Getting on down the trail just before noon, we came across a huge Border Patrol encampment. It was at an old ranch where they were using the home and buildings in addition to several RVs and a large military tent that looked to have cooking gear in it. There were horse trailers, stables, and horses for mounted patrols. The funny thing is with this presence we saw only two Border Patrol vehicles so far in Arizona and up until a few miles later at the AZ/NM border, we would see no more.
The group stopped at the 6’ tall stone obelisk that marked the border of Arizona and New Mexico. The rain was light by now and even stopped from time to time. It was a great picture-taking opportunity and a chance to stretch some tired legs. It might be important to note that the Geronimo Trail ends here and changes to another name in New Mexico. The good thing is that it was still all dirt and gravel and still far from civilization.
As we made our way up the hill from the border obelisk, we found another historic landmark: a huge sign/monument in honor of the Army’s Mormon Battalion that made its way through the area in the mid-1800s. They passed this on their way from Sante Fe to Tucson en route to California. The sign tells of their presence in the area. In doing some research about the Mormon Battalion, I found that somewhere between here and Tucson the Battalion was attacked by a herd of wild cattle. During the ensuing “battle,” a number of bulls were killed and at least two soldiers were wounded. The Mormon Battalion is remembered for the longest infantry march in U.S. history, or so they say.
After wrapping up our picture-taking opportunities at the monument, we moved deeper into New Mexico and further into the rain. It wasn’t too long that a call over the radio advised us that Bamse’s TJ broke down and the engine was not getting any fuel. We have seen this a number of times where the connector at the rear of the Jeep on the driver’s side comes loose or detached from the fuel tank side and it just shuts you down. Curly, our resident master mechanic, went back to help out. What we found out was that is wasn’t as simple as the loose connector. The wiring harness had been rubbed and nearly broken by parts of his lift kit. Could it be a design flaw? Curly, laying on a tarp with rain coming down, spliced the broken and worn wires with butt connectors and the TJ was running again. Shortly thereafter we found an area with trees overhanging the road, and we stopped for lunch using the trees for shelter. Even so, it was a tough job trying to keep dry.