We were through this area a couple years ago and stayed at the Escapees “North Ranch” RV Park at Lakewood, NM and took the opportunity to visit Carlsbad Caverns, but our schedule at that time didn’t allow for a trip to Roswell.
So this time (after ABQ Balloon Fiesta and RV rallies at Wellington and Brownwood, TX) we decided to take in Roswell and it’s surroundings for a couple of days.
We “dry camped” just about 12 miles due east of Roswell at Bottomless Lakes State Park. Dry camping means there are no hook-ups for electricity or water (fresh or waste). We bring along our own electricity and water so dry camping for a week or so is not a problem for us.
When we pulled in and reviewed the sites available, we decided to camp at “The Devil’s Inkwell”. We backed the coach into a nice wide spot where we could take a walk up the hill and look down into the “inkwell” and over our site to the western setting sun. A beautiful and quiet spot.
The “Bottomless Lakes” are really giant sinkholes. There are a number of them in the park ranging from 17′ to about 90′ deep. The water is crystal clear and while some of the water is great for aquatic life, some of the other lakes are too high in saline (salt water) for anything to live there.
After our first night there, we moved our rig from Devil’s Inkwell over to Lea Lake Day Use area. This gave us a great view of the lake and although there were other campers in the area, no one was closer than a couple hundred feet.
And of course, who could visit the Roswell area without trying to connect with an alien or two?
We ended our 2nd evening with a “night out” to the Cattle Baron Restaurant. We split a Teriyaki Kabob and each enjoyed their salad bar. What a great meal!
We could’ve just driven on westward toward our final destination, but being this close we figured we just had to stop and see the sights at Roswell. It was worth the time to see not just the alien novelties, but the park was beautiful and restful.
UPDATE: It’s October 30th, 2018. We left Albuquerque on Oct 9th, attended the RV Nomads Rally in Wellington, TX followed by the Texas Country Air(stream) Rally in Brownwood, TX then to Lake Colorado City State Park (TX) and now we are at Bottomless Lake State Park at Roswell, NM for a couple nights. We are on our way to our winter home at Rover’s Roost RV Park (Casa Grande, AZ)
We just crossed the two year mark as full-time RV’ers. We’ve sold our Sticks n Bricks house in Ohio and lived virtually rent-free by Workamping our way around the country.
As Workampers, we stay at RV parks, campgrounds, and other places for free in exchange for (generally) about 12-20 hours per week working at the park or campground.
Very often parks and campgrounds want to bring on Workampers for the entire season .. usually 5 or 6 month stints.
We started the full-time RV lifestyle to see the country and soon realized that if we only move twice a year … or go back to the same place twice … then we’ll be about 130 years old by the time we see all the places we want to go!
As a result, we’ve been looking for shorter term gigs. That’s how we came to volunteer at Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (AIBF). We met our new good friends Matt and Sherry last winter at the Escapees RV Club “Rainbows End” park in Livingston, TX while we were all Workamping there.
Matt and Sherry shared with us their experiences the previous fall working at the AIBF and it sounded exciting to us, so we reached out to the contact they gave us and here we are!
We arrived a full 3 weeks before the start of Fiesta, and we spent that time; chalking boundaries of all the 1600 RV parking spaces, stringing flag lines around the perimeter lines of each of the 40 or so parking areas, setting up the volunteer break tent with tables, chairs, fridge and freezer, and getting the check-in booth all ready to greet and register the soon- to-be arriving RV’ers.
And then the fun begins!
Kathy worked 6 hour shifts at the check-in booth as RV’s pulled in to the lot (room for 1600 rigs). There are 3 windows at the booth so she worked with two other ladies each shift. They checked in the arrivals and gave them their parking passes and each rig also received a “goody bag” with some small gifts and lots of printed information about the event and the grounds.
My primary responsibility was to stand at the head of the line and greet RV’ers pulling up, ask them to check-in at the booth, and then once they had their parking credentials, point them in the direction of a “parker” driving a golf cart who would then take them to their spot.
Our work day started at 7:30 am when we all met in the volunteer tent and had a short meeting about what size crowd we could expect that day. Since everyone had reservations, we knew what groups were coming in and which ones were leaving on any given day.
