Located about 30 miles north of Deming, New Mexico, City of Rocks State Park in Faywood, New Mexico has quickly become one our favorite over the couple days we've spent here.
Remote, The park encompasses a one square mile area in the scenic Chihuahuan desert region of southwestern New Mexico at an elevation of 5,200 feet. The “city” is a geologic formation made up of large, sculptured rock columns, or pinnacles, rising as high as 40 feet and separated by paths or lanes resembling city streets. These rocks were formed about 34.9 million years ago when a very large volcano erupted. Then, erosion over millions of years slowly formed the sculptured columns seen today, creating a stunning, otherworldly landscape (NMSP Website)
The park has 55 campsites, 10 of them water/electric. There's a shower house located near the front of the park in the office complex and pit toilets scattered around. Water is also available in several spots around the camp. There's no dump station.
You can ride your bike and walk about through the rocks or out into the high desert landscape.
If you travel in a van of 25' in length or less these are the sites we deemed best: 10,12,16,17,18, 19,25,28,29,34,45. Electric site E-10 is the best only because it's located on the end of the electric sites closest to a great view of Table Mountain and the desert.
Finally, I believe our site 14 may be among the best. It's remote from other sites and has great views near 180 degrees Northeast to Southeast.
Good afternoon from Valley of Fires Recreation Area near Carrizozo, New Mexico where we are camped for a couple of nights.
Valley of Fires recreation area is located immediately adjacent to the Malpais Lava Flow. Approximately 5,000 years ago, Little Black Peak erupted and flowed 44 miles into the Tularosa Basin, filling the basin with molten rock. The resulting lava flow is four to six miles wide, 160 feet thick and covers 125 square miles. The lava flow is considered to be one of the youngest lava flows in the continental United States.
From a distance, Valley of Fires appears as barren rock but when you walk through the nature trail there are many varieties of flowers, cactus, trees and bushes typical of the Chihuahuan desert. Animals include bats, roadrunners, quail, cottontails, mule deer, barberry sheep, and lizards. It's also a virtual birdwatcher's paradise with great horned owls, burrowing owls, turkey vultures, hawks, gnat catchers, cactus wrens, sparrows and golden eagles. From Bureau of Land Management's website
As I type, we're being buffeted by 30 mile an hour winds. Tonight, more of the same, but with gusts of up to 50 miles an hour and a chance of snow. We got a dusting yesterday just after we set up.
Wanna explore? Sometimes Mother Nature makes it a challenge, but fortunately for us low temps have been right at or above freezing and we have been able to get out, walk and explore the campground and lava field located adjacent to the campground.
While we haven't stayed in very many BLM campgrounds that are developed like this one, Valley of Fires is undoubtedly the best we've seen. Most all the sites have great views of the lava fields and the surrounding mountains.
The 25 sites offer asphalt pads, water and electricity and there's a dump station centrally located. The shower house is spacious, also centrally located and very well maintained. I might add the shower house is also heated.
Highly recommended even in February. 😎
There was a time in my early 20's when, on occasion, I'd go with a group of friends spelunking. I can't remember who I went with, but I do remember Jack Daniels, a spirit I'm not particularly partial to, and how dark it became when all our lights were turned off. My hand directly in front of my face was..., not there. Total darkness.
Melanie and I checked out Carlsbad Caverns on a self-guided tour that lasted for hours. We walked in the Natural Entrance, made our way down to the Big Room area and around and exited via the elevator (755 feet below ground). It's a walk of about 2.5 miles total.
While the cavern is selectively lit, it took walking a while before I could get my bearings. Old eyes getting used to dim light, I suppose. Walking down into the caverns was slow going and relatively steep in the beginning and by the time we reached the Big Room, I'd worked up a bit of sweat even though the cavern was relatively cool.
The other worldly Stalactites, Stalagmites, Soda Straws, Draperies, Flowstones, Columns, Lily Pads, Cave Pearls, Popcorn, Helictites, Aragonite Crystals, and Rimstone Dams were worth the effort.
All photos were made using the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
We passed through San Antonio, New Mexico at the end of January on our way to Albuquerque for a short, but great visit with friends, Beth and Keith, who still reside in Birmingham, Alabama, our hometown.
I mention this because we happened on the Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge located just down the road from our great campsite at Chupadero Mountain View RV Park.
