Quite a bit has happened in the weeks since my last post. We drove through far west Texas, El Paso, and into New Mexico. When we were in Las Cruces, NM, two years ago, we were enchanted by the ruggedly beautiful Organ Mountains that frame the city. At that time, there was a long country road that passed through Bureau of Land Management property and we could see many RV’s parked out toward the base of the mountains. We wanted to do that, too! So, the goal of returning to Las Cruces was to do just that!
Unfortunately, we were unable to make that happen. There are a few reasons. One is that a large section of land was developed with housing. That was quite a surprise! Beautiful very expensive homes at the base of the mountains. A second reason is that the BLM has gated off one or two of the dirt roads. Those that are open … every site was taken by one, sometimes two, RV’s. We were lucky enough to find a spot that another RV was leaving but we could not level the motorhome … and we tried and tried! Since we can’t put our slide out unless the rig is level, it just wasn’t going to work. We spent that night in a Walmart lot. The quietest Walmart lot I’ve ever slept in, too!
The following day, we drove to one of our favorite campgrounds – City of Rocks State Park in Faywood, NM. We visited this park two years ago after our good friend Janlyn raved about it’s unique beauty. Boy, was she right! You approach the park after driving several miles through a flat high landscape, go over a rise and the valley below reveals a “city” of enormous boulders clustered in the middle of the desert. These boulders, some as tall as 40 feet, encompass an area of one square mile. They were pushed up through the earth’s crust during a volcanic eruption some 34 million years ago. The state of New Mexico has done a fabulous job locating 50 campsites among the rocks. There are more than 7 miles of trails around the park and through the boulders. Mountain bikers are even allowed to bike through them if they dare! The boulders are an incredible playground for kids, too. After sunset, you’re treated to the darkest skies and the most incredible stars! We didn’t do much here except walk, explore the rocks and soak up some vitamin D!
Our next stop was the town of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. If you haven’t heard of this town, there is a very fun story about how this town got its name. There was a radio game show in the 1940’s called Truth or Consequences. (That show moved to television in the 1950’s.) As the show’s 10th anniversary on the air approached, Ralph Edwards, the host and creator, wanted to do something fun and different to mark the occasion. A staffer suggested, ““Why not find a town or city somewhere in America that would be willing to change its name to ‘Truth or Consequences,’ and do the anniversary broadcast from that city?” Edwards loved the idea! Soon, they had a list of several towns that were willing, but scouts who were sent to investigate took one look at Hot Springs, New Mexico and decided this was the place. They liked the healing hot springs, the small town charm, the friendly people and the warm climate. The town’s 1,600 residents voted in a special election and more than 80% of them voted to change the name of the town. On March 31, 1950, the new name became official. On April 1, 1950, Truth or Consequences held it’s anniversary show in town. Subsequently, the town built a park and named it Ralph Edwards Park. Edwards was so smitten with the town that he promised to return the following year, and he did! He also returned to visit “his” town every year after that, and he always brought celebrities with him.
Like so many towns we travel through, Truth or Consequences’ heydays are behind it. Except for a small, quirky downtown area of a couple blocks, many buildings are run down and shuttered. It’s sad to see a town with so much history disintegrate like this. There is a huge lake with a beautiful mountainous backdrop, a huge state park surrounding the lake, multiple campgrounds, miles of trails.
Another thing this part of New Mexico has is wind. Oh, my goodness, the wind! Every single day that we were here, the wind howled in the 20-25 mph range during the day with gusts in the 30’s and 40’s! It would generally start up by late morning, blow all day long, and once the sun set, the wind would calm only to ramp up again the next morning. Searching for answers, I asked Google, “Is it always this windy in New Mexico?” Turns out, it IS always windy in March, April, May and June. Go figure! The last time we visited New Mexico was in the spring, too! We’ll have to come back in the fall next time!
We’re heading to Albuquerque to have some maintenance done on the motorhome. Time for an oil change, and we want to have the brakes checked. The most important aspect of maintaining this lifestyle is maintaining our home on wheels!