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Monday, October 10, 2005

To Las Cruces

We reluctantly broke camp this morning...barely morning as it was nearly noon... but we only have about 50 miles to go to get to Las Cruces where we will stay for the next 5 days. Leaving out of the main entrance from Elephant Butte Lake State Park, we took the state road down to Truth or Consequences New Mexico, just 4 or 5 miles away.

Truth or Consequences (T or C as it is referred to locally) was called Hot Springs when the Elephant Butte Lake Dam was built. But in the 1950s, the Truth or Consequences TV show came to town. Ralph Edwards, the shows founder and host, offered to do the show live from any town in the country that would change its name to Truth or Consequences. Obviously, this was in a time where TV was a new novelty, and doing a TV show remote was a hugh deal. So after consideration by the citizens and a referendum for approval, the show came to town. T or C still has a Ralph Edwards day each year with a parade and other events.

We rode through the main street of the town in the hills a mile or so west of I-25, then turned south.
I did notice a Blakes Lot-a-burger restaurants.

Tristan and I stopped at one of these on our trip out here in 1999. We had never seen one before, but they are all over the place in NM. Pam and I are enjoying this trip as our 30th anniversary present to days other, but so many times we are looking at things and thinking about how much Tristan and Addie would enjoy it. Both love to travel and see things. Maybe they'll have a chance to do some traveling ont heir own.

I remember when Tristan and I were on the first leg of our 1999 trip alone, we came through this area, Carlsbad and Roswell and he was using the video camera to make movies set to the latino music he could find on the radio. What a trip that was, seeing all of this for the first time. Seeing these Blakes Lot-A-Burger, brought back many good memories of that and other camping trips with Addie and Tristan.

In fact, we were talking to a retired couple from Texas that full time in their 5th wheel trailer. They were talking about going up to Yellowstone park and looking for bears, and saw none. When we were there with the kids, we could not see any bears either. So on the way back as we approached Rapid City South Dakota, we started seeing signs for an attraction called "Bear Country USA". We decided to stop and see the bears there. It was a drive through attraction.. a large fenced in field that must have had 500 bears in it. We drove the old Coachmen RV through it, we got our fill of bears.. finally.

But no bears to be seen here in the New Mexican high desert.

When we were in the Sante Fe area we saw signs at farmers markets and roadside stands advertising Hatch Green chilies. We didn't know what that was, but soon, here north of Las Cruces in the Rio Grande valley we come to Hatch: Chile Capital of the World. We decide we need to take a closer look so we get off the interstate and go through the small town with a Chile vendor on every corner...actually it didn't take a corner, just a wide spot on the shoulder of the road. Red and Green chilies everywhere. Ristras hung all over the place. (Ristras are those hanging chili bunches that you see in some of our pictures,, they are everywhere in NM). We even saw one store that had the roof covered with chilies drying in the sun.

My apologies for not getting any pictures, but I had left the camera in a bag in the Civic. Maybe we'll get back up there sometime later in the week to get some fresh Green and take a picture or two.

Speaking of Green, you have to get used to that down here. Everything comes with your choice of a Chile sauce made from either Red, Green or Christmas (Red and Green). Honest. I thought someone was pulling my leg when they told me to order a Christmas Cheesburger, but you hear that everywhere out here. Even MacDonalds here has a Green Chile Cheesburger on the menu!

Down through Hatch we turned south on NM Hwy 185 and began a trip down through the Rio Grande valley with large irrigated fields full of lettuce, chilies, and groves of Pecans and pistachios.

Soon we are in the vicinity of Las Cruces and begin to see sub divisions and stop lights.

Soon we rolled into Las Cruces, made the turn on I-10 west for a couple of miles, and then to the Hacienda RV Resort that will be our home for the next 5 days.

The Hacienda is a very nice place, set up to be a resort similar to a hotel. They have a breakfast each morning, a spa, and exercise room. They also have wireless high speed internet access.

Las Cruces is a border town, but also very much a college town. New Mexico State University is a very large school and there are lots of students everywhere. And wherever there are lots of students, there will be lots of good and reasonably priced restaurants.

A young lady named Emily checked us into the RV Resort. She is a recently graduated student from NMSU with a major in Psychology, and was looking forward to going to work at a local hospital. I asked her where is the best place in town to get a good Chile Cheeseburger. She recommended Dicks Cafe which is just down the way from the RV Resort.

We completed the check in and Emily escorted us to our parking site. After getting things set up, we go explore a little. Historic La Mesilla is just down the road less than a mile from the Hacienda RV Resort and it has a dozen or so restaurants, and shops with local and southwestern art, pottery , and gifts.

We found Dicks Cafe, a very small down home type of place that reminded me a little of gin's Cafe in WIngate. I know I came in there with the idea of a green Chile cheesburger, but the burritos and enchiladas looked great. I decided to get a roasted chicken enchiladas "smothered green" meaning covered with green Chile. I wasn't disappointed. Pam had a veggie burritto that was filled with green chilies, mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, and other veggies and cheese. I think we'll need to walk back to the RV resort.. ...matter of fact, we'll probably have to walk back to North Carolina after all these tortillas we've been eating this week.

And we have another week to go! Addie and Tristan: do us a favor and hide the bathroom scales!

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