341. Deming, Luna County (NM 25)

This courthouse meets with my approval. It is unquestionably the center of governance and power in this county, though I must admit that it has a slightly more church-like appearance that I’m entirely comfortable with. Despite that, it has a lovely style that I haven’t seen before. May I also give kudos on how cleverly they managed to integrate the addition. Heaven knows I’ve seen much worse ones. I wonder if there are other courthouses like this in the East. It has a certain handsomeness that feels like it hearkens back to an older time, like it’s emulating a more storied pedigree. I can only hope that I get to find out the hard way when I make forays into the wilds of the Eastern seaboard. But this was a moment for me to cool down. I had a bit of an adventure getting here.

Outside the town of Akela, I got off I-10 and started taking side roads. The side roads turned into badly kept roads and then turned into dirt roads. And the dirt roads transformed into paths in the desert. Ironically, if you look at the maps, these paths all have names and grid layouts as if one day the subdivisions will reach out here and conform to the road names laid out long ago. Of course, first the towns out here will have to get big enough to rate suburbs. But I drove the paths, slowly lest I bog in sandy spots, turning and wending my way through the scrub, until I made it to the spot above. You can even see my tire tracks, a golden thread showing the way I had come and how I might escape this labyrinth. Alright, I’m being a little dramatic there. One of the good things about having the paths already planned is that they’re navigable by GPS, Google Maps, or whatever your navigation apps of choice are. In the distance, I could see the traffic of I-10, oblivious even to the fact that there is anything out here but dust and brush.

The cache itself is a tin box hidden near a dry well, and boy was it dry. The clinking of that penny at the bottom of the well echoed all the way back up to me. As you all know, however, when I’m out on the road, I grab whatever I can wherever I can that’s easy so I can get going again as quickly as possible. So why this cache out here in the middle of nowhere? Because it’s about 1500 feet from…

Cabinetlandia. Back in Las Vegas (if you care to step into the way back machine), the nice hotel clerk told me about this place and I knew I’d be coming this way eventually, so I did my homework and, lo and behold, there was a cache nearby.

I rummaged through the drawers. The entire run of Cabinet Magazine was safe, each issue sealed in its own plastic envelope, in the top drawer. The middle and lower drawers contained stuff: hats, shoes, art, writing, a bottle of margarita mix that had been sitting in the heat for quite some time… Many people had brought offerings to leave over the years. Oh, to have coins to leave! However, I did take a plastic squeeky toy pig as a souvenir of the visit and signed the guest book to let the world know I was there. Once that was done, I made my way back out of the desert, onto the dirt road. It returned to the badly paved roads and then the side roads to the highway. My day was not yet over, and even though I would be spending the night here in Deming, I still had daylight and things to accomplish. I got back on I-10 and continued westward until I made it to…

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