Sunday, May 29, 2011

Tent on Wheels

Silver City, NM

RV's lined up at the 'trough'.
I’m staying at the Rose Valley RV Ranch. They raise RV’s here. You should see them, all lined up at the troughs of electricity and water. The ranch is thickly decorated in a western theme. There are wooden fences with rusting machinery, dried up ropes, a horseshoe pit, ancient saddles artfully nailed over logs, even the stop sign says "Whoa".  In the center of the park there’s a building with 4 individual bathrooms and a laundro-mat. I’m currently parked in front of that building because it’s the only place I can get electricity. You see, I’m anathema to the place. I’m in a tent on wheels, also known as a dry camper.  I don’t have a bathroom or kitchen in my van, it is literally like a tent, no services whatsoever, except that I brought an extension cord. Most campgrounds have a place for tent campers, maybe some shade trees and a picnic table. But since this is an RV Ranch, they don’t take to kindly to tenters. It brings down the property values.

Western decor at the Ranch.
However, I have no tent, and look like a vehicle that just might be an RV so I passed muster last night when I showed up. They let me have the parking lot next to the barn (actually it’s a craft room that is built to look like a barn). There was no electricity on the outside of the barn, so I’m recharging my 12V battery using my own extension cord and the outlet on the laundry building. People pass by, walking their tiny RV pooches, and look at me funny. Now I know why Chihuahuas and toy Schnauzers were invented.

Old Mesilla Bookstore.

I spent Friday night in Las Cruces with a friend. We took pictures of the sunset casting pink light on the Organ Mountains, had a late dinner at a really good little Mexican restaurant that served about three times what one should eat for dinner and stayed up much of the night talking. Saturday I took all day to drive the 2 hours to Silver City. First I went to a grocery across from the University that was sort of a cross between Smiths and Whole Foods. They seemed to have a lot of ‘new age’ foods and organics, plus regular products at a 15% markup. On down University Blvd is the town of Mesilla. There I got wrapped up in a wonderful bookstore on the plaza that has been there for 50 years, still run by the woman who was a little girl when her mother owned it. It’s charming, old, dusty, and full of beautiful antique Navajo Rugs, old time western lamps, Zuni dolls and figurines, and books tumbling around on the shelves as if they were all read on a regular basis.

City of Rocks State Park, south of Silver City, NM.
It was a long dry, dusty drive to Deming once I figured out how to get onto I-10. Off in the distance, dust devils towered half a mile high, once in a while a gust would blow me to one side like a giant invisible bear paw.  I was tired from a lack of sleep, the sun was putting my eyes into sand-mode, and I was thirsty. I stopped at the tourist information center and they directed me to a park where I could take a nap in the shade, and eat my leftovers from dinner that I’d stuck in the cooler. Deming is an interesting small town. The streets are wide! Wide enough to park rows of cars head in and still have more than enough room for two broad lanes of traffic. Of course there is NO traffic, but whoever planned the place certainly thought ahead to a time when people might want to crowd up in a desert with no water, food growing ability, or industry. Nice road north up to Silver City too. I stopped at the City of Rocks state park and drove up to the overlook, took some 360 degree photos of the landscape, and then drove on to the Blue’s Festival. I thought it would be a good idea to find a place to park/camp for the night, so I tackled that project first. Good thing too, as all the campgrounds were full including the one where I’m staying.

The bands were set up in a gazebo in the middle of the park. This is my 3rd year coming down for this, so I thought I might run into some people I recognize, perhaps Unitarians from my previous trips where I did home-stays as part of their fund-raising efforts. I saw the vendor who sells the best locally produced nuts, so I bought a bag of red-chile-honey pecans and ate those as a prelude to dinner. The BBQ guy whose brisket I so enjoyed last year was there too, so I bought dinner from him. It was pretty late, the dinner crowd was gone but the food was still good.  A lovely day of tripping around on my own.

In the back yard of the bookstore.

The church in Mesilla, beautiful, inside and out.

Such difference a little water makes. Above: a
cabbage field near Mesilla. Below: a single
flower blooms above the City of Rocks. 
Symmetry: a Pecan orchard in the Rio Grande Valley.