March 11 to 17, 2006 West Texas and Las Cruces, NM

March 11th, our cheap week was up at the campground and the weather was supposed to get hot and windy.  We decided to head north along the Rio Grande River. 

Our original plan was to stop in Zapata for the night.  We drove TX107 and FM1925 to the Flying J truck stop in Edinburg since we needed fuel and that avoided the construction mess on US83 between Harlingen and McAllen.  That route ended up working well for us and we realized we were going to be in Zapata about 2PM.  Then it got hot, first we saw bank signs at 95 degrees, then at 99 degrees and we decided not to stop at 2PM.  Because of slow traffic through some towns we hit Zapata about 2:30 and it was 100 degrees there.  On we went, Laredo had two signs - one for 100 and one for 107.  We don't think the 107 was really accurate.  We ended up at Brush Country RV Park in Carrizo Springs, it had 50AMP electric so we could run both air conditioners in the high heat.  It was a long day for us of 268 miles and one of the rare days we came into a campground after 5PM.  Here is our campsite:

Bill talked to the owner.  All that dirt was grass that needed mowing one year earlier, they were in a drought.  It was a nice campground so Bill asked what there was to do in the area.  There was a casino eight miles away, a nice 9-hole golf course people came back year after year to play, and a small museum that would take about an hour.  Nice place, but it didn't seem like one we would come back to.

The 12th we drove 218 miles to Sanderson, "The Cactus Capital of Texas".  Here is our campsite at Canyons RV Park:

They had a small cactus garden:

We had a view of the hills, we were in canyon country and the campground was at 2700 feet elevation. 

Some of the cactus, including this one in the cactus garden, were in bloom:

We passed the attractions for Judge Roy Bean in Langtry this trip.  We have been told it is a good stop.

It was about 90 degrees when we arrived and the one air conditioner had a hard time getting it cool.  But the wind came up in the night and it was 49 degrees by morning.  The forecast was for a high of 76, we were away from the heat for now.

Since we were at 2700 feet, we had to adjust our Select Comfort mattress for the first time in months.  We had to let air out when we go to higher elevations and put it in when we drop to lower elevations.  Luckily we just have to set the number on the control and it changes the pressure to the firmness we want.

Our inverter had an error while we were setting up, we were hoping it was a fluke.

We were in long pants March 13th due to the lower temperatures, we had been in shorts every day for a couple weeks.

We drove up to I-10 and after a 187 mile day stopped at Eagle's Nest RV Park in Van Horn, TX, just up the road from the campground we stayed at in March 2004.  The 65 miles of US285 we named "The Road Kill Highway" since we saw lots of road kill.  Deer, coyotes, rabbits, skunks and even a porcupine were all dead on the road or on the side of it.  We figure there is not much bordering the road except ranches and not a lot of traffic so there are many animals that cross all the time and live.  The problem is the speed limit is 75 most of the way and Texans often exceed the speed limit.

Here is our campsite in Van Horn where it was in the 50s:

We found the picnic tables interesting:

Not really a bad design but maybe a little small for four people to eat dinner at.

Our inverter again had the same error but we got it working.  Now we know we have a problem.

On March 14th we drove 164 miles to Hacienda RV Resort in Las Cruces, NM for four nights.  This is the same campground we stayed at in October 2002.   Here is our campsite:

The campground we stayed at in 2004 was now a KOA and had raised their prices, so we came back to Hacienda. 

We found that our inverter/charger is really broken, we were unable to use the charger part to charge our batteries without the error.  When the inverter errored all the plugs hooked to it stopped working, so we turned off the charger and used our solar panels to keep the batteries charged.

On our last day in Harlingen we found out that Kia, Nancie and Sandy's dog, was sick.  On our first day in Las Cruces we found out from Nancie she died that day.  Kia (also known as Kiana) was a lot of fun, she was always full of energy, she loved people and would really get excited seeing Bill since she really got to know him in 2003.  We will miss her, not as much as Nancie and Sandy will, but we will still really miss her. 

Goodbye Kia, the world won't be the same without you.  It is going to feel really strange to drive up to the house in Poulsbo and not have Kia come running out to say "Hello" doing figure eights.

We got together with Bruce and Geri, who we met in Port Aransas our last day in Rockport, their website is .  Their truck was being repaired so we used our CRV and we all went to La Posta de Mesilla and had a wonderful meal.  Then we came back to our motorhome and talked until we all had to get ready for bed. 

March 15th we drove to the AAA office to get new maps and when we came out the CRV made a strange sound as we pulled out of our parking space.  We could reproduce the sound by turning the wheel at slow speed or stopped.  We went back in and found out where the Honda dealer was and went there.  We were able to demonstrate the sound to the service writer and left the car with them.  We picked up a rental car until the CRV was fixed.

On March 16th we drove down NM28 and stopped at the pecan farm.  They are doing renovations so the tour was unavailable and all they had was a store.  We decided to drive further south and found a fenced and irrigated field was full of glossy ibis:

After we arrived back in Las Cruces the Honda dealer called and said a rock had wedged between the body and a steering strut.  We turned in the rental and got the CRV back, they had checked it out and made sure nothing else was wrong and charged us $40 + tax.  We got the car rental at the dealer rate so we were happy.

March 17th we drove out to White Sands National Monument.  We last visited White Sands in October 2002.  This time it was a cloudy winter day, here is a web page of the March 17th trip.

Hacienda RV Resort has a margarita party every Friday evening with chips, salsa, queso and margaritas.  Since it was St. Patrick's Day the margaritas were green.  While sitting and enjoying the party we saw nice colors on the mountains:

We only took one picture of the party:

Being a cloudy day the solar panels were not able to maintain the battery charge so we were happy we would be running the engine the next day since the alternator would charge the batteries.

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