As we were packing up our RV site this morning in Tucson, our neighbours to the left of us came over to say goodbye. They were from Quebec, but were not happy with the climate, so they were desperately trying to find an RV park to spend the rest of the winter in Florida. Richard had already made ‘fast friends’ with them when we arrived 2 days ago, so he knew their dilemma about not enjoying the cold nights in Tucson. It was very nice of them to stop by and wish us ‘Bon Voyage’ and safe travels on our journey. Generally RV’ers are really nice, kind and considerate people, or at least that is what we’ve experienced so far on our travels.
Leaving Rincon West Rv Resort in Tucson. This RV and mobile home park was a very nice place to spend 2 nights. It is obvious they take very good care of this community, because this was the only RV Resort where we had to provide pictures of Newman, before they would confirm the reservation, given Newman is already 17 years old! The response we got when I booked Rincon West, was that ”Newman looks good for his age!’
After a quick stop at Walgreens this morning, we were back on Highway 10 East around 9:30am this morning. The GPS said we would at our destination for the day at around 2:25pm.
The landscape immediately outside of Tucson started getting hillier.
We had a nice and sunny day for our drive and the RV driver is a happy camper!
Richard was excited today, because we were stopping for fuel and propane shortly after we left Tucson, at our first ‘Love’s Truck Stop’. The RV folks that I follow on YouTube called ‘Keep Your Daydream’ live in Arizona and always mention that they prefer to stop at Love’s Truck stops because they are very RV friendly. Our propane was down to about a half a tank and given it is expected to be -3C this evening where we are stopping, we wanted to make sure we filled up with propane as conveniently as possible. We also wanted to top up with diesel fuel again, since our fuel gauge still has warning lights and we never want to run our to diesel, so its best to keep topping it up - and it was cheaper today than our last fill up too at $3.89 per gallon. Definitely a lot cheaper than what we were paying in California!
Here comes the Love’s propane guy to fill us up with propane. Propane is not cheap here at $4.25 a gallon, but since we don’t need too much propane, its ok. We saw a trailer in front of us use the dump station as well as the non-potable water. We had heard there was potable water at Love’s too, but since we didn’t need any today, we didn’t bother to look for it.
When there is nothing to look at for miles other than desert you read BILLBOARDS!
We kept seeing signs for ‘The Thing’ at Exit 132, so I finally had to google what ‘The Thing’ was all about. Thomas Brinkley Prince brought ‘The Thing’ from California to Arizona in 1965, setting up shop on a patch of sagebrush at Exit 132 - off the Hwy 10 exit ramp, about an hour east of Tucson. He charged 25cents a peek for people who wanted to see ‘The Thing’. Within a couple of years he had built an outdoor shed museum around ‘The Thing’, and raised his price to 50 cents and displayed a 1937 Rolls-Royce transporting a dummy Hitler, and in the last shed, ‘The Thing’ itself. ‘The Thing’ is believed to be a pair of mummified bodies: a mother and her small child, who lie preserved inside a glass coffin. They were believed to have been created by Homer Tate, a man famous for developing items specifically for use in sideshows and roadside attractions. The current price to see ‘The Thing’ is now $2. We didn’t stop….no surprise there I’m sure!
As we reached Dragoon, Arizona though, the landscape completely changed and we were both in awe of the landscape that we were now seeing.
The Dragoon Mountains.
Look at those boulders!
One section of the mountain was very red.
What unique rock formations! The Dragoon Mountains rise to over 7,000 feet and they are a maze of granite boulders, steep rock faces and crevices. The mountain range was named after the ‘Dragoon’ which was a special group of U.S. Calvary soldiers who were able to fight both on foot and on horseback. There are numerous balanced rocks on the steep hillsides and boulders in the Dragoon Mountains are made of granite and go on for over 30 miles. The Dragoon’s appear as if a pounding surf had somehow turned to stone during high tide.
The granite mountain rocks appear as if they are going to fall on the road!
As soon as we got through the Dragoon Mountains, the landscape completely changed to rolling hills and lots of bare prairie.
After about 123 miles of driving, we finally reached New Mexico!
We are now in our 5th state, and a state that neither one of us has ever visited before!
New Mexico trivia in no particular order: New Mexico is 99.8% land and 0.2% water. The population of New Mexico is 2,085,572, (36th out of 50 in population and 46th in population density) despite being the 5th largest state by area (121,590 square miles). The capital of Sante Fe is the oldest capital in the U.S. founded in 1610 as ‘Nuevo Mexico’ in New Spain; the largest city is Albuquerque. The Rio Grande river and its fertile valley runs from north-to-south in New Mexico. One third of New Mexico’s land is federally owned, and the state hosts many protected wilderness areas and national monuments, including three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Roswell, New Mexico is a city in southeastern New Mexico which is renowned for being the site of an alleged 1947 UFO crash. On July 8, 1947 Roswell Army Air Field issued a press release stating that they had recovered a ‘flying disc’. The Army quickly retracted the statement and said instead that the crashed object was a conventional weather balloon. Conspiracy theories still exist about the event nevertheless and the Roswell incident continues to be of interest in popular media. The incident has been described as “the world’s most famous, most exhaustively investigated and thoroughly debunked UFO claim”. Roswell has capitalized on the event though and the city’s official seal now features a little green man!
