Thursday, November 16, 2006

Westward Ho!

It's exactly two weeks ago that we left Crater of Diamonds and drove about 260 miles southwest to Dallas, Texas. As I mentioned in a previous post, we spent nearly a week in Dallas at Pilot Knoll Park. The campground, on Lewisville Lake, was only five minutes away from the home of my very dear friends, Cathy & Dom. For my family and long-time friends who have met them, here's a photo of Dom, Cathy, their niece, Ava, and Ava's friend, Justin.

We had a wonderful time visiting, eating great meals, losing (me!) at Scrabble, and Dom was a superb computer guru, spending days helping us choose a new computer and getting all our software installed and data transferred. We truly hated to say good-bye.

Over three days, with stops in Lake Colorado City (at a great state park) and in Pecos (at the ugliest Escapees park we have ever seen, and we've seen 15 out the 19) we cruised through Texas. Somewhere around Abilene, the landscape of green grass and trees gave way to arid, scrubby desert. It really hit us - we were in the West! We saw miles of cotton fields and oil fields and the highway passed by Midland, hometown of George & Laura Bush. We picked up Interstate 10 beyond Pecos and soon saw mountains in the distance. As we drew closer, I realized that we were getting close to the Rio Grande River and the Mexican border. This point was driven home by the sight of a few green & white vehicles belonging to the U.S. "Border Patrol." We were surprised by the size of El Paso - probably 15-20 minutes of exits for truck stops, fast food restaurants, shopping malls, car dealerships, and finally downtown and the highway that would lead to crossing into Mexico. Instead, we crossed into the state of New Mexico. Our stay in Las Cruces at the KOA was thoroughly enjoyable. Here's a sunset view of the Organ Mountains from our camp:

Historic downtown Mesilla, just a few miles away, was well worth a visit. We picked up a few southwestern themed gifts and admired the adobe structures, including the oldest known brick building in New Mexico. Our friend, Dale, from Camping World, was staying in Deming, about 60 miles away. He came to see us with a friend of his, Myrna, who is also a fulltime RVer. We had a wonderful Mexican meal at Peppers in Mesilla, shopped some more, and compared notes about RV travel. Dale is spending the winter at the Slabs in California and Quartzite. Myrna was heading the opposite direction, to visit friends in Ft. Worth and Dallas and then winter in south Texas. So yesterday, each of us headed in a different direction. We pointed the motorhome north toward Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. Yes, this is the town formerly known as Hot Springs, NM, that changed its name to that of the game show back in the sixties, I think. We are staying at Desert Haven Animal Refuge. Tomorrow, I'll take some photos of the cats and dogs, birds, guinea pigs, chickens and peacocks, and the kind volunteers who care for them. This morning, I was in my glory, petting any of the 23 kitties that would allow it. Most of them loved it! We'll be here for at least two more nights and hope to spend a day helping out here at the refuge and another day visiting the Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge, about 75 miles north in Socorro. With nighttime temps in the twenties in Santa Fe, we're rethinking our plans to go that far north.

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