Category Archives: New Mexico

Wrapping up Season II: New Mexico and Back to Colorado

OK, so we have again fallen behind on our tales and are once again rethinking the format. After a couple of years we think it is time we abandon the chronological capturing of sequential stops on our journey in favor of a more informal “blog as we feel like it” type of format. Regardless I know we want the blog to be real time and this is not.

I hate to not finish things we start and since I have a whole bunch of pictures from New Mexico, our season two bookend will be a photojournal of the Spring end of our ventures after leaving Arizona. After a bunch of time in RV parks in the west coast all winter we were thrilled to be back in the state of New Mexico. This time we tried out a State Park called Elephant Butte out in the middle of nowhere. But then again, in the middle of nowhere with 50 amps and water is just where you want to be sometimes.


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Cedar Crest, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe, New Mexico

Written by: Jeremy

Ok, so I realize we are not exactly going to get travel blog of the year by going two months between posts, but then again, that really was never the goal. Regardless, we did want to wrap things up and post an update to fill in the details of the end of our first year’s snowbird journey. In hindsight, the term snowbird, for us, has been somewhat of an oxymoron. More on that later. For now, we have made it back to our summer home in Colorado and we are currently resting up, saving some dough and enjoying a place that is really hard to beat this time of year.

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Juggling work with travel (and blogging) was always a challenge but as the trip wound down we came to a few more important realizations. Sure, we could stay at only discount parks and spend more time finding free campsites and eating PB&J’s but for us, immersing ourselves in the culture and cuisine of all the cities we visit is very much a part of the appeal of this lifestyle. It is kind of a Catch 22 for us. The more we work, the more money we have to do things we want but it also greatly affects the amount of time we have to do them. So for now, we both have buried ourselves back into our work so that we can save up for next years trip and have a little something to sock away for retirement.

RV TIP #10: Selling your house and most of your stuff does free up quite a bit of disposable income. Traveling across the country staying short stays in RV and State parks, driving a 3/4 ton diesel, playing golf all winter, and eating out regularly devours most of that disposable income in short order.

I also have to admit that I have become somewhat disenchanted with this travel blog. I have repeatedly said that I don’t want this blog to be just another boring informational travel blog that rates parks and lists likes and dislikes from various locations like a log book. Well, after reading our last several blogs I could see that what I didn’t want is, unfortunately, exactly what this blog has become. I realize that there is a place for this type of blog and that it can be interested for some to read, but it just is not personally inspiring to write anymore.

To be honest, after some of the initial excitement and challenge, we found that living on the road in the US was not as different of a life as we might have originally thought. We still work most days, walk dogs, cook meals, go out to eat, clean the house, get together with friends, and do all the other normal life things, we just now do it in a bunch of different locations.

Enough of me blathering on and back to the boring details of our not so boring life. After leaving Bottomless Lakes State Park in Roswell, we headed north towards Robin’s birth city of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The drive was brutal with winds pushing us to the limit and maybe even beyond what was advisable in our rig. Regardless, a little weary, we made it to the the foothills and a charming but also non-descript private campground in Cedar Crest, New Mexico called the Turquoise Trail Campground. This was a decent mountain park, but we found ourselves a week or two ahead the ideal camping season for this area and once again snow was part of our snowbirding experience.

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We stayed for a week and did some hiking in the nearby Sandia Mountains and also visited a great and recommended local pub/restaurant called the Lazy Lizard where we enjoyed some well done jam band covers and local brew.

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After a week here, we made the short trip down the hill towards Albuquerque where we set up close to downtown at the Albuquerque Central KOA. Upon arriving, we had fairly low expectations considering our experience in other urban KOA’s but in hind site, this place was certainly above average. The views were great from the park, and there were several dog off leash areas that make bathroom trips much easier for the boys. Overall we enjoyed our stay and would visit again.

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Like other urban RV parks and KOA’s we have visited, the immediate area around the park was not the best. With that said this location was safe and it did give us the perfect launching pad to explore the city, play golf, and to begin our eating out Olympics.

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As we have previously mentioned, the US gulf coast was not exactly the greatest place for the type of cuisine we prefer. Fried food and domestic bottles of pilsners have there place in the world but getting back to Albuquerque was like putting a couple of kids in a candy shop. Craft Pale Ale’s, gourmet vegetarian fare, and especially green chilies could be found everywhere and we made a point to eat out pretty much every chance we could.

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Public golf courses in the Albuquerque area were also spectacular as was the weather this time of year. Although we already knew this city fairly well, Albuquerque New Mexico, solidified its standing as a favorite place to live for a little while now, and maybe longer in the future. It is not a fancy town, or and especially “nice” place, but for whatever reason, Robin and I feel particularly at home here.

