Rockhound State Park, Rattlesnake Wrangling, Thanksgiving Trip Plan

From Rockhound State Park near Deming, New Mexico:

Today marks one week that we’ve been camped here at Rockhound State Park, and we have loved it. The park and campground are located on a slope of the Little Florida Mountains, providing an expansive view of the valley below, all the way to Deming and beyond. The mountainside to the east tends to block the sunrise, but the view to the west is wide open for some gorgeous sunsets.

Sunset over the valley below our campground

It’s not a very large campground. There are 6 non-electric sites, and 23 sites with electricity. Most of the sites are available on a first-come first-serve basis. In addition, there is a group site where there are four or five electrical hookups. When the campground is full and no one has reserved the group site, they do allow rigs to park in the group area in a kind-of parking lot arrangement, fairly close together but at least they get a spot. There is a nice visitors center with educational displays on the rock specimens that can be found here; a nice garden with a labyrinth for reflective walking; a botanical garden with signs that identify the different types of plants growing here; and a couple of hiking trails a little higher up the mountainside that offer even better views of the valley and the campground.

View of the campground and the valley from the Thunder Egg Trail

We’ve met some really nice people while staying here. Some of them were actually camped near us when we were staying at Pancho Villa State Park and moved up here about the same time we did. For instance, there’s Bobby who is currently parked in the group site, who Andy met at Pancho Villa. Bobby is in the area because he’s getting some dental work done across the border in Puerto Palomas. Last night he came over with some homemade tortilla chips and two different kinds of homemade salsa, and we sat outside at our picnic table and shot the breeze.

We also got to meet the family that purchased the van and Airstream trailer from Nate and Marissa of Less Junk > More Journey of YouTube “fame” (at least in the RVer community). We’ve followed LJMJ for several years on YouTube, picking up tips for full-time RV living, so Andy recognized the rig as soon as it pulled in on Monday. We re-watched the video on LJMJ’s channel where the buyers picked up the rig from Nate and Marissa–sure enough, these were the same folks, Three Little Trees, who are just starting their RV life with three little girls. Congratulations and kudos to them!! Here’s a link to the video where they picked up the Airstream from Less Junk > More Journey:

NOTE: We’ve followed quite a few YouTubers for several years as we were researching and learning about full-time RV life. Some people get excited by meeting TV or sports stars, but we get excited about meeting our YouTube mentors. It’s always fun to pull into a new area and see a familiar rig or hear a familiar voice (Blue Van Dan!!). If you’re interested, I have a list on this blog’s home page of the YouTubers we follow.

Rockhound SP is very well maintained, with the cleanest and most up-to-date bathroom and shower facilities that we’ve found in any of the NM State Parks. The hosts are on the ball, and the staff is friendly and conscientious about their work. In fact, one of them had to come to our neighbor’s campsite yesterday to corral a rattlesnake that had crawled between our neighbor’s feet as he was sitting next to his rig. The snake was quickly captured using a snare on a pole, and then it was relocated to the desert about 10 miles from here. It’s good to know that there are people on staff here who are responsive in ANY situation!

This guy was assigned rattlesnake duty, and handled it perfectly

We’ve spent some time hiking the trails around the park, and I was able to find four geocaches. There is one more in the area that I plan to go after, but you have to take about a half gallon of water with you to retrieve it–it’s listed as a floater, and I’ve never had to retrieve a floater before, so this should be fun.

It’s nice to be closer to Deming after spending two weeks down at Pancho Villa SP. Last Friday we ate breakfast at a local spot called Irma’s Mexican Restaurant, and it was scrumptious. When we finished our meal Andy went to use the restroom, and while he was gone I struck up a conversation with two women at the next table. I was asking them for a recommendation for a good place to get my hair cut. We were still chatting as we walked out the door, after which Andy and I went to get groceries. On the way back to camp, we stopped by the Visitors Center and bought a new annual pass, good for thirteen months since we bought it on November 1 and it’s good through the end of the same calendar month next year (11/30/2020). We got back to the rig, put the groceries away and then spent some time scraping the old annual pass stickers off the windshields and applying the new ones.

Breakfast at Irma’s was so good we forgot to pay for it! 🙂

It was only then that it dawned on me that we had not paid for our breakfast at Irma’s. They had never brought us our ticket, so there was no visual cue to remind us, but that was still no excuse. I immediately called them to apologize and let them know that we were on our way back to Deming to settle up. As it turns out, they said they hadn’t even noticed that we didn’t pay, they just thought there was a problem with the register (or maybe they were just being nice). Anyway, Andy drove back over there and paid our bill, which was critical because we want to visit there again before we leave this area!

I’ve spent a fair amount of time over the past week finalizing our plans for our drive back to Tupelo next week. The RV Trip Wizard app makes it really easy and fun to plan, but it still involves a fair amount of research to make sure we’re getting all the discounts that we’re entitled to on the drive. Campground fees and fuel will add up quickly on this trip, so we want to save where we can.

We’ll be pulling out of here on Monday morning, hitting I-10 through Las Cruces and El Paso, until we reach Van Horn, Texas. We’ll lose an hour as we head east and we want to make a stop at Costco in El Paso, so Monday will be a full day. On Tuesday morning, our first order of business will be to visit the local Chevron station in Van Horn to have both vehicles inspected as required for our registrations to be legal. Since we were out of state in August when our registrations were due for renewal, we were allowed to submit our registration paperwork and payment online and they sent us our new stickers–but if we were to get pulled over in Texas for any reason and they checked our tag, they would see that we had not had the inspection done, so we could get ticketed for that as well. Per Texas law, we have three days from the time we re-enter the state to have the vehicles inspected. Fortunately we are domiciled in a county that only requires a safety inspection and not an emissions test.

Trip plan for next week

From there on, we’ll continue driving east through Midland/Odessa, Fort Worth/Dallas, Little Rock, and Memphis until we finally reach Tupelo on Sunday the 17th. We’re limiting our daily driving to less than 300 miles to make it a little easier on the kitties, and we’ve scheduled one day off completely from driving on Thursday, just in case we run into any issues and need a break.

I already have our reservations made at each stop along the way, using our Passport America membership to get half-price on the rates. We’re not staying any place fancy–and there’s not a whole lot to choose from in West Texas anyway. As long as we have a place to park safely, plug in to water and electricity, and get some rest, we’re good.

I’m getting excited about getting out on the road again, although I know it will be somewhat stressful. And I’m super-excited about getting to see my family again, and sharing the Thanksgiving holiday with them.

When we start our journey on Monday, I plan to do short daily updates to the blog to document the trip, so stay tuned!

Thanks for taking time to read our blog! Feel free to share it with family and friends who might be interested in full-time RV living. If you want to keep up with our adventures, please subscribe. You can also find us on Instagram at Instagram.com/JustCallUsNomads if you want to keep up with us between blog posts. And we do occasionally post videos to YouTube–if you would like to subscribe to our channel, check it out here.

Safe travels!!

One thought on “Rockhound State Park, Rattlesnake Wrangling, Thanksgiving Trip Plan

  1. Glad the rattler was dealt with in good time and that your neighbor wasn’t bitten. What’s best in a situation like his? Sit still and not startle the snake and hope he moves on, or jump and run as quickly as possible and hope he doesn’t strike — or that he misses? The question reminds me of a video I saw of kangaroo rats (I think) barely jumping out of the way as rattlers tried to bite them. I’m sure my reactions wouldn’t be nearly as quick as theirs. — Happy travels!

    Like

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