After our two weeks in Tonopah we started heading east with a one night stop at the Lordsburg, NM KOA before heading up to Carlsbad to see the caverns. We have found the KOAs to be like the Holiday Inn … we can always be guaranteed a reasonable site, close to the route we want to take, though they are usually a bit pricey.
We spent a week at the Carlsbad KOA with two trips to the caverns, one to take the natural entrance hike down the 800ft to the Big Room and then a few days later (after we had recovered) we went back and took the Kings Palace guided tour and the Left-Hand Tunnel candle lantern tour. We had been in this area over 30 years ago and back then it was the first time Joanna had been in a cavern. Now she understands why most of the other caves we have been in over the years have never really impressed her. Carlsbad just blew us away all those years ago and this time it just reaffirmed how spectacular these caverns have remained.
Ansel Adams described Carlsbad Caverns as “something that should not exist in relation to human beings. Something that is as remote as the galaxy, incomprehensible as a nightmare, and beautiful in spite of everything.” We couldn’t agree more!
We picked the Carlsbad KOA as it was halfway between the caverns and Roswell, NM. Being the conspiracy-ologist that Jon is, he had been itching to get to the alien base for years. We had been greeted by the aliens at the KOA so we knew we were in the right area. We took a day and trekked up to the alien mecca visiting the International UFO Museum and walking around Roswell. The museum would have you believe that everyone in the area in 1947 saw SOMETHING which reconfirmed Jonathan’s beliefs in extraterrestrial life … Joanna is still not convinced. All in all it was a fun museum to visit and we had a great lunch in town at Big D’s Downtown Dive.
If you have been reading our previous posts you can see we have been trying different types of campgrounds ….. private commercial parks vs state parks, resorts vs KOAs, Snowbird parks vs side of highway journey type parks … all in an effort to learn what type of campgrounds we prefer. When we are trying to put the miles behind us we will pop into the KOAs or smaller parks just on the side of the highway for one night but we definitely prefer the state parks for longer stays or private parks that are situated in areas of interest. When we pulled into the Tom Sawyer RV Park we were a little unsure as it was not a very well developed park, even the office was in a small trailer. But the sites were level and nicely spaced and we are literally right on the water. What we learned was that this campground regularly floods. We have been here for a week and due to our plans changing with scheduling at the Tiffin Service Center we tried to extended our stay but it looks like the rains up north will force us to move on sooner. We have been watching the river rise from when we arrived on Feb. 17 at 22′ to it’s current level at 26′. By the time we leave on the 26th the river is expected to be at 30′ and the park floods at 31′. Right now this flood is expected to crest on Mar. 5th at 36′ which means our site will be deep underwater!
We have made plans to be out of here long before we are in danger but it has been fascinating watching the river traffic on the rising water. We have had to change plans several times but we have enjoyed our stay in Memphis
(more on that in the next post). It is great having the freedom to be able to adjust to weather, type of park, and now a flood. Next up we head to Mississippi for a week stay until we head to the FMCA Rally.