April 13, 2001
Dear Subscriber:

What is considered valuable in rural, mountain New Mexico is 
often much different than what is considered valuable in 
suburban America. For instance, those fire-engine red, low-flung
rag-top, sporty-mobiles might be nice in Los Angeles, but in 
Cloudcroft you need a vehicle with CLEARANCE. Preferably one 
you can walk under without ducking.

In the Sacramento Mountains, where the vast majority of our
roads are unpaved, there are normally two dominant road 
conditions: muddy or dusty. For that reason, gravel is one of 
our most precious commodities.

Gravel keeps the mud at bay during the wet season and holds down
the dust when it's dry. The gravel guy is held in high esteem in
these parts. When he goes by in his big dump truck, one is
compelled to remove one's cap and place it over one's heart in a
reverent salute to this noble and learned man of pebbles.

As it is with specialists in other professions, some gravel guys
are better than others.

Being from the asphalt and concrete of Lubbock, we were babes
when it came to gravel savvy when we ordered our first truckload
many years ago in Cloudcroft. The company from which we ordered
it fell short in pride of service. They showed up late and
dumped all 7 tons in a huge pile. After collecting our money
they drove off, leaving us with our pitiful little rakes to make
some sense of it all.

Before ordering our next load a few years later, we prepared
ourselves for the hours of toil that lay ahead, but this time,
as fortune would have it, our fingers did the walking right to
the name and number of a REAL gravel man.

He showed up in a shiny dump truck with large chrome stacks
and CB whip antennas that reached to the sky. He came to a
halt near our drive in a symphony of air brakes backed by
Garth Brooks on his high-powered stereo system. The driver's
side door flew open and he emerged in heavily starched jeans 
held secure by a wide belt and big belt buckle. His immaculate
work shirt was appointed by two patch ovals over each pocket: 
One embroidered with his company's name and the other with the
name of this soldier of the ballast..."Tommy".

"Where would you like it" Tommy asked with a toothy smile. He
removed his carefully blocked Stetson in respectful
acknowledgment of the presence of my lady (no fool, this guy).

"Just dump it over there" I said, as I prepared myself mentally
for the chain-gang chore of spreading the stuff out.

"I'll spread it for you" he said. After a short consult from
which he determined exactly where I wanted the spread to begin
and end, he backed big "Gitty-up and Go" into the driveway and
raised that mammoth bed. Then, in a carefully synchronized
combination of forward motion and tail-gate opening, the show
began. After 3 passes, 7 tons of gravel were laid out in our 
drive, precisely 2 inches deep and not a pebble out of place.

I remember someone wiser than myself once told me, "It matters
not what job you choose to do. It only matters how well you
choose to do it". Tommy was the best gravel man I had ever seen.
It was gratifying to see a true artist ply his trade and I was
proud to have his gravel in my driveway.

Don Vanlandingham

This issue of the Cloudcroft Newsletter is brought to you by 
Dusty's Place. Make the most of this summer's vacation. Stay
with us at Dusty's Place, "Where Mountain Memories Are Made."



Another cold snap this week has placed the blooms in jeopardy.
Highs in the mid-60s dipped toward the end of the week to
the mid-40s, with lows in the winter-like range of 15 to 20.

Windy most of the week.

About 2 inches of spring snow early in the week melted quickly.
The average monthly rainfall and snowfall for Cloudcroft:


The average monthly temperature for Cloudcroft:


These links can also be found on our General Information page,
along with other weather information for Cloudcroft.


Moisture levels in the Sacramentos are low despite a fair amount
of snow this winter. Windy conditions combined with over-growth
has again increased the danger of fire.

At least two wildfires near Ruidoso and one on the Mescalero
Apache Reservation in the past week have led to the scrambling
of fire crews and slurry planes. No appreciable property damage
was reported as a result of those fires, but the early outbreak
has placed fire fighters on alert for what could be another 
busy spring. The first anniversary of the Scott Able Fire is
approaching, and ground conditions are similar this year.
Located in Weed, New Mexico and specializing in all kinds of
mountain real estate. Ranches, cabins, homes and commercial.

