Monday, February 16, 2015

Loving Las Cruces

tucked in at Frank and Paul's

 Flipping our 2014 calendar page to to September, our arrival in Las Cruces coincided with the 1st of the month. Why Las Cruces? Because two wild and crazy guys, Frank Belyan and Paul Mach, had recently completed construction of their adobe home in an historic neighborhood near the city center of Las Cruces and invited us to visit. And we just love these guys!

We first met Frank and Paul during a swing through Las Cruces in November of 2010 when we needed a place to park our RV while we sprinted up to Dillon to visit Robyn and Chris. Frank and Paul were staying in Sunny Acres RV Park, the park we’d chosen to leave the RV. We’ve stayed in touch ever since, following their travel adventures along with construction progress on their home.
During the months their home was being built, they had lived on the property in their RV. As a result, they decided to keep the full RV hookups - 50-amp electric, water, and yes, even a sewer hookup with the idea to offer the space to any of the RV friends. When they offered the space to us we jumped at the chance. Our fifth wheel, being larger than their travel trailer, made backing into the site next to the garage a challenge. But once we were settled, we felt right at ease.

Carol, Tom, Paul, Frank
Frank and Paul were wonderful hosts, opening their home and making us feel like part of the family. And their home, while small by some standards (not ours!), was filled with “green” technology. Energy saving lighting, water conservation systems, and efficient heating/cooling, made their month to month utility costs minimal while maintaining a very small footprint on planet Earth. Plus, their creative floor plan and attention to design detail provided them with more than ample living space.

dining at Napolito's
The choice of locating in an historic neighborhood allowed them to bicycle to the supermarket and easily walk to the downtown and nearby restaurants, completely minimizing the need for using their vehicle.

Tom, Carol, Paula, Dave
The day after our arrival, another couple joined the group. We had first met Paula and Dave at Sunny Acres RV at the same time we had met Frank and Paul. Back then we had shared a couple of happy hours and once, during one of our stops in Las Cruces, they had arranged a welcome party with several other RVers for when we arrived. It was like old home week at Sunny Acres all over again only now, it was at Frank and Paul's!

Las Cruces  historic downtown
We had planned on staying just a few nights but we were all having so much fun we wound up staying a week - a week filled with great meals, downtown explorations, the local farmers and crafts market, the Las Cruces Museum of Nature and Science, and revisiting a few of our favorite birding spots plus a adding a new one.
Nearby Napolito's Restaurant, an easy two block walk, turned out to be our favorite. Very hot (i.e. ‘spicy’) burritos at the farmers market and fresh veggies. The Art Ramble on Main Street (sampling various pastries, coffees and wine). Several home cooked meals (collaborative efforts) tickled our taste buds but didn’t help our waistlines.

Dripping Springs
In an effort to work on our waistlines, we hiked at Dripping Springs Natural Area in the Organ Pipe Mountains and acting upon a recommendation from Frank and Paul, discovered Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park. Even the drudgery of housekeeping chores - grocery shopping, truck washing, and RV cleaning, didn’t diminish our enthusiasm.

Mesilla Valley Bosque SP
The week flew past too quickly and as much as we hated to leave, we also needed to look forward to moving on considering our need to be in place at Kartchner Caverns State Park to begin our volunteer positions by late September. And we also had sketched plans to making a few birding stops along the way. By Sunday the 7th we reluctantly departed Frank and Paul’s who eased our departure pain with a standing invite to return.

Dave, Paula, Tom, Carol, Paul, Frank
Silver City - murals and shops
Now headed in a more straight line westerly direction, we pointed the truck toward the New Mexico/Arizona border. Later in the morning we managed a slight detour to peruse Silver City, NM, a community which is home to many musicians and artists and a thriving downtown arts district. It’s an area some friends had suggested we investigate as “a place you might want to think about settling when you stop full time RVing”. While charming, we pretty much decided that it’s location would be a might bit chilly come the winter with an elevation of about 6,000 feet. We’re into funky. Just not freezing.

Paul handcrafted some of their funiture
simple and elegant - and functional!

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