Lake Mead N.R.A.

Lake Mead N.R.A.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Dust Storms, Generators and Dirt Lots on our way to Las Cruces

March 7 and 8th 2012, Travel Day to Las Cruces.

Well, we finally made it to Las Cruces today, staying at Hacienda RV Park. We’ve stayed here in the past.
The journey was interesting. When we left Usery Mountain Regional Park, our goal was to travel 200 plus miles to Willcox, Az. The night before had been very windy and I didn’t get much sleep as I was worrying about the weather. However the next day it was calm in the morning and we made good time after departing around 8:30 pushed by a tailwind. We made it to a fuel stop at 12:30 about 30 miles from Willcox with Paul and Paula. It was cold and windy. We collectively decided that since we were making very good time, we should push on to Las Cruces which would put another 200 miles behind us for a total of approximately 400 miles. We usually don't tow much over 300 miles in one day!

Some Flowers in bloom under the foreboding skies.
So, off we went, again making good time but beginning to notice that the wind was becoming more of a crosswind instead of just pushing us and the dust was picking up as we passed into New Mexico. As we continued we saw the usual signs warning of potential dust storms. However, we soon passed two electronic signs that read “I-10 closed at Lordsburg to Las Cruces take alternate route”. Now come on...what alternate route is there for this portion of I-10 when in fact, as we later found out, the few highways in the area were being closed due to a dust storm! Paul and I discussed the matter on our walkies but with no alternatives, decided to press on noting that the NM D.O.T. radio channel was not reporting a closure. Unfortunately as we were leaving Lordsburg, we were routed off the interstate near a Pilot Truck Stop about 116 miles from our destination. Probably 50 or more 18 wheelers were crowded into the truck stop. We drove past and Paul lead us into a dirt lot with several RVs.
Our overnight parking lot among fellow RVers
We huddled for awhile and I turned on my handheld CB radio and for the first time since buying it a year ago, used it to try and get some information from the chatty foul mouthed truckers. But all they had to share was vulgar entertainment and misinformation.
As you can imagine, it was still windy and getting cooler. We had already opened up two of our slides and by 5:30 with no word on when the interstate would re-open, Paul and I both took out our Honda generators and fired them up, confident that we would be spending the night. Of course after getting situated around 6 p.m. we noticed that the interstate was again open. Well too late for us, we had already cancelled our reservation and were resigned to staying the night in the dirt lot.
We shut the generators off before going to bed. I only have one battery for my rig and thus decided not to run my furnace overnight without the generator running. I woke up around 5:30 comfortable under the covers but astonished that it was 46 degrees inside the rig and 32 outside! Maggie and Rico must have been freezing! I got up and turned on both generators, ours and Paul and Paula’s. After turning on the furnace we warmed up and after an hour or so were able to get ready to move on.

Rico bundled up for the night!
We got back on the road by 8:30 with temps still in the low 40’s. Two hours later we were pulling into Las Cruces. Too early to check in at Hacienda RV Park, we decided to get a late breakfast at the big rig friendly, Cracker Barrel. We got checked in around 11 a.m. and spent the rest of the chilly afternoon setting up and then turning in early! It only warmed to 56 degrees but it should be in the mid 70’s later in the week.
We each paid the $267 weekly rate which includes cable, WiFi and full hook-ups. Joyce and I really like Las Cruces and Paul and Paula had only spent a day or so in the area last year and wanted to spend more time.

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  1. Hey Guys,

    I see you arrived just in time for the dust storms we've been having this week.....oh joy.

    We are here in Alamogordo, so if you happen to pass by this way on your travels, pop in and say hey.

  2. Dust storms seem to be the thing for that stretch of Interstate. We got stuck at the Rest Area/Visitor Center near Lordsburg last year. But happenings like that add the the adventure!
    It seems we are all sharing in this sudden cold front that roared in. It was 78 to 48 in 60 seconds it seemed.

  3. Those dust storms are not fun. We hit one in January on I-10 in CA heading to Quartzsite. Fortunately there was a casino that we were able to stay in overnight.

    We're still finding dust in nooks an crannies around our motorhome.

  4. Cracker Barrel -- I'm jealous. I'm surprised they have those in New Mexico!