Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Not What We Planned

Tuesday we planned to move from the Lions Beach Campground at Elephant Butte Lake State Park to the South Monticello Campground there. That is, before this happened.

That is something you don't want to see happen on a travel day. John is replacing a fuse on the front landing gear of our RV. After over and hour of struggling with it, then getting ideas from the campground host for who to call, then making some calls, we finally managed to get the trailer onto our truck and decided to drive north to Albuquerque, where there is a Camping World and Aloha RV, which sells Montana trailers.

As we were getting diesel for our truck at the Diamond Shamrock in Elephant Butte, we think we saw a couple drive by who we have gotten to know through our RV blogs. We knew they, too, were headed to South Monticello and thought we might get to say "Hi!" But that was not to be.

More about our RV repairs later. We did have fun while staying at Elephant Butte. Monday, we tried to visit the El Camino Real International Heritage Center. The El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro (Royal Road of the Interior Land) was a route between Mexico City and Santa Fe, NM, beginning in the 1500s. Unfortunately, the New Mexico State Monument is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, so you will have to learn about the road here.

I did get a photo of the sculpture at the monument entrance.

Instead, we visited Fort Craig, a National Historic Site managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The fort was established in 1854 to help protect farmers and ranchers who came to settle in the lands newly acquired through the Gadsden Purchase. The fort was active in helping fight the Indian wars with the Apaches and Navajos until 1885, when Apache leaders Nana and Geronimo surrendered.

Since the fort was built largely of adobe bricks, not much remains. In some places they did use local stone, including at this sally port (entry) of the fort.

Less than a decade after the fort was built, the American Civil War began and in 1861 Confederate troops invaded New Mexico from Texas. They hoped to seize the gold fields in Colorado and other western states, as well as a west coast seaport.

Soldiers at Fort Craig were quickly put to work building earthworks to protect the fort. On February 21, 1862, the two sides fought at Valverde Crossing at the base of the mesa you can see in the background behind the earthwork ruins.

This interesting reconstruction of an 1850s military fort flag pole stands in front of the remote landscape where U.S. soldiers served.

In addition to exploring the fort, we met volunteers who work for the BLM. This is Jan. She and her husband are here for seven months, I think.

Jan and Art work five days on, two off, and are on call 24 hours a day. But, since the fort doesn't have many visitors--only three had left their names the day before--they said they had lots of time to catch up on their reading.

Their living arrangement is a dream for all those who enjoy the New Mexico landscape. Here you can see the visitor center and their RV and its surrounding yard.

RVers who want to volunteer during their travels have so many different opportunities. This is one of them.


  1. So sorry we missed you! And sorry you had the problem with your rig. Yes, that was us. We saw you at the Diamond Shamrock but had already gotten gas when we left Caballo. Had we known it was you we would have pulled over. Maybe next time! Hope you got your problem fixed.

  2. Sounds like a great time you are having even with a few glitches! Enjoy!

  3. Hello John and Carol,
    Well sounds like you are having a wonderful time!! Mike and I enjoy reading your blogs, Mike is such a history buff he loves looking at the pictures you send of historical places. I wanted to thank you so much for the birthday card. I did receive it. Mike and I moved just two weeks ago into our new house. We've waited a year for it to get built but we are so happy to finally be moved in. Our new address is 494 N Jamestown Way, Aurora, CO. 80018. Two weeks ago we had another great present. Mike and I became and Aunt and Uncle, which we love. Tina and Graham had a little baby boy on April 12th. His name is Carson Thomas Parr and we all think (especially Grandma Connie and Grandpa Chuck) that he is the most precious baby in the world. Mike and I are both on Facebook if you get a chance there are lots of pictures of Carson and the new house. Anyway, again thanks for the card it was wonderful to hear from you. Happy Travels!!! Mike and Kelly Hornung