When you think of Las Cruces, New Mexico I’m sure the first thing that comes to mind would be desert. Well, that is definitely true, Chihuahuan desert to be exact, but there is much more than that in this sprawling town in the middle of the southern part of the state. It is located just a short 55-minute drive from El Paso, Texas. It is known as the ‘City of Crosses’ and has a population of over 100K people making it the second largest city in the state after Albuquerque, and is the home of New Mexico State University.
We have been back to this area many times and are amazed at how warm and inviting the locals are and how many new interesting things we discover upon each of our visits. The restaurants, the little shops offering all different kinds of local art and souvenirs, and the diversity within the different communities in this town are just to name a few.
We came here the first time a year ago on our way to Texas for a friends wedding and had actually booked ourselves into a small RV park called Shady Acres, in the older part of Las Cruces. We were booked for 5 days but after we arrived and were placed in a site that was most of the time used as the road for other RVers to get in and out of the park, we stayed only one night. Not only were the rest of the people around us unhappy with our location, because it made them go around the other side of the park to get in and out, but we were situated next to the maintenance shed that was very run down and obviously home to lots of large rodents. I really didn’t want to stay around too long to get to know them either.
We promptly moved across town to the Hacienda RV Resort near the quaintest little town of Mesilla. Now the Hacienda Resort is one of our, if not our favorite, parks. The place was made by RVers for RVers and it really shows. The lots are almost all pull-through, level, and wide. The bathhouse is immaculate, new and spacious. There is a hot tub, laundry, workout facility, little knick-knack shop, and paved rows which make it easy to do our walking and biking. The price varies according to the length of your stay. We have been here before and we will continue to return as we have become very comfortable in this area.
While in Las Cruces we like to check out some of the oddities in the area. It’s always fun to see the strange and sometimes interesting things that are right our the corner but most likely not see unless you take the time to seek them out. We use a smartphone app called Roadside America, or if you prefer the internet it is roadsideamerica.com We saw the largest roadrunner made out of recycled material from the area located westbound interstate 10 rest area.
There is a very large wooden carved American Indian head called Dineh, which means ‘the people’ in the Navajo language. This is located in Apodaca park.
The one site we did discover and enjoyed the most was the Bataan Death March Statue and Walkway in the Veterans’ Park. This park was situated on the northeast side of town in a small residential area. If you are not familiar with the Bataan Death March, it was April 10th 1942. 75,000 American and Filipino captured troops were forced to march 85 miles in six days, with only one meal of rice during the entire journey. Here is a link to read more about this horrific moment in history and a tiny video to see the actual footsteps of survivors cast in stone. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/bataan-death-march-begins click here to see footprints leading to statue
This entire park was done very respectfully to the men and women that served and some that lost their lives in the name of freedom. They had a specific monument for each branch of the service and each was as tasteful as the next. It was so worth the time it took us to find it in this park.
Now if you are not interested in the more obscure, you can see some of the interesting things in the area. You can take Interstate 25 north to Hatch, the worlds’ green chili capital. You can take New Mexico Highway 185 and meander south, following the Rio Grande, spectacular views. Wherever you go in this area you will find chili vendors, historic markers, lovely shops, farmers markets, great restaurants, statuesque churches, and breathtaking mountainscapes.
New Mexico is called the Land of Enchantment and once you spend some time in this area you will understand why.