Yes, it’s official, I’m writing this from beautiful Alamogordo New Mexico at a RV / Trailer Park. As Jimmy Buffet once said, I’m glad I don’t live in a trailer, although a trailer would be a lot more spacious. Our final week or so preparing for departure got a little stressful with trying to move all our crap out of the house, cleaning it up for the new renters, not to mention last minute RV repairs. We filled our 10’x20’ storage unit to the brim. At the end we were basically moving stuff into the storage unit as an alternative to throwing it away since our garbage was completely filled every week. As it is I had to make 3 trips to the landfill just to dispose of the final remnants of our stationary lifestyle.
We finally departed on March 1st 2019, pretty much out of necessity since a major winter storm was bearing down. I checked the tire pressure before we left, and of course one of the tires read abnormally low. As of this writing I’m not sure if I had filled it incorrectly or if we’ve got a slow leak. One more thing to worry about.
We made it to Trinidad Colorado for our first night of full time RV living. Our first official campsite was the Walmart parking lot. Trinidad is geographically stunning, but anthropologically not so much. I wanted to like it but it sort of gave me the willies. Of course my only real point of reference is Walmart’s clientele, but I do think Walmart is a fairly decent barometer of a town. Using the Walmart yardstick I’d have to describe the people of Trinidad as somewhere between unfriendly and surly.
The actual camping experience of a Walmart parking lot was actually quite nice. Provisions were easily obtained with a short walk into the store. We parked over with the 18-wheelers which was probably the wrong thing to do but we didn’t see any RVs anywhere else. Later on in the night we saw some RVs gather in the back of the parking lot, which would have probably been a nicer camping experience. We made sandwiches for dinner and enjoyed some mini wine boxes given to us by a friends before we left. We tried out our new Verizon cellular hot spot and were pretty impressed (although it seemed to not like streaming very much). Sleep didn’t come easily that night, but we were all able to catch a few zzz’s.
The next day we crossed the border into sandy and windy New Mexico, one of our favorite states. While we love Santa Fe, we skipped it this time due to freezing temperatures and the need to get someplace where we could turn on our water. We made a bee line for Alamogordo via non-interstate back-roads and the drive was lovely, with lots of gorgeous scenery we’d never seen before. When we got to Alamogordo we decided to stay at the Desert Paradise Mobile Home and RV Park. We needed a place with full hookups so I could de-winterize. Up until this point we had only stayed at national forest and state park campgrounds, so an RV park felt a little strange. I do have to admit it is nice to have full hookups, running water, and the ability to flush at will without concern for filling up black tanks.
Our first morning waking up in the RV park I had big plans for the day, I planned on knocking out my de-winterization chore early and going for a run and relaxing later in the day. It wasn’t meant to be. In the course of de-winterizing, Jackie noticed our kitchen faucet was leaking like a sieve. Full time RVing day number two, trip to Lowes number one. Luckily it was an easy fix, I wasn’t sure if an RV faucet was the same as a normal faucet but that did turn out to be the case. After the faucet repair I noticed the kitchen sink started draining slowly, then it started backing up. While cursing under my breath at Coachmen, Jackie asked if the grey water valve was open. Just as I was saying “of course it is” I thought maybe it isn’t. Upon further inspection I noticed that I had the black water valve open and the grey water valve shut, the exact opposite of what it was supposed to be. I can be real dumb sometimes. After that life was good. I installed a new shower head and thoroughly tested it. We ate hot dogs for dinner, and started to feel settled.
One overriding theme so far is that living small is a bitch. Everything is much harder. Getting clean is hard. Cooking is hard. Washing dishes is hard. Bedtime with two little kids is hard. Crapping in a tiny bathroom is hard, at least for a big man. It sure does beat working though, and the freedom of it all is exhilarating.
Our last day in Alamogordo started with a visit to White Sands National Monument. I can’t think of a better place to take 2 young boys. The natural beauty of the park was otherworldly. I’ve seen a lot of outdoor attractions in my life, but nothing like this. The dunes were so white that I needed to squint all day, even wearing sunglasses. They went on seemingly forever and were bookended by mountain ranges to the east and to the west. Of course with two young boys, most of our time was spent sledding on the dunes. They couldn’t get enough of it. It was fun for us as well. I suspect we’ll still be cleaning sand out of the Jeep (and our shoes, not to mention buttcracks) this time next year. The one foreseeable downside is that I’m pretty sure we’ll never top White Sands in the boy’s minds.
After completely tiring the boys out we headed back into town to drive around a bit. Downtown seemed nice, but small. The main drag with chain restaurants and big box stores seemed to dominate, not that that’s necessarily bad. It was nice to have a big box home improvement store at my disposal on a Sunday morning when I needed to replace the faucet. We drove up into the mountains east of town to the little village of Cloudcroft. It was quaint, and we could have explored further but wanted to get back in time for dinner. On the way back we stopped for a picture at the worlds largest pistachio. It turns out there is a big local industry in pistachio and pecan orchards. Who knew? That evening we discovered yet another leak, this time the fresh water connection to the toilet. It looks like it was just a loose connection. Only time will tell. The next morning yet another leak, coming from the city water connection port. That’s my guess anyway. We’ll have to replace it and see if that fixes the issue the next time we’re near a Camping World.
Overall I have to give the Alamogordo two thumbs up. It was a great place to start our adventure and a needed respite from the Colorado cold. From here we’ll be heading west to the organ mountains east of Las Cruces assuming we can find a spot to camp. Stay tuned.