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Old 04-23-2014, 06:25 PM   #1
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New Mexico for RVers

Johnny Cash once said, "I have been everywhere man". But, most RVers have not ...

So, I was thinking the other day ... Oh no, DW has that look that I know so well every time I get to thinking ... I told her, no really, I was thinking that RVers want to go and see places, but they don't much enjoy burning diesel just to get there ... So, I said to self, "Self, why not ask others at the irv2 forum for feedback before you start them engines ..."

So, what I'm looking to do is get feedback from others that are familiar with specific states to help snowbirds and sunbirds with their travels.

Since New Mexico is a favorite place for many RVers ...

What parts of New Mexico do you recommend for other RVers? ... What parts would you put in the category of not worth the diesel needed to get there?

I think, in time, we could build a database from threads like this for each state in the US, places in Canada, Alaska, etc.

DW says
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Old 04-24-2014, 03:49 AM   #2
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Well... not sure where to start. I live here and am constantly amazed at the variety and quantity of things to see. Almost no matter where you go, geologic sights are impressive. Mostly all high desert so it is generally clear skies and sunshine but it cools down at night. It can be relatively cold in January/February. Nearly always windy in March/April. Warmest in June/July. Monsoon season in July/August. You will love the state if into mountain biking, hiking, walking, star gazing, rocks, desert flora, etc... May not like the state if into lush, green plant life, lots and lots of water/lakes/streams, don't like sand, can't appreciate a spectacular sunset, and/or are allergic to sunshine.

In no particular order:

1. Gallup: The red rocks and mountain biking trails are spectacular.
2. Grants: The El Malpais lava flows and dozens of little volcanic vents are amazing.
3. Silver City/Glenwood: Gila Wilderness area offers some great recreation and escape from civilization.
4. Albuquerque: Balloon Fiesta is popular. The atomic museum is interesting. The history is interesting (Old Town and other). Lots of casino's if you weighed down by excess cash. The Tram is great.
5. Taos: Lots of history, very 'old west-ish'. Earth ship's are pretty interesting - RV's without wheels. Good downhill skiing. Rio Grande Gorge is pretty spectacular, raft trips available.
6. Northern mountains: Pretty much all beautiful and interesting things abound.
7. Carlsbad: Caverns are great.
8. Roswell: Need I say more?
9. Alamogordo: Mountains and sights are very nice.

That get things started??
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Old 04-24-2014, 06:35 AM   #3
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What JFNM said. We lived in NM for 13 years, moved away 24 years ago, and still miss NM. We now live in Colorado so get to visit NM often. It is truly "The Land of Enchantment", however, you either love it or hate it... there is no middle ground.
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Old 04-24-2014, 11:45 AM   #4
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We are full time RV'ers and primarily boondockers on public lands aka dispersed camping. We are New Mexicans (both from Albuquerque but lived in Las Cruces for 35 years while I worked at White Sands Missile Range) although as full timers we are phony South Dakotans. Should like to comments on JENM's observations

2. Grants: The El Malpais lava flows and dozens of little volcanic vents are amazing.
Some great boondocking/dry caming in the area. The CG at El Moro rock is great and the walk around Inscription Rock is incredible. The CG is dry camping only and the water point is closed sometime in September but the CG is open all year we believe since we were there in October once.I believe you can camp at Ice Cave (private)
.
3. Silver City/Glenwood: Gila Wilderness area offers some great recreation and escape from civilization.
Absolutely superb dispersed camping on BLM lands. It is under Taylor Grazing rights but we ran into the local rancher and he seemed to much prefer us to hunters. You play by the etiquetted and rules: primarily, you do not set up within 200 yards of a corral or water point (puts the cattle off). We spent a week about 3 miles from the Gila Box (just east of Verdin, NM - which would have been a 50 mile drive for us). Did a few hikes down to the river and saw a herd/pack/mob of around 20 to 30 Coatimundis.

4. Albuquerque: Balloon Fiesta is popular. The atomic museum is interesting. The history is interesting (Old Town and other). Lots of casino's if you weighed down by excess cash. The Tram is great.
Good boondocking to the NW of Albuquerque towards Cuba and great near Cabezon. Again Taylor grazing rights area on BLM land. The casinos permit 4 nights of free parking - and we use Sandia when we visit relatives in Albuquerque.

