Before we left Valley of the Fires, we got another load of tips from Scott - a very nice chap who highlighted lots of good locations and gave us a map complete with highlighted, err, highlights. Very handy :) ! We definitely planned to follow his advice as soon as we had hot water again.
We headed to Alamagordo to fix the heater on the RV (at Alamo RV, with Justin), then continue to the South and West via White Sands to meet the I25, then head back North.
Justin Alamo (surprisingly not his real name :))
Justin was a super guy too. Very quick; knew his stuff, and resolved the problem in less than half an hour (a corroded resistor). Hot water again, hooray! Much, much more successful than ringing Camping World, it has to be said. Here are two conversations that I had when I tried to ring for tech support;
"Hi, how are you doing today?"
"Not so good. I have one of your rental RVs, and the water heater doesn't work."
"Okay, have you tried turning it on?"
"Is that a yes?"
"That's an, 'of course I have' yes."
"Okay sir, please just try to remain calm. We'll get to the bottom of this."
"What have you tried then sir?"
"I have tried to reset it by completely switching it off for 30 minutes, and then on again."
"It's a propane heater?"
"Do you ha..."
"Yes, there's gas"
"How do you know?"
"How does anyone know they've got gas?"
"Yes, there's gas. Fridge works, cooker works."
"I need to know where the fuse box is though, it might be a simple electrical problem?"
(Sound of guy laughing)
"It's a gas heater, sir, it's not likely to be an electrical problem, is it?"
"Christ. Can I speak to one of your parents?"
Second conversation, this time a lady:
"Hi, this is Jemima" (Not her real name either), "how can I help?"
"Hi... blah blah blah..."
"Okay. Do you have a match or lighter?"
"Okay, go outside to the heater pilot, and try to manually light it, stick the flame right in there, and see if anything happens."
Unbelievably, I actually did what she said! Bloody stupid. You don't stick a naked flame in a malfunctioning propane burner! Luckily I got away with it. But by this time I had had enough...
After making absolutely sure that her method didn't work, she fortunately agreed to find another solution. She booked us in with Justin, who saved the day. Actually, he saved the next day, cos in the meantime....
We stayed in Alamogordo (try saying that without sounding stupid... I can't seem to say it without paraphrasing the voice "Armadillooooo". Know what I mean?)
We don't have any photos of the White Sands Community RV Park, basically because it's bloody horrible. No WIFI, no shade, dodgy area (altho it is right next to Walmart:) ), and some fish-wife shouted at me because I didn't sign in to use the pool.... Slightly too much emphasis on 'Community' for our liking.
Let's just say it looks a bit like this:
Anyway, we didn't stay in - we went down that night to White Sands Monument, planning to have a little dressed-up picnic to ourselves, and have a go at some night photography. We had such a lot of fun! Bloody windy (not to mention dark), but here's what we did:
We got back late, which fortunately meant we spent as little time as possible at the site. That next morning (30th May), we went over to the Space Museum in Alamogordo.... before heading out in the afternoon - South, towards White Sands Missile base.