April 20, 2001
Dear Subscriber:

I've been carrying on regular email correspondence with a
high school friend of mine who I haven't seen in over 30 years.

Our notes to each other have been filled with "do you 
remember..." and "how about the time...." We grew up in a 
small West Texas town. You would think by now we would have 
run out of stories to re-hash, but we haven't.

Then one day, Mike (that's his name) suggested we "copy" Eddy
(another childhood chum). "The more the merrier," I pecked out
to Mike, and our email conversations took on new spirit with an
added perspective.

Then one of us had the bright idea to include Charlie in our
messages, then Patsy, then Donna, then...well, you get the

Last night at 5 pm I sat down to my computer with three new
items in my email in-box. Before I got up from my desk an
hour later, I had read over 20 new emails from old high school

Mike and I had created a monster.

We use the familiar bulletin board format. No matter if you are
sending a message to one individual, the message must go out to
everyone in the group. That's the rule (I guess if someone
breaks the rule, they get an internet noogie). It's really
quite funny. We're all dancing around our 50s right now, but
to read the messages, you would swear it was a bunch of high
school kids passing notes around in class. It really is like
going back in time. There are those that want to talk about the
cars we drove. Others are preoccupied with the romances we had.
Still others want to re-hash the pranks that were pulled (some
being confessed to for the first time now. I suppose the statute
of limitations has expired).

There is a darker side to this. Not only are we all reminded of
the good times we had, we're also reminded of the things we
didn't like about each other...those annoying little habits
that had long since been forgotten. The cliques...those little
groups that had evaporated with college and marriage, are
reforming in cyberspace.

I broke the everybody-or-nobody rule yesterday and sent an
email to Mike. I asked him his feelings on this class reunion
we were having every evening on the net. "Is this a good thing
or a bad thing?" I asked.

We agreed the good out-weighed the bad. Wading through all the
gossip manufactured many more smiles than it did frowns. Yet,
I don't know that if we had it to do all over again, we would.

There are about 20 of us in the email group now. I hope
somewhere along the line one of us doesn't open up an old wound
that took years to heal in the first place. I doubt that that
will happen. After all, we're all around 50 and much more

...aren't we?

Don Vanlandingham

The Census Bureau has begun posting the results of the 2000
census on its site:


Some interesting facts about New Mexico from the site.

Population, 2000.............................. 1,819,046
Population, percent change, 1990 to 2000...... 20.1%
Median household money income................. $30,836
Land area, 2000 (square miles)................ 121,356
Persons per square mile, 2000................. 15.0

Some interesting facts about Otero County from the site.
Population, 2000.............................. 62,298
Population, percent change, 1990 to 2000...... 20.0%
Median household money income................. $29,412
Land area, 2000 (square miles)................ 6,627
Persons per square mile, 2000................. 9.4
Metropolitan Area............................. None

2000 data for Cloudcroft does not seem to be available on
their site yet, (if anyone knows where to find it, please
let us know), but various sources cite a 2000 population
figure of 749**. Here is data from a 1998 census survey:

In 1998, Cloudcroft had a population of 646. The median age
was 39 years. Thirty-seven percent were under 18 years and 15%
were 65 years or older. There was an equal amount of women 
and men.

In 1998 there were 256 households in Cloudcroft. The average
household size was 2.52 people.

Families made up 62% of the households in Cloudcroft in 1998.
This figure includes both married couple families (52%) and 
other families with no spouse present (10%). Non-family 
households made up 38% of all households in Cloudcroft. Most
of the non-family households were people living alone, but some
were people living in households maintained by non-relatives.

33% of the people living in Cloudcroft were born in the State
of New Mexico.

55% of owners with mortgages in Cloudcroft spent less than 20%
of their household income on housing; 24% spent 30% or more on
housing. Among renters, 58% spent less than 20% of their 
household income on rent and 42% spent 30% or more on rent. 
The median gross rent was $479 per month.