As we arrived the first time, we were greeted by a number of Sandhill Cranes who spend some of their day away from Bosque Del Apache NWR at Chupadero. Neither of us had seen the cranes up close though we witnessed thousands of them migrating south through Arkansas during our first year of travel.
They are beautiful large prehistoric looking birds and make a very distinctive sound.
The calls of Sandhill Cranes are described as trumpeting, bugling, rattling, or croaking, but these adjectives do not fully convey the volume or quality of the sound produced by a mature Sandhill Crane. Birds of the World
So, after our visit with our friends in Albuquerque, we traveled back south, first to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico and then back north to San Antonio, New Mexico and visit to Bosque Del Apache.
While we didn't close enough to the cranes for photos at the refuge, I'm posted a few shots from Chupadero RV park. The remainder of the shots are from our mostly drive through of the refuge.
We visited Piedras Maracas Canyon within the Petroglyph National Monument outside Albuquerque, New Mexico with our friends from Birmingham, Keith and Beth Johns, on a brilliant cool winter day last month.
We took a detour to Bisbee, Arizona on our way to Tucson.
First, the drive off I-10 on Arizona 80 is pretty amazing and remote. Very few vehicles on the road and amazing scenery.
We stay at the Queen Mine RV Park which is convenient to downtown and has a nice view of the same.
We first visited Bisbee in December 2019 just a few days before Christmas. Again, we were headed towards Tucson. It was relatively quiet on our first visit, but this time there were lots of people walking around the streets, the bars and the cafes were full.
After a great lunch at Le Cornucopia, and since it was a really fine if brisk day, we decided to explore a bit on foot.
After a while walking around we encountered Cindy Atkins and her lovely dog, Stanley, out for a walk. Cindy asked if we'd like for her to show us some of her favorite spots and art and we immediately said that sounded like a great idea. And it was.
We're happy to have met Cindy and Stanley and hope to see them both in the future. Bisbee is a place you too should check out.
Back in Saint Johnsbury, Vermont for a few days called for checking out the Saturday Farmer's Market, lunch and then a bike ride on the Lamoille.
Melanie and I camped along the Moose River at Moose River Campground which is 3+ miles from downtown Saint Johnsbury. It was a chilly Fall morning so we bundled up and arrived on our bikes at the Farmer's Market around 10:30 a.m.
The market was not too busy as we dismounted and began walking among the booths. Melanie spoke briefly with a gentleman who was please to see she was wearing a helmet. As this was happening, another man was asking me about my bike.
Melanie left me and explored the market while I continued to talk to the man about our travels and our use of the Ebikes for getting around. As I've mentioned before, part of the charm of travel is getting to talk to local folks.
We purchased locally roasted coffee and then found lunch.
Afterwards, we rode around town for a bit and then parted ways, Melanie wanting to explore a cemetery where descendants of one of her board are buried, me riding off to the eastern terminus of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail. I should mention Barre, Vermont is nearby where Rock of Ages Granite Quarry is located thus many of the headstones found in many cemetaries in Vermont are magnificent.
The Lamoille Trail will eventually make its way all the way across the state of Vermont and my understanding is that work is currently being done to make that happen.
The temps rose into the 50's as I made my way west stopping to make photos along the way. The leaf colors were glorious. Highly recommended.
When we were in Lincoln, Nebraska for Melanie's GCLC conference, several people asked us where we were traveling to next.
We told them Des Moines, Iowa where one of our favorite restaurants is located.
We also like to camp along Lake Saylorville at one of the nice Corp of Engineers parks there.
Several people mentioned the Iowa State Fair and all recommended that we go. We decided to go midweek. It was a really good decision. Recommended.
We're in Lincoln, Nebraska for a Global Collaborative Law Council conference. I rode a portion of both MoPac Trail East and MoPac Trail West yesterday.
It's been hot and dry in and around Lincoln lately and the East trail which is crushed gravel was dusty. The West Trail is concrete.
We were in Valentine, Nebraska for a few days mainly so I could ride the Cowboy Recreation and Nature Trail. I lucked out and had a great day for riding.
We'd reached 109 degrees F. while traveling through South Dakota the day before and highs were in the mid 70's the next day when I rode.
I rode from the outskirts of Valentine out 20 miles, turned around and came back. I saw only walkers (about 5 people) who were out to see the above views from the trestle near Valentine. The Sandhills of this part of Nebraska are beautiful and this time of year hay has been baled and is out in the pastures.
Steven and Melanie