Little Time

All artists of any age or ability are invited to each bring ONE piece of artwork to Sun Gallery for our May 2016 show, “So Many Chickens, So Little Time.”

You can price your work or just show it without offering it for sale. If it sells, the artist gets 100% of the sales price. Sun Gallery will not be taking a percentage for this show.

Have fun with the theme! There are no rules about the medium or size of the artwork.

Sun Gallery will be open for both Fiesta weekend and Art Hop weekend, so your work will be seen by many.

Drop off your work on TUESDAY May 3rd between 12 noon and 4 pm.

Pick up your sales proceeds or unsold work on SUNDAY May 15 between 11 am and 4 pm.

Thanks for your participation!

I responded to the call with a big ol’ chicken collage. First I bought a used canvas and a red and white checkered napkin at Goodwill. I ironed the napkin, then used a staple gun to attach it to the canvas. The napkin made a great background to fill in any gaps between chickens.

As soon as I knew the show was happening, I requested catalogs from several chicken supply companies. Unfortunately, only one catalog had arrived by the time I really needed to get working on the project. I needed to find another source for photogenic fowl.

I had credit at bookstore that buys used books, DVDs, magazines, video games, CDs, craft supplies, musical instruments, and knickknacks. I went to the store’s periodical section and found several copies of Grit, the magazine Celebrating Rural America Since 1882. Chicken photo jackpot!

One additional source for poultry pictures was a beat-up children’s book given to me by the Lady of the House. Called The Lifesize Animal Opposites Book, it afforded me with my rooster focal point.

I spent a few evenings cutting, arranging, and gluing photos of chickens while sitting in front of a television IMG_6012playing late 20th-century game shows. I even made a special artist bio card to go with my collage.

I ended up pleased with the outcome of my work. There are a lot of chickens in my collage. There are SO many chickens!

I decided to call my piece Chicken Tractor because I think that’s a hilarious term.

My collage will be on display at Sun Gallery starting tomorrow until May 15. If you are in the neighborhood, you should stop by and see it live and in person. (As usual, my photos don’t do justice to the real thing.) The collage (13″ by 15″) is most definitely for sale. If you want to add it to your very special chicken collection or display in in your heretofore fowl free home, please contact me and we can negotiate.

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I took the photos in this post.

The Thrift Stores of T or C

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To close out this series on Truth or Consequences, NM, I will share my thoughts on the thrift stores in the commumity.

I know of five thrift stores in T or C, which is an impressive number, considering there are only 6,246 people in the town (as of 2013, according to https://www.google.com/search?q=population+truth+or+consequences&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8) and only 11,572 in all of Sierra County (as of 2013, according to https://www.google.com/search?q=population+sierra+county+nm&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8).

From my first day in T or C, I’d seen the sign outside the Catholic church (Our Lady of Perpetual Help) on Date Street, the sign that said the thrift shop was open 10am to 2pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The problem was I couldn’t find the thrift shop. I walked around the group of church buildings in the vicinity of 515 N Date Street, but found no shop opened at the appointed hours. Finally, on my fourth visit to the town, during a Wednesday coffee klatch, I thought to ask Coyote Sue (another thrift store aficionado) about the location of the shop. It was on the same block as the church, she told me, but on Cedar Street instead of Date. IMG_4104

The mention of the Catholic thrift shop got the other coffee klatch ladies talking. It was too crowded, too cluttered, the other ladies said. Coyote Sue, however, said she’d had luck buying old-school religious figurines there, then selling them for a profit on Ebay. I was excited to see it for myself, now that I knew where to find it.

I tried at least twice to shop at the Catholic thrift store before I left town. The first time I went there, on the Saturday after learning its location, there was a funeral being held at the church, and a huge black funeral ribbon on the door of the store. The door was locked despite the sign in the window reading “open,” and there was no shopping for Catholic castoffs that day.   IMG_4102

I swung by the following Wednesday, and the “Sorry We’re CLOSED” sign was in the window. Unfortunately, all I can offer is the information that the store is on the 500 block of Cedar Street.

