After Cleburne State Park, we headed west to New Mexico. We had a reservation at Elephant Butte State Park in two days and no reservations for an open night in between. So we meandered on and found a lovely State Park right before the fascinating city of Roswell. It was a good stopping point in our travel plans. Upon entering the park, we saw a beautiful lake and learned that there were several lakes which were formed from sink holes. We found a pull through campsite open, which had water and electric and a great view of one of the lakes. The sites were all large and clean. It would have been a great place to stay for awhile but that wasn’t in our plans. We did, however, leave a little bit of time to wander into Roswell the next morning to explore and get fuel in the truck.
We had passed through Roswell a few years earlier and enjoyed how decked out it was with green aliens and outer space themes. It is known for it’s UFO sighting incident and has a museum dedicated to that theme (http://www.roswellufomuseum.com). Unfortunately, there wasn’t as much outdoor decoration at this time but we still got a few fun photos. We did not go to the UFO museum but instead went to the Roswell Museum and Art Center located directly across the street from the visitor center. It was very diverse: informative of it’s historical culture; beautiful art (including a large collection of Peter Hurd and a number of Henriette Wyeth paintings), as well as a big display on the early rocket experiments of Robert Goddard who did a lot of his work in that area. It was a free museum and well worth visiting. We had a lovely morning in Roswell but then it was time to move on.
We hit the road and headed toward Elephant Butte Lake State Park where we had reservations. We had a little bit of rough weather and got to the State Park at dusk. Unfortunately, there had been no signs for the campground that we were registered in, and it took some figuring out, but we had to backtrack about 10 miles to get to it. It was the South Monticello campground loop. It was late, I was hungry and frustrated, but we found our site and settled in nicely.
The campground was very isolated with few campers there. Many of the sites (including ours) had a stunning view of the reservoir with rock walls and mountains in the distance. It was peaceful and beautiful. All was good until I had a visitor. I opened the door to step out in hopes of sitting out in our comfy camp chairs to admire the view but didn’t get very far. From under the trailer and beneath the steps slithered a very large snake.
I shouted to the women in the next campsite that he was coming their way and they hurriedly got on top of the picnic table. We watched the snake as he hovered just outside of and between our campsites. The women must have called the ranger who after a long period of time arrived to say that the snake was not in the campsite so he was going to leave him alone. And based upon our photos, he identified it as a bull snake and not a rattler. The difference is that the bull snake may still bite you but he is not venomous. Needless to say, I was constantly on the look out for snakes after that and did not spend as much time as I might’ve outside.
We did go into the nearest big city, Truth or Consequences, to visit the Geronomo Springs Museum. It was small but had nice historical and cultural exhibits of the area. It was a nominal fee of $5.00 and was enjoyable to visit.
Opa was a bit under the weather, and so we needed to spend some extra chill time before moving on. Since no one had reserved our site after us, we were able to extend our visit an extra day as walk – ins. It was a great place to stay, enjoy the view and relax!