Author David Pike with his book, Roadside New Mexico.
“Through these Official Scenic and Historic Markers we learn about the people, the geological features, and the historical events that have come together to make New Mexico a state unlike any other. They tell us about our triumphs, our heroes, our discoveries, our villains. They tell us about our culture and our origins. They tell us about our mysteries, our tragedies, our very way of life. They are an index to our human history.”
Author David Pike was raised in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, and deeply loves his state.
His book, Roadside New Mexico, is a traveler’s dream guide. It is at once an index, a history book and an homage to the incredible people and places that have made New Mexico what it is today.
See all those tabs? I’ve got some things to see this summer!
Coming in at 467 pages, David Pike’s thorough book gives the location and description of 494 historical markers around the state. This is the book’s 2nd edition, which has been revised and expanded. It is so detailed, David makes sure to mention “ghost markers” that once existed but, due to Mother Nature and bad drivers, have been lost.
Casually flipping through its pages is like a parade of New Mexican history, and I loved it.
Located in Albuquerque on the corner of Broadway and Avenida Cesar Chavez (back).
From the introduction: “Through these Official Scenic and Historic Markers we learn about the people, the geological features, and the historical events that have come together to make New Mexico a state unlike any other. They tell us about our triumphs, our heroes, our discoveries, our villains. They tell us about our culture and our origins. They tell us about our mysteries, our tragedies, our very way of life. They are an index to our human history.”
As I continue to tell stories this summer I will be using David’s book as a guide. Now that the state is slowly emerging from the pandemic, I am going to travel the state and bring you stories from the road.
Coming along with me will be my copy of Roadside New Mexico, which David was kind enough to go through with me and help me identify places that shouldn’t be missed.
Historic Marker for Graciela Olivárez (front).
The little I have been able to experience outside of Albuquerque has been fantastic; now I am going to be able to see all of it, and I won’t miss anything thanks to this excellent guide book!
The stories contained in David’s book are as wild as the history of New Mexico.
As an example, take the story of New Mexico legend Elfego Baca.
David sharing stories from Roadside New Mexico.
In 1884, 19-year-old Elfego accompanied the Socorro County Sheriff to help protect local residents from what was basically a gang of cowboys working for a local rancher named John Bunyan Slaughter.
Baca managed to disarm one of the cowboys and take him to jail. Slaughter and his gang of cowboys got angry and chased Baca to an adobe shack outside the village.
A day and a half later, Baca emerged from the shack. He had killed four of the cowboys and wounded eight.
He returned to Socorro, where he was eventually elected Sheriff, and his legend grew.
The book is full of tales like these and the best part? They all happen to be true and happened right here in New Mexico.
This summer, you’ll start seeing reports from the road as I explore our state’s beauty and history.