My least favorite of the T or C thrift stores I’ve shopped in is the Paws & Claws Thrift Shoppe at 109 East First Avenue (adjacent to the Family Dollar parking lot). I feel bad about not liking the Paws and Claws because, according to the store’s website (http://www.deserthavenanimalrefuge.com/paws__claws_thrift_shoppe),

Paws & Claws Thrift Shoppe is, by far, the most important fund-raiser for the Sierra County Humane Society. It covers a major part of Desert Haven Animal Refuge’s operating expenses. The organization would not survive as it is today without the monthly income from the shop.

IMG_4121Why don’t I like shopping at the Paws & Claws? Let me count the ways.

The merchandise is overpriced. On the rare occasion I find a piece of clothing I like which  might fit me, it’s typically priced at $4 to $6. I know for a lot of people that’s a good deal, but I don’t usually pay more than $1 for a piece of thrift store clothing. I currently have way too much clothing in a wardrobe stocked with items that only cost me a dollar.

The Paws & Claws never has sales. It’s never green-tag day or half-off day. There’s just no way to get a bargain. I see the same things in the store every time I browse there. Ladies in the coffee klatch said they’d been seeing the same items in the store for five years. In my opinion, these items are sitting around because they are overpriced to begin with and then never marked down.

Add in rumors of an unpleasant and difficult manager and moldy books for sale, and I have little desire to walk through the front door.

I don’t have much experience with the All That & More Thrift Store. IMG_4105I’ve only been in the shop a couple of times, but the last time I went in, I found what I was looking for (plastic drawers for van organization). All That & More is one of those unusual thrift stores that isn’t full of old clothes so ugly I wonder who wore them new. The store is small, but neat and clean, and the prices are reasonable. The store is located on 4th Street, a block or two off Date and not far from the library and convention center.

The SJOA (Sierra Joint Office on Aging) thrift store in the senior center complex at 360 W. 4th Street is one of my favorites.  IMG_4113The store is small, but the ladies who run it know they need to move merchandise, so the prices are great. Most items of clothing cost 50 cents or a dollar. I’ve gotten small balls of yarn for a quarter. There’s usually a small selection of free magazines outside the entrance door.

The final thrift store in T or C is also the biggest. The CHF (Community Health Foundation) thrift store is located at

In addition to cool merchandise and good prices, the CHF Thrift Store is one of the places to see and be seen in T or C. My friendship with Coyote Sue was forged in the CHF store’s old location, and if we’re both in town, we’re likely to run into each other in the CHF’s aisles.

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This photo shows the entrance to the CHF Thrift Store. The free table can be seen in the far right of the picture.

Thrift Stores in T or C tend to open early in the morning and close early in the afternoon. They are sometimes closed on strange days (Closed Wednesdays? Who does that?), and I think every one of them is closed on Sunday. Your best bet is to swing by the stores and see if a sign on the front tells you the hours and days they are open.

If you like thrift stores, you are going to love T or C.

I took all of the photos in this post.

Where to Stay in T or C

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I’ve been writing about Truth or Consequences, NM in the last few days, and several people have told me they now have T or C on their list of places to visit. It would hardly be fair to get folks excited about visiting the town and not tell them where they can stay.

The first time I visited T or C, I had the good fortune to spend a week in a motel. I stayed at the Rocket Inn (http://www.rocketinn.net/, 605 N Date Street), a small motor court with only nine rooms for rent. Built in 1948, and originally called the Red Haven Motel, the entire place has been restored. According to the website, the

fully modernized King Deluxe and Double Queen rooms…include fridge, microwave, WIFI and HDTV/basic cable. [The property is] family run, dog-friendly and walking distance to Main Street.

I chose the Rocket Inn because I could walk from my room to downtown where I was able to sample the wonderful hot springs bathhouses. (To read more about the hot springs and bathhouses in the town, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/05/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/06/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs-my-experiences/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/08/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs-my-experiences-part-2/, and here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/07/artwork-from-la-paloma/.) Everyone working at the Rocket Inn, from the owners to the housekeepers, were exceedingly nice to me and made sure I had everything I wanted and needed. The rooms were impeccably clean, and I felt perfectly safe there.

SDC10011The third time I visited Truth or Consequences, I stayed at the Artesian Bath House and RV Park (https://sites.google.com/site/artesianbathhousenm/Home) at 312 Marr Street for two months. Nightly and weekly rates at the Artesian are reasonable, but the monthly rate is a fantastic deal. (Read up on the Artesian’s rates here: https://sites.google.com/site/artesianbathhousenm/Home/rates.)

