Shortly after driving east from Texas into New Mexico (still not sure how that works) I arrived at Carlsbad Caverns National Monument. I hauled the 5th wheel up the 7-mile curvy access road, hoping there’d be RV parking (’cause ya never really know). There was.
The caverns are phenomenal : deep, huge, interesting, beautiful in their boldness. You get to walk throughout them and at a constant temperature of 56 degrees with 90% humidity I didn’t know whether to be cold or sweat. So I did both. And I got me another check in the box for a long-awaited National Park visit.
White Skies, White Sands, White Knuckles
Tuesday morning I’d planned an early departure, as I’d seen that strong winds were in the forecast for later in the day. But thunderstorms moving through delayed me an hour or so. I headed northeast through Carlsbad & Artesia and then west into the southern end of the Rocky Mountains. I guess the scenery on the east side of the crest was pretty but the clouds were so dense I could only see about 200 feet in front of me. Occasionally I’d even glance at my nav screen to see which way the mountain road was turning… Once I reached the summit and headed down the west side the skies turned party cloudy. It was a nice drive but I cudda lived without the dense clouds.
With the clear skies came some wind. Windy but manageable with sand blowing across the road and tumbleweeds attacking from the south. Even though by now the skies were ugly for dirt in them, I visited White Sands National Monument. I was thinking the scenic road wouldn’t be worth driving with all the dust but the ranger lady convinced me it still would be worth seeing. And it was! Very cool that I was there on a day the dunes were rearranging themselves. And another check in the National Parks box.
Leaving White Sands, the drive just sucked! 40+ MPH winds with gusts to 50ish. My rig handled things well but I was both hands on the wheel and turned off my audio book so I could concentrate better. When I pulled into Las Cruces, NM for fuel I had to really lay into the drivers’ door to open it against the wind. An hour or so later I had originally planned to overnight at St. Clair Winery in Deming but the wind was dying down and I could see clear skies to the west. So I continued another hour through the rain to Lordsburg, NM where I checked into an aged KOA for the night. While the drive covered some nice ground, I cudda also lived without the high winds.
NM in the Rearview
In the morning I rechecked the weather forecast. More strong winds were predicted beginning at 9am. So I hit the road at 7:50 heading northwest, away from the second wave of this miserable wind storm. In an hour I was crossing into Arizona with New Mexico behind me, for now.