Mogollon, New Mexico  2003
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On our way from Las Cruces to Flagstaff on Thursday of the week, we took a route that followed essentially the straightest line between the two cities that one could do on decent roads.  We followed I-10 out of Las Cruces to Deming, then took U.S. 180 in a northwesterly direction until it hit I-40 in Holbrook, Arizona.  We then took 40 the last 90 miles to Flagstaff. 

This road runs southeast/northwest, and it took us along the western border of New Mexico.  Only nine hair-raising miles (see the first two photos below) off of 180 is what is described in the ghost town literature as one of the best ghost towns in all of New Mexico.  It's called Mogollon (and pronounced "MUG-eee-un"), and, like most ghost towns that have survived this long, it's not completely deserted.  There are plenty of photogenic old buildings though, and I think we all thought it was worth the detour.


As these two signs suggest, the road was your not typical city thoroughfare.  If these weren't enough, there was a third sign up ahead that stated that the road is not plowed in the evenings and on weekends.  When we visited in early April, the temperatures were in the 60s, so snow was not a problem.  The road itself turned out to be decent two-lane blacktop for the first five miles.  The last four were far more hairy, but still paved all the way and navigable, even in our 15-passenger van.  But I shouldn't minimize those last four miles.  The road is single lane, winding and twisting, climbing ever upward, and full of 5 or 10 m.p.h. hairpin turns.  You actually climb to about 7000 feet in elevation before descending about 600 feet over the last half mile into Mogollon, which is situated basically in a river bed (and as a result it has suffered numerous floods over its history).
There were a couple of rusty vehicles with signs ordering you to keep off.  In this photo, Cheri is ignoring the warnings. A line of rusting ore cars.  (What former mining town would be complete without a set?)
Darin, Travis, and Andy stand in front of one of the two Welcome to Mogollon signs.  Note that the sign is in the shape of the state of New Mexico (sort of). Not to be outdone, here are Lindsay, Sara, Natalie, and Cheri also standing in front of the sign.
Here's the more official welcome sign.  In spite of the seeming friendliness of the sign, there wasn't a soul about when were there.  There were several business that looked like they would cater to tourists, but none were open when were there (about 5:30 p.m. on a Thursday).  Perhaps that was after hours, or perhaps, more likely, it was too early in the season for these shops to be open yet. Travis sits on a rock outcropping above the welcome sign and contemplates the meaning of life (or, more likely, when and where are we going to eat supper?  It would be at a McDonald's about two hours later).
This is one of two general stores in the town.  You can just make out the faded "GENERAL STORE" sign.  It looks just like you would expect a ghost town general store to look like doesn't it.  In fact, it's a little too perfect, isn't it? 

Well, it turns out that it IS too perfect.  According to several ghost town references, this building is not a remnant of the original town at all, but rather was built for use as a set in the 1973 film "My Name is Nobody" starring Henry Fonda.  (You can read more about that here.)  Of course, this makes the structure 30 years old, and it is beginning to wear.  I suppose at some distant point in the future, the difference in age between the real buildings and this one will be small in comparison to the total time elapsed, and no one will care that this is just a few years younger!

Here is the REAL general store.  However, this is not at all what it looked like a few years ago.  It has undergone a significant renovation to turn it into a bed and breakfast.  But they're retained the original look and signage.  To see photos of this and other buildings in the this town as well as other ghost towns, see my ghost town website!
Photos of other structures and scenery in the town, in no particular order.

A couple of snapshots showing some of the scenery along the road to Mogollon.

See, we really did stop at a McDonald's later that night!  They had 99 cent Big Macs and a Ronald McDonald statue!