Saturday, January 28, 2017

Las Cruces, New Mexico

January 24 - 27, 2017
Las Cruces, New Mexico

Tuesday morning the sun barely beats us out of the park in Van Horn, Texas. It's a beautiful time of day - one I only need to see occasionally to appreciate :-)

The morning sun lights the hills.
Our goal is to get to our next stop in Las Cruces, New Mexico, before the high winds. Except for the last 30 miles it's not a bad drive. Heading due west we get strong cross winds, but much of Interstate 10 is north-west here which makes for better conditions.

Driving west at sunrise isn't bad until one (or ten) of those diamond plate trucks get in front of you - and reflect the blinding light in your eyes :-(
The skies are clear except for a single bank of solid cloud over El Paso. We can see it for miles, and it doesn't move as we approach, and then drive under it. Just a bit strange.....but we are approaching New Mexico :-)

And yes, the traffic is heavy through El Paso, but once we're past the construction on the west side we only have the winds to deal with the rest of the way.

When we get to the Coachlight Motel and RV Park in Las Cruces, the site next to John and Pam is open. Sooo great to see them again!

The park isn't a beauty, but the sites are level and everything works. Being close to town at a very reasonable rate is a bonus. A few of the seasonals are "eclectic", but it's quiet and we feel safe. Most nights they are completely full.

A quick set up and we all walk to the little diner attached to the motel. Although the Pit Stop looks as sad as the motel and park, the food is exceptional. 

Also in the park are Paul and Marsha who we have never met, but it doesn't take long over dinner later that evening to get to know this fun couple. There's just something about RV-people that all speak the same language :-) Farley's Pub has good food and good brew - the Milk Moustachio Stout (Tractor Brewing Company) is fabulous!! 

John, Jodee, Bill, Paul, Marsha, Pam
Wednesday morning we plan a trip to Hatch but see that Sparky's is only open Thursday through Sunday. Plans are meant to be changed so we'll do that on Thursday!

Instead we take John and Pam for the adventure that is Adobe Deli near Deming. The only thing more fun than going, is taking someone for the first time! Really, there's no place like it.

If you don't know what you're looking for you would just drive past. A 1950's school that looks entirely abandoned is home to one of the best restaurants in the area. After parking in the dirt "lot", making it past the loose dogs, through the chainlink gate where the OPEN sign is covered in dry branches, and around the corner you sort of see the sign over the sort of door. 

Almost there....
It doesn't get better once you're inside. Except that it's so unique, and the food is so good, and the wood burning cast iron stove is so warm......we all love it!  

My post from our last visit has more photos, there's a lot to see!


There are some pretty shady characters here.

Billy the Kid is a big deal in these "parts"

The Adobe Deli "trolley" is no longer doing whatever it used to do.
The "entrance area"

After our return to Las Cruces, Bill and I head to the little town of Mesilla. The Rio Grande River here is very not grande. It's a sweet historic district, but other than the pretty Catholic church and some restaurants there's not much here. 

Thursday is Hatch day! Famous for its chilies and Sparky's green chili cheeseburgers!!

First we follow John and Pam "just around the corner" to the little ghost town of Lake Valley

The BLM workamper on site shares the history of the place inside the old school house with our teacher companions, who then share it with us on the walking tour. It is absolutely the best way to see it!

Two buggies waiting for a few delinquents held after class.

Classes were held here until the 1950's
Looking forward to John's post on this guy's story!
This wonderful rock-topped hill overlooks the townsite.
Modern conveniences
While most structures are falling down, some details like this wallpaper and several ceramic door knobs remain.
The chrome headlights on this beauty are still shiny!
One of the last inhabited homes.

Not creepy at all....
All that's left of the hotel

The original school was the Conoco station in its last incarnation.
Learning about the main street that stood here before all burning down in 1895. A common theme in the ghost towns we've visited.
Although it's only 48 degrees with a light breeze, it's a bright and sunny day to enjoy this historic mining town. Sharing it with good friends is even better :-)

We all find our way back to Sparky's, and the very best green chili cheeseburgers. 

With pineapple cole slaw - so simple, so delicious!
A few characters keep watch from across the street.
We say good-bye for now to Tessa's buddies, and we spend a quiet last day in Las Cruces. Tessa can't get enough of Gramma Pamma, sticking close to her every time we're together - but I fail to get a single photo of them :-((. Good thing more opportunities aren't far away!

We love rocks and fossils so we check out the Zuhl Collection at the university. John's post about their visit has great information and photos. After they tell us about it we know it's a must-see!

One of several walls of a very large collection - all beautiful pieces.

