We just returned from several days in the wonderfully cool mountains of southern New Mexico at Cloudcroft and loved almost every minute of our time there. As I previously mentioned, this was our first real boon-docking trip in our RV, and I’m happy to say that our preparations for such a trip, along with preparations for colder weather, proved to be good ones. We only ran into a couple of issues that we were able to work around, including rainy weather conditions and an unexpected issue with noisy next door neighbors, which combined, caused us to move our camp to a drier and more quiet location nearby on our third day out.
The Cloudcroft area was quite beautiful and very green, and the views to the west toward White Sands from the Tularosa Basin Overlook were stunning.
Happily, we did most things right on this trip, especially having a full tank of propane and a full tank of water when we set up camp. We also carried along extra water bottles for drinking, too. Fresh water was available nearby, but we didn’t want to have to break camp to drive to get more if we didn’t have to do so. Our house batteries worked well for the battery power we needed, as long as we ran our generator a bit during the morning and evening generator times to recharge those batteries. Cooking outside on our Coleman propane stove and our portable charcoal grill allowed us to conserve the propane in our RV’s tank, which was a good plan for us on this trip, as a big cold front blew through the area late on Friday night, and we needed more propane for the house heater than we originally thought we would need for this time of the year.
On the cooking front, our new little red percolator was a perfect addition to our camping gear, and we really enjoyed the coffee that we brewed in it so much that we may just use it going forward when we camp. We also used our Coleman oven, which worked great. Below is a picture of the cornbread that we baked outside on our first night at camp, along with our new Six Can Soup recipe that I recently discovered through Pinterest and was quite good.
The next day, as we learned that the cold front would be blowing through within a few hours, we opted to grill our remaining food items all at once for the remainder of our trip while we had our little charcoal grill fired up, and that was a good decision for sure, since it rained most of the next day and night without a break.
I must admit that I enjoyed not having television on this trip. We spent some wonderful time outdoors hiking, walking the dogs, and riding our new motorcycle around the area for the first time. During the day of non-stop rain, we were able to watch a movie on my laptop during generator time at lunch, and we just enjoyed the peace and quiet the rest of the time, opting for some walks in the gently falling rain and just relaxing.
We had cell signal for phone calls but little to no data service, so we had to use our little handheld weather radio to get updates on the unfolding weather situation. That worked fine for us, but I confess that I missed the handy weather app on my phone for more informative updates. But overall, it was good to just “unplug” from the world for a few days.
Our decision to move our camp on the third day due to weather and noisy neighbors was an unexpected development, but overall, it made the rest of our trip much more enjoyable. We are learning to just deal with these unexpected situations as they arise and go on about our fun, and I think that is a good attitude to have when camping. It is obviously a situation that is beyond our control in so many ways, and that is part of the fun and challenge of camping in a few respects – learning to adapt.
We moved to a more open area in Silver campground with fewer trees, the overflow area, which allowed us to dry out a bit better once the rain broke since we didn’t have water dripping from the trees above us. The group next door at our original spot didn’t even arrive at camp until 11 pm on day two, and they spent about two hours setting up their tent camp, talking, laughing and hammering tent stakes literally right next to our bedroom window. The next morning, they also fired up a very loud sound system, and that is what ultimately caused us to move. Personally, we think that loud radios and sound systems should be banned at places like this in national forests and some remote state parks, as literally everyone in the campground had to listen to their very loud music. Many of our fellow campers were unhappy with these folks, just as we were, since most of us were there to actually enjoy nature and have some peace and quiet for a few days. No officials in the park ever asked them to moderate their noise either. We could have remained in our original spot and been miserable or just take an hour, pack up and move, which we did. Our new spot was one of the most quiet spots we’ve ever had, so it all worked out fine for us, and we were grateful that we were able to move away from all the noise. We just wish that some rules regarding loud noise like this in these beautiful places could be implemented to make camping a more enjoyable experience for all that make the trip there. The overflow lot is lined with nice, tall pine trees, so it really was not bad at all. Our motor home is 31 feet in length, and we were fortunate to find a spot in the main campground for that first day, too. Rigs that are longer would likely just need to camp in the overflow lot anyway.
It is rather disappointing that the campgrounds here in the national forest pretty much shut down after Labor Day weekend, with the exception of this one extremely crowded campground, Silver Campground. The weather in this part of New Mexico is generally quite nice in the early fall months, and it would seem that the national forest folks that run this area would just rather not mess with campers any longer than they must do so. I’m so glad that state parks are run with a different attitude toward overnight guests. We will likely just focus on visiting state parks going forward and only plan a return trip here on some less frequent occasion. That is a shame, since this is a gorgeous place.