Although some stayed for the entire 10 day event, many came just for one or the other of the weekends.
Rigs would be lined up in the drive from the night before and we parked all day until closing at 7:00 pm. Any arrivals after that time dry camped in the entrance drive until the next morning.
Although we worked a LOT of hours during the 10 day Fiesta, we did have an opportunity (3 times) to take the shuttle bus across Alameda Avenue to the launch field to see the balloons. We went once in the morning to see the daily “Mass Ascension” and twice in the evening to see the “Glowdeo”. It was also great to be able to see the balloons land right in our RV parking lot occasionally!
Our 450 hp 6 cyl diesel power generator for the volunteers
The “Poop Team” working with the pump truck to drain our waste tanks (twice weekly)
Our new friends Ron and Judy (from MO)
Our new friends Bill & Sam (from WI)
One of our dinners out with friends
Just thought this was a great shot!
We say all sorts of rigs come in
This one’s for sale ($40k)
Riding the shuttle bus to the launch field
My mother had this car (64 Comet Caliente) only hers was dark purple)
Karmann Ghia (VW) also for sale
Balloons at Mass Ascension
Early morning Mass Ascension
Vincent Van Gogh
Even more balloons
Our fearless leader Mike (also known as Pablo) and one of our hard working volunteer buddies Dieter
The nightime Glowdeo
Another meal with friends
Our leader Mike (Pablo) and his wife Mairiene
All in all, it was a great event and a once in a lifetime experience. Kathy and I spent just about a month from mid-September to mid-October and although we worked long hours many days, it was great making new friends, seeing new sights, tasting new/different foods, and being part of the AIBF experience.
They always need volunteers (Navigators) and if you think you would like to volunteer and in turn receive; free RV site, free utilities, free food, tickets to all events, and a really nice jacket … then early in the year, go to this link. Don’t be discouraged if the web site still shows last years info, just wait a few weeks and try again. In 2018 the volunteer web application didn’t start until May.
There you can fill out the application. They need about 1100 volunteers to make this event work. Some volunteers are golf cart shuttle drivers, some are guest info folks, some work on the launch field, and a host of other volunteer positions are available. If you have an RV and you know you want to be a “parker” then indicate that on the application. They need and should have about 35-50 volunteer parkers.
Although we had a great time, we won’t be going back. Kathy and I made the decision to live the full-time RV lifestyle so that we could “see the country” and we’re working toward that goal. If we go back to the same place twice, it’s just gonna take that much longer to see all that there is to see … and there’s a LOT out there!
While we worked at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (AIBF) in the fall of 2018, we were able to take some time to see some of the local sights.
We took a drive up to Sandia Crest (that we could see from where our coach was parked).
The drive along the winding curvy road along the edge of the mountain to the peak (crest) at 10,760 feet came to a dead end where there was ample parking area, a coffee and gift shop, and a forest of cell and radio towers.
Now the trip to the peak and the view from the top was great … ooh I forgot to mention … we were there with our new good friends from Wild Rose, Wisconsin … Bill and Jackie. We really enjoyed their company and their friendship while in ABQ and we look forward to seeing them again yet this winter in Arizona – perhaps while we are in Quartzite for the “Big Tent” RV Show.
On our way back down from the peak, we were told by others that we just had to stop and check out Tinkertown. And are we glad we did. You can drive right by it if you’re not careful. There’s one small hand painted sign along the road side “Tinkertown 500′ ahead” and if you’re not really looking for it, you’ll zip on by.
Tinkertown is one of those places that some like to call “eclectic with a touch of whimsy” – I think it’s really eclectic with a boatload of whimsy.
So what is Tinkertown? Well, this clip from their web site says it best;
“It took Ross Ward over 40 years to carve, collect, and lovingly construct what is now Tinkertown Museum. His miniature wood-carved figures were first part of a traveling exhibit, driven to county fairs and carnivals in the 1960s and ’70s. Today over 50,000 glass bottles form rambling walls that surround a 22-room museum. Wagon wheels, old fashioned store fronts, and wacky western memorabilia make Tinkertown’s exterior as much as a museum as the wonders within.
