Viewing posts on February 28, 2011

Las Cruces NM to California- Jan 25-Feb 28

28 Feb

After our dead VW battery scare was resolved, we drove around Las Cruces NM before taking off for the Mogollon Mountains and the Gila National Forest in southern New Mexico.  Las Cruces reminded us of Santa Fe NM – pueblo and southwest architecture – but a much smaller town and without Santa Fe’s high end tourist and retail establishments.

I followed up my seriously poor planning for our hike in White Sands National Park with an even more idiotic job of poor planning.  After driving for a couple of hours we arrived in Silver City NM, where I thought we would find ancient cave dwellings.  Not exactly.  Oh, yes, the cave dwellings are in the area, but only if we chose to drive another 2-3 hours up a steep, narrow, winding mountain road – mostly in the dark.  At the end of the road we would find the cave dwellings, darkness, and single degree temperatures.  We passed.  After all, we saw many cave dwellings in 2008 in Utah, Arizona and New Mexico.  Instead we took a shorter, flatter, straighter drive to the three-building town of Glenwood NM where we found no open restaurants (although one owner invited us to join the bar-b-que he was preparing for a crew of visiting utility workers), and an empty no-fee federal campground in a beautiful mountain area.  Before bedding down for the night we encountered two problems: a broken shade (easily fixed with a paper clip) and a dead coach battery (easily recharged by leaving the engine running for about 1/2 hour).

We were fortunate to have recharged the coach battery as we were faced with a frigid 13-degree night.  In the morning we ran both heaters (the propane coach heater and the VW engine heater).  After a half-hour it was warm enough to get out of bed and proceed with our day.

Nearby was the Whitewater Catwalk National Recreation Trail.  We took a 2-hour hike through a mountain canyon trail which included a number of catwalks that were built in the 1850’s to access nearby gold mines.  The hike was stunning and very cold, especially in the shade.

We left and drove some 200 miles to Benson, AZ to spend the night at a functional KOA campground.  The drive was beautiful – across a high altitude golden grass valley in NM (with the Mogollon Mountains in the background) to the forested snow-covered mountains of eastern AZ to the desolate flat high desert plain of Arizona.

If you’ll pardon an obvious geography observation, Arizona borders California, and it has Safeway Markets (with Starbucks stands inside the markets, just like California).  For Joanna and me, all of this brought us to the realization that this was the beginning of the end of our five months on the road. We are beginning to experience a sadness about our adventure coming to an end, and a resistance to returning home.  Our time on the road has become a way of life for us.  We don’t feel like we’re away from home or on a vacation, we feel that this is our life and we don’t want it to end.

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