Remember that when you leave this Earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received, only what you have given, a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage. -St. Francis of Assisi

Friday, March 16, 2012

Highway 285 in New Mexico

Sunday, March 11 to Tuesday March 13, 2012

When I left Carlsbad, New Mexico on Sunday morning I continued North on Highway 285.

I passed by a sign for the Escapees Ranch in Lakewood, NM.  I didn't realize that I was this close to another Escapees park.

The next town was Artesia, it was early on a Sunday morning, so not much was going on in town.  It looked like a very nice town and there is a large refinery on the East side of Highway 285. The website showed a walking tour of the downtown district, but since the Visitors Center was closed and the town looked deserted, I decided to keep driving.

Living in Chicago and a suburb of Chicago all my life, with easy access to everything and with nothing closed on the weekends, I often forget that stores and offices do close on Sundays in small towns and also sometimes on Saturday.

After Artesia, the next major town on Hwy. 285 is Roswell.  I had programmed my GPS for the Chamber of Commerce and stopped there to pick up some brochures and maps. I asked them if it was ok to leave the RV parked in their lot while I walked around. I wanted to go next door to the Art Museum, but it did not open until 1pm on Sundays.

I picked up a brochure about the Bitter Lakes National Wildlife Refuge and that sounded very interesting.

I walked about a mile to the Roswell Main Street district and  there are several buildings with "everything alien".  There is an UFO Museum that I did not go in, and one of the shops had some type of "Outer Space Maze" that you could pay to walk through, again I refrained from this.

Roswell is a very nice town, and only a few blocks cater to of all of this alien stuff.  There is a college and also a Military Academy in Roswell.  The North side of town looks like any small suburban town, with malls and all of the franchise stores and restaurants.

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After leaving the Roswell area on Tuesday morning, I continued my trek North on Hwy. 285.

At the crossroads of Hwy. 285 and Route 66 is Clines Corner.  This is a fuel stop, trading post and diner all in one.  I stopped for fuel and a late breakfast.  The platter of food was enough for several meals for me. I looked around the shop but did not buy any souvenirs.

Highway 285 has very little traffic, there were times that I was the only vehicle on either side of the highway.  It is an eerie feeling and at the same time feels very liberating to be traveling through such a big open space alone. The scenery starts to change from desert to forest as you get closer to the Santa Fe area. 

I took this route all the way until it meets Interstate 25, near Santa Fe.  I did not go into the town of Santa Fe because I had been there before.  I stayed overnight at the Santa Fe KOA. 

I liked this KOA park, it was very wooded and smelled great with pine trees between the sites.  I prefer campgrounds to "RV Resorts".  Some of the roads and sites are tight for turning and maneuvering around, these sites were probably created for tent camping. My small rig fit fine in one of these sites. There are some newer, larger pull-through sites near the front of the park that do not have all of the trees. The owners are very nice and friendly and I even saw the owner walking his dog in the dog park/dog run area. I think that sets a good example for the campers, and shows what he expects of his customers. I stopped to talk to him because he had a "boxer" that was larger than the ones I had been around and had a darker Brindle coloring. For those without an RV, there are a lot of the little Kamping Kabins in this campground, all with very nice scenic, wooded sites. Because of the elevation, this park is not open all year, they had just reopened on March 1st, many sites were filled and there were a lot of tent campers. The days are warm and sunny but the nights are cool in the mountains.

Next......heading to Colorado.


  1. We didn't have much traffic on that road when we drove it last year. We were headed south to Roswell. Such a fun little town. And everybody is really friendly.

  2. onto the next adventure! safely!

  3. You really didn't miss anything by blowing off the Roswell museum. I love roads like this. You're going to be to CO in no time. Hopefully some fun stop along the way.

  4. Hope you'll go to the National Wildlife Refuge. I'd love to hear about it. I've not been to the area you are in. Love the "alien" pictures. Are they serious about it???

  5. Hi Teri
    Starting to catch up on reading.
    You sure have made your way around since I last read your blog.
    Loved the pictures.
    Stay safe and keep enjoying the the sites.

  6. Bitter Lake NWR has a good auto loop... you're way too early for the Dragonfly Festival, but there's that, too. And... in answer to Sherry's question... YES! They are VERY serious about the alien thing. Okay.. maybe a bit tongue in cheek... but just last year a man died in Socorro, and his obit mentioned his sightings of flying saucers and aliens in the 50's. I've never been that lucky....

  7. Haven't had Internet access for a few days and am trying to catch up. You really have been on the move.

    I have been to Roswell and enjoyed my visit there. I gave a presentation at their museum back in 2001 on the life of Lt. COl. Jesse A. Marcel who was also from Houma, Louisiana.

  8. As a frequent visitor to Roswell (family), I regret to say that I am not an admirer of Roswell. The biggest claim to fame may be touristy (aliens) but it does have another claim: the dustiest, windiest place in NM. Oh, well, it does have a famous rocket pioneer too (Goddard) and NMMI,and as a town, just about every corner seems to have a church, so I guess it is a nice town as those things go, but as for atmosphere? Not so lovely. Good thing the people are so friendly!


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