Arizona to New Mexico
Having left Tombstone we travelled on and went at first to look at an overnight stop in the town of Bisbee which everyone was raving about. When we got there it didn’t seem anything special but we pulled into the mining tour car park to have a look around. Unfortunately it was just closing but we spotted a campsite next to and luckily decided to walk up for a look as it was steep and narrow. It was terrible! A stony car park claiming to be a campsite at outrageous prices – it was totally full with everyone parked all over the place. In spite of being late, we decided to press on out of town and look for something nicer..
The first turn off the main interstate we took looking for somewhere to simply stop as we were so tired.. Nowhere looked very safe and it was getting late. Suddenly we found Desert Oasis campsite which had only just opened. We pulled it just for one night then decided to stay a few. Wow it was Thanksgiving the next day and we were invited to their clubhouse for a meal and meet everyone. The idea was everyone took a dish along but we were just about out of food and nothing suitable. No problem just come along and we were made to feel very welcome. What we did find strange was they had mashed potatoes with the turkey which is normal and everyone watched the game — American Football – say no more as we did not have a clue what was going on.
Continuing along a scenic drive we stopped for coffee and found, by chance, there one of what is probably one of the most important historical places: Surrender of Geronimo the Apache Chief
Whilst there we also saw the border patrol helicopter come in next to us and drop a patrol officer off to his vehicle that had been left. Lunch break?
Near here Geronimo last Apache and Nachite with their followers surrendered on September 6th 1886 to General Nelson A. Miles.
US Army Lieutenant Chas B. Gatewood with Kieta and Martine Apache scouts entered the camp of the hostiles risking their lives to present the terms of surrender by General Nelson A. Miles
The surrender of Geronimo in Skeleton Canyon on that historic day ended Indian warfare in the United States.
Not long after this we entered new Mexico.
White Sands is known for being a military missile testing area (the interstate can be closed for many hours because of this) and the White Sands National Park is basically white gypsum sand dunes. They have created board walks to protect the sands.
Maybe it is because we come from the UK and know sand dunes we found it difficult to get too enthusiastic!. I guess it is in the middle of the desert and so many Americans probably never see sand dunes …
Many films have been made here by famous directors.
As you can see the height of the sand dunes
One of the tourist attractions is sand boarding and Flat Eric insisted he wanted to have a go so we sat him on a piece of paper and gave him a push.
We then continued our journey towards Alamogordo . and the scenic route took us up into the mountains again following the disused Cloud Climbing Railroad. It was 26 miles long and up to 4000 ft high giving spectacular views for people but most importantly relief from the heat on the summer plains in New Mexico.
The construction of the railroad was vey impressive with the old bridges across the valleys still intact in many places. This trestle was 323 feet long and 60 feet high. The railroad had been constructed to carry timber from the Sacramento mountains and it finally closed in 1947.
West Brantley State Park was a great place to stay overlooking the lake and we stayed for 3 nights.
As we had become to expect it had a BBQ, picnic table with shade over. There was also a platform just below our site to enjoy the lake views.
It was very cold there though and our warm slippers were appreciated as well as the Mr Buddy gas heater we had brought to use instead of the RV heater.
At night we had to disconnect our water connection supply at the request of the camp host as it was freezing.
Great BBQ place.
As you can see not many people here and plenty of space
And more wonderful sunsets
Sitting out in the evening watching the sunsets wrapped up in the snuggly Walmart blankets we had bought. Colleen had turned hers into a poncho – 4 years later when we stopped going to the US, she wore it all the way back to the UK even though it was summer but it would not fit into our luggage 🙂
On the morning we were going i found the back left outer tyre nearly flat. Thank goodness we had brought yet another useful tool from Harbour Freight – an air compressor 🙂 Although the air pressure did not stay up it was enough to get us to the nearest town and tyre shop. It ended up that all we needed was a new valve insert. Afterwards we brought a tyre valve insert tool and found that others were not done up tight.
As the weather forecast was getting worse and colder we decided to head South to Texas and miss Carlsbad Caverns which we had found out now had a lot of graffiti and damage to them by thoughtless people. the decision to have kept Kartchner Caverns a secret for so long was proven just.