The Enchanted RV Tour

Summer’s arrival cues the call of the open road, peak season for loading up the RV and taking in as much as the windshield allows. This road trips through the Land of Enchantment will mandate keeping a camera, curiosity, and a sense of adventure close at hand.

I’ve written about New Mexico for years. It is an amazing state and Land of Enchantment really sums it up. On this enchanted RV tour our first stop to check the latest on UFOs and aliens!

UFO Museum, Roswell © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Roswell

Roswell has a zoo, an art museum, and a military academy but it is most famous for aliens. Yes, aliens, the most notably from the alleged 1947 UFO crash. 

The International UFO Museum and Research Center only costs $7 ($5 for seniors and military) and is a great way to spend a couple of hours. If you are interested in the 1947 crash or alleged sightings of UFOs and alleged abductions you won’t be disappointed. 

Main Street is full of alien sculptures that make for fun photo opportunities. There is even a UFO themed McDonalds close to the museum.

There are numerous of RV Parks and a state park located in the area. If you are traveling there in early October make sure to make your reservations early. That is when the Eastern New Mexico State Fair (September 30-October 5, 2024) is going on and the sites fill up early.

This is a fun-filled trip that can be done in a weekend. If you want to continue down Highway 70 toward Albuquerque the scenery changes from high plains desert to spectacular mountain vistas. It’s a trip worth taking.  

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If you haven’t been beamed up by aliens after your visit to Roswell, head down Hwy 70 into Ruidoso. 

World’s Largest Pistachio © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Ruidoso

This is a charming mountain town located in the Sierra Blanca Mountains and is surrounded by the Lincoln National Forest. 

It has plenty of RV parks to stay at. If you have an itch to fish, check out Riverside RV Park with access to the Rio Ruidoso River for some prime trout fishing.

The Hubbard Museum of the American West is worth the stop. It boasts a Galloping Horses sculpture garden by sculptor, Dave McGarry as well as a wealth of information about New Mexico’s history.

From Ruidoso, you can continue on U.S. 70 into Alamogordo. 

Be sure to take in Pistachioland, home of the World’s Largest Pistachio, a mammoth outdoor sculpture. 

You will see signs for it miles before you get to it. 

The $3 tour of the pistachio grove and vineyards is well worth the price of admission and the pistachio almond ice cream cone is da bomb. Get some pistachios to go.

The store offers free samples of the most amazing flavors of nuts. Can’t decide? Grab “The Works” and get a little bit of everything.

Want more on pistachios?

Alamogordo is a great place to stay if you are planning on visiting White Sands National Park, and you should definitely plan on visiting it.

White Sands National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

White Sands National Park is the perfect New Mexico RV Tour Spot

Driving into the park is one of the most amazing road trips you will ever take. It is the world’s largest gypsum dune field, 275 square miles and one of the world’s greatest natural wonders. Be sure to allow a few days to explore. 

The entrance fee is $25 and is good for 7 consecutive days, unless, of course you have the Lifetime Senior Pass then it is free. 

Take those shoes off. The sand is cool and soft and the undulating dunes make it a surreal place to view a sunrise, sunset, or moonrise, or to take a sled ride. 

There are Park Ranger Programs ranging from the nightly Sunset Strolls to Lake Lucero and Full Moon guided hikes. 

Be sure to take a sled to sled down the dunes.

If you stay at the Alamogordo KOA, they furnish sleds for free. This is one place that you will never forget. 

After a day in the park, eat some authentic Mexican food at Si Senor, located along the main road. It is delicious.

Here are some articles to help:

Carlsbad Caverns National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Carlsbad Caverns is another awesome New Mexico RV Tour location

Next on the Enchanted Land of New Mexico Tour is Carlsbad Caverns, located about 3 hours east from Alamogordo. 

You will travel through the Chihuahuan Desert and over some pretty steep mountain passes to get there.

Carlsbad and White’s City offer plenty of RV park options. 

An entrance fee of $15 is required to enter Carlsbad Cavern and provides access by elevator and hiking in. In addition, a timed entry reservation ($1) must be purchased to access Carlsbad Cavern. Time entry reservations ensure a more enjoyable experience and help to protect the cave formations. Ranger-guided tours are an additional fee and can be reserved on recreation.gov.

There are two ways to enter the caverns. The Natural Entrance Trail has a steep grade (15– 20 percent) or you can elect to take the elevator that descends 750 feet below the surface. 

The trail to the Big Room is one mile and will take you on one of the most spectacular, delight-to-the-senses walk you have ever taken. It is mindboggling.

The Big Room’s ceiling ranges from 50–250 feet high. There are about 3 miles of underground trails in the caverns. 

Just a note of caution, the trail is often wet from dripping water and can be slippery and at times uneven. The trail is wheelchair accessible to the Big Room.

You may take pictures of everything and, though you will never be able to capture the magnificence of the caverns, keep clicking away. The images will delight you long after you leave Carlsbad.

Don’t miss the bats!

Be sure to allow time to watch the nightly Bat Flight at the Bat Flight Amphitheater. 116,000 plus Brazilian free-tailed bats fluttering out of the natural entrance to the carven, spiraling upwards to gain momentum is a spectacle to behold.  A ranger gives a talk beforehand that it is both informative and entertaining.  

Put this place on your bucket list. Carlsbad Caverns should be placed on your itinerary if you are within 5-10 hour driving time. It is a natural wonder not to be missed. 

It took a while to become a National Park

When it was being considered as a possible national park in 1923, Robert Halley, a representative of the US Department of Interior, concluded in his report:

“I am wholly conscious of the feebleness of my efforts to convey in words the deeply conflicting emotions, the feeling of fear and awe, and the desire for an inspired understanding of the Divine Creator’s work which presents to the human eye such a complex aggregate of natural wonders.”  Carlsbad Caverns became a national park in 1930.

Here are some posts to help you plan your visit:

Las Cruces © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Heading to Las Cruces, another New Mexico RV Tour spot

Leaving the caverns, you will head south along the Chihuahuan Desert heading to Las Cruces

The sign as you leave White’s City reads “Next Services 130 Miles.” Be sure to fuel up as you leave.

You will travel next to the fabulous Guadalupe Mountain Range which rises up on the northern edge of the Chihuahuan Desert. 

Eventually, you will cross over into Texas and traverse the Texas Mountain Highway for about another 20 miles.   

The Cornudas New Mexico RV Tour stop

One of the most fun stops along this route is Cornudas, Texas. It was originally established in 1929 as the most direct route between and El Paso, Texas and Carlsbad, New Mexico. 

It still is that, but, what you’ll find along U.S. 62/180 now is the self-proclaimed BEST hamburger in Texas at Cornuda’s Café established 1923. 

They aren’t just telling tall tales.

Stop for home cooking and a relic of the past almost unchanged. You’ll need to be looking for it—it’s one of those places that if you blink, you’ll miss it. 

68 miles later you’ll pass through El Paso, Texas on your way to Las Cruces, New Mexico but that is a tale for another time on our Enchanted RV Tour.

Where should you go next?

Worth Pondering…

If you ever go to New Mexico, it will itch you for the rest of your life.

—Georgia O’Keeffe