Yes, I know what you’re probably thinking…every 6-12 months we write a new blog post that begins with something like, “We’re going to post more often”.
I don’t blame you for being skeptical. Truthfully, I am a little, too. Work time and volunteer obligations have always managed to win out. But with our retirement finally coming up soon (more on that in another post), one of my goals is to write more about our travels. I enjoy writing, and both Cheryl and I have great photos from our journey to share.
So, no promises, but you will hopefully hear from us much more frequently.
Our RV had been parked on our lot at the SKP Saguaro Co-Op Park in Benson, Arizona since late last October. This was an unusually long stretch of time for us to be in one place. It was partly because I had planned elective nasal surgery in early November to improve my ability to breathe through my nose (it was very successful) and needed some recovery time. But we also had a few trips planned.
Just a few of the many happy hours and meals we enjoyed with friends while we were in Benson.
We flew to Dallas in mid-December to visit Roberta (Cheryl’s mom) and our son Ethan, and to take care of annual medical checkups. Then in early January, we flew from DFW to Miami for a fabulous 15-night Panama Canal cruise on the Norwegian Bliss with our friends Marilyn & Stan, Dory & Bill, and Paul & Vicki. After the cruise ended in Los Angeles and we said our good-byes, we returned to Benson for about six weeks before leaving in the RV to go to the 62nd Escapees Escapade in Tucson and then to Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico for 10 nights on the beach as we led our last Escapees Hangout as the program’s directors.
Last Saturday, April 15, we prepared to leave the SKP Saguaro Co-Op for the last time this season. That process always involves more work than just packing up after a normal stop. Some stuff has found its way onto the patio or into the casita and needs to get back into the RV; other stuff in the RV gets left behind because we don’t expect to need it during our summer travels (beach chairs, I’m looking at you!). And because we will be picking up our new RV in a few weeks, we also had to locate all the supplies (extra floor tile, wall tile, paint, spare parts…) that were specific to our Landmark and put them on board for the eventual new owners. And we had a new fifth-wheel hitch (a TrailerSaver BD5), purchased for towing the new Majestic, which we had to learn how to use and adjust properly.
All that is to say it took us–famously members of the “Crack of Noon Club” for departures–even longer than usual to get on the road. But we finally pulled out of SKP Saguaro at about 2:00 pm. After a 229-mile drive, and losing an hour when we left Arizona (which doesn’t observe Daylight Savings Time) and entered New Mexico (which does), we arrived in Las Cruces, NM at the Hacienda RV Resort about half an hour before sundown. Fortunately, we had a pull-through site, so it was easy to park and get settled.
On our first full day in Las Cruces, we enjoyed a relaxed morning and then did some work in the afternoon. Itching to get out and do something, we opted for dinner that evening at D.H. Lescombes Winery & Bistro in Old Mesilla, a short two-minute drive from the RV park. We’d been to the Lescombes tasting room in Deming, NM with our friends Emily & Tim, but this was our first time at one of their bistros. The location in Mesilla (they also have bistros in Albuquerque and Alamogordo) is rated as the top restaurant in Las Cruces on Yelp and Google, and it more than lived up to its reputation.
I enjoyed a flight of four of their red wines (free with a check-in on Yelp!). I chose their off-dry and wonderfully smooth 6•3•1 Signature Cab-Sangio, which I’d had in Deming and knew I loved, plus their Heritage Pinot Noir (just ok), their 6•3•1 Signature Cabernet (pretty good and not too heavy for a Cab), and their 6•3•1 Signature Canyon Five (a delicious sweet red with notes of candied cherry, strawberry and orange). Our waitress also poured us a sample of their Heritage Pinot Gris–also delicious, even though I don’t drink much white wine.
Our meal was just as incredible. I had their “guest fave” Southwest Meatloaf (wagyu beef and pork with a mango-chipotle glaze, shoestring onions and hatch green chiles…OMG so good!), while Cheryl enjoyed the Pistachio Pesto Pasta with shrimp. No photos of either of those, because they disappeared too quickly! And the Ghiradelli Port Brownie, made with their St. Clair Port (and served with a small glass of it)–warm, fudgy, soft, and topped with Haagen Dazs vanilla ice cream–was even more amazing than it sounds.
The next day, we got out for our first hike in many weeks, at the Dripping Springs Natural Area inside Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.
Although we’d planned to hike the well-known Dripping Springs Trail–actually an old road–the volunteer at the Visitor’s Center persuaded us to try the Fillmore Canyon Trail instead. It’s less-heavily traveled and more of a real trail. The 2.3 mile round-trip had just under 500 feet of elevation gain, which was perfect for getting our hiking legs back.
The trail ascends about 1.1 miles up Fillmore Canyon, passing the site of the late 1800s Modoc Mine, which mined silver and lead in the mountains. The mine buildings are long gone, but the pile of tailings on which the mill building stood is still visible.
As we got closer to the top of the canyon, the trail became more rocky, with a tiny bit of scrambling required at the end. The trail ends in a blind canyon, with Fillmore Falls flowing over the edge into the bowl below, creating a small moist oasis in the desert.
After the hike, we had planned to visit Prehistoric Trackways National Monument on the west side of Las Cruces. That park protects a large collection of Paleozoic fossils. But after learning that there were no developed sites interpreting the fossils, and that more hiking would be required to view them, we decided instead to call it a day and head back home.