A lot of nothing in every direction in New Mexico!
We did see a lot of these yellow signs on the side of the road which told us to pull over, leave our lights on, step on the brake and keep our seat belts on if there was a dust storm warning! Luckily for us, there was no dust storm today!
We arrived at our destination for the night in Las Cruces, New Mexico just before 3pm today.
KOA Journey. Our first KOA park ever!
This KOA at 3pm on a Sunday is a very busy spot for check ins!
After Richard had checked us in and we were driving to lot 55 for the night, the very first Class A Motorhome on our row, had an Ontario license plate. Richard said ”Hey look, someone from Ontario! Imagine bumping into someone from Ontario in Las Cruces, New Mexico!”
Richard started to take care of the mechanicals with getting Newman all set up, including getting our heated water hose out of the basement of Newman, so we could use it tonight in Las Cruces. With the low going down to -3C tonight and at 3,900 ft in elevation, we will definitely need to make sure our water line doesn’t freeze overnight! I’m getting pretty fed up of freezing cold temperatures! The high today in New Mexico only got up to 10C! I said to Richard “how can we be going south and its getting colder?!!” The issue is the elevation unfortunately, so it will be awhile still before we can shed all these layers! I feel like I’ve been bundled up since I left home in October!
Anyway, after Richard had us plugged in and the mechanicals set up, he came inside to watch the slides go out. Richard is still a bit paranoid about that burning smell we had the other day at Motorcoach Country Club, when we were setting up, so he wants to make sure that he can watch each slide go out and check for any smells. We still are not using our levelling jacks, as Richard doesn’t want to take a chance that they may not retract and we would be stuck in New Mexico!
As we were extending our slides, we thought we had heard a knock on our front door. I wasn’t sure that I had actually heard a knock on the door, so I went to check and sure enough there was a very large man standing at our front door with a mask on. I scrambled in the pocket of my vest to put my mask on before I opened the door, and the man identified himself as being from Ontario, and asked us where in Ontario we were from. I said ”Fort Erie” and he said he was from “Kemptville, near Ottawa”. Of course with Richard being from the Ottawa area, I let him talk to the man. We were still in the process of setting up inside, so Richard said to the man “I’ll talk to you later.”
After getting all set up Richard went to take out the garbage and put it in the dumpster at the RV park. He stopped by the Ontarian’s small class A gas Motorcoach and started chatting with him. Next thing he knows the guy is telling Richard that he needs a special license to drive our Newman, because of Newman’s weight. Richard explained to the guy that he had his ‘G’ license with a ’Z’ endorsement for air brakes and that he had taken Newman to get his air brake license to the Ministry of Transportation office in Hamilton last summer, when he got his Z endorsement. The guy went on to say he had been the President of the ‘Good Sam Club’ in Nova Scotia when he used to live there and he knew for sure we needed a different class of license. By now Richard was getting a bit annoyed. We are 2,712 km away from home and some dude from Ontario is trying to tell Richard he doesn’t have the right license to drive Newman! Richard came back into Newman muttering under his breath about “Mr Know-it-all” from Ontario two doors down from us! I thought why not look it up for Richard just to be certain he has the right class of license.
Sure enough, Richard was correct. Class G & Z for air brakes, is all that is required to drive a Class A Motorhome with air brakes in Ontario.
Newman in his spot for the night in Las Cruces, KOA Journey. The folks to the left of us are from Minneapolis/St Paul, and have 4 daughters (one is an infant) and they just bought their Motorhome 6 weeks ago and are headed to South Padre Island for a month! Brave folks!
The KOA Journey RV park looks over the City of Las Cruces which is in the Mesilla Valley, the agricultural region on the floodplain of the Rio Grande river. Las Cruces (the crosses) is the second largest city in New Mexico, on the edge of the Chihuahuan Desert. The Organ Mountains are 10 miles to the east, and the Dona Ana Mountains and Robledo Mountains also feature into the landscape. El Paso, Texas is 42 miles away and Mexico is 41 miles away.
The sun setting on Las Cruces tonight.
Well I guess we won’t be trying to make any new friends from Ontario tonight! Talk about a ‘Mr Know-it-all‘ in his small class A trying to tell us what the rules are for licensing our RV, when we’ve had Newman for about 20 months now and done things ‘by the book’ since we got him! Anyway, sometimes you meet nice people in RV parks and sometimes you meet people like ‘Mr Know-it-all’ and we’re glad we will probably never see him again as he is going to spend a month at Casa Grande in Arizona. Maybe he will be Jim from Fernie’s new neighbour, as that is where Jim and his lovely wife Dani were landing today for the winter! Hopefully for Jim & Dani’s sake the ‘Mr Know-it-all‘ guy is not at the same RV park as them!
Tomorrow we will be in Texas and we’ve got a fun spot booked for tomorrow night. I think dinner tomorrow night could be quite good! A Texas delicacy!