take the long way home: part three

After touring as many of the Billy the Kid sites we could stomach we decicded it was time to make camp. We checked out several great places but found one that was perfect for our needs. We spent two very relaxing days there and it was just what we needed. Even as relaxed as my pre-trip packing was, I still hadn't worked out the day to day living in this rig and knew there would be kinks to work out. If you're ever in Ruidoso please check out the R & R RV Park as it excelled our expectations. The time here allowed me to decompress, unpack what was needed, and research the road ahead. We even managed to get the AC/Heater temps worked out for a good night's sleep.

Not an F was given during our stay!
I wasn't able to make up my mind what route to take out of NM the first day. On the second I decided to let a very nice lady curator I'd met at the Billy the Kid visitors center suggest a very scenic route out of NM for me. I have to say that the first 20 minutes the drive was everything she said it was, but started to have my doubts after that.

Decisions, decisions?
As badly I wanted to go back based on what I was now seeing, I pressed on. I was not dissappointed in the least bit despite how lifeless the route had become. It wasn't until I drove through something called the Malpais Valley of Fires that I realized she'd sent me somewhere special. The picture below only captures a fraction of what's really there, but you should see it for yourself time permitting.

Quick, climb on something because the ground is lava!

The rest of the drive out was boring up into Soccorro where I stopped for gas. It was there where I had a shocking discovery. My trailer hitch was just above the ball and not fully over it as I'd first set it in Ruidoso. I got insanely lucky that it never fully slipped off and something worse had happened. It was from this point forward that the vistas only got better and better.

I regret nothing!

Along the way I kept on seeing signs for something I didn't have clue one what it was about until I was almost on top of. It was about five miles out of my way despite being able to see it all each inch of every mile. This was one of the best surprises of my trip so far.

That's what she said!
The gift shop was closed since I arrived after 4pm but the nice thing is the tours are all self guided there. We reached the tenth part of the tour when I felt the beagle and I was being closely watched. I stopped, looked around, and almost missed him. Almost!

Close up of Uncle Buck.
This could've been a major distaster had the beagle and I kept marching onto the array without notice. Buck's can and will charge you if they feel you're encroaching on their territorry.

Actual distance when I spotted Uncle Buck.

As stupid as this may sound. We moved slowly closer, but I stopped several times to stomp my feet and snort loudly. I wasn't sure if this would work because I couldn't for the life of me remember what freaking kind of animal this was. I did what I did only because it's kind of a common bull type behavior. He got up and headed towards the open desert when we got within about 10 feet. By the looks of his left antler I could tell he had lost a couple of fights and wasn't in the mood to lose another. We were luck he did what he did because I would not have hesitated to pick up and throw the beagle at him while I ran like the wind in the other direction. I am all that is man!

These things are huge. The picture doesn't do it justice but trust me when I say they are HUGE in person. I walked away from them understanding less than I thought I knew about them, but you should still see them in person when you get a chance. 

The rest of the drive was extremely pretty but uneventful. I decided to stop in a small town that was about 3/4 of the way planned and I didn't regret it. I had found the RV Park almost by accident and didn't realize that something wasn't quite right until after I had contacted the park managers to secure a spot for the night. Luckily they not only accommodated me, despite my limitation, but went the extra mile to help make the stay a touch more affordable. 

You must be this old to ride!
This is what I saw the night before and then told the park managers I might be a smidge too young for this ride. They informed me that there's a rule with parks like this in AZ that if they're at 80% occupancy of those who are 55+ and over ... they can and will take anyone of any age. The park is resort class and well worth the stay, even if only for one night! If you happen to stay Please say Hi to Ted and Karin for me.

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