We ended up staying in Fort Stockton for a week on our way back through Texas from New Mexico. Basically there isn’t a lot to do there but we did find several things to look at including the area around the Visitor Center, historic downtown including the courthouse, a frontier era jail, and the remains of Fort Stockton, an old frontier fort. We also visited the Annie Riggs Memorial Museum where we learned a lot about the history of the area. As with most frontier towns, there is a lot of interesting facts about the early pioneers that settled here and much of the early law typically had criminal histories as well. It’s fun to think about what life must have been like in those tough times.
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ Site Quality: Dirt and gravel pads and roads. Our site was just long enough for our rig with the truck parked beside it. Throughout he park were many pipeline and oil field workers staying long term. Type: Commercial Access: Just west of Fort Stockton on I-10. Staff: We arrived when the office was closed (we arrived about 1:30 and the office opens at 3:00) but before we could investigate the self check-in procedures the manager came along and helped us get checked in. He even took us to the site to be sure it was acceptable before we drove back to it. Amenities: There were Restrooms with showers and laundry facilities but we didn’t use them. There was also a pool that looked nice but it was still closed for the season (we were there in early March). There was a dog run area in the park. Cellular/WiFi: Verizon (6 Mbps) and AT&T (15 Mbps) were pretty good. The park had WiFi but we did not use it. The signal at our site was pretty weak. Restaurants: The Garage Coffee Shop served great coffee and we stopped by there for latte’s and cinnamon rolls on our way out to explore. We also had lunch at B’s Family Dining in downtown Fort Stockton. They are a family run business serving up friendly conversation, great hamburgers, steaks and other fare but they are only open until 3:00PM M-F. What we liked: The park is on a hill and had great views of the evening sunsets. Even though the park is right on I-10, there is very little road noise as the park is above the road on a hill. What we didn’t like: While the sites are wide allowing for the truck to be parked beside the RV, they are also short, just barely long enough for our RV. Compounding that the rows of sites are somewhat close and some people parked badly (ones behind us were at the very front of their sites) even though their trailers were short. The rules were one tow vehicle and one RV but many of the more permanent residents had two vehicles. All this made spacing lengthwise a bit short and maneuvering a larger trailer difficult.
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ Site Quality: Gravel pads and roads. Our site was plenty long enough for our rig and truck. Type: Commercial Access: Just east of Marfa on US-90. Note that there is a low bridge (13’7″) just west of Alpine that we have not gone under with the trailer. We should be fine but with only 2 or 3″ of clearance. Staff: This is typically a self-serve type park and you normally need reservations. We showed up without either after failing to get our reserved site in Fort Davis and luckily ran into the park manager as the sign said they were full but he did have one site available from someone who left early. We added three more nights online. Amenities: There were Restrooms with showers and laundry facilities but we didn’t use them. Cellular/WiFi: Verizon and AT&T were very good. The park had WiFi but we did not use it. Restaurants:Pizza Foundation just down the street from Tumble In had pretty good pizza. Better than we expected, although it takes some time to get the food. Best to order a salad too, which you get right away. Last year while in the area we ate Mexican Food at Mando’s Restaurant & Bar. As best we can recall it was OK but nothing spectacular. On the way to Big Bend, we stopped at Judy’s Bread & Breakfast Bakery Cafe in Alpine for breakfast. It wasn’t bad but we both found the food a bit bland. What we liked: This is a small park with only 14 sites. In spite of two days of rain there was enough gravel so that mud was minimal. Only about 8 miles from the Marfa lights viewing area. What we didn’t like: There is a train track behind the park but for the most part the noise wasn’t an issue as they didn’t typically blow their horn near the park. Verdict: This was a decent park for the area, nothing special but not too bad either. Seemed secure, we left our front bay open overnight and everything was as we left it the next morning. Many of the people here seem to be permanent residents but there were several sites with turnover every few days. The area is quite busy from January through at least March when the weather is cooler. We would stay here again if needed but we’d probably prefer a site in Alpine or Fort Davis instead.
