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Lights Out at Rusty’s RV Ranch…

Posted by on November 28, 2017



RUSTY’S RV RANCH.  The ranch is located in New Mexico’s high desert, with 360 degree mountain views. This is a captivating land of hallowed mountains, red rock canyons and vast serene plateaus.  The Native Americans who reside in the many reservations here present a vision of hope for humankind’s relationship to the natural world by interpreting the myth, beauty and power of the American West. The Indians believe that those who share the land itself create a community to which we all belong. This is land where bighorn sheep, elk, deer, antelope, foxes, mountain lions and bobcats roam vast areas with little human interruption, giving us only an occasional glimpse. Less timid and easier to spot are pheasants, roadrunners, deer and quail. The landscape is about as different from our home in San Diego as it can get and it’s a treat for us to experience a part of America we’ve not seen before now. Rusty’s is located about 3 miles north of the middle of nowhere–situated between the Chiracahua Mountains to the west and the Peloncillo Mountains to the east. There is no significant human population within 50 miles.



Daytime sky in Rodeo, New Mexico. Population 101.


LIGHTS OUT. Rusty’s is also a perfect place for astronomers and others who want to experience the night sky as perhaps nowhere else. It’s a “Dark Sky Ranch,” which means that no outdoor lights are allowed and all RV window coverings must be drawn so that absolutely no light penetrates the campground at night.   Rusty says, “If you have the telescope, we have the skies.” Stargazers and astronomers are drawn here, especially when there’s a new moon, to aim their huge telescopes toward the heavens and study the constellations as can’t be done in too many other places. This is amateur deep sky observing at its best, nothing short of a magical experience.


Phases of the moon. During a new moon, there is no light at all. This is when stargazers flock to Rusty’s RV Ranch with their huge telescopes.


These are called hobby telescopes, yet this one retails for just under $5,000.


MEETING AN OLD FRIEND.  One of our best friends from Pensacola, where we spent so much time in the past year, is a former Marine Corps pilot who flew fighter missions in Viet Nam, Jon York. When I was hospitalized for so long he was instrumental in helping Florence and when I was discharged he pushed me around in a wheelchair for months before my rehab was complete and I was able to walk again. Jon takes an extended trip in his RV each year and we were excited to meet him this year at Rusty’s RV Ranch in Rodeo, New Mexico. “Happy Trails, Jon. Stay in touch, and thanks for all your help back in Pensacola!”


The Rodeo Grocery and Cafe is literally the only place in town to get a bite to eat. And it closes at 3 PM! The grocery part of the operation only has a few dozen cans of vegetables and some cold drinks!


Breakfast in the little cafe was surprisingly good. We ate there both days we were here.


JEEP RIDE TO THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN.  Other than stargazing, lots of folks around here love recreational off-roading. Jon was here a year or two ago and recommended a drive “to the top of the mountain and back” that he’d taken. He said we could drive to Rustler Park at the top of the range, at an altitude of about 9,000 feet, get some terrific views of the area and loop back to our campsite…a trip of about 70 miles. “We’re ready for that adventure.” Here we go.


There’s the peak where we drove the Jeep…a place called Rustler Park.


It took us about an hour and a half to climb 4,000 feet to the top of the mountain.


Finally, we made it to the top.


At the top of the mountain, we could see “forever.” 


End of the day at Rusty’s RV Ranch.


SO NOW YOU’VE SEEN RODEO, NEW MEXICO.  Now you can tell your friends you’ve been to Rodeo, New Mexico, three miles from the center of nowhere, about a mile from the New Mexico-Arizona border and home to exactly 101 folks. Whooooo Who! We’ll leave in the morning and drive to Tucson. See you there.


I’ll continue my story next time.








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