**The population of the "Greater" Cloudcroft area is larger.
Does anyone have an official figure for this population?
Several readers have asked if there is a "Visit Cloudcroft"
logo they can put on their web pages. The answer is "Yes!" For
the logo, and details on posting, go here:


Dare we say it? Spring seems to be here, but every time we make
the prediction, another cold snap comes our way. It has been
very nice this past week. Temps in the low 60s (up to 90 in the
basin area) and lows around 35.

Moisture is the key now. A shower or two would bring down the
kindling level of the forest significantly. No camping or
other restrictions have been posted in the Lincoln National
Forest to date.
Clean up Cloudcroft Day is Saturday, April 28th. Volunteers are
asked to meet in front of the Chamber of Commerce at 9am to 
pick up garbage bags. Everyone is welcome to participate.
While most people think of building up their wood supply in the
fall, it's not a bad idea to go ahead and stockpile wood now,
to give it plenty of time to cure and burn cleaner.

Southwest Wood is located at the bottom of the hill on Highway
82 in Alamogordo. Several different kinds of wood to choose
If you live outside the area, you may have seen the tunnel on
Hwy 82 between Cloudcroft and Alamogordo without realizing it.

It has been seen in dozens of nationally televised ads over the
years (mainly car commercials). The tunnel was cut through the
mountainside in the mid-40s when Hwy 82 was first constructed
over and down the mountain.

The tunnel is 6 miles East of Alamogordo.

Here is a dramatic photo of sunset at the tunnel vista, taken
by P. J. Flowers:


Q - What's up with this law that says a 17 year old is supposed
to ride in the back seat in New Mexico?

A - Strange but true. New Mexico law says any person under 18
should be restrained in the back seat. When we called state
authorities to confirm this, they had no answer to our question
of how a 16 year old can obtain a driver's license but is not
legally supposed to be in the front seat.
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 -- Clean up Cloudcroft day. Volunteers are to meet in
front of the Chamber of Commerce building at 9am.

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

May 5 -- High Altitude Classic mountain bike race. 
Entertainment scheduled on Burro Avenue that night.

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:

Your weekly letter keeps getting better and better. I eagerly
look forward to each edition, wondering what you are going to
come up with next. I especially enjoy your sense of humor re 
skunks and gravel.

Please keep the photographs coming. The issue with all the
information and pictures of the sun spots was especially great.
I pass your newsletter on to others who I know would enjoy 
reading about some of the topics you have covered. The pictures
of Cloudcroft are terrific too. I can sit and stare at them and
wish I could be there.

As an Oregonian who has witnessed the growth and resulting
changes in my state, I hope that people will continue to find
Cloudcroft a wonderful place to visit. At the same time, for
your sake, I hope that not too many will decide to make it their
permanent home.

Please continue to keep me on your mailing list.

Most sincerely,
Helen Sills
Eugene, Oregon

[Helen has written a brief history of her pioneering Cloudcroft
family, which you can read here:]


Dear Newsletter:

God bless Tommy, the REAL gravel man and everyone else who takes
pride in their work to do the best possible job they can do. He
is a rare and dying breed in this country, where most do only
what work quality they must do, just to get by. It's a sign of
the times. 

Carlisle, PA

Dear Newsletter:

I'll bet the Gravel Guy in CC doesn't charge $20 to "dump 
spread" either.

In Rio Rancho we have a great use for the popular pebbles. It
replaces grass instead of blacktop and concrete. It's a lot 
hotter than grass, but cheaper to water and you don't mow it.

It is available here in many flavors also; Santa Fe Brown, Santa
Anna Tan (which is really pink if you look close).

The kicker here is -- you pay 20 bucks to have the delivery guy
perform what is called a "dump spread" maneuver. I guess he
figures it's worth the money to save your back and a lot less
than renting the local Bobcat.

Most folks decline the dump spread out of spite for the guy
mentioning it. Some wish they had paid and not suffered the
blisters and all. But in my neighborhood we all pitch in and
help each other with the "shovel and rake" maneuver and the job
goes faster and funnier that way.

