Texas to Las Cruces, New Mexico

A day later and the story is similar, at least for the moment. Driving west on a 2 lane Texas road with very little traffic. We took a side route off I-10 to get away from the big trucks and the wind, driving north on Texas 54, the “Texas Mountain Highway”, which is the main route north from the Interstate to the Guadalupe Mountains and Guadalupe Mountain National Park. It’s also the route to Carlsbad Caverns.

Yesterday we decided to pull off the highway in early afternoon so that we could get some groceries and set up before dark with a bit of relaxing time. Couldn’t make it all the way to Las Cruces so figured we could stop halfway at the only town of any real size between San Antonio and El Paso, Fort Stockton.

Fort Stockton didn’t have much to speak of, except the visitor center was actually open and also built from the large lovely limestone blocks that are used throughout this part of Texas. The proprietor there was a very old man who was very kind and helpful and gave us RV park lists, maps, and a great brochure on the Texas Mountain Country. Seems as though we unexpectedly were on the edge of another interesting area of Texas, one that will need further exploration another time.

But in the mean time, the important thing was food and rest, so we decided on a funky park south of town called Parkview RV. From the highway it looked really terrible, and yet once set up and inside our rig, it wasn’t so bad. First thing to notice was all the telephone poles and wires. Most parks now have underground utilities, so it was strange to see all these ugly things everywhere. The bathrooms looked as though they were made of old cardboard, and the spaces were just gravel and weedy grass full of burrs and stickers, another thing that has been a real pain in texas, the goathead burrs.

But the park had the fastest wifi I have had in some time, cable tv which we seem to never manage to watch, but always think we want it, power, water that tasted good, and sewer, which we ended up not using anyway. Our tanks are still only less than 1/2 full after 4 days now, including our boondocking night, and we haven’t emptied them yet. Lots more storage space for water of all types in this rig.

Haven’t had a pizza since we left a month ago, and pizza is one of the favorites around here, so we bought DeGiornio’s rising crust and decided to give the new oven a try for something more complicated than baking a potato. Worked great after I got the hang of the warm up cycle, and it’s really nice to have a real oven to cook with. Took a little bit of time to fiddle with things and get more settled in for the evening, went for a walk with the dog, and took some photos of the sunset before settling in to write and upload photos and watch a little bit of news.

Walking through the park I got to do one of my favorite things which is looking in people’s windows at dusk while they are doing life. Crazy thing, I know, but I love it. So walking by an older rig I saw a sweet older couple all cuddled up on their sofa watching TV. They waved and smiled and I waved back thinking, ahh, the rv life, not a bad way to retire if you have someone who loves to do it with you and who cares about you as well. They seemed so contented in their cozy little space, and so friendly with the windows all open.
The night was cold but not as cold as some have been on the trip, but the insulation in the back of this rig isn’t enough to keep it warm in the bedroom portion and I kept waking up with a cold head. Guess I have to get an old lady nightcap or something, because I couldn’t sleep. I’d get all hot under the covers, and whatever I stuck out would get all freezing. Finally got up at some ungodly hour and turned the heat up, but still couldn’t get my head warm. Then Teddy decided it was time to play and visit and work on his security issues, stepping on our heads and crawling around yowling for a few hours. I kept wondering why I wanted to find him anyway. He seems a bit traumatized and sleeps hidden all day in whatever space he can find and then wanders around from window to window for a good portion of the night. Hopefully after a bit he will settle down again, but at the moment he has found the space under the sofa between the wall of the slideout to hide and is sleeping there soundly and won’t budge. I decided I needed to harass him all day and keep him awake, so I closed up his cage where he usually hides, but he seems to have found another hiding place after all. Think I’ll go bug him soon.

Morning came, still dark at 7am because we are so close to the time change boundary into mountain time and I got up and made coffee and started planning the day. Heading for Las Cruces now and there is a great park that we hope to stay right within walking distance of Old Mesilla, the historic part of Las Cruces.

The drive west from Fort Stockton has been wonderful in the way driving in the open desert can be wonderful. There were lots of mountains, shadowed desert kinds of mountains, all along the interstate and then when we headed north it was really dramatic for a time. The landscape changes a lot, but it’s fun to be back in an area that I was in 5 years ago when I went to the Soil Science Geomorphic Institute in Las Cruces. Once again I have some familiarity with the landscape, the vegetation, the natural story of this place and that feels good. I’m looking forward to seeing the Rio Grand valley again, and the Organ Mountains. As I remember in this part of the country, once again the sky is perfectly clear and blue and the sun is still straight up, not a shadow anywhere is the white hot light. And it’s December. Highway 54 was a great way to get north and now on 62/180 going west we have skipped all the boring interstate stuff and truck traffic, and even though there is an occasional car and truck, it’s still relaxing and fun to do. Probably adds about 30 miles to the distance to El Paso, but well worth it.

Mo filled up the rig for the first time and the numbers don’t look that great. At first it looked like 8 mpg but hopefully that figure is skewed by the fact that we ran the generator quite a bit the night we were boondocking. We will fill up again all the way the next time we get gas and hope that the numbers go up somewhere in the vicinity of 10 mpg at least. The Baby MoHo got about 10mpg when she was towing the baby car, but that was 10,000 pounds and a ford 350 and this is 14,000 pounds and a Ford 450. I guess we will see how that one goes. Both of the engines are V-10’s, and never seem to be short on power in any situation, so that’s a good thing. Not like some of those old motorhomes that you see lugging down on the hills. Will have to wait for the western mountains I guess to see how she does on a really steep pass.

Author: kyotesue

Soil scientist/mapper working for 35 years in the wild lands of the West. I am now retired, enjoying my freedom to travel, to hike without a shovel and a pack, to knit and quilt and play, to play with photography and write stories about all of it.

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