Visiting friends is AMAZING but the week after can be a bit of a letdown. Back to our not quite comfortable bed, iffy meals and moving every day. We spent this week checking out New Mexico. We had grand plans for New Mexico but once we were here I felt a bit meh about it. Add in a FB group post about all the crime in Albuquerque and I was ok just checking out the south and moving on.
Our first stop was Silver City, NM. It’s a cute, quiet little town near the Gila Cliff Dwellings. Evan and I spent quite a bit of time walking around the town, eating epic pizza and hanging out. Evan fell in love with our campground and their giant dog park. He spent so much time there that a lovely older lady stopped by before we left to tell me how much she enjoyed Evan. She said that if we head back that way on our return trip that she would love to take us to some of the historic sites near there. She was a history writer and wanted to share. As frustrating as homeschooling can be at times, it makes my heart happy to hear good things about Evan from others.
Next we headed to Alamogordo, NM. Alamogordo is right next to White Sands National Park. White Sands is a giant park full of gypsum sand dunes. We spent two days exploring the dunes, earning Evan’s Jr. Ranger badge and sledding down the sand dunes. The first day we were there it was stinking hot. The second day was much cooler and we took Cooper. Evan loved both days and would have stayed longer. Cooper was very confused and kept trying to eat the sand. I think he thought it was snow. (He is not the brightest bulb.)
On the way out of town, we hit up the Museum of Space. It was a nice little stop though they are in the midst of renovations. Evan was most impressed by the rumble pad where you can feel what it is like to be near various rockets and shuttles taking off and the grave of Ham, the first chimp in space. While Evan would have loved another day White Sands, I was ready to hit the road.
Next up….Carlsbad Caverns. There are few things that I love more than exploring a cave! Carlsbad did not disappoint. I misunderstood the lady at the desk so we took the elevators down and did the Big Room trail. If I had it to do again, I would walk into the natural entrance and continue to the Big Room. Carlsbad even has a Jr. Ranger book for adults. Evan loved that I had a workbook to do too. We both made the cut and are official Carlsbad Jr. Rangers.
I feel like Carlsbad is where my brain’s wheels fell off. I could not make a decision if my life depended on it. First we started towards El Paso but then I realized it was basically going back to New Mexico and there was no real reason we were heading that way. So I turned around and went towards Fort Davis. We arrived and I realized I have no cell service here. Finding a campground is hard with no service. We stopped for lunch and huzzah….wifi. I found a campground and screen shot the map. Then I read the map wrong so still couldn’t find it. After a few circles through town, we ended up going toward Balmorhea. I said “Screw it!” and kept going. When we got there I figured that the campground situation was even more dismal than Fort Davis. What to do. What to do.
Boondocking (camping outside of a campground with no services for free) has been something I have wanted to try. While I didn’t feel completely prepared, I decided to give it a try. I looked up the area on freecampsites.net. It looked like there were options in the area! I drove towards the sites around Lake Balmorhea but I couldn’t really tell where to go and some of the surrounding area looked sketchy and and and. As I was turning around, a jeep pulled up and asked if I was looking for a place to camp. It was a brother and sister who noticed my Alberta plates. They were originally from Alaska so they recognized the area. Now they live in Balmorhea and offered to help. Thank goodness! They got me into a tiny RV campground in town and I got to shut off my spinning head.
Today we headed back to Fort Davis. Learning from my past mistakes I emailed ahead for directions. Now we are in a lovely campground and will be heading to a Star Party tonight at a local observatory. Hopefully we will fit in a little trick or treating for Evan too.