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ Site Quality: Gravel pads and roads. Our site was long enough for our rig and truck. Type: Commercial Access: Easy access from Interstate 10 about 2 hours east of El Paso. Staff: The manager we checked in with was very friendly and helpful. Amenities: There were Restrooms with showers and laundry facilities but we didn’t use them. Ice and filtered water machine on site. Cellular/WiFi: Verizon and AT&T were very good. The park had WiFi but we did not use it. Restaurants: At the recommendation of the park hosts we went to RJ’s Grill in town. Having been hailed as the best place in town to eat we were a bit disappointed. The food was acceptable but nothing special. There is a restaurant at the El Capitan Hotel that looked pretty good but it was pricey for a 1-star hotel. The hotel is historic within the town and looked better than 1-star to us but we decided not to spend the extra money to eat there. What we liked: Ease of access along I-10. Full hookups during the winter. Nice views of the nearby mountains. Large park with some permanent residents and quite a few empty sites so it was easy to get in. We were given a range of sites and told we could pick whichever one we liked best. What we didn’t like: The park is gravel and it rained most of the time we were there. Water puddled during the rain but it did not become muddy. The owner said they hadn’t had rain until then in months and it does tend to become dusty without rain. There is a train track nearby but noise was minimal and they didn’t seem to blow their horn going through town. There isn’t much to do in town – maybe a museum or two. This was a good place distance wise for us to stop overnight and we were able to get the trailer’s yearly inspection done at Virdell Tire and Tow in town. Typical for small towns, the guy dropped the job he was doing and quickly checked the trailer and had us on the way. Verdict: We weren’t sure what to expect before we arrived. The park looked decent on their web site but we’ve seen many of those that just aren’t what the pictures portrayed. Mountain View was an exception. The park was clean and well laid out. Although gravel, it did not turn to mud in the rain. We were pleasantly surprised and would stay here again when passing through.
While staying in the Elephant Butte Lake RV Resort we met several of our neighbors and they were all into exploring the trails around New Mexico with their Side-By-Side ATVs. We were lucky enough that Doug and Susan, our next door neighbors, had a 4-seat unit and they invited us out for a couple of trips into the desert and mountain areas around Truth or Consequences and Caballo in the Rio Grande river valley.
New Mexico has an abundance of trails that are open to the public and most are only accessible by 4-wheel ATVs like theirs. There are many rocky, steep and narrow areas that most normal vehicles even with 4-wheel drive could not navigate. We were amazed that they could follow all the trails without getting lost!
Our trip took us into the mountains and up to several old abandoned mines. The views of the desert valley on the way up were spectacular and we were even surprised to find sand dunes and red dirt way up there.
At each mine, there were opportunities to search in the discard piles for amethyst, quartz and other rock specimens. Anna took home quite a few smaller rocks hoping to make jewelry out of them at some point in the future. One of the mines we visited had partially collapsed inside and was clearly not safe but we were able to go several hundred feet inside another. It was interesting to imagine how difficult it must have been to mine here with mostly hammers and chisels. At least they had spectacular views of the valley below when they emerged from the mine!
Rating: ⭐⭐ Site Quality: Dirt/gravel pads and roads. Our site was long enough for our rig and truck. Type: Commercial Access: Easy access from Interstate 25 just south of the New Mexico / Colorado boarder. Staff: The manager we checked in with was friendly and helpful although we had to wait for her to return from an errand. Once before we came here to get propane and the office was also closed during the day when it was supposed to be open. Amenities: There were Restrooms with showers, laundry facilities, and a dump station but we didn’t use them. I believe they may have all been closed in winter when we were there. Propane on site. Cellular/WiFi: Verizon and AT&T were decent. The park had WiFi but we did not use it. What we liked: Ease of access along I-25. Full hookups during the winter. Nice views of the mountains west of Raton. Propane is available on site. What we didn’t like: The park is mostly dirt and could be very muddy – luckily although there was still some snow on the ground the mud for the streets was not bad. There was some mud near the entrance to our rig. There is an alley that separates the front of the park from the back. Verdict: The Raton KOA is good for a short stopover on the way to or from Colorado along I-25.