5. Taos: Lots of history, very 'old west-ish'. Earth ship's are pretty interesting - RV's without wheels. Good downhill skiing. Rio Grande Gorge is pretty spectacular, raft trips available.
There is an excellent CG at the National Rio Grande Heritage area overlooking the Rio Grande Gorge.

6. Northern mountains: Pretty much all beautiful and interesting things abound.

Region north of Las Vegas to Mora has some dispersed camping, Coyote Creek is beautiful and there are some good Forest Service CGs between Mora and Taos.

ugarite State Park just east of Raton has one of the most beautiful CGs at Soda Springs. The lower CG has hookups but is a zoo. You can get water at Soda Springs but have to dump at lower CG. There are a number of other state parks with great CGs in the area.

7. Carlsbad: Caverns are great.
Dog Canyon on the southern side of Carlsbad and within Guadalupe National Park. It is a double lane paved road in that is about 50 miles from major highways. We were able to call Ranger on duty there and he basically said "please come, its lonely here!"

8. Roswell: Need I say more?
Bottomless Lakes SP is beautiful. There is a CG there with hookups but the dispersed camping is far more beautiful. There are thousands of square miles to do free dispersed camping in the area.

9. Alamogordo: Mountains and sights are very nice.
Excellent Forest Service CGs in the Sacramentos above Alamogordo but open only from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Three Rivers is beautiful about 40 miles north of Alamogordo and Valley of Fire BLM National Recreational Area has hookups if you need them. Again, lots of dispersed camping.

Best to drive in on a road without 5th wheel/trailer/motor home to make sure you can get in - and get out - and that there are good spots to camp. Some ranchers are cranky and think that Taylor grazing rights makes it their land but it is mutli-use lands. If we don't abuse the lands, they get less cranky. There are just to many idiots who shoot up their windmills and stock tanks - and leave the stock gates unclosed.
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Old 04-24-2014, 12:42 PM   #5
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I noticed Santa Fe isn't on either list. Why is that?
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Old 04-24-2014, 05:13 PM   #6
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Not much in immediate Sante Fe area. Villanueva is about 40 miles away and quite nice. There are some good spots in the Jemez (have not been there in 60 years with New Mexico Mountain Club). The various Pueblos have property but do not know if they allow any camping on their ancestral lands. A lot of folks in Sante Fe and Albuquerque love the out-of-doors and they fill anything available on the weekends.

Look into New Mexico State Parks are the greatest deal in dry camping to electrical/water hookups and extremely inexpensive. Look into them.
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Old 04-24-2014, 06:09 PM   #7
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Every thing posted sounds good, as I was born in NM and my town was not mentioned which is,or was Chama, NM and is still my home ,all though I live in Branson, Mo at present. I'm not much of a writter but there is plenty to do and see in this area. Historic Narrow Guage RR, mountain passes, great fishing,herds of elk,two lakes near by,indian res. near by,snow skiing in the mountans. The air is fresh and cool at aprox. 8 thousand ft. elev.Pagosa Springs , Colo 45 mi. away that sets at the base of Wolf Creek Pass.Good place to visit if you happen to be in the area.

Good Travel and God Bless
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Old 04-24-2014, 08:04 PM   #8
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Will not argue with RoadrunnerX. A lot of beautiful territory around Chama. My pointman in RVN, Mannie Moya, was from there. Unfortunately, killed in car wreck 35 years ago. Great cross-country skiing and some great dispersed rv camping in the South San Juan National Forest.
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Old 04-25-2014, 10:07 AM   #9
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Not much in Santa Fe???? How about the best food in the state New Mexico style red and green chile dishes are unique and Santa Fe is the place to go for the best. Next, day trips to Bandolier State Park and Los Alamos (museum on the A-Bomb development) from Santa Fe are easy. Finally, a great little winery, Los Estrados del Norte in Pojaque has a unique red wine blend, Holy Mole, with a hint of mole (chocolate) and a bite from a little red chile. Unique. Stop there on the way to eat on the patio at Chimayo (Rancho de Chimayo).

