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Desert Highway

Bye New Mexico!

We’ve now left New Mexico. I have a feeling that Americans feel like New Mexico is a really boring place. But it was good to us. It was pretty, a damn good looking state. We’ve been staying in state parks recently. They’re cheap, have few amenities but are clean and there are less people. I like my state parks quiet. I don’t feel like such a twat when we stare around and say “oh my god! It’s so beautiful!”
We left the Las Cruces campsite and it was far easier to get down than up. We went on our merry way to the next state park for another cheap and cheerful nights sleep. We decided to go get breakfast on the way. We don’t eat out much as we’re fairly poor, but saving money on all these campsites means hello food and free refills!

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However. On the highway before the next town was some sort of check point. All traffic had to go through it. We waited and got out the insurance stuff ,just in case, and rolled up for our turn. There was a man in some sort of police uniform and a police dog. Neither found me funny. He asked where we’d been, Las Cruces, and where we were going, Alamogordo. Easy questions. He asked if we were US citizens. We are not. More difficult questions. He explained it was an immigration checkpoint and that we had to show our passports. Kate’s. being in the back, meant she had to climb through the van. He kept hold of our passports the whole time, which scared me. Just a tad. We had to explain our whole trip. He didn’t understand why we’d want to drive across America. He asked if we were the only ones in the van. Yes. He asked if we’d been to Mexico. No. He looked in the van. He let us go. FUCKING SCARIEST TEN MINUTES OF MY LIFE!

We drove away, thankful we decided not to take that day trip to Mexico or smoke weed with the rednecks. Instead of going to a diner for breakfast, we went to Wendy’s, the first place we came across, and had chicken burgers, chips and coke at 10:30 in the morning. Apparently we get hungry after a shock. The immigration guy at the airport wasn’t nearly that bad!

After our shock, we got on our way to the next state park. Another hot place, in the desert. We had to drain the van and get rid of all the dish washing water that had accumulated in Ceaser. We had never let Ceaser pee before but the guy had said it was pretty easy. Campsites have dump stations, but you can just do it over a drain or something. You cannot just do it in the desert. We have a little van, with no hose to direct the van pee. There is a pipe, but as that started coming off after two weeks we securely fastened it with cable ties. Too securely. The pipe is useless. Don’t tell the rental company. We had no way of getting over the designated drain. We thought we could direct it somehow. This failed, but once you start letting the water out, it’s really hard to stop. So we accidentally let out five gallons of dirty dish water in the desert. We aren’t really campers. But hey, we were in the desert. It dried in like five minutes. I mean, what’s the fuss?

Our campsite was in the shade of another mountain. Awesome. Super cool, we could see for miles and miles and my imagination ran away from me. We had to walk about five minutes to get to the loos. Off I went and I swear I heard a rattle snake and a coyote and do road runners actually go “meep meep”, because I’m sure I heard that too. When it came to bed time, I insisted that we drive over so as to avoid being eaten by mountain lions. Also, we ran out of things to talk about. Only took us three weeks. We listened to an old Claudia Winkleman BBC radio 2 arts show Kate had on her phone. Crisis averted.

The problem with driving over for night time pee meant we drove in the morning too. There was less to be frightened of. I was just being lazy. We parked in a handicapped parking spot and I don’t think the rangers liked us. But come on! There was no one else there. We were in the desert! Not getting in the way of the handicapped.

Our last New Mexico night was spent in a KOA, a chain of campgrounds which are basically hotels, but you provide the bed. We love a KOA. They have wifi and a laundry room, you can have food delivered to your site and everything. We only made use of the laundry, wifi and electricity. We’re totally getting into this whole sleeping in a van thing. We spent the next morning (this morning at time of pen-ship) at a zoo, but a zoo of animals that are found in the Chihuahuan desert we were in. So many animals! You had you’re snakes and what not, but also birds, eagles and psycho hawks (they look at you like they’re working out how you’d taste) and New Mexico’s state bird, the road runner! Tiny! Only about the size of a short ruler. And fast! It does sound a bit like the cartoon, if the cartoon smoked twenty a day. There were warthog things and mountain lions and bobcats and elk and wolves (takes breath) and A BEAR!! A black bear named Maggie who paints with her paws!
“What!?” I hear you cry! Yes! Maggie is both bear and artist! We bought a piece by her to prove it and you can almost see her actual paw. Totally gonna frame it when we get back. I’m a huge fan of Maggie and am awaiting her highly anticipated debut on twitter. This exists in New Mexico and I therefore love it there.

Onwards to Texas!

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