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After a week in Albuquerque, we moved on North toward CO and into Santa Fe, New Mexico. This is another city that is not new to us and we continued our green chili and craft beer assault to the tune of about ten extra pounds around the waist and a credit card bill that made me choke on my green chili breakfast burrito.

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We stayed in a sort of Santa Fe suburb at the Los Suenos RV park. The park was conveniently located right by the bus stop to downtown and there were also trails and a dried up arroyo that provided endless opportunities for hiking and for getting desert stickers stuck in your paws. We were busy with work and stayed here for two weeks.

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The public municipal golf course in Santa Fe, like Albuquerque, was outstanding and reasonably priced. I am sure these courses are different mid summer but this time of year it was perfect although at times a bit windy.

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We had originally planned to spend a couple of more weeks either exploring New Mexico or more of Southern Colorado. However, we were admittedly a little home sick and ready to get back to Colorado and specifically the Denver area. We made our way north from Santa Fe into Colorado all the way to Chatfield State Park just South of Denver. We did have a quick overnight South of Colorado Springs, but it was pretty much a straight shot up I-25 for us.

I just realized that after going two full months between blogs I have just written a blog that is way too long for anyone to actually read. So, I think I will stop here and complete our tale in a few days. Stay tuned and maybe I will be able to come up with something that is actually worth writing and reading.

No UFO’s found in Roswell’s Bottomless Lakes State Park

Written by:  Robin

We headed up to Roswell for a week on our way to Albuquerque.  I was full of anticipation to check out what I remembered from my childhood as a unique funky town.  I had announced my intention to visit the Roswell UFO Museum and hear what “really happened” with the mysterious crash of 1947 as well as hear the conspiracy theories about the alien autopsies that were allegedly carried out at the Roswell base.  FUN!!!!   As we drove through the town to make our way to Bottomless Lakes State Park, I quickly felt my anticipation fade to disappointment as I realized that what seemed cool to me as a kid…just felt cheesy now. Alienneonsign_edited-1 UFO museum2As we drove out of town we realized that the park was a bit further from Roswell than we realized so I decided that I would just let it go…and would not likely be venturing into town to explore much anyway.  I was driving this time, and my disappointment soon turned to anxiety as our GPS became confused and the directions I got when I called were making less sense the further we drove.  Wondering if there were mysterious forces messing with me because of my disbelief, we made our way down the very sketchy, narrow road that seemed to be heading to nowhere.

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Happily, after 7 miles of white knuckle driving, we saw a beautiful bright blue lake and some RV’s, so we knew we had made it.  It was starting to feel better already.  e were greeted by the campground host, Deb who upgraded us to a nice big pull through spot because they were first come, first served…and we were early!  As I began to look around at the beautiful area, I decided that maybe I should adopt Jeremy’s philosophy of the natural attractions being the ones we seek out, rather than the man made.

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This state park quickly became one of our favorites.  Here are some reasons why…

Geology….This was the first state park in New Mexico, established in 1933.  Apparently these “bottomless lakes” are actually an ancient limestone reef that formed caverns (not all that different from Carlsbad where we had just visited).  The nearby Pecos River eroded away the rock which collapsed the caverns and formed the 9 small but deep lakes, which are actually cenotes. They are fed by underground water percolating through the rocks. IMG_4760 (1024x683)

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This makes most of them salt water rather than fresh, because of the limestone.  This was GREAT news for hank, who loves to swim but breaks out in hives from most fresh-water environment.  Swimming was a regular activity for him that week.

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Rufus wasn’t as excited about the swimming, but Puperoni’s and some coaxing got him in the water a little bit!rufus almost swam (1024x768)


History….They are not actually bottomless, but range in depth from 18-90 feet.  They got their name because the cowboys who named them were trying to figure out their depth and tied two or three ropes together and drop them into the lakes to try to reach the bottom. The ropes were not long enough, so they thought the lakes were bottomless! The greenish-blue color created by algae and other aquatic plants also added to the illusion of great depth.  There was lots of great hiking around the lakes.  Deb even told us about a “buffalo killing field” that we could hike to.  We decided to stick to the lakes!one of the lakes (1024x683)


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Mystery….other tall tales and folklore abound.  There are two lakes called the Figure 8 lakes, that are side-by-side.   One tells of a horse that fell into one of these lakes, drowned, and was pulled out of the other. Also, numerous objects  have been reportedly lost in the lakes, only to be retrieved later from Carlsbad Caverns or even the Gulf of Mexico! There are stories of strong underground currents that suck divers and swimmers deep into the bowels of the Earth, never to be seen again! Just when you thought that was enough intrigue…the Bottomless Lakes also have stories of monsters that are said to be giant turtles that lurk in the depth!  So…there…who needs UFO’s and aliens anyway!

