It didn’t take us long when we left Tuscon to get into southern New Mexico, an unexplored state for us. First stop was Deming, a small town with a lot going on around it.

Courthouse in Deming, NM

We got great rates for full hookups and when Tom asked a neighbor what to do in the area they enthusiastically said “You’ve got to check out the museum in town.” So we did. And it was a pretty amazing museum of – everything! The Luna County Mimbres Museum  to be exact.  They told us some people called it a mini Smithsonian.

They had excellent displays on the Native American pottery from the area. We had a great time exploring the exhibits there until it was closing time and we got kicked out.

One of the most interesting things I spotted was in an exhibit of Japanese dolls. I remember my dad brought me a Snow Princess doll in a glass case from Japan, but I had forgotten all about a little doll with changeable wigs until I saw this one in the case. Weird how that triggered memories.IMG_7251

We spent a few days there taking Jeep trips. The first was towards Silver City and beyond to Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.  It ended up taking a full day because the road from Silver City out to Gila was so very curvy. But it was a beautiful day, and we were happy to be up in pine trees again.

Tom always feels better amongst the pines. This drive would have been spectacular in the summer or fall, but even with the leaf-bare cottonwood trees it was lovely.

From the parking lot at the Cliff Dwellings it was a little more than a mile up to the site. It was exciting to get back to hiking, even for a short trip. And it was pretty awesome to be able to actually walk around inside the dwellings.

Coming back the windy road from the dwellings, we stopped in Silver City, which is an artsy type town, but mostly just a residential town. There may have been abandoned mines or something in the area, but all we explored was a local tavern for a birthday drink!

On our way back to camp we stopped at the City of Rocks campground. There was just enough daylight to poke around a little, and then we got to watch one of the prettiest sunsets we’ve ever seen.

IMG_7359Our last day in Deming we drove to Rock Hound State Park. We took a short hike around Jasper Hill and couldn’t help but to collect some beautiful (fairy sized) specimens.

Then it was on to our next stop: Las Cruces. Tom found us a fantastic camp site on BLM near the Organ Mountains. IMG_7522There were only a couple of spots and we managed to fit in at the turnaround at the trailhead. There were lots of roadrunners at our camp too!

I’m not sure why, but we didn’t do any hiking and I never got a good shot of the mountains; except while driving because they looked like one of those fake paintings at the end of the street at Disneyland.IMG_7534

We did however, drive downtown and explore the local flavor.

Tom swears El Sombrero Patio Cafe serves the best Mexican food he’s ever had (it even beat out Sal’s!)

The next day took us to White Sands National Monument – which was so impressive it got its own blog (you can read about it here.)

Then we left the beautiful architecture of Las Cruces and actually dipped into El Paso, Texas – my very first time in the state – to cross east to the Carlsbad Caverns. According to our friends, this was a must see. They were right!

We camped at Guadalupe Mountains National Park campground – in Texas – and made a couple of trips back to New Mexico.

valentines dinner in Carlsbad

Once into the town of Carlsbad to enjoy a Valentine’s Day dinner, and back again to the Caverns (which are not even close to the town).

It was an awesome experience. We’ve been in many caves, and even seen some prettier, but none as LARGE. It’s not bat season, so we opted to go in through the Natural Entrance and walk a mile plus on a switch back walkway down just to get to the Great Room.

Then it was another mile plus of trails around the spectacular formations. Hopefully we’ll get a video done on the experience, but pictures just can’t do it justice. Here are just some of the formations we saw:

The cave was so ginormous, they even had a gift shop and restroom down in the cave. Of course, I had to go to the restroom just to get some photos!

After the cave tour, we took a drive around a loop in the area, and just enjoyed the day.

We really loved this state border area and we truly are enchanted with New Mexico. We look forward to coming back to spend more time in this state.

Happy Travels,

Peace & Love, JoyIMG_7484