We’ve been flailing around with our itinerary lately, making changes every day because of whims or weather. I suppose that’s how it should be, so we can explore what interests us, but the time came to get serious about our plans for the next few weeks. So this morning we pulled out the maps, the weather reports, and our lists of obligations, and put together a plan.
The first decision was to move on rather than exploring Las Cruces. As a place to live it was never high on our list, and from my online searches there didn’t seem to be a lot to keep us here recreationally, either. Las Cruces is one of those places that is near a lot of stuff.
The second decision was to skip Silver City. This was a tough call, since I like that town and there are fun things to do in the area. But the weather has not been cooperative lately, and Silver City is up around 6,000 feet. We may return later.
The third decision was to attend the Tucson Gem Show. We were in Tucson for it last year and liked dropping in on all the various venues. This meant booking a moderately expensive stay at Beaudry’s RV Resort, because most places in town are full, but the location is very convenient. We’ll do a few days there for the show and then relocate a bit further out of town.
And the fourth decision was to face reality: we have a lot of on our personal and work schedules in February, and the only way we’re going to accomplish it all is to park ourselves for a solid month. So we’ll stay in Tucson through the first week of March.
But we won’t be sitting still. We have plans to explore two national parks, make an overnight trip up to Phoenix, visit Bisbee, fly to the Florida State Rally, check out local real estate, and make our plans to go to Mexico in March. Somehow all that will get done while I work on the Summer issue of the magazine.
We can’t get into Tucson until Feb 3, so we’ve got a few days to kill. With the weather cold, we decided to head to Rockhound State Park, in Deming NM. Our Google Earth location. This park is at 4500 ft elevation but that’s about as low as we can get in this part of New Mexico. There is snow just a couple thousand feet above us, but here it is at least above freezing, and there’s frequent sunshine.
Rockhound State Park was Emma’s choice. You can collect jasper, agate, opal, and quite a few other types of gemstones here. A short steep hike from the campground rewards you with beautiful views in all directions, and heaps of stone to pick through — no rock tools necessary!
We found a lot of jasper, plus some other pretty stones we haven’t yet identified. The rangers in the Visitor Center will probably help us with some, and we may call on our friend Mike Bertch, who is waiting for us in Tucson, to identify the rest. While we were up hiking around, I also found a cactus with my knee, which required me to gently roll up my pantleg (in 40 degrees and a cold wind) and carefully pluck about thirty tiny spines out.
Along the way here, Eleanor got a hankering for a tourist trap along I-10. Now she has a new leather hat, which you can see in the first picture. Emma has new moccasins too. I think that takes care of our tourist trap needs for a while …