Monday, October 14, 2013

Climbing to Cloudcroft

A not-untypical house in Cloudcroft, New Mexico

Yesterday we drove our car to Cloudcroft, New Mexico to scout out possible places to park ourselves and our RV for the month of June or July of next year. Down here in Las Cruces at 4000 feet above sea level the October days are pleasant, perhaps our favorite month. The heat is gone, and the relative cold will not arrive until much deeper into the fall. But summer is a different story, with 100-plus degrees not being out of the ordinary.

The sign at the edge of Cloudcroft puts its elevation at 8650 feet. At my wife's wise suggestion, we both brought light jackets. We saw no one in the small town wearing short sleeves--there was just a nip in the air, and there's a likelihood of snow in the next couple of days.

Getting to Cloudcroft means driving through the San Augustin Pass in the Organ Mountains before leveling out on the White Sands Missile Range. We stop momentarily to tell the Border Patrol (not on government shutdown) that we are US citizens, drive past the White Sands National Monument (closed, thanks to Washington), and skirt Alamogordo before climbing into the Sacramento Mountains. The drive takes just a couple of hours.

Storefront flowers in Cloudcroft, summer 2007
Cloudcroft is a pretty town, with pine and aspen trees that could almost make a body think he's in New Hampshire. My wife identified three RV parks for us to check, and all three locations were well outside of town. The first one looked satisfactory. The second looked downright shabby. The third--well, the third looked like an overgrown field with a couple of derelict rigs that may have been gathering rust for the last decade.

Well, that made our choice easy.

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