Wednesday, December 5, 2012

RV Lifestyle Ramblings

Odometer 26447 miles

Trip meter- 154 miles

Carlsbad, NM

December 05, 2012

We were exhausted after 4 hours at the Museum, and spending several hours on the dunes at White Sands near Alamogordo, but that finish at White Sands with the gorgeous sunset left us upbeat and satisfied. On reflection, this has been a fairy tale trip so far. We love the mobility of our new home on wheels and who wouldn't want to wake up somewhere new and exciting every other day? The possibilities are endless and you may wonder how we decide where we will go, how we'll get there and what we'll do when we arrive. Some of the places on our list have been on the list for a while, others get added to the list because of the opportunity- we were going to go right by, or close to it. (i.e. Kitt Peak) Some places we have been to before and have really enjoyed (i.e. Ajo, AZ) Many of the latter will fall off when we leave the West and cross over into new territory.

We use the internet a lot, and the purchase of an iPad with 4G wireless has been transformative. We use it for nearly everything, researching new places to go, finding a good (inexpensive) park to stay in, keeping up with e-mail, staying current with news, finding RV parts, and service, GPS and mapping, a wireless hot spot for our laptop- well you guys all know this- it's the best RV tool of all.

Joan and I have been living in the bus since the beginning of July and I would say that the transition from a 1,840 sq home made of concrete and wood to a 309 sq foot home on wheels was very easy for us.

We have occasionally wondered what all the stuff in our storage container (and at Mark's house- thanks Mark!) is for- do we really need that much stuff? Probably too early to tell- I'll address this point again next June.

This morning we came across New Mexico on State Route 82 heading for Artesia where we would turn south to Carlsbad. Almost immediately after we left Alamogordo, we started to climb. I mean CLIMB! We were on a twisty, 2 lane road with no shoulder. Not only no shoulder, but after the crumbly edge of asphalt there was a very steep descent of 4 to 40 feet neither of which would be recoverable in any vehicle, much less a 13 ton top heavy motorhome. The ascent to Cloudcroft is 16 miles long with an elevation gain of 5,000 feet to the summit at 8,600 feet. On our way up we noticed a car pulled off the road with either steam or smoke coming out of the engine bay. We pulled over to see if we could help.

The temperature gauge was off the scale and we could smell hot oil, and see steam at the radiator. We offered up some water and some hand tools, but neither of us could figure out what was keeping the Jeep from re-starting. His brother arrived and gave him a ride to work.

Cloudcroft (and the summit)turned out to be less than a mile from where we had pulled over to help. It is a very delightful little town and we will be putting it on our list to spend some time there, but it snows there- a lot, and that kept us moving on this beautiful DRY and mild day. The descent down the eastern flank of the Sacramento mountains is a lot more gradual and we drifted through the varying ecosystems as the elevation peeled off under our tires. The Firs and large Ponderosas melded into Junipers and Pinons, which blended into Yuccas and prickly pears, as we leveled out on rolling desert again.

We drove another 100 miles or so to the small town of Artesia, where we turned south on Hwy 285 and drove the 35 miles to Carlsbad. Tomorrow we want to see the Carlsbad Caverns and have a little down time to read and relax. I know that relaxation part sounds extremely funny to most of you, but I know many RVers out there that understand. Being constantly on the move is stressful and for the health of our relationship down time is important.

Tomorrow- Caves!

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