Southern Pacific

Between Arizona and Texas, the I-10 freeway crosses above the part of New Mexico known as the Bootheel, for the way it steps down toward Old Mexico. Until the Gadsden Purchase of 1854, all this was part of Mexico, and the Hispanic influence still dominates the Anglo-American. The few towns here, like Lordsburg and Deming, were founded and remain primarily based on the railroad and offer little for the passing traveler. However, at least one place is definitely worth a stop: the historic village of Mesilla, set around a dusty plaza just south of the region’s one big city, Las Cruces.