According to the business’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Artesian-Bath-House-Trailer-Court/111366938897101),

The Artesian Bath House opened for business June, 1930. For over 33 years the Martin’s [sic] have owned, operated, and maintained their commercial hot springs.

The Artesian is great for vandwellers, as there  are restrooms on-site, and one can take a hot bath if one wants to clean up.

I have also had great success stealth parking and boondocking in the town of Truth or Consequences. I’m not sure if I’m actually as stealthy as I like to think I am or if no one in T or C cares about who’s sleeping in a vehicle in a residential area, but when I left in December of 2015, I’d never been bothered during my nights in the van. Lots of folks park overnight in the parking lot of the T or C Wal-Mart. I have seen everything from luxury Class A’s to old-school motorhomes held together with duct tape and prayer to stealth vans parked in that lot. On some nights I’ve counted a dozen vehicles parked there, then counted them all again in the morning as I walked toward the doors of the store. Sometimes I call that parking lot the Wal-Mart RV park.

For folks who want to get out of town and into nature, there’s plenty of that in the area too.

Paseo del Rio Campground SignTruth or Consequences is very close to Elephant Butte dam and Elephant Butte State Park. According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elephant_Butte_Dam,

Elephant Butte Dam…is a concrete gravity dam on the Rio Grande river near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. The dam impounds Elephant Butte Reservoir, which is used for both recreation and agriculture. The construction of the dam has reduced the flow of the Rio Grande to a small stream, with high releases occurring only during the summer irrigation season, or during years of exceptionally heavy snow melt.

Elephant Butte Dam

Elephant Butte Dam is the large concrete structure in the middle of this photo.

The Paseo del Rio Recreation Area is part of Elephant Butte State Park. The Paseo del Rio includes a campground I stayed at for a couple of nights during my first visit to the area.

When I was there, the campground did not offer water, sewage, or electrical hookups, but each campsite had a fire ring and picnic table covered by a ramada. There were flush toilets and sinks with running water on one end of the campground, near the day-use parking lot, and portable toilets at the other end. I believe the camping fee was $10 per night.

The Rio Grande and Mountain

This photo shows the Rio Grande as it looked from the trail that ran through the campground.

A 3/4 mile trail with “interpretive signage of historic interest” (http://www.emnrd.state.nm.us/SPD/TrailsatStateParks.html) ran through the campground and along the Rio Grande, and there was a historic fish hatchery in the recreation area.

I found the campground peaceful. There wasn’t much traffic at night on the road closest to the campground, so there wasn’t much disruptive automotive noise.

Fish Hatchery Lake

This photo shows one of the fish hatchery lakes. The water drew birds, so there was a lot of avian life in the area.

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This photo shows Caballo Lake, with the Caballo Mountains beyond it.

I also spent a couple of nights at the Percha Flats camping area at Caballo Lake State Park. Percha Flats was a primitive camping area with no designated campsites, no running water, no electricity, and no hookups of any kind. When I visited, there was a pit toilet and a dumpster near the entrance to the camping area. The camping fee was $8 per night. There were no designated hiking trails in the area where I stayed, but I did take some nice walks along the edge of the lake.

The final campground I stayed in near Truth or Consequences was in Percha Dam State Park. SDC10028The campground had many developed campsites, although mine only had a picnic table. My site had no ramada, and no hookups, although there may have been a water spigot there. (I can’t remember.) Many of the sites had electrical hookups, but I decided not to splurge on that. The campground also had flush toilets, sinks with running water, and hot showers that didn’t cost extra to use. I did enjoy a nice hot shower during my stay.

My last tip is a boondocking spot about 3o miles away from Truth or Consequences. Last time I was there, the cute little town of Hillsboro (population 124) allowed folks to park overnight in the community’s tiny park across the street from the Black Range Museum. There were a couple of pit toilets in the park, as well as a few informational placards, and campfires were not allowed. I think this spot would be a good place to spend the night on a trip between T or C and Silver City.

So there you have it. I’ve offered up several choices of places to stay as you start your adventures in Truth or Consequences and the surrounding area.

I took all of the photos in this post.

 

 

 

More Art in Truth or Consequences

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Walk around Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, and you’ll see not only galleries full of art, but art covering the walls of buildings and decorating the alleys.

