Hello New Mexico! The drive east on I-10 put Arizona in our rear view mirror and New Mexico out the front! For the most part it really did not look a lot different! As we came over the mesa to the west of Las Cruces we looked into the Rio Grande valley and saw a spectacular view. Las Cruces was laid out in front of us down below along the river the and majestic peaks of the Organ Mountain range loomed high on the other side of the city. What a sight to behold.
As in all of our new parks one of the fun thing is to get to know the neighbours. Some are keepers, some not. It seems however that usually the ones we like the best belong to dogs. Larry and Michael belonged to Indiana and Gunner, two Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. We found new friends again! Larry and Michael are nurses from Duluth, Minnesota and we were only neighbours for a few nights but “Happy Hour” seemed to become a regular evening event. We look forward to seeing them again as we make our way westward in the fall.
We had fun exploring the area on our bicycles. After the first harrowing mile outside the park we found streets that were more cycling friendly as well as a path that went all the way from the University around the city and along the Rio Grande River. One of the places we seemed to end up several times is the old Mexican town of Mesilla. This was originally a town in Mexico but when the borders were redefined with the Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo it became a US town. It also was booming in the day of the Butterfield Stage Coach line. Now it is an “old plaza village” with nice places to eat and drink. We went for a “rockin guitar” singer at the NM Vintage wine bar and met two lovely ladies BOTH with the name Diane!
Probably the best feature of Las Cruces is the Organ Mountain Desert Peaks National Monument. The Organ Mountains are spectacular and the National Monument was a great destination. It was a nice 30 km away from us which made for a great cycle ( 60 km round trip and an elevation gain of 700m ), a nice motorcycle ride and some good hikes. It also turned out to be a great place to watch the setting sun.
There were two locations that we wanted to see that were an hours drive for us. This is definitely not a problem but with the mornings and evenings dipping down to close to freezing we decided to rent a car for two days. The first half day trip was down to the “West Texas town of El Paso, I fell in love with a Mexican girl…” For those who are Marty Robbins fans! This was an eating destination. Our lunch stop took us to L&J’s Café. Great name and according to the locals the best Mexican food in El Paso ( which we would agree with )! Then a drive up the “scenic” drive to look out over El Paso and across the Rio Grande to Ciudad Juarez in Mexico. Then back to Marty Robbins’ song: Out in the West Texas town of El Paso, I fell in love with a Mexican girl, Nighttime would find me in Rosa’s cantina, Music would play and Felina would whirl… We had to have a margarita in Rosa’s Cantina. This was fun but a bit of a dive which I guess enhanced the experience!
White Sands National Park did not disappoint!!! WOW, we didn’t really know what to expect, but it was spectacular! White sand dunes for miles and miles! We drove back in to the farthest parking lot and started our hike, 8 km up and over and then up and over sand dunes! So much fun. We discovered that you also “must” sand sled. So, we bought the sled and did it, SO much fun! This is a must see experience for everyone!
Patterns in the Sand!