|Huge sign on side of the road|
welcomes you to Hobbs.
Carlsbad to Hobbs, NM
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Brrr! Hard to image that just over two weeks ago we were running the air conditioner because the trailer was 102 degrees inside! This morning it was 42 degrees after a chilly and windy night. Rick said he broke a little piece of ice off in putting away the water hose this morning. Our hands were COLD packing up! But….give thanks we are not in the mid-west! It could be a lot worse! And the winds did again die down in the middle of the night.
|Landscape as we leave|
|Fireball at the top of refinery.|
Found the beautiful white spire of the Presbyterian Church easily and parked along a side street. Quickly changed clothes, although I was grumbling because I didn’t bring any “cool weather” church clothes. They had to take me in my jeans and good windbreaker. I did put on my Sekko sandals, even though my feet were cold. My tennis shoes are shot already – tar on the toes in addition to the tie dye blobs! Not church shoes!
|The memorial cross wall at Hobbs FPC|
On out to Sanger & Seminole to find the Habitat ‘campground’. The property sits behind old batting cages and next to an old pecan orchard. Previous owners installed the RV hook-ups, but it now owned by the city. The city donates the use to Habitat Care-a-Vanners. There are 6 sites (only five usable right now). One couple from Idaho Falls will be leaving in the morning. The others, from North Dakota and San Diego, CA, will be continuing on another build session. Also a single lady volunteer, but we haven’t met her yet – she was up in Roswell for the day.
|Our new residence at Hobbs Habitown.|
All came out to greet us, and then left us alone to settle in to our spot – right in the middle! As the forecast is for temps in the mid 20’s again tonight, we decide to leave the front bed up for a couple nights until things warm up. By then we will be glad to have the space!
|First glimpse of the Habitat house we will|
be working on.
Calls to family and then an orientation drive to acquaint ourselves with the town of Hobbs! We get directions up to the build site of the two homes and the Habitat lots. Nice looking places. We will be doing some sheet-
rocking to begin with I think. On to find the Albertsons for a little
grocery restocking, then Dollar Tree for more Salad Dressing!
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Click HERE to view LOTS of pictures!
What an adventure we had today! We drove back down the highway to White's City and then back up Walnut Canyon's winding road to the top of the plateau - a windswept barren hillside of scrub bushes, cacti, and sage brush! I had forgotten how EMPTY the cavern area was!
|Dropping down the natural entrance to Carlsbad.|
We arrived at the rest area/food room at 9:40...right on time to gather for our 10am tour. Rick and I were trying to remember if we had been able to visit the King's Chamber in 1994 when we came to the caverns with Jed and Luke. Our guide said the chambers were self guided until 1993!! And I'm sure we didn't pay extra back then....we didn't have extra to pay! It was worth the cost. Our guide was Annie and she reminded me of Nicole Butler....fun, blond, and good with the crowd. Our group was fairly large.
|Early spelunkers marked their path with smudges from the|
|The Lion's Tail|
Back to the trailer for a quick change and then into 'town'....dinner and gas in the truck. We drove up and down Main Street (actually called Canal Street) and decided on the Chilis Restaurant. It was super crowded, but we were able to sit without waiting at a booth in the bar. Good meal, especially good guacamole and chips appetizer!
Relaxing now and waiting for pictures to upload on the computer. The wind is blowing dust into the trailer. Such could be our life in Hobbs for the next two weeks!
FRIDAY, March 22
Guadalupe National Park
Las Cruces NM to Carlsbad NM via Texas!!
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I can now add Texas to my list of states visited! And a 5 minute (no more than 10) trek into Central Time Zone!
We took a leisurely morning departure, knowing we only had 210 miles to travel. That opportunity allowed us to have a good chat with Pete before we left. Pete also took the mail which we still hadn't been able to deposit in a mail box! He reiterated that we are welcome back to Las Cruces Habitat ANYTIME, but reminded us that we can have a huge impact on many of the smaller builds across the country. I appreciated his comments. We didn't get a chance to say goodbye to Dyanna. Probably should have knocked on her door to see if she was up and about!
We altered our 'exit route' from Las Cruces to swing past a Big O Tire Store and have the trailer tires checked. Rick thought they were a little low. While there, I ran across the street and picked up a couple of cheap coffees at the Valero Corner Market. On our way out of town finally by 9:45am.
|The Franklin Mts. north of El Paso. We went around them rather|
than over the top!
|My first view once inside Texas. Hmmmm.|
|The vast NOTHING of this part|
|West side of the Guadalupe Mts.|
|Swinging around the southern end of mountains|
and preparing to head over the pass.
|View of mountains from national park|
It is afternoon. We plan to relax, maybe take a swim in the pool, and be ready to descend DOWN tomorrow into a cavern wonderland!! We bought tickets online last night for the Guided Tour into the King's Chamber. Glad we did as they were almost sold out for Saturday!
Addendum: Rick opted not to swim so I was the only one in the pool. I took down the divider rope and swam 50 lengths!!! That is the most I have swum in years. It felt good, but I sure am out of "swimming shape"!
THURSDAY, March 21
Habitat Work and Lunch with Jed!
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|The 'dry' house.|
|Habitat house we worked on today.|
|I rolled all the fencing|
up nice and neat!
|Rick is still smiling at this|
point in the morning!
