Elephant Butte Lake State Park!

What are we doing in southern New Mexico?

The plan was to go to Camping World in Albuquerque to pick up the propane heater and have it installed.  That didn’t happen.  Why?  I can sum it up in one word . . .


Well, let me use more than one word.  As you may remember, I called Camping World a week ago last Monday.  I talked with Parts & Service.  The guy said they didn’t have a Wave 3 heater in stock.  So I said, “Go ahead and order me one then.”  And he said, “Okay.  It’ll take about seven to ten days for it to get here.  I’ll call you when it comes in.”  So I said, “Great.  If I don’t hear from you, I’ll call you in a week anyway.  I might be hard to get a hold of.” 

You know where this is going, right?

I let a week go by and I call on Tuesday.  No part was ordered.  “Would you like us to order you one now?”  “No,  no, thank you.”  I’m really annoyed, but I get over it.  Wednesday I ponder what to do next.  I decide to leave Santa Rosa, forget about the heater and Camping World for a while, and drive to southern New Mexico.  

A pretty bouquet in a most unlikely setting

Before we hit the road this morning, the crew and I have to take our walk.  It’s daybreak and no one is stirring, so we walk down the road away from the campground. 

We go off the road to hike a bit.  In the midst of the driest, scruffiest, prickliest, brushiest, rockiest, ugliest stretch of ground, we discover a green plant with delicate, pink-purple flowers.  It looks like someone went to the garden center, bought some petunias (that’s what they look like!) and planted them in this desolate, dirty spot. 

I enjoy a good breakfast, fill the fresh water tank, and say goodbye to Peggy.

By the time we’re on Interstate 40 heading west, it’s ten o’clock.  Bridget and Spike fall asleep on the bench seat.  I don’t let the PTV go any faster than 60 mph, even though the speed limit is 75 mph.    Someone pulling a travel trailer passes us going about 75 mph.  The trailer is fish-tailing!  It’s not a little trailer and it’s whipping from side to side, left tires to the center line,  then right tires to the right line, back and forth.  Oh, he must be accelerating to try to overcome the fish-tailing. 

No, the maniac is going 75 mph like nothing is the matter!

We reach Albuquerque and go through some more tense moments, changing lanes like we’re in a sports car.  We don’t want to be funnelled off into the city.  We catch Interstate 25 and make the long haul south.  Bridget and Spike sleep for about 190 miles.  We stop at a rest area so they can get their break and a drink, get back on the highway, and they ride quietly all the way to Elephant Butte!  Good job, guys!

I back into a perfectly level site.

The campground is called Quail Run which describes it well. You can see how sandy it is here.

I love it when I don’t have to level!  Don, the camp host, comes by to record my campsite number and to see if I need anything.  He can’t help but notice that the crew is anxious to check out this new environment, so he moves on.

Isn't this a fine-looking tree standing guard over the flowers?

Gusty, cool breezes make our walk pleasant, especially after a hot drive.  We spot some quail darting between the bushes, their topknots held erect.  The campground is on a bluff above the lake.  The mountains beyond the lake shape the horizon.  I can see it’s raining several miles away.  On our way back to the Casita, I notice the view of the lake and mountains is blurred from the dusty wind.

No, the camera isn't out of focus. The wind is blowing dust and sand.

Once inside, I feed the crew and take a shower.  We climb into bed . . . me to write and the crew to sleep.  Tomorrow I’ll unhitch the PTV and look for a place where we can go swimming!



About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
This entry was posted in Bridget The Widget, Casita, Simple living, Spike The CoPilot, Tow Vehicle and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to Elephant Butte Lake State Park!

  1. Fred Wishnie says:

    Sue, There is a animal shelter in T or C that is called Dessert Haven. They are always looking for volunteers and have a number full hook up sites to stay at. We volunteered there a few years ago and enjoyed the experience. If you are interested, let me know and I’ll look up the details.

  2. Mick says:

    The best Verizon service in New Mexico is at the Junction of Interstate 10 and 25, around Las Cruces. Even the new G4 service is active in that area. Just stay away from the Mexican border! I hope you find a nice place for the winter. Nice to travel with you, LOL.

