This is not going to be a picture-filled post. I just didn’t end up taking a lot of photos and you’ll understand why as I tell the tales from this stop. But, few pictures doesn’t mean it wasn’t an adventure. There’s always an adventure.
On The Way
Our drive from Alamogordo to Truth or Consequences found us in Las Cruces, New Mexico at the halfway point of our travel day. Coincidentally, our great friend Ann happened to be there visiting her brother. When we figured out our paths would cross, we made a lunch date. Fortunately for us, there’s a nice park close to her brother’s house with a parking spot big enough for Lucy & Bitsy.
I kept telling Jackson who we were going to see and from two blocks away he spotted Miss Ann and started crying with excitement. Hugs all around and a great Mexican lunch made for the perfect stop. We actually ended up spending four hours catching up and it was so very nice. That is truly the best part of this traveling lifestyle.
Elephant Butte Lake State Park
It was hard to leave, but we needed to make tracks for our final destination, Elephant Butte Lake State Park, just outside of Truth or Consequences. We didn’t arrive until 5 pm and that’s a really late day for us. We like to tuck in by 3 pm most days, but with daylight savings time in full swing, we have plenty of daylight left. Enough to see the “view” from our site.
Our spot was on the row closest to Elephant Butte Lake, with a really nice view. Well, that is if you can look past the giant pontoon boat. Our next door neighbors had it parked in front of our spot. Getting Lucy backed in was a bit tricky with the boat there, but Pat’s had lots of practice and managed to squeak it in.
Hurray! The next day the boat left and didn’t return during the rest of our visit. Now we have a nice clear view of the lake.
This lake was such an interesting color. It really looked jade, but I just couldn’t seem to capture it in a picture. An odd color unlike any other shade of green we’ve seen in our travels so far.
The Tour That Was A Bust
So, why are we here? Well, this stop was one of Pat’s picks. He wanted to stay in Truth or Consequences, better known as T or C, to visit Spaceport America. For those of you unfamiliar, this is the place built to support commercial space travel, including tourist space travel.
Virgin Galactic is one of its tenants, and they’re famous for SpaceShipOne. That craft won the 10 million dollar X-Prize back in 2004 for being the first private aircraft to enter suborbital space not once, but twice, within five days. It was and still is a huge deal since it opened up possibilities for commercial space flight. And commercial space flight needs a spaceport since a regular airport just won’t do.
All that sounds great, but due to financial red tape and the crash of SpaceShipTwo, the spaceport has really never taken off. No pun intended. Supposedly there are “tours” for $50 each, but that involves a lengthy van ride out to the middle of nowhere to see the unoccupied building, and only if you can get seven other space geeks to join you. Thus, the tour that was a bust. We saved our money, thank you very much.
There is a visitor’s center for Spaceport America, so we went there for free. Mostly a big open room with a video all about how great the tour will be when you go, and a desk with no one manning it to sign up for your grand tour.
Other than the few interactive displays, the rest of the space was filled with framed movie posters on easels. Apparently any space movie will do – The Astronaut Farmer, The Martian, Alien. You get the idea.
T or C
So what did we do here with our four days set aside for all things space related? Well, we did learn about the town at their visitor’s center attached to the Spaceport America echo chamber.
This town did a crazy thing back in 1950, and changed its name from Hot Springs to Truth or Consequences. The NBC radio program “Truth or Consequences” held a contest and promised to broadcast on its 10th anniversary from the first town to change their name to match the show. It made the town famous and they have yearly Fiesta days to commemorate the event. Of course not everyone liked the change, but after four failed referendums to change the name back to Hot Springs, they gave up. T or C is still known for its hot springs that don’t smell, and are at the perfect temperature for a 30 minute soak. We considered taking a soak, but decided to go visit Ann in Las Cruces instead.
Ah, best laid plans and all that. The Las Cruces day trip went down the tubes along with any other adventurous plans we had when I contracted food poisoning. My search for the perfect fish taco has come to an end for a while. And that’s all I’ll say about that.
We did mange to do some laundry here and two very important cleaning tasks. First there was the refrigerator treasure hunt for whatever died in there and stunk up the coach every time you opened the door. Just so you know, black beans don’t keep in a baggie for over a week without serious consequences. Then there was the stink in the sink. It smelled almost as bad in the bathroom sink as the fridge, and we took to keeping it stoppered. It is amazing what copious amounts of hot water and Dawn dish soap will do. Yes, we do live the high life.
It’s going to be hard to top the last four days, but it’s time to move on. We’re excited, truly, to hit the road to make our two-week reservations in Albuquerque. Not so fast, says mother nature. The forecast for our travel day called for winds increasing throughout the day. We only had 150 miles to go, so figured we’d be settled in before it got too bad.
It wasn’t looking good on the highway and we’d only made it about halfway. On we pressed, but the winds were hitting us completely broadside. The gusts made a horrible racket with the slide toppers on the side of the coach, and Pat was obviously fighting to hold Lucy in the road. Between the groaning toppers and the rumble on the highway shoulder as we got pushed over with each gust, Jackson was a mess. He practically climbed into my seat and no amount of hugging and consoling would help. Should we pull off? I figure whenever we ask ourselves that question the answer should probably be a resounding yes. An exit came up and we took it.
A check of the weather confirmed the winds were to continue until 1 am, with gusting up to 70 mph. We found a campground just a few miles away and took their very last spot. A mere 50 miles from our destination and we are sidelined.
I sat and talked to a friend on the phone and watched the clouds roll by. Once the worst had past, it wasn’t a bad view from our spot in Belen, NM. Another camper told us that just down the highway, several semis were blown over in the winds.
When we did finally make it to Albuquerque the next day, our campground neighbors told their similar tale. They went farther down the highway than we did until the point where they could no longer see to drive. The dust was that bad. They ended up at a rest stop for the night. So glad we stopped when we did.
Next up: Albuquerque and putting my city driving pants back on. See you on the way!