For more than 30 years Kathryn Casey has owned and operated Casey’s RV Park. Located off of New Mexico Highway 1 on the way to Socorro Rodeo Complex, Casey has welcomed visitors traveling both the state and the country with a convenient location to set up shop for multiple evenings. Casey’s also has the El Coco Beauty Salon attached to the facility that her daughter Catalina Saavadera started in 2008. El Defensor Chieftain pulled in to find out more.
Question: How did you decided to combine both an RV park and a salon?
Answer: My daughter went to school in Albuquerque and when she came back it was her decision to open up a salon here. So far it has worked out quite well.
Q: What type of amenities as well as pricing structure does the RV Park provide?
A: We have full hook ups such as water, electric, cable, wireless internet and sewage. We run 31 dollar daily rates and monthly rates at 300 dollars. Depending on the size we can accommodate around 75 vehicles at a time.
Q: Has Casey’s always been in the same location or has it moved throughout the years?
A: We have always been here. Luckily we found a good spot.
Q: With the addition of the salon how often is that part of the facility open?
A: They are open five days a week, Tuesday to Saturday, or by appointment with typically two stylists working at a time from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Q: What caused you to open up your own RV park?
A: My husband and I retired early. After spending a few years living in Mazatlan, Mexico we traveled back to the U.S. and purchased this piece of land. After my husband Dennis passed away from cancer in 2008 my daughter and I saw no reason not to keep it going on. We’re plumbers, electricians, trash collectors. You have to be when running a small business.
Q: What brought you to Socorro? Were you born and raised here?
A: No. I was born in Espanola but raised in a little town in Northern New Mexico called Coyote. My family still owns a ranch there and I do my best to visit whenever possible.
Q: What brought you away from your hometown?
A: I married a crazy Irishman. He was an eye doctor and we met in Farmington at an eyeglass convention. I was an ophthalmologist at the time and we hit it off and got married in the late 70’s. After getting married and traveling my late husband loved Socorro. It is a great little community with a ton of friendly people around you. Especially with this kind of business we meet a lot of fascinating personalities.
Q: What do you mean by ‘nice people’?
A: I have and the people and family members working here have always been very friendly. We get a lot of travelers from all over the world. There was a couple from Australia who passed through living in a tent. After getting to know them we even traveled with them to Mexico and still remain in contact to this day. You never know who is going to walk through that door.
Q: Have you had any bad experiences that standout?
A: Certainly, but they’re rare so nothing really comes to mind. Folks will get mad because their rig is too large to park or they don’t like the price. But I look at it as a lot of times these people have been traveling all night and are just in a cranky mood. We always try to calm them down and recommend other RV parks in town if they would prefer to stay somewhere else.
Q: You said that you retired early. Why start your own business?
A: The reason we left Mexico is that the peso became devalued.
So we were staying here in Socorro in our fifth wheeler when we found out that this property was already in the process of being sold. We made an offer and so here I am to this day. We originally opened up an optical shop here in Socorro called Payless Optical but running two small companies was too demanding so we stuck with this one. Its seven days a week.
Q: After 30 years, why do you still do it?
A: I love people. Plus I don’t want to sit at home and just get old. I’m old as it is but people keep me young.
Q: A few random questions, what is your favorite movie?
A: Growing up on a ranch mostly westerns when I was young. Now I spend a lot of time watching what my granddaughters enjoy. But the random one that pops into my head is the one where Julia Roberts plays the hooker, ‘Pretty Woman.' It’s a classic story of how people from different backgrounds can fall in love together.
Q: What is your favorite type of music or artist?
A: Definitely The Gypsy Kings. In some ways I was a gypsy myself in the past and their music makes me happy.
Q: What is your favorite author or book?
A: I read a lot of Rudolfo Anaya. He wrote ‘Bless Me, Ultima’ which they made a movie on a few years ago. I like the way he talks about genuine Chicano culture.
Q: If there was anywhere in the world you could live other than Socorro, where would it be?
A: Back in Mexico, probably Mazatlan. We have a lot of friends there and I still own property as well. I love Mexico. Plus that city offers the best of both worlds because it has the Mexicans and the Americans so you can be whatever you want.
Q: If there was something that you would change about Socorro County, what would it be?
A: More things to do like shopping for example. I think people would stay here longer if there were different options. Just recently I’ve seen a lot of residents moving away at a higher rate than normal which is too bad because Socorro is a great place to live
Casey’s doors are typically open on Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on weekends. Also living at the facility while making her homemade apricot jelly, Kathryn’s door is always open to a weary traveler.