We’re back down in New Mexico, spending the night overlooking the lava field in the Valley of Fire National Recreation Area. We didn’t plan to going here – it just happened to be a cheap place to camp close to where we wanted to stop for the night. Seems like we stumbled on to a very interesting place. Lava fields are a unique experience.
The lava field is quite young – only 5000 years old, and at a hundred twenty-five square miles is moderate in size. There is a short trail through the lava field, just long enough to give you a feeling for the area. The campground is on an exposed ridge, subject to winds strong enough to rock our nine thousand pound campervan. We’re hunkered down in the campervan listening to the wind blow, happy to not be in a tent.
A few months ago we spend a day a bit north of here in the El Malpais National Monument lava fields, and we recently spend some time in Iceland touring some of the vast lava fields on that island. A decade or so ago we spent a day up in Idaho on the lava fields at Craters of the Moon National Monument.
I don’t think we intentionally seek out lava. It seems to find us – or perhaps there is some strange magnetic attraction between us.
We drove through Kansas, no-man’s-land, a tiny bit of Texas, and northeast New Mexico in three days. We don’t make as good of time with the campervan as we would with a normal vehicle. The van is more fatiguing to drive and we keep the speed around 65mph to manage the rate that we burn gasoline. We like to find a spot to camp long before dark, whereas if we were staying in motels we would drive later in the evening. With a car or pickup & staying in a motel, a 500 mile day is easy. With the campervan a 500 mile day is a stretch.
But if we were in a motel, we wouldn’t be camping next to a lava field.