Claunch, named for the Claunch Cattle Company that grazed cattle
and sheep here, has had a post office since 1931.
South of Claunch is rolling terrain; small thistle poppies blow white
in late spring and early summer, and purple wild verbena mingles with
them. That rare bird, the snowy-white heron, has been seen along this
road. The trees are few and desert flora take their place; the Jicarilla
Mountains appear to the east and southeast.
At 180.5 m., is the junction with US 54, seven miles north of
Carrizozo (see Tour 13).
(Seminole, Texas) — Hobbs — Carlsbad — (Van Horn, Texas); NM
83, US 62.
Texas Line to Texas Line, 111.6 m.
Two-lane, bituminous-paved road, except for 30 miles graveled road between
Hobbs and Carlsbad.
Texas & New Mexico Railroad touches the route at Hobbs; the Atchison,
Topeka & Santa Fe Railway at Carlsbad.
Hotels at Hobbs and Carlsbad; tourist camps, gas stations along the road.
This southeastern corner of New Mexico gushes oil, the gross value
of which in 1938 was nearly $36,ooo,000, nine-tenths of the State total.
Culturally, topographically, linguistically, and in background Lea
County is so typically Texan that it is called Little Texas. The eastern
half, flat as a map, gleams with aluminum-painted tanks. Flares from
wells wave flaming tongues as waste gas is carried upward through tall
stacks or pipes, in order to safeguard public health.
When some of the first cattlemen settled in Lea County, more than
50 years ago, they found water near the present Monument (see below)
at a depth of only six feet. They had no windmill, so horses were used
for pumping. All of the ranchers who followed those pioneers knew
that shallow water was to be found in many spots in the country, but
it was 48 years—in 1932—before the United States Government made
a survey of shallow waters suitable for irrigation. Before the Bureau
of Chemistry and Soils made its soil and water survey, a number of
ranch people had made use of the plentiful shallow water for irrigation
of gardens and learned they could raise whatever they knew how to
plant and tend.
NM 83 crosses the Texas Line, 0 m., at a point 25 miles west of