February 15 – February 22
As I’ve said before in this blog, traveling in the winter in an RV requires a lot of flexibility. Ross and I had planned a 3000 mile loop in which we were planning on going to a lot of ski resorts, beginning with Copper Mountain, Crested Butte and then to Taos. Once again, our plans were derailed by weather. The day that we had planned to leave Boulder had been forecasted to be a lot of snow, so we decided to sit it out and wait until the roads were clear. After a few days delay, we left and started to head south instead of going over the Colorado Mountains as originally planned because it was a holiday weekend and they had received a fair amount of snow. As we were watching the weather, was also saw in the forecast that an artic blast was coming into Colorado and Northern New Mexico with temperatures ranging from -9F to 9F degrees. We decided that not only would that make camping uncomfortable and difficult, but also the skiing wouldn’t be that enjoyable either. So, plan B or C was brought into place.
On one of our past trips, we had hoped to get to a small town in New Mexico called Truth or Consequences so we decided that we would head that direction where the weather looked pretty good. While investigating locations in the South of New Mexico we came across the White Sands National Park (which is only 2 years old) as well as a town called Bisbee. So we re-routed our journey and we had two big driving days for us (we try and limit our drives to around 4 hours). Our first night we camped at Trinidad State Park in CO which is a frequent overnight location for us. The second night we stayed at a Harvest Host location at Dessert Lakes Golf Course. It was an easy enough place to get into and allowed us close proximity to White Sands NP. The mountains nearby were beautiful and the sunset was gorgeous.
We woke up the next morning and headed over to White Sand National Park with low expectations since we have already been to the Great Sand Dunes NP in Colorado. But we found a beautiful surprise! The National Park has a 16 mile out and back road, and when you look at it compared to the expanse of White Sand Acreage it is a small percent. It is 275 sq. miles of gypsum sand dunes which is the largest in the world. The national park is relatively new and because of this (we think) they allow dogs on the trails and hikes. When we started driving into the park the sand dunes were small but beautiful with Yucca plants and other small shrubs.
We stopped at one of the first pull outs that had a boardwalk out into the dunes. The glare of the white sands was immense.
After walking around and exploring we set up the camper for a quick breakfast break and then proceeded up the road because we were concerned that on a holiday weekend there would not be enough parking space for us. We wrong about that! There are enormous salt flats that have been plowed for a ton of parking. We got to the end of the road where we wanted to hike and set up along the edge of some dunes. Once we climbed up to the top of the first dune, we were struck by the vastness of these white rolling dunes.
With the blue sky and beautiful mountains and starkness of the white dunes it was breathtaking. At that portion of the park there is a five-mile trail that is marked by red posts, but we were free to wander wherever we chose with Buddy! We all started off on a hike, but believe it or not it was getting hot and Buddy wasn’t as excited as we were.
So, after a bit Ross and Buddy headed back to the trailer and I continued with the hike. I found the soft undulating curves of the dunes, the shadow lines, and mountains to be mesmerizing and I would have continued to walk forever but it was getting hot, and I was worried about getting back.
The joy of traveling with your home is that we set up and had lunch in the parking lot with views. Buddy got to enjoy a nap in the sun and we took off our shoes and and relished in the softest sand I have ever felt. It was fun to people watch and relax in the warmth. It was a perfect day and reminded us both of why we love to travel.
From White Sands NP we drove to Truth or Consequences (a town named after the TV show). It is known to be a town with some artistic flair and hot springs. We pulled into town in the evening and weren’t sure that we had made a good choice. The following morning, we got up and after giving Buddy a quick walk in some open space next to our RV park we walked into town. The town was very quiet (it was a holiday so perhaps that was the reason) and we did go through some art galleries, but we weren’t super impressed. The town had an interesting mix of run-down buildings, historic charm, and some that had murals and artistic flair. Overall, it isn’t a place that I would say you need to go out of your way for.
The redeeming factor is the hot springs. We booked an hour at the Riverbend Hot Springs which is the nicest facility in town and over looks the river and mountains in the background. It was gorgeous and extremely relaxing and really made this stop worthwhile. If we ever need to pass through here again, we will stay at the Riverbend RV park (although it is very difficult to get into since there are only 6 spots) and spend the afternoon relaxing. From there we went over to the local brewery and enjoyed a beer with the locals.
Heading a bit further Southwest, we moved on to Deming New Mexico to visit the largest winery in New Mexico. The winds were a bit crazy, so we spent the afternoon hunkered down in the trailer making future plans and reservations for the next week and a half. At happy hour we made our way over to the winery to enjoy some wine tasting. The wines were enjoyable but being the snob that I am I did not feel the need to buy any to bring on the trip.
No paintings were created to share yet but I am working on a new series for an soon to be announced greeting card side venture!
Next stop is Arizona as we head West to California.