Journal/Blog‎ > ‎2012‎ > ‎

Into the Middle of Nowhere and Back Again!

posted Mar 28, 2012, 9:33 PM by Michael Schwarz   [ updated Jul 10, 2016, 1:30 AM ]

Port Aransas to Tucson

We have just arrived in Tuscon, Arizona at the Desert Trail RV Park.  The view from the front window is a giant cactus and the mountains beyond.  Very nice! We left Port Aransas Texas last Friday morning, which was a day earlier than planned, and headed to Truth Or Consequences, New Mexico (yes, that's a real town and was named after the radio/TV show). We actually stayed in Elephant Butte at the state park.  It had a very nice view of the lake and the mountains.
  We had to hump it from Port A in order to get there on Saturday afternoon as we had reservations to take the Virgin Galactic/New Mexico Spaceport tour on Sunday morning at 8:30am.  The Spaceport is mostly done and is owned by the state of New Mexico and leased by English billionaire, Richard Branson.  The estimated date of the first commercial passenger space flight is sometime next year and will cost a mere $200,000.  Many celebrities have already paid and are just waiting for the flight, Ashton Cutcher for one.  We put our name of the waiting list (click here to make your own reservations). The Spaceport is in the middle of nowhere and is basically a glorified hanger.  The inside isn't done yet but I'm sure when the "pretty" stuff is done it will be a sight to see.

While we were there we took a day trip up north to Socorro to see the VLA (Very Large Array) radio telescope.  If you saw the movie 'Contact' with Jodie Foster several years back, you saw the VLA (with some Hollywood enhancement).  There are 27 telescopes lined up in 3 rows/arms. Each one looks like a giant satelite dish.  They are all pointed in the same direction staring up at the sky.  It is very other-worldly looking.  It is also out in the middle of nowhere.  It seems like all the sights to see in New Mexico are out there!! To get an idea of scale, look for Michael in the bottom portion of the photo, right in the middle.

On the way back from the VLA we took a side trip to see the historic site of Fort Craig.   It figured big in the Civil War. It was 13 miles off the highway down a dirt road in the - you guessed it- middle of nowhere!!!

We left Elephant Butte on Tuesday and traveled a few hours to Silver city (still in New Mexico). On the way we stopped at The City of Rocks State Park. It's only a few miles down a dirt road, so technically, it's not the middle of nowhere, it's only on the outskirts.

When we arrived in Silver City, We visited the local museum and soaked up some local color then headed back to the RV park. Silver City's big claim to faime is 'The Big Ditch'. In 1912, there was a flash flood that created a 12-foot wall of water. When it was all over, in place of Main St. there was a 'Big Ditch', which is still there today. To cross Main St., there is a bridge!

Wednesday morning we packed a picnic lunch and headed 45 miles north thru the Gila National Forest to see the Gila Cliff Dwellings.  Originally we were going to drive the RV up this road and camp at the national park campground. We did some more research when we saw that the estimated travel time for the 45 miles was 2 1/2 hours.  Hairpin turns, very narrow roads, 10-12 degree inclines and declines.  Yikes!!!!!!  Both Michael and I decided to make the drive in the car.  Good call.  We hiked the pretty steep half mile up to the cliff dwellings (thank goodness for all the bike riding while in Port A) listened to and enjoyed the Park rangers 1 hour tour and then hiked back down.  What a great outing! 

All the sights we saw in New Mexico were great and we recommend them all.  The spaceport trip was a bit pricey and we would have LOVED it for half the price.

With our arrival in Tucson we have just switched out of travel/sightseeing mode into stay in one place mode.  Thank goodness because we are tired from the last 6 days of constant on the go.  We will be here for a month but there are so many things to see and do.  We will be taking one of those weeks and flying to Connecticut to visit Michael's parents (and Samantha and Lisa of course).  His parents are both 91 this year and we want to see them whenever we can.  The next time we'll be out that way will be in late September or early October on the way back from Alaska.  We'll plan on spending a month or so there before heading back to Texas.

That's all for now . . . cocktails await!