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Lincoln County Road

Señor(Tales Of Yankee Power)/ Street Legal/ 1978
Señor, Señor, do you know where we're headin',
Lincoln County Road or Armageddon
Seems like I been down this way before
Is there any truth in that, Señor? (Michael Stern):
This bears on several references from _Pat Garrett_ as well. Until about 1885, the state of New Mexico had four counties, the southwestmost of which was Lincoln County. The capital of the county was the town of Lincoln. It was there that the Lincoln County War took place (1830's, I think), in which rival merchants /ranchers hired bands of thugs in an attempt to crush each other. Billy the Kid rose to prominance in those battles.

Many of our images of the Wild West come from Lincoln County; I suspect that Dylan refers to it when he writes of the Lincoln County Road.

Subject: Lincoln County
From: nate (
Date: 25 Nov 1996 22:04:30 GMT
Organization: EDLIS

awhile back there was some speculation about the location
of Lincoln County as referred to in Senor:

    Senor, senor, do you know where we're headin'?
    Lincoln County Road or Armageddon?
    Seems like I been down this way before.
    Is there any truth in that, senor?

not that this has anything to do with it, but while searching
for Area 51 info on the web, i came across the curious result
that Groom Lake and Area 51 are located in Lincoln County, Nevada.

given the vaunted over-hyped secrecy about this rumoured site
of a fallen UFO complete with aliens (replete with hundreds of
conspiracy nodules across usenet), this seems a bit of a jarring
coincidence...1977, the release date of Street Legal containing
Senor would appear to predate all the current hoopla regarding the
region south of Rachel, Nevada, but the folklore that feeds the
rumour mills there began sufficiently far into the past.

kinda gives a new meaning to the trainload of fools bogged down
in that magnetic field?

oh well...tomorrow is another day.

- nate

From: (Alan Heartfield) Subject: Re: Senor Date: 4 Jan 1997 02:16:15 GMT ... This has been covered here before, but Lincoln County was made famous by none other than William Bonney - aka Billy the Kid. His career was started by the Lincoln County Wars which were a small but classic confrontation between the cattle ranchers and big business - i.e. somebody resorting to violence to get something someone else wasn't willing to part with. So apparently Bob wasn't too sure about the prophecies back then - were we headed for the final battle, or just another little firefight? So far it's been just a drive down Lincoln County road. Touch wood. /Win95 - You make a grown man cry..../ Alan Heartfield (
Subject: Lincoln County Road?? From: Lloyd Fonvielle Date: Sun, 20 Aug 2000 00:28:17 +0000 d wrote: > Lloyd Fonvielle wrote: > > > It almost ceratinly refers to the Lincoln County "War" of 1881 in the New > > Mexico Territory -- a range war/feud for the political and economic control of > > the county, in which a young punk called Billy the Kid first came to > > prominence. A very nasty business, making the choice between it and Armageddon > > one of degree only. > > Assuming you are right, do you think he is referring directly to this feud in the > song, or using it as a metaphor for something else? Until I read similiar > references in rmd, I always thought Lincoln County Road was a metaphor for > something good .... a choice between something good happening (like freedom as > symbolized by Lincoln and outlawing of slavery in the country) and Armageddeon. > However, if I understand you correctly, the choice is between something bad and > something worse. > > Also, is it generally accepted that "Senor" is a story having something to do > with the war/feud that you mention? Has Bob ever acknowledged or inferred this > that anyone is aware of? I think it's a purely metaphorical reference -- the war that inaugurated Billy the Kid's legend is legendary by association. There is also nothing else in the song that refers back specifically to the Lincoln County War -- just a general sense of being somewhere beyond the law, where the rules are unknown and you're lost if you don't have a contact who knows the rules. It has the aura of a B. Traven novel -- the guy that wrote "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" and several other novels about outsiders caught and doomed below the border. I think, too, that the subtitle of the song is utterly ironic -- wherever this is, Yankees have no power at all there. I think this is one of Dylan's most extraordinary songs -- it has the feel and the occasional specificity of a story, but there is no story . . . just images flashing along like bad memories in a fevered mind.
The Oregonian