Inside, the magic of animation takes over. The inhabitants of a raucous little western town animate to hilarious life. Under the big top, diminutive circus performers challenge tigers and defy gravity while the Fat Lady fans herself and a polar bear teeters and totters.
Throughout, eccentric collections of Americana (wedding cake couples, antique tools, bullet pencils and much, much more) fill Tinkertown’s winding hallways. Otto the one-man-band and Esmerelda, the Fortune Teller, need only a quarter to play a tune or predict your future. Through a doorway and across a ramp waits a big-sized surprise: a 35′ antique wooden sailboat that braved a 10 year voyage around the world.”
Here are some pictures that I took as we traveled through the “museum” constantly fascinated by not only the craftsmanship of Ross Ward, but the imagination he must’ve had to come up with all this. Absolutely amazing. Read on.
As always, you can click on any of the individual pictures to see a larger image. And be sure to click on the images of the sailboat the “Theodora R” and the map on the wall of the 10,000 mile voyage – fascinating.
To learn more about this fascinating museum and the fascinating man who had the vision and the talent, visit their web site at http://tinkertown.com/
Just one more example of all the interesting places to see in this great country of ours.
Thanks for riding along .. until later .. take care of yourselves
herbnkathy – Currently wintering at Rover’s Roost RV Park in Casa Grande, AZ
Many of you have been following this blog and/or our You Tube channel at herbnkathyrv and for that we say “Thank You“. It’s gratifying for us to know that you care enough to “c’mon along” for the ride and even better when you leave a comment either here at the bottom of any of our blog posts or in the comments area on You Tube (just below the video).
So many of you are curious as to where we’re going next and what we’ll be up to, so here’s the scoop;
Here is the link to Google Maps showing our route with overnight stops along the way from Baldwin, Michigan to Balloon Fiesta grounds at Albuquerque, NM. (We’ll be there from Sept 17th through Oct 14th when the Fiesta ends.)
We’ll be leaving here (Michigan) on Wed Sept 12th, staying in the driveways of friends we haven’t met yet on 3 nights (thanks to BoondockersWelcome.com), one night in a Cracker Barrel parking lot, and the final night at a “regular” campground at Amarillo, TX. By staying in a “regular” campground the final night, we’ll be able to dump our waste tanks and take on 70 gallons of fresh water before we move on the next day to the Fiesta grounds.
If you care to, you can track our progress on the road real-time by following this link at any time. This web page is linked to our GPS and tracks our location every 5 minutes or so. You can plug in a recent start date and end date if you like so you don’t see everything that’s been recorded over the past few months.
Here’s our ITINERARY
Sept 17th to Oct 14th – Working at ABQ Balloon Fiesta
Oct 18th to Oct 22nd – EPIC Nomads Movie Premiere Rally – Wellington, TX
Oct 25th to Oct 28th – Airstream “Texas Air” Rally – Brownwood, TX
Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb – We’ll have Rover’s Roost RV Park at Casa Grande, AZ as our home base, but we’ll be traveling;
Nov 18th to Nov 24th – Escapees Club Boomers Group Thanksgiving Rally at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, CA.
Jan 13th to Jan 18th – Boomerville Rally at Quartzite, AZ
We’ll also take other excursion trips from Rover’s Roost as time and weather permits to see points of interest, museums, parks, hilltops and valleys.
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We drove to Benson, AZ Monday, got in about 4pm or so, had dinner in, went for our 2 mile walk around the park and then sat out after dark and gazed at the stars. I took a pix of the Big Dipper, but it was with my “smart” phone so I don’t know if you can see it or not.
I guess if you look real carefully you can see the four corners, but not the handle.
Another beautiful desert sunrise Tuesday morning and we then drove 6+ hours to make it to Lakewood, NM through an 8000′ pass just east of Alamogordo, NM. It was a beautiful drive and the coach behaved well, even towing the car uphill.
Our coach in the morning at Benson
We were “Dry Camping” (no utilities)
Looking down the row
It’s Tuesday night, Kathy’s warming up leftover enchiladas (yum) and we’re looking forward to the sunrise across the desert in the morning.
I’ll post more tomorrow after our day trip to Roswell.