October 24-26, 2003 - Cloudcroft Hill and White Sands NM

Since we were planning on going to Las Cruces, NM from Carlsbad, NM we asked the Good Sam rally people about how they would go since they were from Las Cruces.  We knew there were two routes, through El Paso, TX or through Alamogordo, NM.  A friend once described El Paso thus, "you know the bad part of town?  That is El Paso!"   The Good Sam people said they normally go through Alamogordo, but the hill down to it was steep but doable.  We should also stop at the Lodge in Cloudcroft for lunch, it is really good and has plenty of parking. 

On the 24th we drove north to Artesia, NM and headed west to Cloudcroft.  We gradually got higher and higher until we had trees and then we were in Cloudcroft and saw the sign for the Lodge to the left.  Up and up Diane drove as the streets got narrower and suddenly we found ourselves at the lodge and the lower parking lot was empty so we parked, but knew we would have to unhook the car to get back out.  The Good Sam people let us down, but we coped.  Artesia is at about 3,000 foot elevation, Cloudcroft is about 8,700 foot at the top of the highway and the Lodge was about 8,900 foot according to our GPS.  This was the highest elevation we had been with the motorhome.  The Lodge has a nice website: http://www.thelodgeresort.com/ .  We did have a good meal, gourmet for a good price. 

Then we unhooked the car, got the motorhome out of the parking lot and hooked back up down by the highway.  Then Diane drove west down the hill.  There were signs for trucks to go 35mph, we found out why.  The road is a 6% grade for 16 miles down to Alamogordo area and it is not straight.  About half way down there was a scenic view, we took it to rest and rest the brakes:

We made it down the hill and headed to Las Cruces through White Sands National Monument.  We were glad there were no military operations going on since they close the road for those.  Bill was not feeling well and had Diane pull over while he rushed back to the bathroom.  He was feeling a bit bad all day, so it was from food the day before from the restaurant by Sitting Bull Falls.  We made it into Las Cruces after a total of 207 miles and checked into the campground on a three nights for the price of two coupon from buying the Big Rigs Best Bets campground guide.

Bill felt good enough to fix a toilet issue, but was moving slow for a couple days.  It didn't help that it seemed every major road in Las Cruces was under construction.  We did manage to have a nice Mexican meal at La Posta de Mesilla in Mesilla.  On the 26th Bill felt good enough so we drove back to White Sands National Monument, here are views looking east showing the mountains that Cloudcroft is in:

The white sand is made of gypsum and they have to plow to keep the National Monument roads clear, but plants grow:

There are animals, like this lizard and Velvet Ant:

But it still is an interesting landscape to wander around.  They have many signs and hikes, here are some of the pictures we took.

The sand was so white in places it looked bleached out and the camera couldn't do it justice.  We were glad we had gone back to see White Sands.

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