March 28, 2005March 28, 2005
We left the Enchanted Trails park this morning and headed north on I-25. We stopped at Las Vegas, NM, for lunch. They had a nice sign on the Interstate for McDonalds so we thought "Why not?". However it was two miles and then no place to park a camper. So we parked ¼ mile away and walked. However, they had McDonalds, Arbys and Wendys right together, so we ate at Wendys.
Then we drove down to the Rough Riders Museum because as you know I hate to miss a museum. However it was not open on Mondays. We drove out to Fort Union National Monument and, fortunately for me, they had a museum. The museum discussed the construction of the fort which was built three different places. The first area proved not to be near enough to the Santa Fe trail and was not a good place to be protected from the Indians.
When the Confederates Army was moving north through NM, they rapidly built a star shaped fortification in the ground with some log buildings. However the Confederate forces were routed at Glorieta Pass. They retreated to Texas and Louisiana. The fortification rapidly deteriorated and the buildings rotted and fell down.
The third fort was built on the Santa Fe trail and became a supply area for all of the forts in the southwest. There were as many as 3000 people involved at the fort at one time. There were a lot of civilians hired to do maintenance work on wagons and equipment at the fort. In one year, there were 3600 wagon loads of freight that came through the fort. The fort was abandoned in 1891.
The Santa Fe trail from Bent’s Fort in CO and the Cimarron cutoff from Cimarron, KS, met near the fort.
There are a lot of the walls and many of the chimneys standing but all of the building roofs are gone. However enough of the foundations remain to give a very good idea of what the fort looked like. They had a couple of tools left from the blacksmith shop and some old wagons. One of the wagons was a heavy freighter wagon by Studebaker.
I thought this was well worth stopping to see.
We drove on to south of Raton, NM, and stayed in the truck stop for the night.