I’ll get this party started by sharing my least favorite piece of public art in Truth or Consequences. This is a tile SDC10039mosaic on the front of the Bank of the Southwest at 509 N Broadway Street. It’s a nice enough (although somewhat bland to my eye) mosaic, except for the caption, “Our Heritage.” Sure, it’s supposed to be inclusive, with the Spanish Catholic guy on the left, the Native American fellow in the middle, and the white cowboy/rancher man on the right, but what about women? Did only men play a role in the heritage of Truth or Consequences/Southern New Mexico/the Southwest? I think not. I roll my eyes every time I see this piece of work that renders invisible the women who played a role in the town’s history.

(After doing some basic Google searching, I was not able to find the name of the artist who did this mosaic, nor when it was completed. If you know the name of the artist and the history of this mosaic, please leave a comment with the info.)

A piece I like more is this one, located in the alley behind the storefront on Broadway that once housed the CHF thrift store.

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Notice the mural around the windows of the white house in the background. Mural and mixed-media piece by Mary Kinninger Walker.

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Detail of the above piece. I like the smaller objects attached to the metal lids.

It’s a mixed media, found object, three-dimensional collage. For a long time, I didn’t know who’d done this piece, but two readers wrote in and told me the work is by Mary Kinninger Walker.

There are so many murals in T or C, I didn’t have a chance to get photos of them all, even though I was in town for about three weeks during my last visit. (In my defense, it was cold out, and I didn’t walk around a lot.)

Another mural I like is this one of a IMG_3948black bird (crow? raven? I can never tell the difference) on a building on Main Street, near the Passion Pie Cafe. I like those puffy little clouds against the light blue sky too. According to the Spring 2015 Sierra County Artist Directory (volume 13), the bird and the sky were painted by Bonita Barlow in 1999.

IMG_3999I also like this painting of the Virgin Mary. (Love those spirals on her cheeks!) She’s painted on a building that’s behind a hurricane fence, so was difficult for me to get a good shot of her, but she is surrounded by color and intricate patterns. The Virgin was also painted by Mary Kinninger Walker.

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Perhaps this manifestation of the Virgin was painted by one of the artists mentioned on the Sierra County, New Mexico website (http://www.sierracountynewmexico.info/attractions/art-in-truth-or-consequences-hillsboro-and-more/).

Truth or Consequences is also home to a growing number of outdoor murals; you’ll find them painted on bath houses, shops, homes, and even vacant buildings located in increasingly colorful alleyways.

I wish that website had shown some of those murals and shared the name of the artists.

I took the next three photos during my first visit to Truth or Consequences in March of 2014. This mural is painted on the back of a building and can be seen from the alley. I was attracted by the bright colors, the turtles, and the skeleton with wings. I found a photo of the skeleton in the above-mentioned Sierra County Artist Directory, and the piece was attributed to Mary Kinninger Walker and Donna Monroe.SDC10033SDC10032

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The next three pieces were also painted by Mary Kinninger Walker.  All of these are located on the back of buildings and can be seen from alleys.

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When Pigs Fly is a shop in T or C. I think this mural must be on what was the back exit to the store when it was located on Broadway.

 

 

 

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I like art that pretties up plain or ugly things.

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Love these super bright colors!

 

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These brightly colored pieces were also painted by Mary Kinninger Walker.

IMG_4003The photo to the left is a detail of a jungle-scene mural that covers the entire back wall of a building. (If I remember correctly, the front of this building is on Broadway.) I love the way the building’s actual window becomes the window of the jungle hut. I love the alert black cat on the roof of the hut. I love the way the swing fits right into the scene. Anyone know who painted this one?

 

 

 

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Information about this mural from http://www.ohwy.com/nm/w/wattanmu.htm

Just about anywhere downtown, one can see this big water tank on the hill and the mural by Anthony Penrock that wraps around it. According to the Online Highways website,

Artist Tony Pennock of Las Cruses, New Mexico painted three water tank murals in Truth or Consequences in the early 1990s. [This] One shows Apache horsemen traveling to rest at the hot springs.

 

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These tags are on a (retaining?) wall on Main Street, near the old post office and the Geronimo Springs Museum. I think graffiti is as legitimate as any other art form.

IMG_3978Sometimes art is functional, like this blue door on Main Street. I really like the intricate design highlighted in that soft yellow.

