Capitan is in the center of mining, stock raising, and farming areas,
has excellent hunting and fishing and a reputation as a health resort.
West of CARRIZOZO, 42.8 m. (1,432 pop.), the junction with
US 54 (see Tour 13), the route is over lava beds and many miles of
open country, with the beautiful Oscura (dark) Mountains on both
sides. There are few settlements and little traffic along the route in
this vast, silent, barren country.
BINGHAM, 75.5 m. (6,000 alt., 15 pop.), is a post office near
the old Carthage coal mines that were developed in the 1880's when a
spur of the Santa Fe Railway was laid from San Antonio (see below).
When the mines were no longer productive, they were abandoned, and
the town declined.
US 380 passes the little settlement of San Pedro and crosses the
Rio Grande just east of SAN ANTONIO, 107 m., in which is the
junction with US 85 (see Tour 1c),
(Dalhart, Texas)—Santa Rosa—Carrizozo—Alamogordo—Newman;
Santa Rosa to Texas Line, 347.2 m.
Two-lane, graded graveled roadbed; bituminous-paved between Alamogordo
and Texas line.
Southern Pacific Railroad parallels entire route.
Hotels in principal towns; tourist camps, gas stations frequent.
This route running alternately through level plains and mountains
gives access to forests, fishing, and hunting grounds as well as mines,
pueblo ruins, and grazing lands.
US 54 crosses the TEXAS LINE, 0 m., at a point 41 miles west
of Dalhart, Texas and runs through a section of the Dust Bowl. Near
the Texas Line a soil erosion demonstration project is sowing Johnson
and grama grass on areas made barren by drought and overgrazing in
order to restore forage and prevent further erosion.
West of the demonstration project is a semiarid countryside of sheep
and cattle ranches. Except for a few cultivated rows near the widely
separated ranch houses, no crops are grown here.
In NARA VISA, 4.5 m. a trading point for ranchers, is a Regis-
tration Station for all trucks (see General Information).
The Llano Estacado (see Tour 6a) here is broken by ravines,