Peace…As it was early in the season the park was only half-full.  This made for many lazy afternoons in the sun, which we were really getting for the first time in about 4 months.  It was such a cold and rainy winter on the gulf-coast that we went a little crazy now that we had sun and warmth.  No distractions of a city or town…just the few of us campers nestled in the warm, sunny desert.  Ahhhhhhh…….

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Beauty….not only was this a great state park with HUGE spaces…it was very well kept.  There was an entire extra space in between each spot, so there was plenty of room to breathe!  Deb also told me about Pecos Diamonds, and gave me a map of where I could go to “hunt” them and a sample of her own so I would know what to look for.   Instead of visiting the UFO museum, one afternoon I set out solo to some remote land and went hunting.  She was right, once I learned what to look for…I couldn’t stop seeing them. (except when I got distracted by other pretty things…)20140325_140836 (1024x768)

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Character….Deb, what else can I say…excellent and kind campground host!  There were also others who are worthy of mention… a family who frequents the park, and sets up a MONSTER tent for 2 weeks at a time.  They don’t have an RV, but they did pull up in a big U-Haul, which carried their tent and the houseful of furniture and supplies they needed for two weeks…I felt like I was on the set of M*A*S*H!

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We met several friendly folk during our stay.  There was one, though, who we never met…who stayed in his BMW with the windows tarped, spoke to no one and occasionally emerged to take an hour trip to town or to walk to the restroom.

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Seemed creepy at first, but Deb assured us that they had their “eye’ on him…  We couldn’t figure out exactly what his story was…strangest camping neighbor yet…who knows, maybe I got to see my alien after all!

We enjoyed our week much more than we expected.  What a wonderful addition to our visit to the “Land of Enchantment”!!  It was actually hard to leave…but it was time to get back to a city so we could work, so off to Albuquerque we went.

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Carlsbad Caverns, White’s City, New Mexico

After a long, windy, and dusty drive from Fort Stockton Texas, we finally made it to New Mexico. First stop Carlsbad Caverns National Park in the southeastern portion of the State. This is really one of the first major tourist attractions that we have sought out since hitting the road. I have to admit that I am not real big on crowded tourist traps but if I am going to one, it is probably a natural wonder and not a man made or historical one; unless the man made attraction is craft Pale Ale. In any event, Carlsbad Caverns was a tourist trap and it was also a spectacular natural wonder that we are glad we got to experience first hand. The picture below was the entrance to the canyon.

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We took quite a few pictures using various camera settings but much like other natural wonders you probably are better off just visiting the website if you want to see quality professional photos of the place. I didn’t bring a tri-pod and nor did I want to make the entire experience about photography.

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The shear enormity was what was the most impressive to me and I never was able to capture that with a clear photo. We took the few mile hike into and around the caverns and then took the elevator back out. We had a good time exploring, reading and just soaking in this incredible place for a few hours on a day that wasn’t particularly crowded.

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We stayed two nights at the White’s City RV park right outside of the national park entrance. There are several other options closer to the actual town of Carlsbad, NM but this was the closest to the park entrance in White’s City. I must say, this is one of the strangest parks we have been to and one of the most run down. I am not sure when the website photo’s were taken but it wasn’t recently. We had a hard time trying to figure out where and how to check in and the staff seemed to be having an equally hard time figuring out who’s job it was to check us in. For paved pull through sites, they were terribly uneven and quite a few blocks had to be placed around in order to get our “Auto-level” to work on the trailer. The strangest part is that ALL sites had a shared hook-up and a shared picnic table and fire pit between two RV’s. We had approximately 6 inches between us and our neighbor’s slide out on one side, and we were completely tangled in a tree on the other side where we got to look out our front door and straight into our neighbors front door just a few feet away. This would be great if you were traveling with a friend but otherwise it was a little awkward and Rufus voiced his displeasure with the proximity to our neighbor’s small dogs as only he can.

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Although we didn’t use it, we also found it very odd that the campground bathroom had double shower heads in a single shower stalls with only a curtain and no way to lock the door. So I guess if you are taking a shower in this filthy place, another camper can just join you at the adjacent open spot two feet away. Weird to say the least and consistent with everything else about this very run down park. Our recommendation to anyone else coming to visit would be to stay in Carlsbad and make the longish drive in to visit the park. Of course we have no idea what the other options in Carlsbad were like, we just know the White’s City RV park didn’t suit us particularly well. We were happy that we only had two nights here before moving on to a more spacious State Park. All things considered we enjoyed the Caverns and we were both feeling happy to be experiencing some actual destinations instead of just randomly cruising around like it seems we have all winter. View Larger Map