  3. John says:

    Enjoy the area. I’m currently at Ceder Cove RV Park in Elephant Butte.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, John,

      I’m at Elephant Butte State Park (the cheap seats!).

      • Geri says:

        Hi Sue,
        Glad we met you! Call if we can assist you with anything. Emily looking forward to meeting with you on our way to Chloride.
        Read your Coyote Creek post….think we’ll pass on that one….
        Hope to see you again soon, Geri and Chuck and the Hound Herd

  4. Greg and Jean says:

    Good heads up on cell service close to the border…..you must always check to make sure you are connected to the Verizon network otherwise BIG international phone charges. But you should have no problem with that unless you are within a few miles of the border.

    Now I must have missed some posts…you were in Santa Rosa and you are going to Alburquerque via Truth or Consequences? did I miss something?

    Also heads up on Albuquerque….Large Balloon Rally going on right now….plan ahead for a place to stay

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Greg and Jean,

      No, you didn’t miss something. I had to laugh at the thought of going to Albuquerque via T or C from Santa Rosa. Now that would be a heckuva trip!

      It’s a long story why I’m not in Alb. I’m going to try to compress that story into a blog entry tonight.

      I considered going to the Balloon Fiesta but I felt it better to hold onto my $$$ this year. It sounds like a lot of fun . .. maybe next year!

  5. geri says:

    We found your blog via Emily Ogle (Nomad Woman) and wanted you to know that NEXT weekend
    Oct 8 and 9 is the balloon festival in Elephant Butte State Park and you would have a great view from that campground there.! Also a great quality but small arts and crafts fair there. Elephant Butte is right next to T or C. Chuck and I live here, in T or C and workamp during the summer months. If you are interested in workamping this winter, RiverBend Hot Springs is a great place to work! We worked there 2 summers ago and still go often to soalk in their hot mineral springs right ion the Rio Grande River! 20 hours a week and all the free soaks you want. No $$$ but nice place to work! We also have a blog in case you might be interested. http://www.phunnyfarm.blogspot.com.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, geri!

      I’ll check out your blog. Sounds like you have a lot to tell . . .
      I’m in Elephant Butte right now. My timing is always off! I’d like to see the balloons, seeing as I’m missing the fiesta in Albuquerque. Hmmm … I promised I’d see some people at City of Rocks around that time . . . gotta think about this.

      Thanks for writing all the good info…

      • geri says:

        If you want to boon dock, I also know a great spot between T or C and Elephant Butte! It’s right on the Rio Grande River (a mud puddle this time of year!) and lots of cottonwood and mesquite trees AND nice shelters! It’s part of Elephant Butte State Park! We have a great little restaurant in town (T or C) called Groovy Grits! Maybe we could meet up there and we could show you around a bit. We have a favorite ghost town nearby, Chloride NM. We will be camping there with Emily when she arrives! They have a great 5 site campground there and it is one of our favorite NM places to camp!
        Here is a link to the part of the blog that shows some of the places we have visited in southern NM including Riverbend Hot Springs!


        Also, we have Verizon and have had no problems with it in this area!

  6. Don Pietz says:

    Safe travels Sue………………..

  7. Pauline Nash says:

    Susan, you would love any balloon festival. They are really something out West…or so I have been told. There is so much out there for you to enjoy….I am so glad you are doing this!!!!
    Love you Dear Susan

  8. Emily says:

    Hope you work something out to see the Elephant Butte balloon fiesta this weekend as it is really something to see. I am heading down to NM to see son in Socorro and Geri (posted above) in TorC the last two weeks of October – with my Eggie. Hope I can track you down. With you posting every day, you’ll be easier to track down than the elusive Dutchman!

  9. Reine says:

    Camping World was an aggravation for sure. I can see why you decided to skip Albuquerque for a while. If you’re expecting really cold weather you can choose to camp in a site with electricity. We’re not fulltimers but in 3 years of camping, we’ve never used our Wave 3. I’m guessing our trip to the Wild Rivers Recreation Area north of Taos in mid October will give it a workout.

    Looks like you’re in a beautiful area. Enjoy.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Reine!

      I was thinking of boondocking here. When I drove in here yesterday around 3:30, I wanted air conditioning! I was glad to get an electric site.

      It’s the same with heat. When you want heat, you gotta have heat. If I hang around southern NM in the winter, I’m going to want heat.

