Thursday, February 2, 2012

New Mexico!

After Yuma we headed out to the Land of Enchantment. A few months later (and colder) than originally planned, but we were going to do as much of the southern part of the state as we could. First stop was the Gila Cliff Dwellings. I had read about these on the Wheeling It blog and was intrigued. Even more so intrigued when the Cheddar Yeti crew (Jeanette & Dennis) sent us a link to the hot springs in the area. The Gila Ranch Hot Springs RV Park looked great on paper, so to speak, but once we spoke to the host we were a little wary of driving Bebe there. On the website it gave special directions to those driving big rigs and the host gave us very specific instructions to be sure to put the rig in 2nd gear when we got close. Ok...well, we thought we'll just let Jeanette and Dennis go ahead and scout it out for us (they are a bit smaller and not towing) and then let us know if it's ok to proceed. The problem with this plan was that we quickly lost all cell and internet connections. But my intrepid driver looked at me and said "we're going for it!". And so we did, and there was much rejoicing...anyway, when the road got a little scary we stopped and unhooked the car and I drove ahead to check it all out.
 Bill did have to put Bebe in 1st gear through the jaw dropping views at 8500 feet, but we were there! We were not 100% sure that our friends were going to make it but we couldn't wait to set up and get our bodies into those hot springs! The Cheddar Yetis showed up about 30 minutes later and after that harrowing drive up we were all ready for a little R&R. Which is exactly what we did for a couple of days - no phones, no internet, just hanging out, hot tubbing, cooking, drinking, and getting to know each other among the sheep, horses and dogs right there at the rv park. 

We went to see the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument which gives one a glimpse into the homes and lives of the Mogollon people who lived there 700 years ago. They built homes inside these caves in the cliffs at about 6000 feet - it was pretty cool!

Jeanette & Dennis aka Cheddar Yeti
Next up was Carlsbad Caverns - we decided to take the southern, longer route as the weather was a little stormy and it was a good idea! After stopping to get gas in town we thought we'd unhook the Subie but we weren't parked entirely straight and the tow bar wouldn't release. We headed over to Walmart to park overnight and tried again to unhook. While Bill got out the hammer and started banging at everything I went inside and did my usual forum search. And low and behold, guess what, others had experienced this same thing and several people had posted the solution - turn your car wheels either right or left! So out I went, got in the car, turned the wheels to the left and bam, tow bar released!! We did a little Walmart shopping and crashed as we had an early tour of the Left Hand Tunnel. We woke up to snow but knew it wasn't an issue as we were going underground. This was a super cool 2 hour tour with hand held candle-lit lanterns. Because of the weather the place was pretty much deserted and there was only one other person on our tour. It was completely dark except for our 4 lanterns and our guide was a great story teller. Afterwards we did the self-tour of the big room and got out of there pretty fast for our 5 hour ride to Hamlin Texas to visit Bill's friends he hadn't seen in 30+ years!
We had no idea that we had just crossed paths with Bob and Sini again as we found out the next day they had arrived about the time we were leaving!!

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