Places we camped

Love these little pavilion tables.

Love these little pavilion tables.

After camping several ways for many years, we have found camping to be somewhat different this time in New Mexico. We once camped in a tent, small, uncomfortable and rather unsophisticated enough to be a problem. That was when we were very much younger and our beginning camping experiences were a challenge. I soon found that skimpy, sexy PJ’s had no place in the mountains camping experience and that clearing a place of rocks for your tent was not just a suggestion.

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When our son was a teenager, I remember tenting again. This time was better but, we still were not veterans and so had a rather soggy experience. The last tenting experience was in a huge army type tent with our son all grown up and his own family. We had all the conveniences you could have in the mountains. While this was by far the best tent camping experience, it did seem like we were moving an army with all their supplies but, we had quite a degree of comfort for our setting. In the past, most camping we did by ourselves was in a camper, most recently in small motor homes . When camping in the east and Midwest, we usually were in a shaded, very private spot, where we basically carefully backed into a sectioned off wooded area. We liked the privacy and the coolness. It always felt very natural and secure. Since we started on this major life change, we have been in several state parks. These are always simple to get parked into because for the most part they are just ‘pull- thrus.’ No real jockeying skill is necessary. They are much less secluded and you are part of a more open camping style that is just a bit less private. While still in Colorado, we stayed at the Lathrop State Park in Walsenburg and found the place quiet and restful. It is a great place to unwind and get centered. It is supposed to be excellent fishing as well.

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Since being in New Mexico, the camping experience is really different as there are less grassy spots and even fewer trees and more desert terrain dotted with cactus. The landscape is less exciting along the highway till you see the beauty of the never ending skies and the exquisite mountains. Sand and rock is less inviting and dogs cannot just wonder wherever for fear of them picking up painful cactus needles in their paws. So checking doggy feet, should be done whenever they venture off your campsite. In spite of these few issues and the nonstop wind for a good part of many days, New Mexico really does have its charms.

2010-03-21 23.48.35 (500x250)This state seems full of warm, friendly people. The majority of those we came in contact with were very welcoming. From the smiling greeter at Denny’s in Albuquerque wishing us a Happy Easter to the great campground and state park hosts going out of their way to make life easier and our camping experience more pleasant. We stayed in RV parks such as the Enchanted Trails RV Park and Trading Post in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The season has not yet really got going, so in some cases there are not as many services and amenities as there will be later on. Our visit there was short, but we found the whole park, bathrooms and showers to be clean and the office very helpful. In fact, before we even became an official guest, they helped us work out our dilemma of attending an Easter service nearby since we were not pulling a ‘toad’ at this point. We thank them for their help. Check them out for a great camping experience. They even gave us a better than usual Good Sam discount. Call 1-800-326-6317.

2010-03-25 06.40.40Another highlight of our early trip was when we found ourselves in a very small camping area, with a no frills kind of campground. Just a place to simply pull in and sleep but, it suited us just fine. Located in Springer, New Mexico you will find The Old Santa Fe Trail RV Park. It is pretty small, but they have themselves a jewel in the elderly lady who runs the joint. She said they had Wi-Fi and tried to help us get it connected. Somehow we never could connect and we checked a second time to get more info. We are not totally without Internet skills but, also not as technologically savvy in all areas as we would like to be. We just figured since it was getting Wi-Fi was a problem at times, we just screwed up. We were soon ready to leave and here comes this little lady hurrying over to our motorhome to offer us apologies because she disappointed guests and also wanted to buy us breakfast down at the truck stop which had working Wi-Fi to make amends. We left with just the apologies and assured her she did nothing wrong. What a lovely gesture though, wish I got her name. To me this proves that customer service is not dead. You might enjoy the super sensible rates and simple hospitality. You can find this campground in Springer, New Mexico and right off Interstate 25.

2010-03-21 23.50.23 (219x500)We met yet another most accommodating and informative host at Caballo Lake State Park. This gentleman, named Jim made you feel so welcome you felt like family. It was from this man that we learned that the biggest camping weekend in New Mexico is Easter and this very park had 20,000 guests the past weekend. One of his volunteers, Pam, also was super friendly, always an asset in a hospitality position. This is a beautiful park that has a breathtaking vista of lake and mountains. It is another clean, quiet place to relax and enjoy the lake and its outstanding array of birds. I really liked the arrangement as each site has a wonderful pavilion over the picnic table for privacy and relief from the heat. The night sky is beautiful and the pavilion the perfect place to enjoy the starry show and a hot steaming cup of tea or coffee. You really must check this one out and you can reserve a space by calling 877-664-7787. While on the subject of customer service, I must share a story about a place that evidentially does not value even its prospective customers. We called to find out about the Caballo Lake RV Park, not the state park. We are unfamiliar with the practice of the electric used being separate from your regular site fee and wanted more info. We were basically told if we were so worried about the rates, maybe we should not come there. Obviously, she is not a budgeter. She also was not happy that our motor home was older and never even saw it. We decided we would not feel welcome there and decided not to stay there. I’m so glad because then we found the state park and the friendly host and office staff. For more info call the state park reservation number for New Mexico at 877-664-7787.

All photos from Caballo Lake State Park and surrounding area.

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