Veto spares Lincoln County Road 804

The governor rejects a bill that would have allowed county commissioners to abandon the right of way Monday, September 6, 1999 -------------------------------------------------------------- By Matt Sabo, Correspondent, The Oregonian It looks as if the courts will settle the issue of what to do with Road 804, after Gov. John Kitzhaber vetoed a bill that would have allowed Lincoln County to abandon it. On Friday, Kitzhaber vetoed Senate Bill 524, which would have granted cities and counties the right to abolish public rights of way. The bill would have allowed Lincoln County commissioners to abandon Road 804. The road, a never-built route identified on old maps, runs along a coastal bluff and bisects dozens of private properties and even houses and garages. The bill was passed over the protests of some legislators and conservation groups, who warned that it would allow landowners the right to limit access to beaches. State Department of Land Conservation and Development officials also criticized the bill. In a letter to Secretary of State Phil Keisling dated Friday, Kitzhaber wrote that the bill would have had broad applications throughout the state. He said that he empathized with Yachats property owners but did not think the bill was a good solution to the problem. "I am willing," he wrote, "to commit state resources in the interim to help the community pursue other options, including the use of mediation if requested." Charlotte Mills, a Yachats resident opposed to the Road 804 abandonment, said she and others fighting the bill hailed the governor's decision. "The governor's veto put the issue squarely back into the judicial appeal process," Mills said. "It upholds our state's reputation of honoring citizen action and land-use law compliance." Wayne Belmont, Lincoln County legal counsel, said the county will continue to seek a higher-court ruling on the Road 804 issue. The matter is before the Oregon Court of Appeals. "We're disappointed, obviously, in the governor's position," he said. "We think there's a lot of misinformation out there." Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition, Friends of Road 804 and 1000 Friends of Oregon appealed the county's road abandonment to the state Land Use Board of Appeals last fall. Earlier this year, the state land-use board upheld the county's decision on five of six issues but sent it back to the county for further review. The county appealed to the state appeals court, and the case is set for oral arguments Sept. 23
From: Date: Fri, 01 Dec 2000 13:33:18 EST Subject: Lincoln County Road 804 To: Karl Erik. Greetings - I was stopped in my tracks this morning when reading Expecting Rain by the reference to Lincoln Country Road 804 since I own a house located about 100 yards from the phantom road itself. Its located in a tiny Oregon Coast town called Yachats, about halfway between the California and Washington borders, a wild wind-swept place that at times sees hurricane force gales that can do more than shake your windows and rattle your walls. What is left of the road today is a walking trail through woods and along the beach. Prior to the 1930s the whole Oregon Coast beach was considered a road and much of that original land has been turned into a series of state parks that have prevented big development from ruining the coast. The fight over the 804 has been going on for years. Sometime in the 1960s (i think) people began to build beach front houses on the old road, which hadnt been used for decades. About 20 years ago (again i think) environmentalists interested in protecting coastland tried to stop the developement on the old 804 right-of-way, saying the road was never legally abandoned. That fight continues to the present and is well snarled in the courts. I would be very surprised if Dylan had any connection, the closest he has played in is Eugene, about an hour and half away on the other side of the mountains. There is a new casino, however, in Lincoln City and after Bob's triumphs in Atlantic City maybe someday he will appear near that Lincoln County road. I have been going to the Oregon coast since I was a kid in the 1950s and remember having a good laugh when I first heard "Tales of Yankee Power," and the song has remained one of my all-time favorites. Keep up the good work with the Web page and if I see any news about the 804 I'll send you the reference. Rgds, Bruce Olson
Michael Reynolds, Sep 5, 2008: You could enter this in "Atlas" and/or in Who's Who. The song is definitely about Peckinpah, as others have remarked. But it's more than just the Lincoln County reference. There's also the "iron cross" line, which has to refer to "Cross of Iron", a film made by Peckinpah in 1977 (the year before Senor). Finally, "overturn these tables, disconnect these tables" could of course refer to the music business (with overtones of Jesus driving out the money-lenders), but it could just as easily reference the film industry. Dylan and Peckinpah shared a common contempt for the "bosses" both in music and in film. M Reynolds