Leaving Big Bend National Park in Texas, we had a long and memorable grind (memorable if only for the 50 miles of road construction on SR-285) into New Mexico. Our first stop was Carlsbad, mainly because we wanted to tour Carlsbad CavernsNational Park. After our four nights at Brantley State Park, we concluded that it was three nights too long. Other than the amazing cave system, there were only two other memorable moments…but I’ll get to those after Carlsbad Caverns.
Aside from the astounding views and wide open spaces 850 feet under the earth, my view out the front windshield was improved after an auto glass tech repaired the chip we got from a rock on the road…after leaving Big Bend NP in Texas.
The campground was, shall we say…primitive with water and electric service but no sewer. Beautiful in a nice-to-look-for the day-but-I’m-just-fine-if-I-never-go-back kinda way. Wildlife was few and far between and all we saw were hawks and road runners. One road runner is blogging as we speak about this strange guy that fed him more than his fair share of Bear Naked Fruit & Nut granola. He liked it…I liked it…We had a moment.
Speaking of Sonoran Desert wildlife. Due to this author’s lapse of sound judgement & human error, sixteen year old Spangler descended the front stairs and out through the unsecured screen door and began her wandering out of our camp site and into parts unknown. Thankfully, Lynn saw the open door, yelled “Where’s the cat, sweet and dear husband?” After I said, “Dunno”, Lynn ran outside barefoot and saw Spangler’s rear end plodding out to the abyss. Lynn screamed “Hey” and Spangler immediately stopped…turned around and casually walked back to Lynn who scooped her up. We’ll leave the story right there….Nothing else to see….Move along….No choice words for her husband…Nope….Not as far as you know.
At a local brewery (shocker, I’m sure) a bartender nodded approvingly at our planned route to Las Cruces. She said that we’d love the fresh snow at Cloudcroft, NM. Umm…snow? Why would there be snow? A moment later we realized that the elevation in Cloudcroft (get it? CLOUD) was 8,676 feet. Two moments later and we were re-routed through El Paso. Your stone cold lock tip of the day? Don’t go to El Paso.
We arrived at the perfectly fine Hacienda RV Park in Las Cruces. We found one local brewery, ate at the same Mexican restaurant twice in three days and could not get a reservation anywhere for Christmas Eve, so we made beef stew and feasted on—–
We visited the World’s Largest Pistachio…
We also visited the AMAZING White Sands National Park (which moved from a National Monument to National Park three days before our visit) and drove and played on the very soft thirty feet of packed gypsum.
Although we didn’t have sleds, Lynn found one – discarded on the side of the road that had seen far better days and gave it its last-ever run down a sand dune. If you look closely, you can see blue pieces of the sled coming apart.
Our final and unexpected New Mexico treat was stumbling onto the Organ Mountains – Desert Peaks National Monument. They offered a five mile driving loop and we found spectacular sights at every turn.
All in all…New Mexico was beautiful but it was time to push on West to Arizona!
Lynn’s 2 cents – Caverns, white sand and beautiful mountains oh my!
What a great place to spend Christmas!