Deep In The Heart of Texas

We traveled. We saw. We returned. After 3 months of continuous travel, we are finally back in Texas!

Before I fill you in on our plans now that we have come home to our native Lone Star state, allow me to write about our last week in Las Cruces, NM.

You may or may not be surprised to hear that our last week in New Mexico was fairly uneventful. Joe and I took it easy. What can I say? We were tired!

Though we were feeling a bit weary from weeks of travel, we had a peaceful week filled with mundane, normal tasks. Joe had work to catch up on, I had miscellaneous chores and meals to prep, and so…we worked, we ate, and carried on with our usual day-to-day activities.

As shocking as it might seem, not every day nor every week of life on the road is glamorous!

Now, that’s not to say that we didn’t have any fun during our last week in Las Cruces…after all, you’ve met us, right?

Our last night in town, Joe and I went out to eat at a nice, favorite restaurant of ours, and afterward, we walked to a 90’s themed arcade downtown. Naturally, this led to Joe and I spending at least $20 in tokens so that we could compete against each other in various arcade games.

Nothing says true love like glowing screens, chiming bings from a pinball machine, and a little competition of the toggle variety! Who does’t get competitive while jabbing at buttons?

Needless to say, dinner and the arcade was a perfect way to end our travels.

The following morning, Joe and I packed up the RV and began the 2 day journey back to Austin, TX. I will spare you the details of the drive because the trip was uneventful! Sure, West Texas was rather blustery, but other than a little wind, we had no issues on our way home.

So, now that we are back…what’s next?

Reconnecting with friends, spending time with family, a 10 year high school reunion, Texas football, bridal showers, and doctor(s) appointments!

Really, we won’t be back very long…justttt long enough to accomplish the tasks above. We will be taking off again just before Thanksgiving. So, stay tuned for more adventures!

Until next time!

The Final Stretch

Last week we made it to Las Cruces, New Mexico, where we boondocked near the base of the Organ Mountains and interacted with fellow RVers.

Naturally, this interaction and meeting leads to Garcia’s Moving Castle’s next segment of RVers in the wild.

In today’s segment, we begin with Joe. After all, he is the one who encountered the RVer in his natural habitat. The RVer, our new neighbor, approached Joe late in the evening around the local watering hole aka our collection of 7 gallon water totes. Joe was replenishing our water supply and our fellow RVer was curious if he could borrow our totes to fetch water for himself and his wife.

Joe agreed, and naturally, as all conversations do, this evolved into Joe and our fellow RVer discussing the pros and cons of a black water waste disposal system vs. a composting waste disposal system. The RVer began to passionately argue that an expensive composting system wasn’t worth it, especially because a person could buy everything they needed for a composting waste disposal system from the Family Dollar.

Color Joe both horrified and intrigued.

The RVer then proceeded to give Joe instructions on how to build his own composting system from a bowl, paper towels, and ziplocs, as well as give Joe advice on how to keep a black water system from smelling. Apparently, it’s all in the essential oils.

Don’t use water to flush! Simply spray peppermint and lavender oil after every use, and you won’t need to dispose of the black water system’s contents for 3 months.

As if this conversation wasn’t memorable enough, the RVer switched gears and began regaling Joe about government secrets. The RVer couldn’t divulge everything, but his government source had informed him that President Biden hadn’t been alive for a few months. The government was using CGI and a body double to emulate the late president.

Never a dull moment!

Stay tuned for future segments of RVers in the wild. In the meantime, allow me to fill you in on our happenings from last week.

As I mentioned earlier, Joe and I boondocked near the base of the Organ Mountains. Not only did we camp off grid near these well-known mountains, but also took some time to visit and hike around the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

The National Monument is home to an old mine shaft, sanatarium, waterfall, and way station. Joe and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing these historic sites, as well as the hike to each of them. Along the way, we came across a few tarantulas and several noteworthy plants! What can I say, Joe loves to identify local flora!

Overall, we had a great time visiting the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument; it is always one of our favorite things to see when we come to Las Cruces.

Because we are still a little weary from traveling and adventuring, we have decided to stay in Las Cruces one more week, but instead of spending it boondocking, we have moved to an RV park. Is there a story there? Yes, yes there is.

When Joe took our portable waste tank into town to dump at the local RV park, the front office staff told him it would cost $50 to use their dump station. Now normally, it costs about $10 to use a park’s dump station. So, Joe was both surprised and intrigued as to why this park was charging $50.

Apparently, in the last few months, someone had dumped their meth lab at the park’s dump station. So, to discourage others from utilizing their facilities, they implemented a $50 fee for all patrons wanting to dump, as well as installed a lockbox over the dump system’s entry valve.

After explaining the RV park owner’s rationale, the front office staff then proceeded to sell Joe one of the park’s spots for the day. For $34, Joe could use that spot’s septic and dump his tank.

At that point, it made more sense to just buy 6 days and move our RV over to the park. Joe knew I wasn’t going to complain about full hookups!

So, we are now enjoying the luxury of full hookups as we finish our time in New Mexico. Next stop Austin, TX!

Until next time!

Bandelier National Monument

Bandelier is a site that relays the story of nomadic-hunter-gatherers from over 10,000 years ago. Home to the Ancestral Pueblo people, evidence of their presence is still chiseled into the surrounding landscape – the effect is both humbling and awe-inspiring.

As if the scenery isn’t impressive enough, Bandelier offers patrons the privilege of climbing through ancient pueblos, traversing the sacred grounds of the Ancestral Pueblo people, as well as the opportunity to hike through an ecotone. Yes, you read that correctly, an ecotone!

For those unfamiliar, an ecotone is a transition area between two biological communities, where the two communities meet and integrate. For me, one of the most surprising aspects of Bandelier was its ecotone. One moment you’re scaling a cliff in the desert, and the next, once you descend, you find yourself situated in a lush forrest filled with pine trees. The image created by this dissonance is beautiful, and we found ourselves mesmerized by our surroundings.

Bandelier not only boasts a scenic and unique, historical setting, but also offers a campground, a café, a museum, and a park store! Be aware that you must park at the White Rock Visitor Center and take the 30 minute shuttle to Bandelier during the months of June-October due to lack of parking and high visitor volume unless you make the drive before 9 AM.

We tried our best to arrive before 9 AM, but with needing to walk our dogs (no pets on the hiking trails) and Bandelier being an hour away from our dispersed campsite, arriving before 9 AM just didn’t happen! Despite our lack of morning prowess, the shuttle was quick, easy, and runs every 20 minutes, so we did not lose much time traveling to our destination.

Once we arrived, we decided to complete two of the hiking trails – the Main Pueblo Loop Trail and the Alcove Trail. It took us about 2 hours to complete both of them, and though we walked to the end of the Alcove Trail, we did not climb up the 140 foot ascent to the Alcove House (the ceremonial cave). The site is eroding quickly due to wind and human foot traffic so no more than 15 people at a time can access it, and there was quite a line when we arrived, so we decided not to make the climb.

Despite not seeing the Alcove House, Joe and I relished our time at Bandelier. We were fascinated and amazed by its rich history and enjoyed the physical exertion, as well as the tranquility its hikes provided. We definitely plan on returning, especially since we felt like we needed more time!