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Old 11-05-2012, 12:38 PM   #1
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Southern New Mexico / Arizona during Thanksgiving

We're planning a trip to Southern New Mexico / Arizona during Thanksgiving (9 day trip). We're trying to avoid the freeze and the need to winterize so we'll want to stay south of the high country.

So far, we're planning on driving I-10 west out of central TX and into New Mexico and southern Arizona.

Are there any recommended free sites in this region?
(or paying sites that are great for that matter)

Thanks,

Jorn
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Old 11-05-2012, 12:57 PM   #2
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Some Great State Parks Along the Way...

As you travel west through southern NM, you pass the following:
Pancho Villa State Park
Rockhound State Park
City of Rocks State Park
Avoid the KOA in Las Cruces and any RV Park in Deming.
As you enter AZ, you pass a bunch more:
Triangle T Historic Ranch And Retreat Center in Dragoon, AZ
Kartchner Caverns State Park near Benson, AZ
Pichacho Peak State Park, north of Tucson

These are all places at which we have direct experience. There are many more.
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:17 PM   #3
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I agree with Ken, we've stayed at almost all of those sites, as well. One thing to remember, it's getting chilly around the south east. the KOA in Benson is fine for overnight, away from the train tracks. I would add Catalina S.P. in Tucson to the list. And the KOA in Las Cruces (La Posta resturant is world famous) You could also come out to Ajo and visit with us at Shadow Ridge!
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:35 PM   #4
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Ooh! I Forgot the Best One!

Gilbert Ray Campground southwest of Tucson!
It's pictured in my earlier post. It has spacious spots and lots of room between neighbors (the 1976 Sovereign among Saguaro)
I'm happy that Mike Leary now recommends the KOA in Las Cruces. It was a nice RV park that became overrun transients in dilapidated trailers. Sounds like it may have been restored.
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:41 PM   #5
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Organ Pipe is an outstanding peaceful location this time of year, We make sure to spend a week prior to the 4C Unit Pichacho Peak Rally over New Years. South of Ajo is the location if you make it over to Mike Learys neck of the woods.
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alumaholic View Post
I'm happy that Mike Leary now recommends the KOA in Las Cruces. It was a nice RV park that became overrun transients in dilapidated trailers. Sounds like it may have been restored.
Oh, oh, I hope so. It was three years ago when we were there. Great view to the east! Funny how KOA, with their claim to having the Kamps "inspected" every year, seem to miss some.: ( We've noticed a lot of parks that fall on hard times (bad management) and take on down-and-outers,which have been a bother and freaked us out so much I wished I packed a shot gun.) The Placerville, CA KOA was our worst episode. I hope the Gallup, NM KOA is closed, what a parking lot!
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Old 11-05-2012, 04:23 PM   #7
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We have stayed at all the parks/campgrounds mentioned above except Pancho Villa and Rock Hound in NM... but I know they are good ones, too. There's also Roper Lake State Park about 35 mi north of I-10 on 191 near Safford, AZ, and if you make it to the Phx metro area, there's Lost Dutchman State Park... and Patagonia Lake State Park between Patagonia, AZ and Nogales, AZ... If you see a 19' Bambi with the license plate shown in our avatar, be sure to say "hey"... we'll be out and about that time of year...
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Old 11-05-2012, 05:02 PM   #8
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Might be a little chilly, but a neat side trip off NM I-10 would be up to Silver City to the nice KOA and then down 90 to Lordsburg and back to the I-10.
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Old 11-05-2012, 06:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Might be a little chilly, but a neat side trip off NM I-10 would be up to Silver City to the nice KOA and then down 90 to Lordsburg and back to the I-10.
Having lived in NM and AZ much of the last 3 decades, I can say you are absolutely right about Silver--very nice, but it will be too cold this time of year if you want to avoid freezing temps. A better diversion is Elephant Butte about 40 minutes north of Cruces. Free parking at Elephant Butte State Park and my limited experience with the Elephant Butte Lake RV Resort (formerly Lakeside RV Resort) was very positive.
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:41 PM   #10
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Hueco Tanks State Park in El Paso is very nice. You can bypass driving through downtown El Paso on the I-10 if you stop here. It did snow there one time in November when I stopped there. There is a nearby propane dealer.

Leasburg Dam State Park in Las Cruces is an inexpensive one night stop. There is no water in the dam or the Rio Grande River, it's been given to the farmers. This is the pretty much the case at Elephant Butte State Park as well...very low water level.

Just came from Rockhound State Park in Deming, New Mexico. Got pictures of cactus wrens building nests. During Thanksgiving it may fill up, so you may need reservations, although there are some first come first served sites if you arrive early.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument has beautiful no hookup sites with generator & no generator areas.
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:43 PM   #11
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As you can see there are tons of great pay places wiith amenities on your way west. You did ask about free sites and there are some and I assume you mean dry camping or boondocking. In NM on I-10 they have several rest stops where you can overnite with restrooms/water and individual Ramadas. Stop at the welcome station north side of Lordsburg and they have a camping map.When you get to Az there are numerous BLM, NP's, and state lands you can dry camp so be sure to stop at the Az welcome station and get a free camping map listing these too.
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:48 PM   #12
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There is one RV Park in Deming I would recommend "Escapees" it is kind of a coop RV campground but open to non members. I agree with staying away from the other private RV campgrounds in Deming.
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Old 11-16-2012, 04:53 PM   #13
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We're getting ready to leave. We're planning to make it to New Mexico sometime on Sunday and we're planning to camp south of I-10 (Rockhound SP and Pancho Villa SP) and north of I-10 (City of Rocks SP) to visit the area around Silver City.

Time permitting we'll drive into Arizona, or we're thinking about saving southern Arizona for our Christmas trip in a month ...
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Old 11-16-2012, 05:17 PM   #14
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silver city rv park is right down town and is very nice with good rates.
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