Walking in the footsteps of Billy the Kid and other roadtrips I want to take
Brian has given us a good assignment this week. He wants us to plan the ultimate pop culture roadtrip. I have already gone on several geeky roadtrips in my life thanks to having been a traveling IT consultant for about 8 years. I’ll start chronicling more of those soon. I already talked about two Star Wars Roadtrips that I’ve taken (Star Wars Celebrations I and II). But I think Brian’s idea is to plan a road trip that you want to take.
There are several I could do, but one is definitely at the top. And I’ve discussed it before, both on the Nerd Lunch Podcast and here on the site. I want to walk the Billy the Kid Trail in New Mexico.
I’ve been a huge fan of Billy the Kid since high school. I’ve read a ton of books about him (and other gunslingers). Plus, my wife is from New Mexico, so it’s totally doable. There are several places in New Mexico pertaining to the famous outlaw. The biggest would probably be the Lincoln State Monument in Lincoln, NM.
(Via Jeff Arnold’s West)
The little town of Lincoln has been preserved almost exactly as it was back in Billy’s day. You can still visit the courthouse in which he was imprisoned and then famously shot his way out of, killing two deputies in the process. There’s also the Wortley Hotel which was once owned by Pat Garrett, the man who shot Billy. The hotel was also the final dining place of Bob Ollinger, who was one of the deputies Billy killed in his getaway. Not only would this place be awesome for Billy the Kid buffs, but the town is almost exactly how it was in the Old West. It would be great to see how things were back then as I’m fascinated with the time period.
My next stop on the trail would be in Fort Sumner, NM.
(Via Roadside America)
In Fort Sumner you can visit the Billy the Kid Museum and the grave(s) of Billy the Kid. I put grave in plural because there are two museums in Fort Sumner claiming to have Billy’s burial site. Billy was buried in Fort Sumner, but, honestly, no one knows the actual site. Floods in the early 20th century washed away all the original wooden grave markers so the actual resting place is a guess. And the stone marker that was erected to replace the wooden one has been stolen three times since the 1950s. But, like I said, to be there where Billy lived and died would just be awesome.
These are the two main New Mexico attractions featuring Billy the Kid. They are several hours apart and I think they are 5-6 hours south of where my wife’s family lives, but I still want to make this happen some day.
So, that’s the road trip I badly want to take. How about a few other stops since I’m already out galavanting around the country?
International UFO Museum (Roswell, NM) – Since I’m in New Mexico anyway, I may as well make a stop in the UFO capital of the world. It would be fascinating to walk through the International UFO Museum just to see what they have.
Skywalker Ranch (Marin, CA) – This one is a sore spot for me. You see, I’ve actually been here. Back in early 1998, I was in San Francisco, CA for work. I stayed there for three months. My cousin had a friend that worked at LucasArts and, as an employee, could get me a tour of “the ranch”. However, he could only do it on weekdays. I was still fairly new to my job so I was reluctant to take a full day, plus things were actually pretty busy so it would have been tough. But to this day, it’s my biggest regret that I didn’t take a f**king sick day and tour the place. IT. BURNS. MY. ASS. Months later before I left San Fran, a friend and I ventured out into the hills of Marin and actually found the front gates to the ranch, but obviously we weren’t getting in. I would like someday to “make things right” with myself.
Land of Oz Museum (Liberal, KS) – Given my recent proclivities towards this property it should be no surprise to anyone that reads this blog that I want to go here. Liberal, Kansas has adopted themselves as the hometown of Dorothy Gale from The Wizard of Oz. Baum actually never mentioned what town Dorothy is from, but that isn’t stopping the town of Liberal (similar to the town of Metropolis, IL). They have museums, exhibits and gift shops all devoted to the Land of Oz. And, my dad is from Independence, KS, so I have an “in”.
Kool-Aid Museum (Hastings, NE) – Yes, the Hastings Museum has a permanent exhibit devoted to Kool-Aid. And I want to go to there.
South of the Border (South Carolina) – A cheesy, side of the road gift shop extravaganza. At some point in my life I will stop here. We have friends in Columbia, SC, but it would be an extra few hours to visit this place. But I will do it. See the official website here.
Other Pop Culture Road Trips from around the League:
1. Brian from Cool and Collected goes to an “unofficial home”, Metropolis, IL.
2. Shawn from Branded in the 80s visits several movie locations including the houses from Goonies and Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
3. Shez Crafti hits nearly every major geek sweet spot you can think of.
4. As does Green Plastic Squirt Gun. I’m surprised he didn’t mention South of the Border as well.