New Mexico magic and Arizona wonders

After our few days in Carlsbad, we continued toward our destination of Tuscon. Along the way, we discovered New Mexico magic and Arizona wonders. I am forever amazed by the beauty we find every single day in our travels.

White Sands National Park

New Mexico magic and Arizona wonders

We drove by White Sands National Park during this trip without stopping, but we have been here several times. It is one of those things you should not miss if you are traveling in this part of the world. White dunes, as far as you can see!

The white dunes cover approximately 275 total square miles, but that is less than half is part of the National Park. The military owns a large part of the dunes that are not accessible to the public.

Cloudcroft, NM

Cloudcroft is a charming small community in the mountains. Driving through here gave us our first mountain driving experience in the RV. Steve was all attention, but we had an easy, smooth drive.

Cloudcroft is a popular and well-known winter skiing and snow sport destination and a perfect summer vacation destination. Mountain streams, hiking, wildlife are abundant in the Cloudcroft area. We have considered relocating here even.

Las Cruces

Rio Grande Winery

5321 N Highway 28
Las Cruces, New Mexico

New Mexico magic and Arizona wonders

After a leisurely day of driving, we stopped for the night at our Harvest Host reservation, the very welcoming and hospitable Rio Grande Winery in Las Cruces. As we pulled up, we could hear beautiful jazz and smell food cooking on a grill. What a terrific choice this was!

New Mexico magic and Arizona wonders

A perfect evening!

We enjoyed a tasting of their excellent wines, and I selected one I liked. Steve chose a craft beer, and we joined other guests on the beautiful outdoor patio with a gorgeous view of the mountains. We listened to jazz and ate hatch burgers cooked on the outdoor grill. Dog friendly as you can see!

Look at the murals painted on the water towers in Las Cruces!


New Mexico magic and Arizona wonders

This quaint little town, also called La Mesilla and Old Mesilla, is just a few miles south of Las Cruces. It has a beautiful plaza sought out by tourists because of its incredible restaurants, gift shops, museums, and art galleries.

In addition to shops and restaurants, the town has a great history. It briefly served as the Confederate Arizona Territory capital. The Overland Butterfield Stage went through here at one time and was once home to Billy the Kid.

New Mexico magic and Arizona wonders

This beautiful church, Basilica San Albino Catholic Church, is one of the oldest churches in this region.

La Posta de Mesilla

2410 Calle De San Albino
Mesilla, NM 88046

New Mexico magic and Arizona wonders

We ended up in Mesilla because my brother recommended this restaurant. We are thrilled we followed his recommendation. La Posta de Mesilla is a fantastic restaurant and is well-known throughout this area.

New Mexico magic and Arizona wonders

The food was excellent; the décor is so colorful and vibrant looking. This restaurant also has a colorful history. At one time, the 200-year-old building was a hotel frequented by passengers on the Butterfield Stagecoach Line.

A large aviary containing parrots, macaws, toucans, and cockatiels greets guests as they enter the restaurant. A gift shop and a small jewelry store with several glass cases of unique jewelry are separate rooms located in the building. La Posta de Mesilla is a fabulous restaurant.

Roadrunner – The state bird of New Mexico

I-10, Las Cruces, NM

New Mexico magic and Arizona wonders

This spectacular bird, perched on a rock at a highway rest area on I-10 South, is between mile markers 134 and 135 if you’re looking for it. Olin Calk created this sculpture from recycled materials in 1993. It was moved to the rest area from its original home, the city landfill, in 2001.

We stopped here to take a look and a few pictures as we headed toward Arizona.

Willcox, AZ

We left New Mexico behind and traveled into Arizona and our next overnight stop at a comfortable BoondockersWelcome location outside Willcox, Arizona. We parked the RV near our hosts’ home in an open area with a full view of the mountains.

Willcox is a small town less than 100 miles from Tuscon. We saw a museum sign and, curious, pulled into town to take a look. The Chiricahua Regional Museum, unfortunately, was not open. It looked inviting, but we will save it for another day, another trip. Have any of you guys visited here?

Big Tex BBQ – Dining Car Restaurant

We did make a few other fun discoveries in Willcox, however. The Dining Car Restaurant, built inside a railcar, is just across the street from the museum, and we had a great barbeque lunch here.

Rex Allen Museum

150 N. Railroad Ave.
Willcox, AZ 85643

New Mexico magic and Arizona wonders

I confess that I did not recognize the name Rex Allen until we stepped inside this museum. He is the “Arizona Cowboy!” You may remember his songs also. Crying in the Chapel? Tiny Bubbles? He recorded many hit country songs and was a star in many country western movies.

The museum in Willcox displays memorabilia from Rex Allen’s very successful and long career in radio and movies from the early 50s through the 70s. His son, Rex Allen, Jr., followed in his father’s footsteps and became a successful entertainer as well.

New Mexico magic and Arizona wonders

Bronze statue of Rex Allen and burial site of his beloved horse, KoKo, at the statue’s foot.

Willcox Cemetery

New Mexico magic and Arizona wonders

Wyatt Earp’s youngest brother, Warren Baxter Earp, is buried at this cemetery, so we decided to drive by on our way out of town. This little adventure turned out to be almost as hair-raising as the tire lug nut failure we had in Houston some time ago. See What could possibly go wrong.

New Mexico magic and Arizona wonders

We found the cemetery quickly enough, down a bumpy and rough dirt road. We wandered through the cemetery a bit and found the Earp gravestone. The “situation” occurred when the navigator (me) gave a wrong turn instruction.

New Mexico magic and Arizona wonders

We ended up down a narrow, rarely used rutted, very rough dirt road that led to a big ravine-looking dip that looked as if it flooded often. It was dry that day but far too drastic and narrow to travel across in an RV with a Jeep attached behind it.

We took another fork in the road and ended up engulfed by mesquite trees on a road that led to we had no idea where. Steve got out of the RV, took his machete (I had no idea he traveled with a machete!), and walked down the road to see where it led.

New Mexico magic and Arizona wonders

That’s when I saw the three wild (?) dogs wandering ahead of him. Fortunately, the dogs did not attack him, and he did not have to bushwhack our way out of the mesquite jungle. Instead, he found a way through OFF the road.

New Mexico magic and Arizona wonders

He drove out into the field to keep the RV from being scratched to pieces by the trees, and we escaped back to civilization. It was a long 45-minute ordeal, though, in rattlesnake, wild dog, wilderness desert country. Good times!

I’ll end this story with that bit of adventure. Just think, we could still be out there on that middle of nowhere dirt road, living off the grid in our RV house, waiting for AAA to find us. Thank goodness Steve found us a way out. On to Tuscon now.

New Mexico magic and Arizona wonders

3 thoughts on “New Mexico magic and Arizona wonders

  1. Pingback: What an amazing two month long RV adventure | Always Want To Go
  2. I’ll be in Arizona next month – Sedona – for Thanksgiving and my birthday. I’ve never been there, but I understand the scenery is breathtaking. Too bad we couldn’t have coordinated our Arizona trips!

    1. What fun you will have! We’ve never been to Sedona, but it’s on our giant list of places to go. We loved what we did see in Arizona and will return soon.

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