March 6th we drove 175 miles through the city of El Paso and into Las Cruces, NM. It was our second time in Las Cruces, the first was in October 2002. This time we tried Best View RV Park, which turned out to be a bit tight:
It did have good views of the city:
(In 2006 this campground became the Las Cruces KOA with much higher prices)
We enjoyed Las Cruces again and had a great time with our neighbors Jayne and Bill to one side and later visited them at their home in April 2005.
Surprisingly we did get the call to be on advance crew for the FMCA rally in Albuquerque so we prepared to leave early on the 9th.
We drove 236 miles to the fairgrounds in Albuquerque on the 9th and arrived about 1PM. This is where we first were told to camp:
Eventually they decided our group should move, so we went about 100 yards and camped here.
Gerine and Marvin were the ones we were helping, they were on our driver's side. We also spent time with Owen and Vivian, on our passenger side. Owen was working safety and the rest of us were involved with the Welcome bags, also called "goodie bags" that are given to each attendee. All advance crew were at the fairgrounds, most attendees were at Balloon Fiesta Park in the north part of the city. We coordinated and helped put the bags together, transported them 12 miles to the Balloon Fiesta Park where most attendees were, transported the women that distributed the bags back and forth to Balloon Fiesta Park. We also had a small group get together and put together more bags, our friend Dick helped with these bags since he and Ann were in handicapped parking at the fairgrounds. We were wiped out by all the work and did not get to enjoy the convention that much once it started. We did get electricity, access to water and one waste dump for being on advance crew.
One day we did drive up to Lamy and had dinner with our friends Ernst and Ruth, we were going to move to their house when we were finished in Albuquerque.
We did get some visiting time with friends who came to the convention and some meals out while in Albuquerque, which is a good city for restaurants. Diane's parents were also at the convention, Gregg was parking and Rosalie was also working Welcome bags. We saw a lot of them and Gregg helped Bill upgrade our internet from a DW4000 to a DW6000.
We also found that the local dealer for Newmar at the convention was wanting more money for a Dutch Star than any other quote we had. We had asked for three quotes over the internet and only two called back. One said they would get back to us and never did. The other was quick to respond and was in Mesa, AZ.
On the 19th we headed up to Santa Fe Skies RV Park for one night so we could dump our waste tanks and fill our water tank, it was 62 miles. Since the campground was very full we did not get as good a spot as we did in October 2002 in this campground. It was not level and was in the back away from the views.
The next day, the 20th, we drove 21 miles and parked next to our friends Ernst and Ruth's house:
Nice setup they have. Their house was new and had some minor finishing work happening while we visited.
Sunsets are wonderful here at 7,000 feet.
Ernst is a wonderful chef so we ate well. Here are Ruth and Ernst putting a meal together:
JC has a good life:
While in Lamy the dealer in Mesa, AZ, World Wide RV, called to say they had the floorplan in stock we wanted and we could test drive the coach. The colors and options were wrong, they were still expecting us to order ours. We decided that driving 600 miles to actually see the floorplan was worth it.
It took us a while to get going on the 22nd, but we needed to get to Mesa. We ended up driving 406 miles to the Wal-Mart in Flagstaff, AZ. We originally intended to stop at the Flying J truck stop in Winslow, but it was not a safe place so we moved on after fueling up. 406 miles is our second longest driving day ever.
On the 23rd we stopped for two nights at Arizona Maverik Campground in Mesa, AZ, we had driven 175 miles.
We took our test drive and saw our floorplan and were very happy with both. We wrote up our order, it would be ready early in May. We were going to have a new diesel pusher motorhome! Not that the Dolphin was a bad motorhome, we just wanted one with solid wood cabinets and a diesel engine.
Diane's parents were in Scottsdale so we also were able to visit with them while in the area. It was in the low 90s during our stay, even the locals said it is not supposed to be that hot in March.
On the 25th we moved to Carefree Manor in Apache Junction, 14 miles further east. On the way in we encountered Dick and Ann leaving and we ended up taking the same campsite they had been in.
Another couple with a Dolphin, Larry and Connie, lived in the area so we got together and hit it off immediately.
We had a lot of energy, we were excited about the new motorhome and we had eight weeks to wait. We decided to head east and visit with our nephew Jeremy, his wife Tiffany and their son David. Jeremy is Bill's sister Tanya's son and was stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. We were going to zoom. From here on until we get back to Arizona there are mostly pictures of our campsites.
Our first day, March 29, we drove the 187 miles of two-lane mountain highway to OK RV Park in Holbrook, AZ. The campground is close to I-40.
The 30th we drove 228 miles of I-40 to Enchanted Trails in Albuquerque, NM.
We drove into Albuquerque and had a nice Indian meal at Indian Kitchen. We were not sure how long it would be before we had a nice ethnic meal like that again.
The 31st we drove 190 miles to Cactus RV Park in Tucumcari, NM.
Tucumcari was kind of a dive, not really a place we wanted to come back to.
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