August 4 (Thursday), Day One: check into our hotel: Hyatt Place Albuquerque Airport, 1400 Sunport Place SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106 (free airport shuttle). We’ll kick things off Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. with a pizza/beer/wine reception in the hotel meeting room. Meet your host, and tour guide, pick up your registration packet, and hear an orientation talk by Neil (beginning at 7:15 p.m.) to set the stage for our tour.
August 5 (Friday), Day Two: 8:15 a.m. hotel departure. Travel to historic Mesilla, New Mexico. Along the way, we’ll stop to discuss the Valverde Battlefield (Civil War), and visit the Fort Selden State Monument. Buffet lunch in Truth or Consequences. In Mesilla, we'll explore the historic Plaza, where Billy the Kid was tried and convicted of murder (Mesilla also has Civil War history, and was the scene of the signing of the Gadsden purchase in 1853). After checking into our hotel, it's back to the Mesilla Plaza to enjoy a delicious—and truly New Mexican—dinner at the historic La Posta Restaurant (included in your registration).
August 6 (Saturday), Day Three: first stop will be the Pat Garrett murder site (it's a mile walk in to the site, marked by Garrett's son. With any luck, we may be able to drive part of the way, or even all of the way, but we'll see once we arrive). We'll also make time to pay our respects at Pat Garrett's grave. Next, we'll visit the White Sands National Monument en route to Blazer's Mill, where we'll discuss the Blazer's Mill shootout, and explore the cemetery. Lunch in Ruidoso (on your own). Other stops: Billy the Kid Museum Scenic Byway Visitor Center. This day will also feature a stop at White Oaks (and the graves of Susan McSween, and Deputy James Bell). On the way back to Ruidoso, we'll take a few minutes to see the lava flows west of Carrizozo (the Carrizozo Malpais). Then we'll check in to our hotel in Ruidoso between 6:00-7:00 p.m. (the Sitzmark Chalet Inn, our home for two nights). Dinner on your own, but our van will be available to transport people to local restaurants.
August 7 (Sunday), Day Four: first thing, we'll set off for the Tunstall murder site, which is inaccessible to buses. Next, it’s off to Lincoln Historic Park to enjoy a number of museums, the Tunstall Store, Lincoln County Courthouse and a walking tour. We've time our visit to Lincoln to coincide with Old Lincoln Days. Festivities include food vendors (lunch on your own), live music, blacksmith and chuck wagon demonstrations, and Friends of Historic Lincoln Brick Sales. While in Lincoln, at 3:00 p.m. we'll take in the 81st performance of “The Last Escape of Billy the Kid,” an annual pageant first performed in 1940 (included in your registration; proceeds from the pageant go toward preservation projects in Lincoln Historic Park). After our exploration of Lincoln, we'll visit Fort Stanton, then return to Ruidoso. NEW: Sunday night, we have the opportunity to meet and hear a brief talk by Tazalynn Cochise, the great-great-granddaughter of the great Apache leader, Cochise. Though dinner is not included in your registration, all interested parties can join us at a nearby restaurant where we'll meet Tazalynn. This is a rare opportunity, thanks to Neil, to meet and listen to someone with deep roots in the land and history of the American West.
August 8 (Monday), Day Five: In the morning we’ll strike out for Fort Sumner, where Billy the Kid was gunned down by Pat Garrett, and make a visit to the Kid’s grave. Lunch will be at a Route 66 diner in Santa Rosa (included in registration), then we’ll make an exclusive, private stop in Puerto de Luna, to see the very spot where Pat Garrett had Billy the Kid in shackles for his last Christmas dinner (Grzelachowski’s store). We will return to the Hyatt Place Hotel in Albuquerque (same hotel as our first night) by late afternoon. Lodging for August 8th is not included in your registration, but the hotel will keep our block of rooms and honor our group rate of $119 (booking link, click HERE).
About our Guide
Neil Mangum is one of the nation’s preeminent authorities on the American West, and a highly sought-after guide. His long career with the National Park Service included stints as superintendent and historian at Little Bighorn Battlefield in Montana, Chiricahua National Monument & Fort Bowie Historic Site in Arizona. He also served as regional historian at the NPS’s Southwest Regional Office in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County War have been among his life-long interests, and he’ll share his deep mastery of the subject matter at both well-known and less-visited sites, and in stories along the way. [Photo: Neil Mangum, left, and your host, David Woodbury, at the 7th Cavalry monument on Last Stand Hill.]
Billy the Kid
Courthouse-turned-bar where Billy was convicted,
and sentenced to hang. Mesilla, New Mexico
Included in your registration: Four nights comfortable lodging, opening night reception, a tremendouos New Mexican dinner in Mesilla, and lunch on the last day at a renowned Route 66 diner. Also included: a seat on our tour van, entrance fees to all museums or other pay sites (including Old Lincoln Days and the Billy the Kid pageant), all tours, professional coordination and assistance by your on-board tour host, and personal engagement with our expert guide.
$1215 per person for double-occupancy shared hotel room (if paying for both, please choose "Qty 2" in the next window)
$1500 for single-occupancy hotel rooms (change the drop-down menu below to select "single occupancy")
a few BILLY the KID and
LINCOLN COUNTY WAR LINKS
Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County War (photos)
-- Lincoln County Historical Society
Billy the Kid biography
— New Mexico Office of the State Historian
Lincoln County War
— brief entry in the Encyclopedia of the Plains
The Lincoln County War (1878-1879: Competition Wasn't Welcome) -- article in "Southern New Mexico"
About Billy the Kid — quite likely the most comprehensive online resource for Billy the Kid
Billy the Kid chronology
Billy the Kid Outlaw Gang — another great online resource, includes a well-crafted biography of the kid by Marcelle Brothers, webmistress of the "About Billy the Kid" site