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City of Rocks State Park, NM

From Albuquerque south we made very few stops yesterday.   We paused for lunch and a water fill at a truck stop along I-25, then for chiles in Hatch, and not much else.   It’s a peculiar feeling to know that we are headed somewhere to stop indefinitely, and I think that contributed to a sense that we had no particular purpose for being on the road.


When you don’t know where you are going, it’s helpful to stop and take stock.   So we pulled into City of Rocks State Park in southern New Mexico for a night.   Eleanor and I remember City of Rocks from our only previous visit, in early 2000 when Emma was still a womb passenger.   I remembered thinking back then that we should come   back sometime and camp with a tent, but we never did.   Finally, we’ve come back with an Airstream and an 8-year-old.   The rocks are the same, but everything about us seems different.

Along the road yesterday I noticed that we’ve once again broken a belt in a trailer tire.   That’s (I think) the fifth one in a year.   This particular tire was a TowMax Power King, which is sold by Les Schwab tire stores.   At this point I have not found any brand that seems to last longer than any other.   The TowMax on the other side is still holding up fine, as are the Goodyear Marathon and Carlisle, but none of them are older than a year.

The tire appears usable for now.   The broken belt is revealing itself by unusually fast wear on the outer edge.   In about 500 miles it will be bald there, but I’ll replace it before then.   Since we had the axles aligned in August, I’m fairly sure that this is not an alignment problem, but there will be no doubt when we remove it.   A broken belt causes the tire to bulge out along the tread, which is what causes the rapid wear.   I’ll take pictures of the tire when it is removed, so you can see what I’m talking about.

city-of-rocks-sp-2.jpg We’ve got one more stop to make on this trip, in the remote town of Rodeo, NM.   It’s a tiny place 30 miles south of I-10 in a very lonely corner of New Mexico.   There’s an ultralight airport based there, run by a group of flying fanatics.   Students who come down are housed in Airstreams parked on the property.   We’re going to head down there tonight and spend some time learning about the place and the people who run it.   I may even get a chance to take a ride in one of the ultralights.

After that stop, we will head to Tucson, wash the trailer at a local truck stop, and then park it.   It needs some maintenance.   We’ve got a list of about a dozen things to do for it, including repairs, upgrades, and cleaning.

I have decided to extend the blog for a bit longer.   In addition to having maintenance tasks to talk about, there are things that need to be said about the process of coming off the road.   It’s a very emotional change for us, and I don’t want to underplay the significance of it.   I also want to summarize some of my feelings about the past three years.     Stopping travel (even for a little while) is a part of the process of full-timing, so it seems legitimate to continue the Tour of America blog long enough to cover all of those items.

This is a chance for you to ask questions, too, so if there’s something you’re wondering about, ask away!   I’ll blog our return to suburbia and all the other things over the next few days.

8 Responses to “City of Rocks State Park, NM”

  1. Rodney Jones Says:


    I have had good luck with Maxxis brand tires. When the tires on my current trailer and Suburban need replacing, that is the brand that I will go with.

  2. Ag Sag Says:

    Hi Rich – most peculiar about the tires. We both have two axle trailers but yours is longer. The load range of our Goodyears is “D” on our 27′.

    If you got my pix, I guess it was too late to use. Too bad as each of us went to a little effort for it. Oh well…

    Sounds like you’re figuring out the best way to go on the blog. No doubt you would be tough to let go of all us subscribers.

    We’re in Homolovi State Park and have the luxury of water and electric. Gonna find that “Take It Easy” corner location too.


  3. Rade in Houston Says:


    I have followed you guys blog for over two years, and it is amazing to think of you guys coming off of the road as well. I am only reading along and can only imagine the mental perspective of the transition in lifestyle. Such radical changes in ones life are fascinating to me, I dont know why but it is just interesting as we pause and reflect on a distinguishable change. Our lives are always changing however even when we take our four girls on a 3 week 6k mile road trip the impact on all of us is profound.

    I always enjoy your upgrade and maintenance comments as well, we have the same trailer!!

    Travel Safe, Rade

  4. Rich Says:

    Bill, our tires are load range D also. Some people have gone to load range E tires but I don’t know conclusively if that is a good idea (or even helps) yet.

    Rodney, I never seem to see Maxxis at tire shops. Are you ordering yours online?

    — RL

  5. Danine Says:

    I made peanut butter crackers today for my lunch and started to cry. They were our staple food on our hikes this past year and it broke my heart to know that I would be eating them, not on a rock overlooking some amazing place, but in my windowless office.

  6. Rade in Houston Says:


    I have Maxxis on my Safari 30 as well. I found seperated tread and broken cords on two Marathons @6k from new (with really good maintenance). I moved to the Maxxis and WOW these things wear flat, no cupping. Now I have just over 10k on the Maxxis with great results…..

    I purchased mine at Discount Tire, a Arizona institution. I do not recall the price.

  7. Rodney Jones Says:


    Apparently, I am lucky enough to have at least two local dealers who either stock them or can order them for me. Good luck with whatever you choose.

  8. Leïla & Bruno ACCART Says:

    Hi rich, Eleanor & Emma;
    May be an idea but when are you doing the complete Route 66 from Chicago to Los angeles ? sure, you ‘ve made it in some places so doing it in the totality, and visiting around ( as I know you used to do), it ‘ll be a very interested project and, why not a guide or a book on this famous Route 66….

    best souvenir from France.

    Leïla & bruno.

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