SATURDAY, JULY 22
This morning I hit the road again, driving only 76 miles from Truth or Consequences to San Antonio. Along the way I stopped at a couple of very interesting places.
The first was El Camino Real International Heritage Center, which opened in November 2005. It tells the story of El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro (the Royal Road of the Interior), a 1500-mile trade route from Mexico City to San Juan Pueblo north of Santa Fe. It presents the 400-year history of exchange between Mexico, America and Europe. Within the United States this route is designated as a national historic trail. The Center is located in the northern Chihuahuan Desert and overlooks the Rio Grande at the northern end of the Jornada del Muerto (Journey of Death). Many people and their animals died on this shortcut due to lack of water and other dangers. The architecture of the Center suggests a ship in the desert, inspired by writers of historical documents comparing the high desert grasses blowing in the wind to waves of the ocean.
About 15 miles farther north was my next stop, at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. It features a 15-mile self-guided auto loop which allows visitors to get close-up views of the wildlife. I didn't drive the entire loop - just the Marsh Loop portion - because the gravel road was dusty. Summer is not the best time to visit but I did see and/or hear quite a few birds and animals, especially along the Boardwalk. By then it was well past lunch time, so I drove back to the Visitor Center and ate a quick lunch in my RV. I was most grateful for the generator that allowed me to use my air conditioner! This little rest and refreshment gave me the boost I needed to walk among the desert plants in the gardens.
Soon it was time to head on to my home for the evening, the Bosque Bird Watchers RV Park south of San Antonio. The name conjured up images of trees and lots of birds but, alas, the image didn't reflect reality. There were lots of trees around the owners' house but what a disappointment it was to discover that there were only a few miserable little 'twigs' in the RV park itself. If I hadn't already paid, I probably would have left in search of a better park. Oh, well. Better luck next time.