Published: August 29th 2011August 29th 2011
We drove out of Texas and into New Mexico intending to camp near to Roswell. We were determined to start camping at last, motels were crippling our budget. We arrived at a campground in the middle of the desert which had no shade and nothing to stave off the relentless heat, so we decided to move on into town. We ended up staying at the friendly and facility packed Red Barn RV park on the outskirts of Roswell. Their only tent pitch was taken so they put us on some grass at the end of an empty RV spot but only charged us the normal tent rate. It was a little cooler here and we were finally able to pitch the tent. We did decide to eat at the Rib Crib in town as it was highly recommended and we found it was all you can eat ribs night when we got there, so that was a good decision.
The next day we took down the tent and went into town to see the UFO museum, which was very interesting. There is a lot of evidence and witness statements that support a UFO crashing in Roswell, however we still don't buy it. It is more likely that the US government were testing something they shouldn't and then bodged the cover-up afterwards to make people more suspicious. We also visited the Roswell Art gallery which was excellent, with local art and a replica workshop of Robert Goddard who is seen as the father of modern rocket propulsion. We drove into the Lincoln National Forest and camped among the pine trees that night, where we finally got some cooling rain...and found our $34 tent does not keep out the water as well as hoped despite the blurb on the tent bag. Never mind, it dries quick enough in the heat.
The next day we drove out to see the Petroglyphs at the Three Rivers Recreational area...a little disappointing really. They looked like someone had just scratched shapes in the rocks that day. We drove out to the Oliver Lee State Park to camp again. This was in the middle of the desert but the pitch had a shelter, which helped keep the heat away. We had to borrow some sturdy tent pegs from the camp host as our little ones would not go into the stony ground, but we got the tent pitched and enjoyed a nice night at the bottom of the mountains there. We had a great view for miles around and enjoyed watching the three or four spectacular storms in the distance.
We left the camp site after showering and moved on towards Las Cruces where we wandered round Mesilla, where Billy the Kid was put on trial and subsequently escaped before his hanging. A few shops to look at but not much else. We then proceeded through the town of Hatch, which is famous for it's chilies. We stopped off at the little local library and met the kind ladies there who were all very keen to talk to people from the U.K as they had not had anyone from there in the library before. They were very interested in our trip and gave us some advice about the campsites we were going to look at. We ended up staying at Percha Dam campsite that night. It had a bit of grass, unusual for an American campsite as they are mainly dirt or gravel, however the campsite did have a 'low rent' feel about it. We managed to eat our dinner just before the rain came down again, which turned the area into a quagmire.
The following morning we headed towards a place called Truth or Consequences, it's real name...honest. Originally named Hot Springs, the city changed it's name to Truth or Consequences, the title of a popular NBC radio program as in 1950, Ralph Edwards, the host of the radio quiz show Truth or Consequences, announced that he would air the program from the first town that renamed itself after the show. Hot Springs won the honor. We stopped there to pick up supplies and that was it really. It didn't look like much there to do to be honest, though it was early in the morning when we passed through.
We ended up driving all the way past Silver City and into Gila National Park and camped at a lovely place for free called Cherry Creek, though it did rain lots and lots so instead of our chicken being cooked for dinner, we had to make do with Tuna Mayo sandwiches in the car before heading off to bed, again with water finding it's way into the tent. The next day we left New Mexico and headed into Arizona.