The gravel guy here probably wonders why no one buys him a 
coffee or relinquishes a tip once in while. I think the Wiseman
also said "Name your Rate and Pick your Fate".

So Long from a Former Crofter.

Dear Newsletter:

Just want first to let you know how much I enjoy the newsletter.
I can hardly wait to read your articles and share them with 
friends back home. Don't lose the humor and wit now.... I enjoy
the laughter.

I'm a fairly new resident to the Cloudcroft area, though I've 
visited countless times in the past. Somehow God just saw fit to
make it possible for me to make this my home now. Hallelujah!
Tonight, April 14, my grand-Angel and I drove over to Ruidoso
to watch a most incredible Easter production put on by the 
members of First Assembly of God church there. For those of you
who missed it, you really missed it!

I've learned that any trip to anywhere includes a visit to the
local Wally World, so of course, we did that and got it out of
the way and headed home. 

We had gotten maybe 2 or 3 miles out this side of Ruidoso when
we saw a fire on the side of the road. Cars were just zooming 
right by, not a one stopping. 

I pulled off the road and told my grand-Angel to stay in the 
pickup. I found a blanket I carry behind the seat just in case 
the Angel gets cold and grabbed it and ran for the fire. I began
trying to put out the fire, and it was getting worse by the 

Cars continued to just zoom right on by! Finally, after what 
seemed an eternity and me getting my lungs filled with smoke, 
another car stopped and two more men got out and came and began 
helping me try to put out the fire. They yelled and told me
they had called 911 on their cell phone and someone should be
there soon. I was thinking they'd better get a move on, or we
were gonna' be in real trouble there.

Finally, two emergency vehicles pulled up and a couple of guys
came out with fire extinguishers and finished putting out the

It was a close call, very close. The fire had already started
climbing up a tree, and from there, who knows where it would
have gone.

The Angels blanket? Uh, well, let's say it's time for a new one.

After I saw what was left was in good hands, I returned to my 
pickup where my grand-Angel was engrossed in eating pistachios
I'd just bought at Wally World, otherwise known officially as 
Wal-Mart, a place where it's almost a sin to pass by and not 

My lungs were filled with smoke and I'd gotten a terrific (why
do we say terrific when it's actually horrible) headache. I 
coughed all the way home and the more I coughed the more I 
thought about who had done what to start that fire. I don't 
know all the politics of forestry, but I think I'm sharp enough
to know you don't EVER NEVER EVER throw anything out of your 
car that has fire on it, especially up here in the mountains.

What EVER could someone have been thinking? Obviously, thinking
was not a part of that moments stupidity. Yes, stupidity! What
else could it be?

I'm also sharp enough to know that there is no person living on
this earth today that will live anywhere near long enough to 
see the regrowth of our burned forests. C'mon, people! Get a
grip! When this forest is gone, you can bet your best Sunday-
go-to-meetin' suit there won't be another. It's bad enough that
our forests are dying around us due to disease, but what we've
got left, don't you think it'd be worth it to save it?

I can't understand people who will throw a cigarette butt or
anything else with fire attached out of their car window. When
you do that, you immediately become responsible for ANY damage
done to the forest by fire. Fire is a killer, ask those who 
have lost everything by it.

Just think, what if someone threw out a lit cigarette butt next
to YOUR home, and YOUR home burned to the ground, along with 
thousands of acres of beautiful forest.

Hmmmmm... I also wonder, what are those little boxes that the
automobile manufacturers put in the middle of the dashes of 
cars? Aren't those called "ash trays"???

Seems there's a reason for those being there. I don't smoke, 
never have. But I know a lot of people who do. If you don't want
your car to smell like cigarette, wait until you get somewhere
you can get out of your car to smoke. Don't roll your window 
down and throw your butt out just because you don't want your
car to stink. C'mon! I don't mind you smoking, that's your 
business. But I do mind someone burning the forests down just
because they don't want to dirty up their ash tray!

Well, I'll get off my box now. Sorry this is so long, but these
forests are precious to us all. How 'bout let's try to save them
if at all possible?

Mikel McGinn
Cloudcroft, NM

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