See their web page link on Cloudcroft.com.
The Cloudcroft Museum and Pioneer Village is open year round,
but is especially interesting as a warm-weather attraction,
because of the Pioneer Village. The Pioneer Village is a 
collection of historic buildings moved to the museum site and
restored. Included is a collection of old-time farming and 
ranching tools and equipment.

The museum is located on Highway 82 in the vicinity of the
Chamber of Commerce building.
Q - What is the speed limit on Highway 130 between Cloudcroft 
and Lower Cox Canyon?

A - Before that 2-1/2 mile part of the highway was widened and
re-paved, the speed limit was 25 mph. It is still 25 mph. That 
stretch of NM-130 is considered one of the most hazardous roads
in the Cloudcroft area, with lots of blind and hazardous turns.
April 14 -- Easter festivities. Easter Egg hunt in Zenith Park.
10am. Easter bonnet contest and parade on Burro Avenue.

April 15 -- Easter Sunrise Service, sponsored by Cloudcroft 
Ministerial Association. First Baptist Church. 7am. A breakfast
will follow.

April 21 -- United Methodist Women TRASH AND TREASURE SALE.
Zenith Park. To contribute items to the sale or for more info
call Susan (505) 687-3067.

April 21 -- Spuds and Duds fashion show. Alamogordo Women's
Club (in association with the Mayhill FCE Club).

April 21-22 -- Rattlesnake show. Otero County Fairgrounds.
Alamogordo. 9am-6pm April 21st. 9am-5pm April 22nd. For info 
call Tom Moore (505) 437-7116.

April 28 -- Lake Lucero Tour. 9am. White Sands National 
Monument. Advanced registration required. Call (505) 479-6124 
or (505) 679-2599 for information.

Cloudcroft Art Society meets the second Thursday of each month
in the Old Red Brick Schoolhouse. Call (505) 682-2494 for more
info. The Society is sponsoring a Miniature Art Show each 
Friday (10-4pm), Saturday (10-4pm), and Sunday (12-4pm)in May.
All art work is for sale and is by area artists.

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:

Eclectic: A hodge podge, from taking the best of each, without 
regard to harmony. Cloudcroft used to have that. It began to 
loose it with the Western/railroad motif building code. I hope
the trend ends there. 

Bill Ley,
Austin, TX

Dear Newsletter:

I just got my second newsletter. I am really enjoying them. I 
am so excited to be headed your way in about 2 weeks. I have 
never been, but already feel as if this will be a life altering
trip! Can't wait to get there!

Thanks for the newsletter, you are going a great job!

Sherry Taylor
Granbury, Texas

Dear Newsletter:

We have good friends who have gone to your lovely village for 
the past ten years or so. They always come back with wonderful 
stories and this look of relaxation on their faces! I have made
reservations for our family this summer at the Cabins at 

I am already excited about the trip. We're from Austin, Texas
where the only thing you can look forward to in the summer is 
its eventual end! We have visited Colorado 3 times (each time
during July), but it is such a LONG trip, we thought Cloudcroft
sounded perfect.

Plus, I LOVE the mountains - I can't wait to get my first 
newsletter. It sounds like such a charming place.

Ann Moeller

Dear Newsletter:

My husband and I and my little boy can not wait to get out to
Cloudcroft. We have a cabin there. We escape the heat from
Gonzales-Austin, Texas area. Once it hits the (90's-100's), 
we leave!!!

We can not wait!!!

The Yanceys

Dear Newsletter:

Horrors! Don't get our readers started on why Cloudcroft far
exceeds Ruidoso in this non-popularity contest between our two

As a basic comparison, start with Sudderth Drive versus Burro
Avenue. Ever try to cross Sudderth on a busy day, or even when
it isn't busy?

Sudderth Drive is a mini-Indianapolis Speedway. Ever try to get
on Sudderth Drive from a sidestreet? It ain't easy, folks. Can
you find a McDonalds, or a Wendy's, or a Popeyes in Cloudcroft?
Nope, and we are dang happy that we can't...they would clutter 
up our pristine appearance.

