Saturday, November 17, 2012

Ursula Leaves the State, Day 2: Saturday, November 17

We awoke and set out early, only to discover that neither the headlights nor the turn signals were working. Great. We knew what the rest of the day would be spent on—RV repairs! But first, we had to journey through scenic El Paso and make it to Las Cruces, our first holiday destination.
Our little squirrel is intimidated by El Paso

Hooray, we finally got out of Texas!

That involved a lot of traffic and a bit of a scare when the cell phones welcomed us to Mexico—guess we were closer to Mexican towers than US ones for a bit! There were lots of signs of our new border security—many new checkpoints that all vehicles had to go through.

After some challenging construction ups and downs, we found the Las Cruces Enterprise car rental place, where we picked up a bland silver Chevy Malibu, to be our touring vehicle—a car is much less harrowing on mountains, and with a car we could leave Ursula all set up at each stop. I had been sure to rent a full sized vehicle to make it easier for Lee to get in and out, with his bad knees, but this car was still hard on him. Oh well.
Before the Malibu got covered in dust from various scenic locales
Once we had the Malibu, it was time to find our first RV Park. I had made reservations at a KOA campground that had nice photos on its website. And since we were on vacation I splurged and got the deluxe campsite. One look at the site, and we were pretty sure we wanted to stay three nights rather than two.
The campsite at KOA, with nice covered patio and pine trees
Patio with Ursula re-parking
The view was a striking panorama of Las Cruces below the hill we were on, and the mountains beyond it. And next to us the long-term folks had set up really nice bird feeders, so we could sit on the patio and decide whether to look at birds or mountains.

This cool feeder is just a huge lump of bird seed.

Warblers and house finches in action. Not sure what that top bird is up to.

We also had some nice pine trees and very pretty landscaping. It also had a gas grill, which would have been nice if we had a chance to cook.
Trail view from the KOA RV park
These crystals were in one of the landscaping rocks
Once we got set up, we called my closest friend from grad school, Steve H., and he came up to see the site and discuss our plans. We chatted while Lee called a mobile RV repair guy that the KOA folks recommended. 
View from campsite

Scenic Steve-n-Suna
Steve and I sorta tried to go to lunch, then decided it was too confusing, and he went on back home to get ready for the evening. The RV guy was really nice and competent. He determined our problem was that our three smaller batteries had gotten too old and dried out. Oops, must add water to batteries. He and Lee went off and got batteries. Wow, did Ursula’s slides work better with fresh batteries! The bedroom slide went all the way out, and we could use the drawers! Repair Guy also determined that the power issues must have blown a fuse and messed up the lights. The headlights came back, but unfortunately, we could never find the fuse for the blinkers. They looked all over the danged RV, too. Very frustrating! We will have to get that fixed when we get home.

The view from the RV park at night
We thought that the propane issue was fixed, because we were able to light the stove. HA. The heater did not make any warmth that night! Good thing it was one of the warmer nights of the trip.

But at least this round of repairs would get us through the trip, and we could start having fun. Steve had gotten us tickets to the New Mexico State University production of Rocky Horror Picture Show, where he was playing piano in the band. 
Rocky Horror Time!
He came and picked us up, and we were joined by his spouse, Guy, and his rather delicate cousin, L. The show was NOT to her taste, and I am still not sure why he encouraged her to go—but then he was always one for encouraging me to test my own limits (we have been friends 32 years, so a lot of testing to do). In any case, the show was a real hoot, and the rest of us just loved it. Some of the acting was a bit uneven, and the lead character had some pitch issues that drove me nuts (the curse of the pitch-focused singer, I guess—I am sure they were all better than me at singing and dancing at the same time. And of parading around mostly naked! The near-naked doctor and the tiny perfectly formed gymnast Rocky were most enjoyable! (Here is where I sheepishly admit that, despite having a roommate who went weekly in college, I had never seen the movie or play before.) Other than sound/microphone issues, the production was really good. 

Thus began the fun part of the trip! We were pretty dead when we got home, since we were still on Central Time, so we went to bed, resolving to get portable heaters in the morning

Lesson Learned (later): Sometimes the repair dude doesn't know everything. We did eventually find the propane switch. Still no clue about the blinkers.


  1. The problem with the car isn't my knees. It's that the steering wheel clears my legs by less than an inch when I'm seated and my legs need to be about five inches shorter to be able to get in and out of the car without being a contortionist, even with the seat all the way back. Full sized cars these days aren't. They are all made for short people.

  2. Having had to rent a lot of cars in the last couple of years, I can agree with Lee. I looked at my "full size" rental last weekend and laughed. Then I pointed to my Buick LeSabre and said "THAT'S a full sized car!". lol. Next time, go for the Jeeps. Much more comfortable!