Temnospondyl amphibians had four toes on their forelimbs and five on their hind limbs. Beautiful fossils.

Found in Arkansas, this large clear quartz crystal is 180 - 200 million years old

The collection includes several Ammonites. This Heteroceros is my favorite.

Large rose quartz sphere in front of petrified logs
Petrified sequoia 

Rhodochrosite from Argentina. My favorite color.

More pieces in the courtyard. I think this one looks like a long skirt :-)
Since the church was closed the other day, and I've heard it's beautiful, I go back to Mesilla to see if I can get in. Lucky me - it's open!

A small church, pretty in its simplicity.
Side windows

Balcony windows
We love New Mexico, but it's time to move on to Arizona where we have more people to see and places to visit. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Sooooo Many People - Austin, Texas

January 19 -23, 2017
Austin - Van Horn, Texas

I hear there's a lot of traffic in Austin, and we drive through several miles of it when we arrive at Austin Lone Pine RV Park on Thursday. The park is well maintained with some of the friendliest staff we've met. It is a great location for our needs at a reasonable price, although the sites don't have much space. Hedges in between make it feel more private, and other than some noise from the Interstate, it is nice and quiet. 

Piper is filthy from driving on rain-wet roads and I really need a haircut - so I run out to take care of both things in the afternoon. The streets are so busy!

We only have one full day here, wanting to visit with a friend I worked with in Sacramento. Friday we pick a couple things to check out downtown.

Austin, Texas

HOPE Outdoor Gallery - buy paint on-site and add your own art

Layers of vivid color

The "pieces" change regularly

Can't go to Austin without enjoying one of the many food trucks!

So much to watch in the SoCo neighborhood

Gourmet grilled cheese - most excellent!
The beautiful capitol is one of the largest we've seen, but the color makes it look like primer waiting for the white paint.

Un-named piece by Constance Whitney Warren presented to Texas as a tribute to the rough and romantic riders of the range on January 17, 1925
The capitol grounds have several beautiful statues, this amazing memorial is my favorite.

Wonderful detail

A diverse history
Austin has grown too quickly for the streets and highways, making getting anywhere slow and frustrating. It is a progressive and exciting city, but just finding a place to park to enjoy it is nearly impossible. 

Fortunately the place we're meeting Kelli and her family is only two miles from our park. It takes 20 minutes to get there.

Even the telephone lines are congested with birds
We have a fun visit with Kelli and her partner, son and niece, coming back to our place after dinner. I'm so glad we were able to meet up with them! They are making plans to move to the Houston area, noting the congestion of Austin as one factor in their decision. 

So cute!
I expected to love Austin, and it is a lovely city. But it is just too busy, too congested, too many people everywhere. I'm ready to move on after two days.

Our initial plan was to stop in San Antonio for a couple nights, but with high winds expected and the NFL playoffs on Sunday we decide to just move west to Junction.

The drive through the hill country and the cute German town of Fredericksburg on Saturday morning is so pretty!! More goats than cows, and dozens of vineyards, it is very different than any area we've seen in Texas. 

The wind is already blowing when we pull into the Junction North Llano RV Park. We have a level site with a paver patio and two large Adirondack chairs, a rock fire pit and BBQ. Numerous trees throughout the park are bare and the river access is through thick rocks, but it still "feels" very nice here. The staff are fun and the grounds well maintained.

Nice sites, too windy to enjoy
Rocky shores of the low Llano River
Not much sleep as the wind howls all night. It continues all day Sunday, stretching out and twisting the topper on the large slide - should have pulled it in - but Bill fixes it when it calms down (my hero).

Thanks Baby :-))))
With a 250 mile drive ahead of us (much longer than our usual travel days) we are on the road before 10 am. Balmorhea is our destination but with a wind advisory for Tuesday I suggest we continue on another 100 miles to shorten the next day's drive. We make a couple stops for fuel and pit stop and Bill finds us a place in Van Horn that is perfect.

We pull into Mountain View RV Park along the Interstate about 4:30. All large pull-throughs with direct access to open desert, we stay hooked-up and enjoy our view of real mountains!! Being back in the Creosote-filled desert makes me soooo happy - feels like home :-)))

Just what we need in Van Horn, Texas


Eye-stretching views

Ahhhh - the smell of Creosote :-)

If my legs were this long I could actually reach all the shelves in the motorhome

So happy to stretch out after 320 miles!
The last time we saw John and Pam (in September) we could see Canada. Now we're going to meet them in Las Cruces, not far from Mexico. Gotta love this mobile life!

Tuesday morning we pull out as the sun rises.