While Big Bend National Park did not disappoint it was time to head north. We had about a six hour drive to get to Guadalupe National Park and while we love to travel we try to keep our drive days to under 5 hours. Since Guadalupe was the next natural place to stay we decided to push on. We arrived at Guadalupe NP about 4:45 and Lyn went in to get her park book stamped and also got a map of the park. They had a campground and it was full but since it was so close we decided to go check it out. It was a big parking lot with a bunch of large RV’s. The camp Host met us at the gate and told us they were full but gave a us a map to some BLM land we could stay for free. He also said it was only 30 miles away. He seemed way more excited than we were about the 30 miles away part. After turning around we pulled over and used the I-Overlander app to see if there was anything closer. It suggested that we take a right at the exit go one half mile and there would be a picnic area right on the highway that we would have no problem staying at. Hmmmm 30 miles away or one half mile away?!?!?!?!? Love this app!!! We took a right and in one minute we were pulling in to a beautiful picnic area with three tables and three shelters. It had great views and we could even see the Welcome to Guadalupe National Park sign from our parking spot. Needless to say we pulled over and in the morning noticed that we had been joined by two other camper vans.
After sleeping in we went back to Guadalupe NP and did a short hike to check it out. It I not the kind of park that you can drive through but it does have some epic hikes that were a little longer than we cared to go on so we headed for Carlsbad Caverns National Park which was only about 45 minutes away. We had heard that the limited tours of the Caverns sold out early every day so you had to get there early and then buy a ticket and hope that you did not have to wait a long time for your time to get in. Because of Corona Virus they are really limiting how many people can go into the caverns at one time. Anyway after getting there we noticed only a few cars in the parking lot. So at 9:15 with fingers crossed we headed in and the Ranger said we could get a ticket and go in 15 minutes later. Two please! All of this was covered by our National Park pass so it was free for us. We rode down in the elevator by ourselves and were greeted by a ranger who told us there were no guided tours but that we were welcome to explore on our own. I cannot do this place justice but it was amazing. The trail at the bottom was 1.25 miles long and every time you saw something amazing you would go around the corner and see something even more amazing. I will let the pictures do the talking but if you are ever near the caverns it is a must place to see. We only saw about 10 other people at the bottom and they were spread out everywhere. If you show up with out a pass its $15 a piece to get in. Well worth it in my opinion.
After that we headed to Roswell New Mexico. Home of many, many space aliens. Our plan was to check it out and stay in the Walmart parking lot. Yep, nothing but the best for us!!!! Carlsbad Caverns are actually very close to White Sands National Park which was our next park to visit but we were expecting a few packages and they would not be ready to be picked up there for a few days so we decided to go to Roswell then Truth or Consequences (Yes this is the real town name.) One of the packages was from my sister Julie. She has been getting our mail and reading it to us throughout our trip but occasionally something arrives that needs to be sent to us. The last time she did this in Florida she sent it to a friend of mine and this time I had her send it to the closest post office to White Sands NP. She sent it with my name and it was marked for General Delivery and that way they would hold it for me. Her package was already waiting for us at the post office but I had also reordered my solar panel package from Amazon that was being shipped to an “Amazon Counter” location in Las Cruces. Anyway that’s a long story to say that we had about 4 days to wait on it So we decided to do a loop around this part of New Mexico and swing back by to get the packages and go to White Sands NP.
Roswell is a quirky little town that has defiantly embraced the fact that Aliens have visited earth or at least this town ha ha. Almost every store has aliens painted on it or sculptures outside of it. Even the street lights are aliens. Remember I used to be married to an alien. Lyn had an alien registration number and everything before she became a full United States Citizen. 😁 Even the McDonalds was a spaceship. Anyway because of the size of our RV we could park right downtown. It was fun to walk around and see all of the quirkyness but I will have to admit cities and towns cannot be fully enjoyed during this pandemic. But we had enough of a taste that we know we will be back and do it justice. Anyway we arrived at Walmart and saw at least 10 other RV’s there. We happened to be right next to a Panda Express and so we ordered out and enjoyed a dinner watching a downloaded Netflix movie and called it a night.
