- J.F. Rowan
New Mexico And Visions Of...Burgers?
Sparky's In Hatch New Mexico
The idea of revisiting New Mexico came with mixed feelings. On the one hand, even though it was springtime, winter conditions existed through much of Colorado. So, heading into Colorado on our way to Utah was sort of a bad idea. But heading west through a more friendly climate like New Mexico’s seemed, at least from a weather point of view, like a common sense approach. That, coupled with the seed that was planted by a new Canadian friend we had met in Brownwood Texas who said the best cheeseburger on earth could be procured in the famous Green Chile town of Hatch, NM. Visions of a large juicy burger at place called "Sparky's" ladened with gooey cheese and topped with generous portions of roasted green chiles got my attention. Then, as if that was not enough, a subsequent description of the most wondrous chocolate chili milkshake might as well have been the pied piper of my savory food senses. That does it, “Load em up, we’re heading to New Mexico."
Comfy Camp in Caprock Canyon State Park, Texas
Our departure point was from Quiteque, Texas. It was a re-visit mainly because we love it there and secondarily, it was probably the single best stepping off point on our way west. If you want to see a video of Caprock State Park, click HERE. But where to go first? Well, we made a rough layout of how we would eventually get to the town of Hatch, and I’ll insert a map here as to our route. As you’ll notice, we drive between 90 and 200 miles on any given day. So, getting to Hatch would involve a few stops. And there would sites to see along the way. After all, I might be a die-hard foodie, but I do have other interests!
Man made lake, or should I say, "man-enhanced" lake at Oasis.
SO the first stop New Mexico would be a small, somewhat refurbished state park called Oasis. Named as such because of the lone small lake at its center. A small park, it was clean and relatively quiet and would serve as a great spot to spend the night. Since we arrived pretty early in the day, we unhooked the trailer and headed to town for a few groceries, and dinner. Now I have to say, though we come from a pretty diverse section of Massachusetts where one can find a pretty decent selection in terms of food culture, at least as far as Mexican fare, “You ain’t seen nothin yet!” A place called Leal's in Portales, NM, served up some of the best Mexican and Tex-Mexican cuisine we’ve ever had. Oh, yea, my Fitbit and MyFitness pal were screaming at me for days to make up for those calories, but hey, it was worth it. Happy and content that our errands were complete and our appetites addressed, back to Oasis to sleep off our food comas and prepare for the following day's next leg.
But before I finish, a somewhat brief observation. Water. I've talked about it before, but here it comes again. Cows. Lots of cows down here. In two major forms from what I can see. Beef, or Dairy. Huge farms. Well fed, somewhat well housed but generally in very large, densely populated corporate farms. When we arrived at Oasis Campground, it was apparent that it had been refurbished. Everything from the fire rings, picnic table top the bathhouses designed and constructed tastefully and with energy savings in mind. But all of the new water spouts throughout the park had a large lamented warning tag chained to them. Warning? The warning basically said the water was not totally drinkable. Why? If you haven’t connected the dots thus far…nitrates. Heavy concentrations of nitrates due to runoff from a large corporate dairy farm a half a mile away. If you are pregnant, or a child, “Do not drink the water.” So though there was plenty of water available, none of which was fit to drink. Ironic. Imagine what all the neighbors' wells must be like.
Ah well, on to the next stop…
Currently in Ashley National Forest, off grid. Wait until you see these photos!
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