  10. JoJo says:

    Another Camping World let down. I’m sure not to many are surprised.
    Seem like you have a great camp sight again. Hope you can catch a glimpse of the balloons they are so beautiful.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I would like to see the balloons. Yes, this is a good site. I can see I’ll be sweeping out the Casita a few times each day. Bridget and Spike like the softness of the sand to lie in.

  11. Kelly’s sister and husband work camped at T or C’s River Bend Hot Springs a few years ago so we spent about a week in the area in late February of 2008 visiting some of the small dusty western towns nearby. If you type Truth or Conseuences into the ‘Search’ Bar on our site you can see where we boon docked near Elephante Butte State Park and the day trips we made to surrounding areas. Also photos of RiverBend Hot Springs. And last November we took that same route you did west on I-40 and then south on 25 to T or C. Overnighted near Elephant Butte SP again before moving on to Rusty’s RV Ranch near Rodeo New Mexico. We would spend more time in New Mexico during the winter………if it was only a tad warmer.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks a lot, Al. I know I’ll appreciate seeing where you boondocked. It’s a bit overwhelming when you first arrive here. I don’t want to drive into a sand pit! The crew and I are going to do some exploring today. I’ll search your site before we do.

      RiverBend Hot Springs is intriguing. Thanks again for the information.

  12. We like the South Monticello campground in Elephant Butte State Park much better than the main campground. If you have time you may want to take a drive there and check it out for future stays. All sites have electric, which you will definitely want if you spend the winter in NM.

  13. Reine says:

    Sue, if have an electric site, a $20 cube heater from WalMart is a great addition to the heat strip. You won’t be able to run it on high unless you want the inside of the Casita to feel like outside at Navarro Mills. We’ve used ours (alone since we don’t have a heat strip) several times for winter camping and with nighttime temps in the 20’s we’ve never had it above low.

  14. Sheila says:

    I’m impressed with how clean the PTV always looks.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Sheila. ..

      For a used vehicle . . . a 2005 . . . the PTV cleans up nicely. I’m glad I put on a coat of wax. Whenever I wash the PTV I use a Turtle Wax soap that keeps the shine.

  15. Jack says:

    Hi Sue, a Mr. Heater might do just as well. Its a portable propane heater sold a number of places but are usually $129.00 at bi mart. Or do it the best and cheapest way. Buy a clay flower pot (6″) and simply turn it upside down on your propane stove. Keep stove burn on low and crack at a window. This solution for a small area is terrific! I bought mine for a $1.29. Hmmmm saving money eh! Hugs, jack

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jack!

      It’s amazing what you can do with a little ingenuity. Is that safe? I don’t see why it wouldn’t be . . . As long as you remember what’s going on underneath that clay pot when you get ready to leave.

  16. geri says:

    It was nice to meet you on Friday Sue and crew! Chuck and I hope you will visit often! Call us anytime and enjoy your visit to southern NM!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Geri!

      I held off replying to your comment here. I wanted to thank you first in a blog entry! It was nice to meet you both. Your tour has been so helpful. I found my way to Walmart twice, no problem! I still haven’t made it to the laundromat!

  17. Collier Carlton says:

    Hi, Sue,
    I’ve really enjoyed discovering and reading your blog from the planning stages through the 1st 30 days! I plan on doing the EXACT same thing as you but in another 18 months or so until I turn 62 and get my PTV paid off. I’ve already got my toyhauler (I can’t give up my Harley) both of which are paid for. I’m going to enjoy watching your travels and travails over the months. Good luck and enjoy every day!


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hello, Collier, and welcome to my blog!

      I am so happy for you. You are going to have a wonderful time if you do exactly what I’m doing! Your timing sounds perfect . . . age 62 and everything paid for. I wish you many exciting adventures and safe travels.

      Thank you for reading all my entries, starting at the beginning . . . I hope you keep enjoying my blog.

  18. geri says:

    We just found out on the Elephant Butte C of C website that they held the balloon festival Sept 11 and 12th! If that is so, we sure never saw any advertising about it! We have been looking forward to seeing it this coming weekend! You might want to talk to one of the park workers about the date of the festival! Chuck and I are flabbergasted and very disappointed that we may have missed it!

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