Review: Ultimate Public Campground Project, Amarillo to El Paso
Last time we saw you, you were dilly dallying among the Cadillacs in Amarillo with every intention of getting to a family reunion in El Paso TX a couple of days hence. You started out in Oklahoma City. So far, it’s been a trip with multiple distractions, a ranger talk, a scamper in some ancient quarries, a freebie night on Lake Meredith, helped along by the Ultimate Public Campground Project App.
To get oriented, you can see how where you’ve been already at OKC to Amarillo.
On the road again…
Time to get focused, because Carlsbad Caverns National Park is on your must-do list—you even made a cave tour reservation—and your relatives have a low tolerance for latecomers.
Major goof: plan B needed
You check out your folder of trip information. Darn if the ranger-guided cavern tour you booked a few days ago wasn’t that very morning and not a snowball’s chance in hell you’re getting there in time. What to do?
You find a McDonalds and spring for a cup of coffee so you can use the internet. You book King’s Palace at Carlsbad Caverns for the next day in the afternoon. You’ll take your chances on a no-show in the morning.
Out comes the Ultimate Public Campground Project
By now, you’re exploring the bells and whistles. You aim for the filter. You have no desire to sleep in a cabin ($$$) or take a walk-in site. No boat-in scenics or backcountry shelters. So you filter out all those and get what’s left.
BLM? The prospect of “dispersed” (aka no $$$ and toilet-free) BLM camping along the Pecos River doesn’t sound appealing. Well, there’s a State Park at Brantley Lake. It’s gonna be pricey as these things go, but you look it up on your app.
Brantley Lake State Park Campground
Hot diggety dog, you click through New Mexico’s State Parks Department website presented side by side with the Ultimate Public Campground’s info. A campsite’s only $14. That’s not bad at all for a State Park, and you get a shower. Even a hookup if you don’t feel like boondocking. And since you won’t be going to Carlsbad Caverns until tomorrow, you can fit a swim in the lake before you take that shower.
Check, Carlsbad Caverns National Park
After all that clambering around amidst stalactites and stalagmites, you’ll have a 2 hour 15 minute drive ahead of you to El Paso (per Google), but you can handle it.
You’ve taken 3 days and you’re running two hours late. But you’ve seen a whole lot more than you planned. The relatives will have to have a sense of humor and maybe a stiff something or other waiting…
Ohh, and right at dusk you drove through Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Cheapo campgrounds there, too. Bucket list item #17….. Maybe combine with Big Bend next time you go to El Paso? White Sands, too?
Photo credits. Featured image, King’s Palace, Carlsbad Caverns: CC0 Public Domain by NPS/Peter Jones. Oklahoma City Greetings: CC BY 2.0 by Matthew Rutledge via Flickr. El Paso postcard, Greetings from El Paso, TX: CC BY 2.0 by Boston Public Library via Flickr. National Geographic Pit, Carlsbad Caverns: CC0 Public Domain by NPS/Peter Jones. Ultimate Public Campground Project App, with detail for Brantley Lake State Park Campground: screenshot. Guadalupe Mountains National Park, El Capitan Sunset: CC0 Public Domain by NPS. UC Project App logo: screenshot.