And in good Winters, Ski Santa Fe is a pretty good resort for the South Rockies.
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Old 04-25-2014, 10:13 AM   #10
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Not much in Santa Fe???? How about the best food in the state New Mexico style red and green chile dishes are unique and Santa Fe is the place to go for the best. Next, day trips to Bandolier State Park and Los Alamos (museum on the A-Bomb development) from Santa Fe are easy. Finally, a great little winery, Los Estrados del Norte in Pojaque has a unique red wine blend, Holy Mole, with a hint of mole (chocolate) and a bite from a little red chile. Unique. Stop there on the way to eat on the patio at Chimayo (Rancho de Chimayo).

And in good Winters, Ski Santa Fe is a pretty good resort for the South Rockies.
Don't forget Bobcat Bites-voted one of the best burgers in the country. You may have to wait for a table or spot at the counter, but it's worth it IMHO.
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Old 04-25-2014, 10:40 AM   #11
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We spent almost 3 months RVing New Mexico from south to north. Absolutely loved it!!

If you're staying more than about 25 days I highly recommend the New Mexico State Park Camping Pass...$225 for a year of dry camping at the NM State Parks. An outstanding deal.

Some highlights of our time there:
- City of Rocks State Park in the SW, plus Gila Cliff Dwellings
- Carlsbad Caverns and Roswell (UFO Museum) in the SE
- White Sands National Monument in the central south...wow!!
- Elephant Butte State Park in the center, plus Albuquerque and the Salinas Pueblos (total hidden gem). Also the Very Large Array Telescope and Pie Town near Datil
- Taos and the Circle of Enchantment up north. This is higher country and great for summer.
- The Chama Railroad up north too

Remember NM is high deset. Winter can be cold. Spring the temps are perfect, but you WILL get Spring Winds (these are infamous in NM). In summer the northern part of the state is perfect. In fall it's also lovely.
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Old 04-25-2014, 10:51 PM   #12
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Johnny Cash once said, "I have been everywhere man".
I hate to be picky, but I believe it was hank Snow that first sang that song...

Ken
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Old 04-25-2014, 11:01 PM   #13
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the Farmington area is great also.

Aztec Indian ruins, Shiprock both are great to see.

Jerry
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Old 04-26-2014, 10:45 AM   #14
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City of Rocks State Park in the SW, plus Gila Cliff Dwellings
- Carlsbad Caverns and Roswell (UFO Museum) in the SE
- White Sands National Monument in the central south...wow!!
- Elephant Butte State Park in the center, plus Albuquerque and the Salinas Pueblos (total hidden gem). Also the Very Large Array Telescope and Pie Town near Datil
- Taos and the Circle of Enchantment up north. This is higher country and great for summer.
- The Chama Railroad up north too

City of Rocks SP is one of our favorites. The hook-up area is a zoo but the dispersed camping has some of the most delightful spots in the US. Most of them have only about half a day of solar.
Elephant Butte and the nearby Caballo Lake and Percha Creek State Parks have excellent developed camping spots. But the best is that Elephant Butte and Caballo Lake have superb dispersed camping on the lake (where they are depends on the level of the reservoirs and whether the sand permits traveling there). Lower Caballo Lake and Percha Creek CGs are among the best birding in New Mexico.
Pie Town has a delightful Pie Festival the second Saturday in September. The town has its own free CG (no hookups or dump station) and there are some excellent FS or BLM primitive CGs in the area. We have been to the Pie Festival twice since our kids (one in Las Cruces and the other in Fort Collins, CO) love to attend, rock climb and hang out with rock climbing friends of 20 years.
Salinas Pueblo National Monument is one of the gems of the SW. There is no camping nearby since the ranchlands are private property (unusual for NM but the ownership dates back to Spanish Crown and Republic of Mexico land grants – and probably puebloean rights as well even though the two Pueblos ceased to exist around 1650 due to epidemics and Comanche inroads – primarily controlling the trade routes once they obtained the horse). The nearest RV parks are probably in Mountainair but there was (and maybe again) an excellent state park at Manzano Mountains. It was closed last year when we wanted to go due to forest fire the year before. The NM SP site shows that it is open but there are water issues so it will be boondocking/dry camping (don’t want to get into that argument) as there are no hookups, no water at present, and probably no dump station. But it is gorgeous and is great birding.

We are currently spending two to three weeks at older son's place at 7700' or so in the Sangre de Christos above Las Vegas,New Mexico. We have a great view of Hermit's Peak and the Say's Phoebes are back on the garage/work shop/office of our son's business and the Black-chinned sparrows are at the feeders.
Reed and Elaine Cundiff
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