14 days is the maximum you can stay at a New Mexico State Park, before they move you out; guess they don’t want any long-term homesteaders! We have learned most of the ins and outs of the rules; it’s a real bargain and in the spring we bought the yearly camping pass for 225 dollars – the pass is good at any New Mexico State Park for one year from date of purchase and we’re using ours up before we head into Arizona to finish up our winter in the southwest. Sites with electricity and water are only four additional dollars per day, if you want to boondock in a park, there is no extra fee above your pass price. The parks are beautiful, well-maintained and spaces are far apart for lots of privacy and the price is more than right – where else can you get a great view site for that price? Most of the parks have a bit of a challenge for an RV at 40 feet, but so far our luck in finding a wonderful site has been 100% and it has made our journey very nice. Having cell phone service (with A T &T) has been a challenge as well at several of the parks. But most of all New Mexico State parks have beautiful clean modern bathrooms with showers. They do a great job with these parks and it shows.
After we left Rockhound State Park, we drove to City of Rocks, south of Silver City. The challenge at this park is there are only 4 non reservable spots with electricity; but perfect timing for us again and we lucked out and got the best spot in the place! ( E6 with 50 amp service box). We love the beautiful natural rock formations and it was a very relaxing time doing what we did in February (exploring all the rocks, hiking to the top of Table Rock) plus other things that Michelle had on a want to do list. The biggest one on that list for me was to see the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, so one day we took the long drive through San Lorenzo, Mimbres, and Lake Roberts on highway 61, and then hwy 35. The drive is very pretty and different from most of New Mexico that we are seeing, which is dry desert without much for trees or other vegetation. We climbed in elevation and it was very pretty up there, even saw a little snow on the ground in places. From Lake Roberts, where there are two campgrounds that only cost 9 bucks for a senior with a senior card, we took hwy15 to the Gila Cliff Dwellings. We will stay at Lake Roberts one of these trips through here, but the temperatures will have to be about 15 degrees warmer at night, it’s a pretty high elevation, but such a pretty view of the lake down below the campground.
As far as the Gila Cliff Dwellings, we were totally blown away by the whole experience; It is truly amazing and really humbles one seeing these most precious places of our ancestors! We had many questions that are all answered, but one remains for me: Back then, when the Mogollon people built this dwellings 700 to 800 years ago, I wonder how did they find them? It took hours for us to get there in a car, up big hills and mountains with ever changing environments. The ancient people had to walk everywhere they went, a long and arduous task, to say the least – how did they happen on to these natural volcanic Cliff alcoves (five of them in all and one that isn’t accessible.)
There is a creek down below for water and this whole place is hidden very well from a casual passerby. They didn’t have planes to spot this from air or cars to get there fast. So how could they be so lucky to just happen by this great area, for a perfect place to build their stone and mortar dwellings. If you ever get a chance, go see it; it’s worth every penny, and my senior pass got us in free, so that is even better!
On another day we came back into Silver City to see things we missed back in Feburary, and to eat at a restaurant that has good ratings for food and service. We both enjoyed it very much and it happened to be our wedding anniversary, or close enough anyway. The name of the place is Curious Kumquat; we ate lunch there, but from what we read, the Chefs Choice dinner could be a very interesting experience.
We are always watching the weather, during the winter, but especially here in New Mexico. Our stay at City of Rocks was cut short by 3 days because of an in coming storm and we were up against our two week stay limitation, so we decided to head back to Elephant Butte State Park, so we could start out fresh and get Michelle closer to the Albuquerque airport, so she could go see our beloved granddaughter Charlotte – her withdrawal symptoms are worse than drug withdrawal! She also gets to see John and Jen, as well as fly into Bend, OR to see our other daughter Chenin and her husband Bryce!
While staying at City of Rocks I got to make a short trip to see my Mom for her 90th Birthday, it was great to see my younger brother Bernard and his lovely wife Alice too! It was a long drive, but a big 90th only comes around once, so gotta go for it! .