Las Cruces, New Mexico

13 03 2018

Las Cruces, KOA Site #19

We’re parked in Site #19 at one of our all-time favorite KOA’s – the KOA of Las Cruces, NM.  We spent time here last year and really enjoyed the “view-sites” with their gorgeous views across Las Cruces and the Organ Mountains in the background.  And, Las Cruces is a good resupply stop, the KOA has great laundry facilities, and friends here always make our stay a good time.  This is an nice, oversized site even more spacious than #13 where we were parked last year.

OTA TV includes 20 or so locals in the Las Cruces/El Paso market.  The park’s WiFi system works well and T-Mobile provides full 4G LTE service.  The Post Office is 5 minutes away, Walmart is 15 and there’s even a Camping World about 50 miles away in Anthony, TX – just outside the El Paso metro area.  All in all, very convenient.

While in town we enjoyed dinner out in several of the charming Old Mesilla Village restaurants. Sunday we’re at La Posta de Mesilla, a huge old sprawling complex just off the historic Plaza.  La Posta offers what is some of the best Mexican food and beverages we’ve ever had.  Next time, we need to try brunch!  On Tuesday we’re back to Mesilla to find a patio for after-work beers and snacks. Starting at The Dog House, this is a patio, take-out, brewery extension of the Andele! Restaurant, a long time establishment in Old Mesilla.  From the Dog House we explore the Double Eagle, “the crown jewel of Historic Old Mesilla”.

While nearly every building in Mesilla probably has some interesting history, the Double Eagle is perhaps the most unique.  First constructed in the late 1840’s, the building has witnessed many events including the Mexican-American War of 1846, the declaration of Mesilla as the Capital of the Arizona Territory in 1861 and the jailing and subsequent trial of Billy the Kid in 1881.  The Imperial Bar, where we belly-up, is 30 feet of exquisitely hand carved oak and walnut. Behind, the mirrored back bar is lighted by two 5 foot high Imperial French floral Corones, each with 23 lighted brass flowers, 10 of which have blue crystal rosette shades.  Overhead hang two classic French Baccarat chandeliers that are 7 feet tall and 3 feet around.  Above, the ceiling is highly decorated pressed tin, accented with 18 karat gold.  A bit over the top?  For sure – but amazing none the less!

And, what old building wouldn’t be complete without stories of love, murder and ghosts?  Here is the story of lovers Inez and Armando!


Las Vegas, Lathrup and Home

4 05 2017

Good Morning from Conifer, CO.  We’re home!

Spanish Peaks, Lathrup State Park

After leaving Bottomless Lakes State Park near Roswell, we fought NW winds most of the way across eastern New Mexico to Las Vegas.  The KOA in Las Vegas is just off of I-25, at the intersection with highway 84 which connects with I-40 near Santa Rosa.  The campground is set on the side of a hill among cedar and pinon pine.  There are a handful of long pull-through sites that are very flat.  The majority of the other pull-through sites will require some leveling.  While you’re fairly close to I-25, the noise from the highway isn’t objectionable.  This is a rustic campground – anyone expecting shiny new restrooms, pool or other pubic spaces will be disappointed.  But, for a single overnight, it works fine

From Las Vegas we made the short trip over Raton pass to Lathrup State Park outside of Walsenburg. Roads were dry over the pass, but it was evident that the snow plows has been out during the preceding snow storm that dropped up to 12” on this area.  Even at Lathrup, there were small snow piles in the shady spots.  The Spanish Peaks were stunning with their fresh topping of snow.  With snow showers continuing at home, we opted to spend a 2nd night at Lathrup.

On Thursday we completed the last leg of our 2017 Spring Road Trip, logging nearly 5000 miles and 68 nights at 24 campgrounds and RV parks.  Once again our time spent with good friends was the best- Lost Dutchman State Park near Phoenix, Davis Mountains State Park near Ft. Davis, TX, Big Bend National Park and of course South Padre Island.  But, we’re only home for 7 days before once again hitting the road to return to Lathrup State Park.  More from there…


Eastward across New Mexico

14 03 2017

Lordsburg, NM KOA

With about 450 miles of eastward travel along I-10 in our immediate future, we opt for 3 shorter days across New Mexico with our first stop at Lordsburg, about 2.5 hours from Tucson.  The only RV park in Lordsburg is the KOA.  The typical A-frame building greets you and shows the best potential of this park.  Behind this façade are 7 or 8 rows of pull-through sites laid out on a gravel parking lot.  A few leaf-less trees dot the area and there’s even some grass along the back fence reserved for tent campers.  Pretty much as expected – we’ll spend 1 night here before departing for Las Cruces.

Facilities:  We found virtually no over the air TV, but with a cable connection, we had the major networks, some from Tucson and some from Albuquerque.  The office had a WiFi hotspot, but even with a WiFi booster, the service was unpredictable.  It’d run along at 3Mb one minute and then fails to connect  the next.  Frustrating – but again, mostly as expected.  Cellular phone service was spotty too, with 2G or LTE service – but very little data bandwidth.

We’re off to Las Cruces today – bigger city and better services hopefully – more from there!

Memorial Day Weekend at Lake Conchas

30 05 2016
Lake Conchas State Park, New Mexico

Lake Conchas State Park, New Mexico

We’ve just spent 4 nights at Lake Conchas in northern New Mexico.  We last visited Conchas on the return from Texas about 4 weeks ago.  Once again we’re parked in Bell Point, on the cliff side site #19 with friends in sites #21, #22 and #18.

