Have you ever had that little voice in your head that is telling you something, but you aren’t quite sure what it is? Well, on our trip from Pecos, TX to Deming, New Mexico that little voice was there just nagging at the edges of my brain for the last half of the trip. I had no idea what it was telling me until about a mile from the exit for the Escapees Dream Catcher RV Park. That’s when the voice became crystal clear, “You should have gotten gas at the last gas station!”
Let me back up a bit. Since our trip from Dallas/Fort Worth to Pecos caused our gas mileage to suffer due to the climb that we did, I checked the altitude differences between Pecos (2300 ft) and Deming, NM (4300 ft). With another 2000 ft difference in altitude, I knew we were going to have less than ideal fuel mileage. What I didn’t take into account was the fact that we were driving into a head wind, which made the mileage suffer even more. I normally don’t bother with the Distance To Empty gauge and rely more on the actual gas gauge to let me know when I need to get fuel, but for this leg, I was paying attention to it. For the last 50 miles or so, I thought we’d be close in our fuel and kept a close eye on it. When we were 20 miles from Deming, the DTE gauge said we had 40 miles left until empty. Since it appeared we had enough fuel, and I don’t particularly like fueling the truck with the camper hooked up because it really limits where we can fuel up, I decided that we could make it all the way to Deming. Well during those last 20 miles, there was more uphill grade and more head wind and the 40 miles to empty dropped to 30 then 20 then 10 and all the way to 0 and we still weren’t in Deming. We went about 5 miles with the gauge screaming 0 MILES TO EMPTY. Unfortunately, that was 1 mile too short. We ran out of gas on I-10 within sight of the exit we needed. That’s when the voice became crystal clear. Luckily we had a gas can in the pickup for the generators, so into the gas tank, that 1/2 gallon went. That got us off the highway and into a gas station, right across the street from the park we were going to. Next time, I’m listening to the voice before it says, “I told you so.”
Once we got gas, we crossed the road and checked in at the Escapees Dream Catcher RV Park a few days before Christmas. Since this was our first Christmas away from family, we wanted to do things differently for Christmas. Instead of getting gifts and having the usual Christmas dinner we decided to volunteer at a soup kitchen or some place that offers Christmas dinner for those less fortunate. When we were checking in, we asked if they knew of any place we could volunteer. They let us know of one place and we called once we were all setup. We left a couple of voicemails over the next 2 days and never got any calls returned. So, instead of volunteering, we joined the potluck Christmas Dinner at the park. The park provided the ham, and the guests brought a dish or 2 to share. Even though we didn’t get to volunteer, we did get to share Christmas dinner with good people.
The weather forecasters were calling for a bad snowstorm to hit New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle starting on the day after Christmas. The forecast was for 1-3″ of snow to fall in the Deming area along with high winds. Fantastic, our first winter south and we get snow. It turns out that the weather forecasters were right. We got about an inch of snow and 2 days of high winds. The winds were so bad that the year old slide topper ended up with about an inch long tear along the seam. Luckily that was easily fixed with some awning repair tape. The other good thing is the snow only lasted a couple of days on the ground. Unfortunately for us, the snow further north was worse. This curtailed our plans for exploring greatly. We didn’t get a chance to go to City of Rocks State Park or Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument because the roads to get there either had poor conditions or were closed completely. I guess we’ll have to make another trip to New Mexico to visit them. 🙂
Since the roads were not going to let us get to some of the things we wanted to visit, we decided to take a run into Las Cruces instead. We had to get some hay for Clover, our pet bunny rabbit. So off we went into town. It was an uneventful trip into town, but coming home, we got stopped at a US Border Patrol checkpoint. We had seen the covered area off the side of I-10 when we were originally heading into Deming, but I just thought it was a truck inspection station. I figured it was covered to keep the weather off of the DOT folks. Boy was I wrong. It was the checkpoint. Everyone had to go through the checkpoint, cars, trucks, RVs, everyone. You get forced off the highway and through a series of what looks like high-tech sensors and scanners before you even get to the actual checkpoint and see a Border Patrol officer. It has the feel of the border crossing from Canada into the US. All that being said, the process was simple. Drive through the sensors, drive up to the officer and get waved through. It took about a minute, tops. This was our first experience with these checkpoints, but not our last. They have all been this quick and easy.
Unfortunately running out of gas was the highlight of our Deming visit, but the views from the campground were worth it.