so long Alamogordo – we outta here!

SPOILER ALERT: For those of you who like to skip the drama, YES – we finally broke out of Alamogordo!!!!

After a lazy, rainy weekend we woke up Monday morning in anticipation of finally getting our coach back that afternoon. As the day slowly passed, we tried our best to distract ourselves. Finally Deron spoke to the mechanic after lunch, who said they MIGHT be able to finish by the end of day, which was disappointing because even though we had the hotel room booked for that night, since we were anticipating having the RV back, we hadn’t grabbed enough contact lenses, dog food, etc. to make it through Tuesday. So at about 4pm Deron headed over to the shop to check in with the mechanic, and to grab the essentials we needed. At that point he found they were soooo close to being done – they had hooked up the computer and were finalizing the programming – so he waited patiently until they were finished and it was ready for a test drive. All went well during the test drive, so they released it from custody!! It felt so good to be able to glance out our hotel room door and see it parked right there on the street! We spent a few minutes of that last night in Alamogordo watching a lightning storm off in the distance – a sweet way to say goodbye.

Tuesday we loaded up, and I FINALLY got to check out of our room – the hotel staff cheered with me when I told them we had our coach back. After a brief stop at the local dog park, we started to get underway, when we realized something was wrong with the electrical system, and the air bags underneath the coach were acting strange. So we headed in the opposite direction – back to the mechanic (insert sad face). Thankfully he was able to figure out the issue with the air bags, and that the house batteries just needed to be charged after their long stay at the shop. And we were off for real!

Sadly, about 30 miles later, just after we passed through the little mountain town of Cloudcroft, we noticed the engine was pinging and puffing black smoke AGAIN! Deron pulled off the road, shut the engine down, and decided to empty the new water separator. This time instead of the yellowish water he had been getting from our old water separator, what he got was bright red!! He called the mechanic, who reassured him that it was fuel, which is what’s supposed to be in there. So he started the coach up again, but the check engine light came on. He turned it off, waited, and started it again – this time the light didn’t come on, but the engine sputtered and died. And when he tried to restart, it just cranked but wouldn’t start (“no powie” is the technical term, in case you were wondering) – just like it was doing before we had all that work done!

After several phone calls and some advice on Facebook, we realized there must be air in the fuel line from all the repairs that were done, and because Deron had unknowingly emptied a lot of fuel out of the water separator, instead of water. Deron tried his best to get the air out, but we finally had to wait for a mobile mechanic to come out and work on it. By this time it was 7pm, and there was no way we’d make it to our RV park in Carlsbad before they locked the gates. So we postponed with them AGAIN, and found an RV park just on the other side of Cloudcroft who had room for us. It was Deron’s first time driving the coach at night, so God gifted us with a beautiful soothing sunset on the way there, but he still had to unhook the Honda and back the RV into a spot in the dark. On the upside, the engine ran just fine after all the air was out!

Once we were in the spot and hooked up, we didn’t even bother leveling, we just collapsed in relief. I had forgotten how ridiculously comfortable our bed is!

Wednesday we headed to Carlsbad, New Mexico, as planned. We spent that afternoon throwing out most of the food in our refrigerator and freezer (the RV had run out of propane while it sat at the mechanic, so the refrigerator had died) and then buying groceries.

Just before we had arrived at the Carlsbad RV park, we had stopped at a HUGE dog park, complete with a lake and geese – the dogs loved it, which was good, because the next day we had to put them in the kennel at Carlsbad Caverns in order for us to be able to tour the caves. The kennel was just a small room with stacks of dog crates; there was already a little dog in one of the crates, crying like crazy, which didn’t help at all to ease our dogs’ anxiety.

The caverns were breathtaking – no way for photos to do them justice. God is just way too creative! We spent about an hour and a half just wandering through, taking pics. (Please forgive me for posting way too many of them. )

When we returned to the kennel, the same little dog was still there, still crying! The worker said that she’d been there for about 4.5 hours already – they had no idea what was taking her owner so long. Needless to say, our dogs were very happy to see us. We thought about going back to the caverns that evening to watch the bat flight, but pets aren’t allowed there either, and we didn’t feel like leaving the dogs alone in the RV would be a good idea after their kennel experience – plus we probably need to break them in to being alone again; we couldn’t leave them in the hotel room, so they’ve basically been with us for two weeks straight! We considered heading down with them in the car to see if there was somewhere we could park and see the bats, but in the end we decided to just relax for the evening.

On Friday we crossed into Texas, and headed to an RV park in Odessa. (Deron wants me to add “save the cheerleader!” – bonus points if you get that reference!) I started to worry when our RV GPS sent us to a sketchy-looking residential area, but the GPS turned out to be wrong, and the park wasn’t THAT bad. However, so far it’s the park we’ve liked the least – it was soooo hot, and the ground was full of painful thorns that stuck to shoes and socks and dog feet. (We are still finding them in the RV carpet as I write this.) The evening was redeemed by a beautiful sunset and then a lightning storm that we enjoyed from our comfy reclined seats in the front of the RV. (In case you hadn’t figured it out, in addition to tunnels and bridges, sunsets and lightning are also our jam 😊.)

We checked out early Saturday morning to head to a vineyard in Comanche. It’s out in the middle of nowhere; we parked in the grass under a huge pecan tree. The dogs absolutely loved trying to catch the trillions of grasshoppers that jumped out of the grass as they walked by. Dinner that night was delicious pizza and wine from the vineyard along with great conversation with the owners, followed by another fantastic sunset and a beautiful moonrise. The only downside – no service and no WiFi – so I couldn’t post to the blog on Saturday like I normally do.

Today we arrived in Riesel – just outside of Waco – where we’ll spend the next three nights. Our daughter, Savanah, and her new husband, Brad, are just arriving at Fort Hood to check in for his new assignment, and will hopefully be able to visit while we’re here.

Missing all of you – but really enjoying this journey!

praise & prayer

We’re thankful that it seems like we’re finally back into our traveling rhythm, and have opportunity to continue exploring the beauty of God’s creation. We are in awe.

prayer requests:

We sent the insurance company all the final paperwork regarding our breakdown – still hoping they’ll cover the towing cost.

While we’re in Texas we’ll be picking up lots of mail, registering the car and the RV, getting drivers’ and concealed carry licenses, and getting the refrigerator and leveling system replaced in the RV. Please pray that all goes smoothly and fits into the time frame we have allotted.

current learning curve
  • There are sooo many more beautiful things in this world than there are photo ops!!
  • So far it’s been easier to find places we DON’T want to live than places we DO want to live, LOL.
  • Even though we don’t have to work, there is lots of work to do! (RVs are very complicated beasts.)
travel teasers – what’s next

Magnolia Market at the Silos & Dr. Pepper Museum in Waco

New Orleans (maybe…? their restaurants, bars and music venues have a mask mandate AND a vaccine mandate so we might skip it for now)

Visit w/family in Houston & Dallas

Corpus Christi / Padre Island ?

2 thoughts on “spelunking

  1. Loved catching up with your travels. Colorado is a state I have always wanted to visit. Glad you are doing well and surviving the elements.
    Love, Aunt Jo Ann


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