Catron County, New Mexico has about 400 miles of paved road, and we're planning to walk every mile of it ... eventually ...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Fait accompli

Well, it is done. The task is finished - I've walked every mile of every paved road in Catron county. It was an odd task, to be sure, but it was mine, all mine - I'm fairly sure no one else has ever attempted it, in fact I can't think why they would.

Here are some pictures from my final morning's walk:

And here is the final map of the project:

So, goodbye CatronCountyWalk, hello Strolling Around Socorro!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Coming down to the homestretch

It was a struggle to get up and out this morning, but I knew if I didn't do this walk today, I wouldn't be able to finish next week. Today I started at mile post 55 and walked west back to 48. Pretty perky for the first three miles, then I started dragging - I kept expecting to hit a long downhill stretch, but it was up and down, up and down, the whole way.

One thing I noticed and was intrigued by:

Ted Nugent, of course, is the aging hard rock Cat Scratch Fever guy, and I remember hearing once that he had taken a fiercely public pro-gun stance, but this sign made me curious. Does he have property in Catron County? What does "United Sportsman" mean? Is he describing himself as a unity of one? Google answered one question, at least - his organization is called "Ted Nugent United Sportsmen of America" and perhaps that mile of highway 60 has been adopted not by Ted personally, but by a member or two of his club. But still, I have questions. Who's responsible for the typo on the sign? Someone in the Catron County division of the highway department? Someone on a state level? The members of the TNUSA who applied to adopt that mile of highway? Am I the only one who notices these things?

One more stretch of highway to go, and I'm done walking Catron county's paved roads.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


This morning I walked west from mile marker 48 back to Omega, knocking off about 7 miles of what's left of Highway 60. I should have saved Omega for last - it would have been fitting to end my walk at Omega - but I really want to save the Pie Town stretch for last, so that I can celebrate with a slice of peach pie at The Daily Pie, made from fresh peaches.

Omega isn't a ghost town, exactly, but it's no longer in its heyday, so to speak. The thing that caught my attention immediately was a mobile home, half burned in a fire. Someone lives in the other end - the end that wasn't burned up in the fire - and apparently has for many years.

I googled Omega, and came up with this much: "This community was once called Rito after nearby Rito Creek. The name then switched to Sweazeville to remember a local gas station owner called Sweaze. In 1938, residents adopted (the name)Omega, the 24th and last letter of the Greek alphabet, for obscure, but possibly Christian reasons."

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Getting back on track

I'm committed to finishing this project, but have been temporarily distracted by things like buying a house, enrolling kids in new schools, reassembling my work history after a ten-year hiatus, and other important and necessary things.

Only three more walks to go, and they're written in pen on my calendar. It looks like I'll finish before Labor Day.

When I said before that I wasn't sure why I even doing this project, it was only because in the grand scheme of things it seems sort of self-indulgent. Then again, I may not be walking down the street like Lucky Larue, in the immortal words of John Prine, but I ain't hurtin' nobody. And I've felt a thousand times more connected to this strange place that is Catron County since I began. Every footfall confers a small sense of ownership and belonging, which is something that evaded me for many years when we first moved out here. This is something that is truly different about walking around your neighborhood rather than driving.

There's no question that you see more at 3 mph than you do at 60 mph, but there's more to it than that, and I hope you'll forgive me for belaboring the obvious while I figure out what I'm trying to say.

When you drive through a place, windows closed, radio and air-conditioning on, you see it. With the windows open and the radio off, you see it, smell it and hear it. But when you walk through a place, you not only see it better, smell it better, and hear it better, you also physically touch it and it physically touches you back.

Okay, I give up - I don't mean to be getting all touchy-feely here. Maybe I'm just starting to get a little sentimental about leaving.