Pancho Villa's Motorcycle: Wild West Sentiment, Backwoods Humor, and Outlaw Wisdom for a World Gone Astray

Pancho Villa’s Motorcycle: Wild West Sentiment, Backwoods Humor, and Outlaw Wisdom for a World Gone Astray

by Jesse Hardin

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“The passion and fun of living the Wild West lifestyle oozes off of every page. Here’s to a pard who describes his passion as ‘a glad ache for the frontier past’… Amen, etc.” -Bob Boze Bell, True West Magazine (Old Guns Whispering Ghosts) Pancho Villa’s Motorcycle is a unique collection of thoughtful, inspiring, humorous, attitude-filled essays describing the fascinating experience and unusual perspectives of the rural American West. Deep in the mountains of the historic Southwest lies the “sovereign county” of Catron, one of the largest and least developed counties in the entire country, and a place with far more elk than people. It seems to exist in its own time zone, at the frontier edge between a moseying past and rushing future, present reality and infinite imagination. Its capital is the village of Reserve – affectionately known as “Reverse” – a community in open resistance to both the dictates of the federal government and the boring normalcy and conformity of our times. A land sculpted by thunderstorms and flash floods as much as relentless sun and periodic drought, this corner of New Mexico has long been host to extremes of thinking as well as of weather. Over time it has attracted fierce bands of Apache raiders, just as it had the relatively peaceful Mogollon pit-house dwellers who preceded them by millennia. It pulled like a magnet on the lodestone hearts of pioneer Mormon men and women alongside hard- bitten outlaws like the fabled Butch Cassidy, and on the early conservationist Aldo Leopold no less than the fabled gunfighter Elfego Baca or that eccentric bear and lion hunter Ben Lilly. The region remains internationally famous not only for its rich history and stunning natural beauty, but also for its residents’ storied independent streak and staunch regional and libertarian stance. Catron County is representative of the rural flavor, spunky attitude and wry humor found all across the great and lesser populated American West. From sand and adobe clad Arizona to marvelously mountainous Montana, folks in the more rural areas tend to value authenticity over appearance, experience over concept, challenge over comfort, freedom over security, adventure over safety. Visitors to this area encounter a mix of recalcitrant cowboys and visionary back-to-the-landers, newly arrived survivalists, and folks of Spanish and Indian blood who irrigate their fields from the river the same as their ancestors did. Pancho Villa’s Motorcycle is meant to bring to life for you the fast disappearing world of small towns and uncluttered vistas, of knowing humor and countryfied wisdom, and a more authentic and enjoyable way of living. Herein you’ll find a world of wild animals in the kitchen and wild-foods gathering, unbroken spirits and unbroken horses, lives vigorously lived and promises kept, cowboy hats and “thank you ma’ms,” a backwoods view of politics and a nontypical, backwards glance at authentic Western history. Pancho Villa’s Motorcycle casts new light on the Old West, on the problem with authority and the absurdity of airline safety manuals, the ramifications of Pancho Villa’s Indian brand motorcycle, and the importance of really paying attention whenever tasting your biscuit and jam. On the importance of authenticity and value of resistance, country dialects and the honoring of tradition, the real meaning of the word”wild..”. and taking time to look at the world through the eyes of a child. Expect also: curious true stories about eating packrats, pondering the significance of bear poo, alienating vegan pacifist guests, and the many other eruptions and realizations of a fully-lived backwoods life. Journey into and through a place that can tweak your reality and stir you to challenge assumptions, take risks and live your dreams, to a place where “where we are” is nearly as important as who we are, and to a peculiar but wondrous and responsible way of seeing and being. Now put your feet up, and savor