Wednesday, March 23, 2011

2011-05 On the Road Again, Tucson Arizona to Deming to Alb New Mexico

On the Road Again

Deming NM
Albuquerque NM

Campground:  Low-Hi Rv Ranch, Deming NM.  $16 with Passport America ½ price club.  This is the headquarters of the camping group, Loners On Wheels.  A simple desert campground.  Most sites are pull-thrus, gravel sites with plenty of space.

Campground:  Percha Dam State Park.  $14 with elect. & water.  It’s early spring, so the grass hasn’t turned green yet and the cottonwood trees are just starting bud with little green leaves.  All pull-thru sites are level  dusty gravel.  Not a place I would eagerly re-visit anytime soon.  It all looks a bit tired and dingy.

Campground:  San Felipe Casino Hollywood.  30 miles north of Alb. NM. $10 for elect hookups.  Water is available to fill your holding tank.  Free wi-fi.  Two months in the fall they charge $20 a night.

Yup, I’m on the road again.  After leaving Desert Trails Rv park in Tucson, I headed to Orangewood Rv for some warranty and recall work on the new camper.  The gas oven was verified to be working correctly requiring no repair work.  The plumbing problems I had encountered was fixed.  No new water pump required and I discovered I’d been given bum info on which outlet to connect city water too.  After correctly connecting the city water to the correct outlet (the tech guy even labeled it for me)  and resetting all the knobs and switches to their correct positions, all is now working well.  And it didn’t cost me a cent… Yippe, that’s my price.

Note: almost fixed.  When I went to turn on the water pump (no city water hooked up),  water came gushing out of the city water connection!  Obviously the back fill regulator is not working.  And of course I was a couple hundred miles from the Rv dealer…
The new Montana on the Road

So after the repairs were completed, I headed east on Interstate 10.  Traveling through southern desert and dry prairie grass lands.  Past where Cochise made his last stand,  crossing the continental divide, past huge rounded boulders and finally into Deming NM.  Long two decker freight trains roll westward paralleling Hwy 10.

The truck towed the new (heavier 12,000 lbs) camper nicely, though I’m only getting around 11 miles per gallon towing compared to a previous 13 mpg.  I average 19 mpg in the non towing mode.  It is going to take me a while to get used to the extra 5 feet of camper, especially when taking corners and entering gas stations.

Upon arriving at Low-Hi Rv Ranch, I set up in one of the 60 campsites arranged in straight rows , most all are pull-thru sites.  With plenty of space to set up on the flat gravel sites.  This is the home to the camping group, Loners on Wheels.  I had a chance to meet them at their daily happy hour around 4 o’clock.  They introduce any new campers that have arrived, then go through a list of local events, mainly weekly eating events at the local VFW etc.  The Loners On Wheels group is preparing for a rally next week here in the park.  I was told that the average age of the members across all chapters throughout the country is in the mid 70’s.  They were eager to try and get “younger” members to sign up.  I also learned that there is a heavier concentration of single women than men in the group.  One member, told me he has a friend from Iowa who still travels between Iowa and Texas for the winter and he’s 101 years old.  Imagine.

I attended the 110 anniversary of Deming NM, a town of 15,000 residences. The Friday celebration was dismal to say the least.  Only a couple dozen folks attending.  A few local booths set up by the police, safety and health and a big presence by the U.S. Boarder Patrol try to recruit new employees.  So if your looking for a job, they are hiring.  Speaking Spanish I would gather is a must.  Two young musicians performed.  One sang poorly and would never get on American Idol and other dressed in a Mexican outfit played the guitar beautifully.

Summer temps in the 110 degree range and winter temps around 60-70 during the day.

I’d planned on heading towards Truth or Consequences and ended up in a small State park here in New Mexico called Percha dam.  It’s about 20 miles south of T of C.  Richard Branson’s Space Port America is being built  near here and I was hoping to go on a tour, but the tours won’t begin until May 2011.  I may try and drive out just to see the site.

Well the next day I did drive south, through the town of Hatch, the town where chili peppers are grown and processed.  A few more miles south on I-25 and I exited onto Cameo Real and the dirt road leading to the new Spaceport America.  Unfortunately, I had no idea how far it was in on the washboard dirt road, so I only went a few miles in.  With no immediate sign of the Spaceport, I decided to backtrack and get back onto paved highway.   I did pass a boarder patrol vehicle and later a speeding white truck along the dirt road, as well as a herd of black cattle grazing on the scrub grasses here in the desert.    I’ll have to wait till another time, when the official tours begin.
a ranch along the dirt road to Spaceport America

Tickets for the ride into space are selling for $200,000 so if your interested sign up.  The local Truth or Consequences Newspaper had an article about the Spaceport and a new county commission formed to take advantage of the tourist implications.  They expect over 500,000 visitors once the Space Port  opens.  NM has already spent most of the $113 million dollars set aside for the new Spaceport which is about 78% complete.

While having lunch in T of C, at a place I will not name because the food was sub-par to say the least, I overheard a hippy couple discuss current events.  The 50ish guy with graying ponytail  was concerned that radiation from Japan had already reached the U.S. and that the government and media were keeping it a secret.  He was also concerned with our entering a third war, now with Libya.  The poor guy tried to catch anyone who would listen to him about the conspiracy that was evidently going on.  Mostly the waitresses, workers and locals pretty much brushed off his concerns.  When the waitress brought over their bagel, just a tad bit too toasted, he asked her to redo it.  After all he said “you don’t want me to get cancer from it do you?”  As the waitress retreated to toast another bagel , the girl hippie said, “lightly toasted, but not too light”….. apparently a light to medium toasting of a bagel would not cause any carcinogenic cancer on the bagel.

The town of Truth or Consequences appears more run down than the last time I came through here.  The shops on main street had an array of dusty overpriced tourist trinkets.  You know all those useless T-shirts, coffee cups and refrigerator magnets one really doesn’t need.

And it’s been really windy the past two days, like gusts up to 50 mph.  Imagine if they had wind turbines around here…. All that free power they could capture.

Onto Albuquerque tomorrow, actually Bernalillo NM, about 10 miles north of  Alb.   The next days travel I encountered heavy winds during the latter half of the 3 hour journey.  The camper towed comfortably in the 40-50 mph gusts.  Got to the Coronado Campground and was told they didn’t have any spaces as the coming weekend was completely booked.  So I headed another 10 miles up the road and landed at the San Felipe Casino Hollywood.   It’s a bit further out than I would have preferred while visiting with my sister Ann and her daughter Heidi and family, but it will do.

Next report will be on Heidi’s family and visit with my sister.

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