We departed Danver on Wednesday for a quick overnight at Pueblo Lake SP. We enjoyed electric only back-in sites #46 & #47 with great views over the lake to the south.  On Thursday, with miserable winds from the South, we crossed Raton Pass to Las Vegas and then across highway 104 for about 70 miles of rough, windy road.  Perhaps a detour down highway 84 between Las Vegas and Santa Rosa would be a bit easier drive.

After a windy evening Thursday, we enjoyed high temperatures in the 80’s and lows in the 50’s each night.  On Friday we had a brief thunderstorm that produced a bit of rain and caused cancellation of our evening campfire.  It should be noted that only a few sites at Conchas have fire rings.  #21 and #29 are probably the best sites with fire pits.  The downside to #21 is the proximity of the dumpster.  With the campground full nearly all weekend, this dumpster was pretty smelly by half way through the weekend.

We’re currently enroute to Taos, NM where we’ll spend one night at a favorite RV park, Taos Valley.  More from Taos…

A Weekend at Lake Conchas

2 05 2016
Lake Conchas, "Out the Rear Window"

Lake Conchas, “Out the Rear Window” site #19

With winter storms still complicating our return to Colorado, on Saturday we opted to move a bit further north to Lake Conchas near Tucumcari, NM.  We spent time at Lake Conchas last year waiting out storms along the front range, and decided it would be a good spot for that again this year.  Arriving on Saturday afternoon, sunny skies and warm temperature slowly  gave way to a cold, windy drizzle that lasted through Sunday evening.  But, temps weren’t all that much warmer in Roswell, so at least we’re another 200 miles closer to home.

We’re parked in site #19, a cliff-side site that enjoys a beautiful view of the lake and northern skies.  There’s virtually no over-the-air TV at Conchas, so one of our first tasks on arrival was to set-up the DirecTV satellite.  Utilizing a free 30 day demo of HBO we enjoyed a very relaxing rainy weekend of movies.

After 2 nights at Conchas, Monday morning dawns as a beautiful sunny, wind-free day.  Just the right kind of day to continue our trek north.  From here we’re bound for Lathrup State Park right outside of Walsenburg..  More from there…

Excitement at Bottomless Lakes

29 04 2016
Bottomless Lakes State Park fire

Bottomless Lakes State Park “Overflow Fire”

We’re now on our 5th day at Bottomless Lakes State Park.  After arriving on Sunday, we’ve watched several winter storm systems move across our northward path and through the Denver area.  With temperatures here in the upper 70 and low 80’s, we’re not anxious to proceed north into snow and cold.

Late yesterday afternoon a brush fire erupted very near the State Park.  Fanned by winds gusting to 25MPH, it was a bit too reminiscent of some of the smokey Spring times we’ve had in the foothills of Colorado.  After burning over 100 acres and belching smoke into the sky for most of the afternoon, NM state and BLM personal had the blaze under control by dusk.

Campers at northern campgrounds were asked to evacuate, but here at Lea Lake the rangers explained there was not an imminent threat due to wind direction and an expansive wetland area between us and the fire.  They also insured us that if it became necessary, we’d have plenty of time to pack up.  Fortunately the winds died down just before sunset and we enjoyed a pleasant, calm, evacuation-free evening.


Bottomless Lakes State Park, Roswell, NM

25 04 2016
Bottomless Lakes SP Site #11

Bottomless Lakes SP Site #11

In a long driving day, we’ve departed Texas and re-entered the Mountain Time Zone.  The original plan called for an overnight in Guadalupe Mountains National Park.  But, as appears common, winds were expected to be gusting to about 50 MPH through that region, so we opted to detour to the east, away from the mountains.  Unfortunately that means a transit of US 285 from Pecos to Carlsbad.  After having traveled south along this route last year, we knew this to be one of the roughest sections of road we’ve driven.  With heavy truck traffic rumbling through, even on a Sunday, the road is heaving and crumbling everywhere.  It’s 85 miles of truck bouncing, cupboard jarring, teeth gritting travel.  And, combined with about a 20 MPH side wind, the day wasn’t a pleasant journey – making it all that much nicer when we arrived at Bottomless Lakes State Park outside of Roswell, NM.

Turning east at Roswell it’s tough to imagine anything with trees and water across the seemingly endless plains stretching to the east.  But, just 5 miles off the main road is Bottomless Lakes State Park – a natural oasis around a handful of small lakes in the Pecos River valley.  Not truly bottomless, the lakes were formed similarly to Carlsbad Caverns when limestone eroded to create massive underground caves.  But, here – the cave ceilings eventually collapsed, filled with water and created the nine lakes that vary in depth from 18 to 90 feet.

Bottom Lakes SP, Lea Lake

Bottom Lakes SP, Lea Lake

We’re parked at Lea Lake Campground, 32 campsites at the southern end of the park, near the beach, volleyball and group pavilion.  The sites here are spacious, level and most offer water and electric.  6 of the sites also have sewer ports.  12 sites are available for online reservations at reserveamerica and the remaining 17 RV sites (and 3 tent sites) are walk-up only for $14/night.  We’re in site #11, a walk-up site at the far end of one of the loops offering nice privacy and even some shade from a few small trees to each side of the RV.  There’s a concrete covered patio with a picnic table and clean, graveled pad.  For some of the lowest per night costs,  New Mexico does a great job with the maintenance of their state parks.  We have good T-Mobile access here, and even a fairly good free park WiFi available.  And, there are 10 or 12 over-the-air TV channels from Albuquerque.