Our job today was to help move the dirt and rocks out front to level things out in preparation for the landscape fabric, rocks, and modest plants that Habitat provides (a few shrubs and a tree). The backyard is the responsibility of the homeowner and Pete said that means nothing is usually done! Rick will attest - it was somewhat backbreaking work! Alot of digging, shoveling, raking, and wheelbarrels. I worked at first to remove the chicken wire and fabric 2' fence separating the Habitat house from the neighbors. Not difficult except some of the wood stakes were sunk 18" into the rocky soil and were hard to get out. The metal stakes with their 'fins' just below the surface were MUCH easier to get out!
|Rick and Rick finish up in the garage.|
Around 10:30 I headed inside to see if I could help Dyanna a little with the cleaning. She had finished all the windows and was working in the bathrooms, etc. I vaccumed both small bedrooms and the main bath, and then polished up the stainless steel kitchen sink. Then it was time to call it a day! We have a lunch date!
After a quick shower and change of clothes, we are on the road to Truth or Consequences at 11:45am - we have a 1pm lunch date with Jed at the Happy Belly Deli!!! (I found it on the internet and liked the name! Plus the prices were reasonable!) Smooth drive up - the predicted high winds haven't materialized too much....yet.
|Lunch date with Jed!|
|The Happy Belly Deli!|
|Jed models his new shirt.|
We stop to wash the truck and gas up before a return to Camp Habitat. Laundry time and then preparing to leave again in the morning.
WEDNESDAY, March 20
Hiking at Aguirre Springs Recreation Area & White Sands Missile Range Museum
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|A day of hiking!!!|
Ouch!! Shifting into Mountain Daylight time results in rising in the dark again at 6:15!! I was enjoying my early morning sunrises in Tucson!!! Oh well, the good news is my watch, which I set last fall on Mountain Daylight Time finally is reading correctly again!!! (I have it next to my bed so I can see what time I am getting up in the morning.)
We are going to PLAY today!!! The day we never took last fall when working in Las Cruces. We asked Pete last night at dinner for a good hike referral and he recommended the Pine Tree Loop out of Aguirre Springs Campground on the east side of the Organ Mountains. Perfect. We can 'kill two birds with one stone" as the Missile Range Museum is also on that side of the mountains.
|Approaching the east side of the Organ Mts.|
Again, I am giving Rick a break from driving for the entire time we are in Las Cruces!! We leave at 8am, gas up at Shorty's for 3.46 a gallon, grab refill coffees for .69 each (soooo much cheaper than the Pilot station in Lordsburg!) and head east on US 70 toward Alamogordo Once we cross over St. Augustine Pass (5700') we find the road to Aguirre Springs and wind our way up and down, over and around, to the campground and trailheads. The Pine Tree Loop is just over 4 miles and 1000' elevation gain. Proves to be an excellent choice! The air is cool this morning, but the sun is warming things up. Very hazy in the distance to the east, so our views of the Sacramento Mts. behind Alamogordo White Sands National Monument, etc. aren't great. Views of the Organ Mts. ARE superb, however! We identify Baylor Peak, the Rabbit Ears, and the rest of the Organ Mts. are basically 'The Needles" - I think!
|Rabbit Ears as we drive in the road|
I took pictures of new growth coming out at the base of dried clumps of plants. Hopefully I will be able to figure some of them out. Also still trying to get all the characteristics and differences of agave, yucca, and sotol figured out!
Not many on the trails this morning. We passed maybe two other groups of hikers. Such is the advantage of weekday hiking. The area is reported to be VERY busy on weekends!
I will simply post a few pictures of the hike with explanations.
|Trailhead at Aguirre Springs campground.|
|Rick heads up the trail.|
|View across to St. Augustine Pass and Mts.|
|The grasses provided some color, even though dried up.|
|We pose in front of The Needles.|
|Ponderosa Pine trees!!|
|Cholla cactus blossoms|
|Little lizard guys jumped from rock to rock all over the trail!|
|Entrance station to White Sands Missile Range|
|Sidewinder explanation from Missile Park|
|Uncle Bill's Sidewinder Missile!!!|
Enroute home we veered off at Candace's McDonalds and found the Habitat house that we framed in last October. It looked so 'open' without the Habitat work trailer parked in the front! Candace moved in just after Christmas - 3 months from concrete pad to finish!!
|Finished Habitat house|
TUESDAY, March 19
Tucson, AZ to Las Cruces, NM
274 Trailer miles
|Sunrise from Resort CHRPA|
Travel day!!! Lorene and Walter came knocking on our door at 7:30 am, wanting to be sure to say goodbye. Walter said he didn't want us "sneaking off without a goodbye!" It was rather touching!! But we did indeed get all packed up, closed up, and ready to roll by 8am. Just ready to pull out when Alison came in so we got another goodbye hug from her!
We finally 'know' Tucson roads well enough to NOT drive back out Kolb to the freeway! We want to stop at the QuikMart on Craycroft to get drinks (cheap and you can get a Mocha granita type cold coffee!), so we dropped down to Golf Links and smoothly cruised on to I-10 eastbound!!
|Typical vista from the truck windows today.|
|Organ Mts. & Las Cruces as we approach from the west.|
Visited with Maria, Dyanna and Pete briefly, and then backed the trailer into the spaces next to the laundry room and under the only real tree present. There is another fifthwheel trailer over on our side of the street, but the owners are down in Costa Rica. Pete is staying Cruces for the summer, Dyanna will be leaving at the end of the month. They are working on detail work to be ready to close on two homes on April 5. We are hoping to help out for 3 hours on Thursday morning before driving up to T&C to see Jed.
|All set up at the Habitat campground!|