I hope to go back to T or C someday and take more photos of public art to share here.

I took all of the photos in this post.

Art in Truth or Consequences

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Truth or Consequences is not just a hot springs and bathhouse town; it’s also an art town. In addition to the art in the town’s multiple art galleries, there’s lots of art to see outside too.

According to http://www.sierracountynewmexico.info/attractions/art-in-truth-or-consequences-hillsboro-and-more/, those colorful flower murals adorning the exterior of the Ralph Edwards Civic Center at 400 West Fourth Street are the work of Delmas Howe. IMG_4114 According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delmas_Howe,

Howe (born October 22, 1935) is an American Painter and muralist whose figurative work depicts mythological and archetypal – sometimes homoerotic – themes in a neoclassical, realist style. IMG_4110

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Another public building with murals is the Lee Belle Johnson Senior Center, at 301 South Foch Street.  IMG_3980According to http://www.torccenterforthearts.org/homeblog/archives/08-2013, these murals were painted by a group called “the Young da Vincis.” This group of young artists (made up of Reed Tische, Megan Burke, Bethany Walker, Jannelle Knaus, Josh Candelaria, Kyle Cunningham, Jeannie Ortiz and Hannah Goldman) was organized and named by Jia Apple.

According to the above website, four months and at least 2,160 work hours went into these murals. Nine people worked on them about 12 hours a week for 20 weeks. The theme of the murals is local flora/fauna/habitat. The integrity of the historic adobe building–a WPA (Works Progress Administration/Work Projects Administration) project–had to be preserved.

IMG_3982The boarded-up windows of differing shapes were used as insets for the murals.

Again according to http://www.torccenterforthearts.org/homeblog/archives/08-2013

Repeated design elements gave consistency and rhythm. The habitat was strongly delineated in curvy shapes and diagonals that pull you into the picture. Land, water, mountains and sky were depicted in a consistent palette of alternating oranges and blues.IMG_3984
The animal life was consistently depicted two ways—as strong black silhouettes, or set apart in a tondo/circle form, painted in “grisaille” or in shades of black and white with some tans.

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Not all of the outdoor art pieces in T or C are murals. One of my favorite pieces of art in town is the sculpture of a steer called Joy, by R. William Winkler.  IMG_4005This sculpture stands in the parking lot at the corner of Main and Pershing streets. According to New Mexico Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff,

the statue is made from cedar planks, car parts, and other discarded items. The creature takes its name from the word ‘joy’ cast into the grill of an old wood-burning stove that the artist…scavenged from a cattle ranch along Percha Creek and integrated into his creation.

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I took all photos in this post. I’ll share more examples of outdoor art in T or C tomorrow.

Truth or Consequences Hot Springs (My Experiences Part 2)

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In a previous post (http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/06/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs-my-experiences/), I wrote about my experiences at four bathhouses (Blackstone, Indian Springs, La Paloma, and La Paloma Too) in Truth or Consequences (T or C), New Mexico. In this post, I will share my experiences at three more bathhouses I’ve visited in T or C.

I soaked at Riverbend Hot springs (100 Austin Street, http://www.riverbendhotsprings.com/) once in March of 2014. SDC10007Riverbend has both public and private pools for soaking.

According to http://www.riverbendhotsprings.com/springs.html#pub,

The public pools consist of five pools that cascade from one to another, creating a different temperature in each one. Temperatures usually range from around 100-108 degrees. They are situated around a shaded river deck and include a cold shower for cooling off, as well as our large shaded patio with chaise loungers, mist fans (in the summer), dining tables and chairs, and our barrel sauna…The cold and clear Rio Grande River is also accessible for swimming at your own risk (closed when the river levels are fluctuating).

The Riverbend website (http://www.riverbendhotsprings.com/springs.html#pvt) has this to say about their private pools:

Our private pools are perfect for those that desire to bathe au natural or would like more peaceful privacy. They are walled on three sides but open to the riverside mountain view. Each have their own river deck, cooling mister systems and reclining lounge chairs or benches. They are available for rental by the public and are discounted for overnight guests.

I soaked in the Rio pool.

The Pool I soaked in outside, next to the Rio Grande

This is the Rio, the pool I soaked in outside, next to the Rio Grande

The Riverbend website says,

Rio (“river”) is very popular for its extremely close proximity to the river, its high temperature, and its quiet flow of water. This cozy pool seats two people very comfortably and has a temperature of about 107-108 degrees. It has a small shaded deck for cooling off between dips.

