On Nov. 4th, Robert left our rv adventures in Santa Rosa Lake State Park to go pick up his RV in Albuquerque, then decided to drive straight down to Deming rather than back-track. I left Santa Rosa the next day and traveled down along the Pecos River to Bottomless Lakes State Park, outside of Roswell.

Bottomless Lakes State ParkBottomless Lakes SP, New Mexico

The “bottomless lakes” are a chain of eight sinkholes, 17-90 feet deep, formed as circulating water dissolved salt & gypsum deposits to form subterranean caverns. Eventually the roofs of the caverns collapsed, and the sinkholes soon filled with water. I camped for this rv adventure alongside Lea Lake, the biggest one, behind a nice couple in an big Prevost with an enormous trailer hitched to it.

Roswell is an interesting town, famous for an alleged UFO crash and subsequent US Army/Air Force cover-up back in 1947. I visited the wonderful Convention Center and Art Museum in town, had my picture taken with the Aliens at the visitor center, drove out to Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, winter home to thousands of snow geese and sand hill cranes and went to the UFO Museum to learn more about the 1947 happenings - I became a believer.

Robert came over in his car on the 11th to join me for awhile, and we did some hiking along the lakes.

On the 13th, we moved down to Brantley Lake State Park, (another dam on the Pecos River) just 12 miles north of Carlsbad for more rv adventures. The ranger told us there used to be good fishing in the lake, but at present  there was ban on eating the fish due to a high concentration of DDT washing into it. As if that isn’t bad enough, every winter they get a blue-green algae that kills everything.

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Below Sitting Bull FallsAt the Foot of Sitting Bull Falls

We visited Sitting Bull Falls Recreation Area in Lincoln National Forest – a beautiful area – wandering below the 150’ falls, then hiking up to the top on a fairly steep and strenuous path. Here, and at Bottomless Lakes, the surface of the rocks is extremely rough and sharp, like coral. I keep wishing I'd taken a geology course in college - though I probably wouldn't remember much at this point.

Another day we went to Carlsbad Caverns and descended 754’ on a mile-long paved walkway into the depths of the cavern. The walk down is very steep, my toes were pushing against the fronts of my sneakers and, by the time we got to the bottom, sharp pains started shooting across my right knee. However, it was well worth the effort - and there is an elevator to get us back up. It is amazing to think of the work that went into exploring that labyrinth and constructing the walkways.

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Carlsbad CavernsThe Whale's Mouth at Carlsbad Caverns NP

The nights were getting pretty cold and Robert was concerned about his rig freezing in Deming, so he left on the 18th to drive back. I packed up and started out the next morning, taking my rv adventure north to Artesia, then west on 82, winding through the Sacramento Mountains, following a little river through a lovely valley between the hills and cliffs.

The soft ochre of the rocky cliffs was echoed in the fields of dried grasses, and again in the dried tan leaves on the cottonwoods. The road climbed up, though not too noticeably - and ended at over 8000 ft in Cloudcroft.

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The descent from Cloudcroft is considerably more abrupt, down through High Rolls, then down again to Alamogordo. At several points there are views of White Sands in the distance, looking like a field of snow.

I picked up US-70 in Alamagordo, followed it through Las Cruces and connected with I-10 to Deming, meeting up with Robert for more rv adventures at the LoW-Hi RV Ranch.

The following week we had gorgeous weather. One afternoon I drove up to City of Rocks State Park, where weird, other-worldly shapes of heat-welded ash rise out of the Chihuahuan Desert, fallout from the eruption of Kneeling Nun, 19 miles and almost 35 million years away. 

City of Rocks State Park, NMCity of Rocks State Park, New Mexico

Sculpted by wind and rain, the brown, gray and ochre rocks stand,  sometimes alone like a warning outpost, sometimes leaning together in a huddle, like frightened old women with sagging breasts and bellies, billowing hips. It’s a fantastically beautiful, mysterious place.

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RV Adventures Hit a Road Block

Then the weather changed, and on November 30, we fled the cold, wind, rain, and the threat of snow in Deming, and high-tailed it to Casino del Sol in Tucson, where the sun was shining and the temperatures were 5-10 degrees warmer.

We parked in one of the Casino’s outer lots and there were street lights at regular intervals, so the area was quite bright. I looked out the window about 8 pm one night and saw a small herd of javelinas trotting across the lot under the lights just 25- 30’ from our rig. There were six adults, plus two baby ones. I jumped for my camera, but was unable to get any good photos. We would certainly be watching for them to appear again.

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The plan was to stay there for a bit before heading on to Quartzsite and Yuma. We wanted to spend about a month in Yuma, then come back to Tucson for the balance of the winter.....

Well, so much for plans. Life sure does have a way of throwing you a curve once in awhile..

Robert’s stomach had been bothering him and he was short of breath at times so he went to get things checked out on December 7th. The doctor gave him a very thorough exam and recommended a stress test which he had on the tenth.

There were several doctors in his room when the test was over, all very concerned about possible blockage in one or more arteries, so we went ahead and had them schedule a cardiac catheterization for December 14th. The result was not good – we were told he needed a triple bypass as soon as possible. This was one rv adventure we hadn't planned on!

Cholla at Diamond J RV ParkCholla at the Diamond J RV Park, Tucson

On December 28th, he had surgery at the VA Hospital – a double bypass only, as the third artery apparently wasn’t blocked too badly.

During the two-week period before the surgery, we moved from the Casino parking lot into an RV park, putting his RV in storage and living in Mehitabel, with water, sewer and electric hookups. Doctors suggested an RV wouldn't be the optimum place for him to stage his recovery, so we looked at apartments, found one we liked, and rented furniture which would be delivered on Jan. 4.

While Robert was in the hospital, I got the lease signed and drove back and forth between our RVs and the apartment, moving our clothes, dishes, pots and pans, food, TVs, etc. On the 3rd, I helped him escape from the hospital, bringing him home to Mehitabel for one night. We met the furniture folks at the apartment early the next morning and moved in, though I still had several trips to make before we were finally settled.

The last trip was Bijou and her litter box. Our rv adventures were over for a bit.

Yum! Nothing like bagels & lox on a Sunday morning, or any morning for that matter!

Traditional Smoked Salmon Lox

Bitter Lake Wildlife Refuge, Roswell, NMBitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge - Roswell, NM

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