Any bus depots? Car washes? Gulf stations? Diamond Shamrock? 
Mobil? Just one little old Convenience Store with a couple of
pumps out front. If you want variety, try Alamogordo.

How about drive-by shootings? Bank robberies? Daily Newspapers?
Nope, we like our Mountain Monthly and Weekly Newsletter.

Cluttered up Golf Courses with big Green Fees? Nope! We have 
our very own Lodge Golf Club...over 100 years old and still the
best little old batch of greens and fairways in Mew Mexico...
and some friendly, good-looking gals running the place.

Folks I could go on and on, but it boils down to one thing....
The old cliché: "We're Number One".

Mr. Prejudice,
Dayton Blanchard

Dear Newsletter:

No, we don't want Cloudcroft to be another Ruidoso! It is fun
to visit Ruidoso for the day, but we don't want our cabin there!
Keep the village simple and homey and down-to-earth. That is 
its big charm - there are lots of Ruidosos and few Cloudcrofts.

And a big thank you for the terrific job you are doing with the
newsletter - always good to hear from you - fun to read and 
very helpful!

J. Keith
Kempner, TX

Dear Newsletter:

I choose to live in Ruidoso because of the lower elevation and
the warmer average temperatures. But God forbid that Cloudcroft
ever becomes like Ruidoso. I've been around both villages long
enough (66 years to be exact) to remember when both were small
bergs without all of the amenities, and I'd go back in a second
if it were possible. Back to the days of dirt streets and 15 mph
speed limits and the ability to walk to everywhere one needed
to go in town.

Jack Schuller

Dear Newsletter:

When my husband and I decided to retire, we were in a great, 
tearing hurry to get out of El Paso.

We traveled as far north as Rupert, Idaho looking for a place
we wanted to live, and wound up in Cloudcroft. Why? Because it
is the best. Ruidoso was never even a consideration.

Barbara Hardison 

Dear Don:

I hope you don't mind my referring to you by your first name. 

I've been a subscriber of the newsletter since issue #1, which 
makes me feel as if I know you. But then again, since you don't
really known me, I suppose I can get away with it anyway.

Now what was it you wanted?

Oops, sorry, I forgot, I'm the one writing the letter.

After reading the intro in this weeks newsletter (#54) about
the size of Cloudcroft, or the lack there of, I thought I 
would put in my two cents worth.

I was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. At the beginning of
this period, Phoenix was less then 100,000 souls. I know that
sounds like a lot, but believe me, it got much worse.

Being a valley, there are loads of mountain tops around from 
which to survey the landscape. I can remember being perched
atop South Mountain, at a location known as "Look Out Point," 
during the hours of darkness. From this point of view I could 
see a few patches of light amongst the vast darkness spread out
before me. Those lights indicated the location of each of the 
valley's cities (Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa, Glendale and

But now, from this same location, there is nothing but solid
light in all directions, for as far as the eye can see.

Where once desert and farmlands separated the communities, 
there is now only a sign posted along side the road that states
"You are now entering ________." Now-a-days, two thirds or more
of the State's population lives here in one of the valley's 
communities, giving the valley a population of approximately 
3 million or more. I must escape!

While looking for a place to hideout after retirement, thanks
to my sister, I found Cloudcroft. During the background check,
I found that one of the plus's (of many plus's) about 
Cloudcroft, was that its population is actually smaller than it
was in its beginning.

It took all of 3 minutes to decide on the purchase of some 
property in Cloud Country West. The only reason it took that 
long, was my agent kept interrupting, telling me that it was 
only an asking price and she believed that I could get it for 
less. Heck Fire, I would have paid more! (But we'll keep that
tidbit from the seller.)

I know that it is impossible for people like me to move into
the area without increasing the population. But I promise not
to tell anybody else, or to bring any of the "Big City" 
problems along with me. Heck, I'm even sorry for disturbing
that squirrel the day I was doing a little cleaning on the lot.
I hope he doesn't hold a grudge, or put a hit out on me with
any of his skunk friends!

Tic-toc, tic-toc, retirement keeps getting a little closer.

Bill White
Phoenix, Arizona

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