Good Morning from Elephant Butte

26 03 2011

Elephant Butte State Park

Much better!  That’s how we would rate the camping at Elephant Butte State Park over the small RV campgrounds that dot the area surrounding the lake.  Last year we spent the night at Lakeview RV Park – without a chance of a lake view!  This year we opted to “rough-it” a bit.  For $17 (including park admission and overnight) we had a true lake view, plenty of space on a level double paved pad, privacy afforded by short scrub vegetation, a covered picnic table, a clean fire pit plus electric (30 or 50 amp) and water hookups. 

Lake Elephant Butte

There are 3 campgrounds near the main entrance to the State Park.  The first is Desert Cove, a small loop with 17 sites configured around the outside.  Inside are large group picnic buildings and overflow parking.  The next is Quail Run, a row of 27 sites configured on both sides of an access road.  The furthest, and probably the original campground, Lions Beach sits out on a bluff that once overlooked the lake.  With the waters receding at least 200 feet, it now overlooks a dry bay of sand and tumbleweeds.  Lions Beach has about 50 sites configured in 3 rows and felt much more dense. 

Site #12

We opted for site #12 at Quail Run.  Each campground has a camp host that we met as soon as we selected the site.  New Mexico uses a system of green or red signs on each camp site.  Green allows unreserved use of the site for a single night.  Stays of more than overnight need to be confirmed through the central reservation service, or you face possible “eviction” each day.  Shared between the Quail Run and Desert Cove is a camper services building with 4 toilets and 2 showers.  And, unlike Colorado State Parks, the showers are free, no need to plug a quarter slot.  There was also a self-service pay station and an RV dump station in this centralized service area. 

Before heading out, we’ll join my Uncle for breakfast at the Hill Top Café.  The ratings for this Truth or Consequences landmark vary from “…basic diner food, however the green chili is top notch prepared the same way forever.” to “Nothing fancy about the Hilltop. Tasty green chili, good service and all the basics” and “I cannot understand how this place could stay in business with all the health code violations I observed.”  I’d agree with all the ratings, good home cooked food, tasty green chili and fair portions in a true greasy spoon environment.  After talking with Dick Chan, the owner of 14 years, we found he’s retiring next month.  This may be the last chance to visit the old Hill Top Café. 

We’re bound for the El Paso, Texas area this afternoon.  More after we arrive at Hueco Tanks State Park.

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