Roswell to Las Cruces, NM – March 2015
After two days at Carlsbad Caverns I was ready to move on. I decided to head a little further north to Roswell, New Mexico as it was only 100 miles away and I thought it’d be fun. I had also heard of an interesting state park a few miles outside of town. Bottomless Lakes State Park has small round ponds that are actually sink holes. They appear bottomless because of their blue green color but the deepest is 90 feet. This lake had a very large and then a smaller sink hole side by side.
They are often dived by scuba divers which would have been fun but it wasn’t quite warm enough for that. The park had a nice campsite with generously sized sites and a price right in my budget.
I moved camp and headed in to Roswell that first afternoon. It was a nice town and larger than I thought but I’m glad I hadn’t driven any further out of my way. There are a couple of blocks of quirky little shops downtown near the UFO museum dedicated to “the incident”. It took me all of an hour to check it out. The most exciting part of the visit for me was discovering that Roswell had the same chain of shoe store I usually shop at and they had my favorite hiking boot in stock. I had done so much hiking I had worn holes in both my hiking boots and tennis shoes but hadn’t been in a town big enough to find replacements.
The second day I spent a pleasant day in camp, hiking the pools, riding my scooter, and catching up on some maintenance on my trailer. It was Friday and I realized I had to get some business done on Monday and needed a decent size town to do it in. I decided Las Cruces, NM would fit the bill and made a plan to get there by Sunday afternoon. It was a whole 184 miles away but I had two days to get there so I planned to cover half of it Saturday putting me in Alamogordo for the night.
Turns out this area has quite a few wineries so this was the perfect opportunity for me to try out my new $40 Harvest Hosts club membership. They have a ton of participating wineries and farms that will let RVers park free for the night. Of course, you are expected to patronize their business. I chose Tularoso Vineyards for its convenience to the highway. I got there early in the afternoon. They had a large field of red dirt and told me to park anywhere I wanted. I set up, visited their store, and picked out a $12 bottle of cherry wine that would go great with a campfire one night in my future. I went in to town to visit the New Mexico Museum of Space History which was interesting and a good value at only $6. When I got back the winery was closed for the night and I had the place to myself until they opened at noon the next day. This was the view out my door.
The place was quiet, a short way down a gravel road to seemingly nowhere. About midnight some rowdy kids drove by howling in to the night and I thought “here we go” but they didn’t come back and those were the only sounds I heard all night. I had a very good first experience with this membership and am especially looking forward to patronizing some of the farms this summer.
I headed to Las Cruces the next morning and it took me a whole hour to get there. I decided to splurge on a private campground in town as my next option was a state park 20 miles away. After setting up I went to explore all the historic areas of the town which didn’t take long. The next morning I took care of my business in short order and then decided on a nearby hike.
Dripping Springs trail was just about the most perfect hike I could imagine. It is 3 miles round trip, it’s uphill on the way in and downhill on the way back, and at the destination you are treated to beautiful scenery and the historical ruins of an old resort.
I was the first person on the trail at 9 am on a Monday morning. The park ranger said the day before they had 400 visitors. I’m very glad I was there early as I had the place to myself and that added to my enjoyment of it. I didn’t see another soul until I started back to the visitor center and before I got back I had passed about 2 dozen people. I would definitely recommend this hike to anyone that visits the Las Cruces area.