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 came here the first time a year ago on our way to Texas for a friend’s wedding and had actually booked ourselves into a small RV park 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 we now inconveniencing the rest of the people around us, 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 any of them, the rodents that is, not the people.
We promptly moved across town to the Hacienda RV Resort. 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. It truly has to be the best showers I have ever come across in an RV park. The kind that you really just want to let the warm water cascade onto you for 15 minutes, without having to shut the shower head on and off. There is a hot tub that is never used so it could be your own private area, a very large laundry room, a workout facility that could use some upgrading, and a little knick-knack shop. The rows are paved, which makes it easy to do our walking and biking. We have been here before and we’ll definitely be back year after year.
Every time we go to Las Cruces we try to find new restaurants that we hadn’t tried before, but can’t help but go back to ones that we had discovered in the past. One of our favorite ‘go to’ restaurants is Bite of Belgium, a fantastic breakfast place. The last time we were there it was not very crowded and we were seated immediately. This most recent trip was quite different. When we arrived we already noticed the how crowded the parking lot was. There was a couple of people waiting to be seated in the lobby when we walked in but because we said we would sit outside we were seated right away without having to put a name on a list. This actually surprised us as there wasn’t any outside seating the last time we were there. The new back patio was so cute and had big heaters to make sure we stayed warm. They were so efficient we actually had to ask them to be shut off as we were starting to get overheated. We always like to try new food options from the menu like the Corned Beef Hash and the Original Liege Waffles and once again they hit it out of the park. They are going to be starting a dinner service in about a month or two, and we can’t wait for that.
A new restaurant we tried this year was ‘The Shed’. It’s only open for breakfast and lunch and the wait to get in can be a little long at times but it’s really worth it. The inside of the restaurant kind of makes you feel like you are on the bottom of a fish tank with all the cool decor they have but we still haven’t figured out why it is called The Shed and not The Tank. We went for breakfast and Paul got the eggs benedict. He usually doesn’t like runny eggs but it was served with brisket and green chili hollandaise sauce and we had them make the eggs over hard and he was now in heaven. I had cinnamon raisin french toast and loved every bite of it.
Where ever we travel we like to check out some of the oddities in the area. It’s always fun for us to see the strange and sometimes interesting things that are right around the corner but most likely miss unless we 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 One of the things that we have seen from the street a couple of times on Interstate 10 eastbound at the rest area is the largest roadrunner made out of recycled material from the area.
We saw a very large wooden carved American Indian head called Dineh, which means ‘the people’ in the Navajo language. This is located in Apodaca park.
There was one site we did discover and was really moved by was the Bataan Death March Statue and Walkway in Veterans’ Park. This park is on the northeast side of town in a small residential area. If you are not familiar with the Bataan Death March, it started on 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 their entire journey. As we walked around and read all the words from survivors, it helped make it more clear to us what these fellow humans had to go through. I have put 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. It was very cool to see a specific monument for each branch of the service and each was as tasteful as the next. Paul served with the Airborne Infantry in the Army so he was happy to find a monument dedicated to Airborne. My good friend Lisa Brown, from Always On Liberty, was in the US Coast Guard so I had to pose with one the brave women of the Armed Forces. It was so worth the time it took us to find it in this park.
Now if you are not really interested in the more obscure, you can see some of the other very interesting things in the area. You can take Interstate 25 north to Hatch and visit the worlds’ green chile capital. We went there to buy some chilis because that’s what you do, but I’m not very familiar with how to cook with them so I was kind of intimidated by it all. You can take New Mexico Highway 185 and meander south, following the Rio Grande and see some of the most spectacular views you can find.
Wherever you go in the area you will find chili vendors, historic markers, really lovely shops, farmers markets, great restaurants, statuesque churches, and breathtaking mountainscapes.
We have been to Las Cruces, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and many more other parts of the state and loved every one of them so far but are definitely eager to adventure around more to see what else New Mexico has to offer.