On The Road Again – In New Mexico

After 5 months in Texas, we are back on the road.  As mentioned previously, we left on April 14th and pointed the Lazy Daze towards New Mexico.  I plan to have a ‘Touring New Mexico State Parks‘ sort of year.  Last year was quite expensive, traveling through half of  California, visiting San Francisco, then back to New Mexico and Colorado.  Buying a new RV and scooter was not in my annual budget!!  So, I figure maybe when we have a spendy year traveling, then I’ll make the following year a less expensive year.  The NM state park system fits that bill.  I bought my annual pass ($225) after Balloon Fiesta last October, so we’re good until 10/31/14.  We can park in primitive, developed and water-only sites for free.  If we need an electric site it’s just $4 per night.  Plus, with all the parks at various elevations across the state, we should be able to adjust to the weather pretty easily.

Anyway, we got to Horizon City (just east of El Paso) on the first day. I don’t normally do 515 miles in one day, but I just wasn’t tired of driving until that point.  The next day we got to Pancho Villa State Park in Columbus. Columbus isn’t much of a town, but it’s just 3 miles north of Las Palomas, Mexico, and I needed a dental checkup.  I had looked at other Lazy Daze owners blogs (Jim/Gayle and Andy Baird) about Las Palomas, as I remembered reading they had been there for dental or vision care.  I have a good Obamacare plan now, but no dental.  It would cost $150 to have my previous dentist do a checkup and cleaning, so made an appointment at American Dental in Las Palomas for the morning of the 17th.  The place was a perfectly normal dental office, instruments came out of a sterilized sealed packet, nice competent doctor, no problem.  Cost was $35 cash, no additional work needed – Yay!

Las Palomas, MX

The dentist office (American Dental) is just next door to the Pink Store

Next, we headed up to Rockhound State Park.  We had liked it there previously.  This time there was only one site available and it was hard to get level there.  Plus the flies were horrid!  So, I decided to not stay and just go straight to our next planned stop – Oliver Lee Memorial State Park near Alamogordo.  We hadn’t been there before, so wanted to work it into this trip.  I really liked it!  Good hiking, close to a decent sized town, good space between the sites, and I was able to get a pretty level no-hookup site away from the electric/reservation section.

Oliver Lee Site

Oliver Lee Site, at the base of the Sacramento Mountains

The next day I got our site all set up.  I don’t normally put a lot of stuff outside, but if I plan to stay in a site for several days, or 2 weeks like here, I get the big rug out and Riley’s ex-pen.  He loves to hang out outside with me.

Set up for a good stay

Getting set up for a good, long stay

We hiked the Riparian Trail, a short nature trail from the visitor center along a creek.

Riparian Trail

Riparian Trail

Then we hiked the Dog Canyon Trail.  That is actually a long, several mile, all-day hike, with major elevation gain up into the forest.  We did part of it, 1 mile or so then back.  That’s all Riley could handle.  On another day we did 2 miles, then back.  He really does not like the rocky trails and can only go for a few miles, then wants to lay down a lot.  We need to build back up to longer hikes like we did last year.

Dog Canyon Hike

Dog Canyon Hike

Looking down on the campground from the Dog Canyon Trail

Looking down on the campground from the Dog Canyon Trail

On the way back down I noticed all the solar on the visitor center.  I really like to see the alternative energy efforts of the state parks.

Oliver Lee Solar

Solar on the Oliver Lee Visitor Center

When we got back to the RV Riley was tuckered out.  Didn’t quite make his bed, and did not care.

"Close enough, I'll just lay like this for a while..."

“Close enough, I’ll just lay like this for a while…”

So, Oliver Lee is definitely one park I will keep on my list of go-to NM state parks.  It’s pretty close to Alamogordo with decent shopping – Walmart, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Lowes (the food one), good hiking, good Verizon signal and TV, and a good breeze (high enough up above the town).  It’s a short ride to town on Hwy 54, but that is too major of a road (65 mph) for me and the scooter, so I found a back way in on lesser roads that I could go 45 mph or less.

After about 2 weeks we headed to Santa Rosa Lake State Park.  Will post about that next.  Currently I’m at Storrie Lake State Park, with plans to visit Coyote Creek, Eagle Nest Lake, Cimmaron Canyon, and Hyde Memorial this summer.  Hyde Memorial State Park is near Santa Fe.  Chris and I spent a couple of weeks there last June.  Having a free spot to stay just a few miles from Santa Fe is great.  Unfortunately, there isn’t any Verizon signal at the campground.  Will have to go in to town for internet.  But I have the scooter now, so no problem!  More soon….

Oliver Lee Sunset

Oliver Lee Sunset

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4 thoughts on “On The Road Again – In New Mexico

  1. I think we figured we were not at Rockhound or Oliver Lee at the same time – we would have noticed each other! I like both places a lot. Hyde Memorial gets three stars out of five from me. Beautiful trees, clear air, weird road traffic right through it, and I found a place in the woods where a text message could escape my phone.

    I have insurance now, too, when I did not pre-ACA.

  2. Hey Roxi! Yep, we’ve been missing each other. Maybe at some point this year we will end up at the same park. I’m a forest lover, so Hyde gets good marks from me. Finding a site that gets solar and is level is a challenge there, but can be done. We hiked to the ridge-line for signal a couple of times.
    And, yes, it’s so nice to have a good healthplan. I did have a plan previously, a high-deductible plan for big $$ and almost no coverage. MUCH better plans now with ACA.

  3. Oliver Lee is on my go-to list for next year. That’s one state park I haven’t visited yet, and I’m hearing all kinds of good things about it this year. Too late to go back, but next year… Thanks for the review. 🙂

    • Hi Barbara! Yes, that’s a good one in the south half of NM and a bit lower elevation – around 4,300. Good spring or fall site. Also, Alamogordo has a good laundromat at the RV park across the road from the Sonic.

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