The private cabana (?) housing my hot little pool

Here’s a view of the deck from the pool I soaked in.

The water in the pool was nice and hot, and the pool was deep. I enjoyed being outside naked, and I enjoyed the view. Since most of the soaking in T or C is done indoors, in bathhouses, soaking out in nature was a real treat. However, even though there was a wall between my soaking area and the one next to me, I could clearly hear the voices and follow the conversation of the men in the next pool. Hearing other people’s inane conversation was less than relaxing.

Soaking in the public pools at Riverbend costs $10 per hour. Private soaks cost $15 on a walk-in basis and $10 for overnight guests. Reservations are taken for private soaks.

 This is the view I had while I soaked in the hot pool at Riverbend. That's the Rio Grande in the forefront. Turtle Mountain is in the background.

This is the view I had while I soaked in the Rio pool at Riverbend. That’s the Rio Grande in the forefront. Turtleback Mountain is in the background.

I’ve soaked many, many times at the Charles Motel and Hot Springs Charles Motel(601 N Broadway Street, http://www.charlesspa.com/index.html), the first time in March 2014, most recently in December 2015. At the Charles, there is a women’s side and a men’s side, both with individual tubs (much like conventional home bathtubs with faucets and drains) for soaking. I’ve only ever been on the women’s side, so that’s what I will write about. Also, the Charles offers soaking in outdoor, rooftop Jacuzzi tubs, but I’ve never soaked in them or even been on the roof to look at them.

IMG_4085The photo to the left shows the women’s side. Each tub is in its own little cubical, separated on two sides by walls that go almost all the way to the floor and a curtain in the back. There is drinking water available to anyone soaking.

While the walls and curtains offer visual privacy, they don’t do much to block sound. Sometimes women soaking in tubs next to each other want to chat, which makes for a less than relaxing experience for people like me who want to soak in silence. I’ve found that the best time for me to soak at the Charles is first thing in the morning, as soon as it opens at 8am. I’m usually the only person soaking that early in the day, and the whole area is blissfully peaceful.

This is my favorite tub to soak in at the Charles. It's shorter than the rest, which is ok since I am short, and it's deeper than the other tubs too. I like deep! I also like the pink and blue tile.

This is my favorite tub to soak in at the Charles. It’s shorter than the rest, which is ok since I am short, and it’s deeper than the other tubs too. I like deep! I also like the pink and blue tile.

Private soaks at the Charles cost $6 for an entire hours, and that includes a towel! The outdoor Jacuzzi tubs seat 4 to 6 and cost $8/10 per person per hour. According to the website,

Temperature [in the baths] ranges from 98 ° to 115 °F… All our tubs are drained, cleaned and sanitized after each use.

Of all the places I’ve soaked, The Artesian Bath House and Trailer Court (312 Marr Street, https://www.facebook.com/Artesian-Bath-House-Trailer-Court-111366938897101/) is probably my favorite. I first soaked there in March of 2014 and most recently in December 2015.

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Like at the Charles, soaking is done in tubs much like those in the home, tubs with faucets from where the water flows and drains through which the water exits. Unlike at the Charles, at the Artesian, each tub is in its own private room with a door that locks. At the Artesian, I do not hear other people’s conversations while I am soaking. At the Artesian, I get an hour of quiet, peaceful, hot water bliss.

The Artesian also has at least one large tub, big enough for two (or maybe three) people. I was able to soak in the large tub once when the individual tubs were all taken. There is plenty of room to stretch out in the big tub.

My last one-hour soak at the Artesian cost six dollars. The bathhouse is closed on Wednesdays.

The Artesian is also an RV park, open to nightly, weekly, and monthly stays. I spent two months there in the winter of 2014. Because the Artesian has restrooms and baths, it is a perfect place for a van dweller like me to stay. The monthly rate was extremely affordable, and included WiFi access. I was also able to utilize the electric hookups to charge my laptop and phone batteries. Folks staying there pay for the electricity they use, but my usage was small and I only payed a few dollars a month for it. Also, because I was a tenant, soaks cost me just $3 an hour.

I miss soaking in the wonderful, hot mineral water in T or C, especially in the winter.