The next morning I decided that I would replace my coach battery at Walmart. We drove over and had breakfast in our RV while we waited for them to open. Our coach battery (The one that runs the house part of our RV) was about 6 years old and while everything worked it could not hold its charge if we camped multiple days without electricity. When they opened they took us right in and I made two mistakes. First I asked them to install it since I did not have any tools with me. Second I did not take a picture of how things were connected. There are a few extra wires attached since it is running multiple things in the coach part of the RV. After he finished installing it none of the lights worked. Even when I started the RV nothing worked. Oh and when I started the RV it now made a loud clicking sound in the battery area. Dang it. I should have left well enough alone. This was a big deal as the next place we were going did not have electricity and that meant no lights would work the water pump would not work, the fridge would not work and on and on and on. I decided to post questions on a Toyota Motorhome FB group and they gave me a lot of things to check out. I decided to have him take out the battery and I would just deal with it at the next stop. When he did he tried one more thing and reversed two wires and one of the wires started to smoke. He quickly got the battery out and now Lyn and I were on our way with the new coach battery riding in the coach area and nothing in the coach battery area. The only saving grace was that with the battery out and the RV running everything seemed to be working.
On our way to Truth or Consequences we were literally out in the middle of nowhere and we saw a sign that said Valley of Fires Recreation Area Campground. We decided to check it out and take a break from driving. We were still not sure if our camper would work even plugged in so we explained the situation to the Camp Host and he said try it on any empty site. Luckily it worked! We decided to spend the night here. That would give me time to figure out the battery issue and also check out the area which happened to built on a lava flow. After an about an hour of reading helpful posts with from my Toyota Motorhome Club TMC FB group. I figured out what the Walmart technician did wrong and got everything connected correctly. What a relief! This left us time before sunset to explore the campground and surrounding area. Our campsite overlooked the lava field and they even had a walkway that was built to let you walk about a half a mile through the lava field. All of this was only $18! What a deal great views, electricity, potable water, access to a dump station and three bars of cell service! This really was awesome and we probably would not have stopped had it not been for the battery incident.
So the next day we finally were headed to Truth or Consequences New Mexico. This is another quirky town that has an unusual history. The town was called Hot Springs New Mexico when the TV show in the 40’s and 50’s called Truth or Consequences asked if any town would be willing to change its name to Truth or Consequences. Several towns applied and Hot Springs was one of them. They were picked and it became official on March 31st 1950. Anyway we were headed to a brewery that we found through Harvest Host called you guessed it Truth or Consequences Brewing Company. They did not hold spots for you, it was first come first serve so we tried to get there early. We arrived at noon and found a spot that literally had our front doors facing their back patio and was only about 3 feet from a table just inside there patio area. All the tables were spaced apart from each other and of course this was all outside. One unique feature they had was that they had multiple fire rings outside with chairs around them and on cooler nights they would come out and lite the fires if you asked them to. We even met a couple that was traveling the country like us but with a big German Shepard. They were both still working online as they went and oh yeah they were doing it in a Tesla! It also happened to be Super Bowl night so after having a few beers we headed into our RV cranked up the 1992 antenna and watched the game from the comfort of our house car.
The next day we booked a private Hot Spring At River Bend Hot Springs. It was such a cool place. Their Hot springs were private. They were covered but had an opening that looked out over the Rio Grande River. You did the entire thing without seeing a single employee. We booked it over the phone and then we arrived we talked through a PA system and then they explained everything to us. We would go in at 3 and have the hot spring to ourselves for 50 minutes after that we would get out and they would sanitize it for the next group. It was so relaxing and beautiful. The total cost was $30. After our Hot Spring event we were relaxed but we needed to drive to Las Cruces to pick up our Solar panels from the Amazon Counter location.
By the time we arrived at Las Cruces it was about 5:30 we picked up our Solar panels got some gas and headed towards White Sands National Park. I had found a remote campground called Aguirre Spring Campground. It was going to be $7 and was part of BLM land. This would be right on our way. After climbing over a mountain top we saw a sign that said turn here for Aguirre Spring Campground. We turned down the road and found ourselves on a long twisting Road that just kept going higher and higher. By now it was dark and Lyn was not a happy camper. Its as a little scary I would have to admit and occasionally some kind of shadowy wild animal would dart across the road. Finally we saw a light in the distance and after finding a level site we put $7 into a supplied envelope and it was officially ours. We had heard there were great views but it was so dark we could only see the night sky. Lyn cooked a great dinner and we fell fast asleep shadowy creatures and all. Tomorrow we are going by the post office to quickly pick up our mail from Julie and then go see White Sands National Park. Thanks for coming along! ❤️✌️😁🌵