Two more parks

August 29th, 2018

Villanueva State Park

My two weeks were up at Storrie Lake so I packed up and headed south along the Pecos River to check out two more state parks. I was a little concerned that I would be dropping lower in altitude and thus finding hotter temperatures, but I hoped to find an electric site to ride out the Labor Day weekend with air conditioning.

Forty miles south of Las Vegas, New Mexico is the little state park called Villanueva. It’s another one of those parks built in a valley along a river. There is fishing and hiking trails. I only stayed overnight and hiked two short trails. There was no cell signal from a tower but up at the visitors center there is a booster where you could connect as long as you were close to the building. The Pecos River that runs along the length of the park supplies moisture to the valley so that lush, tall trees provide a pretty campsite.

There is a lot of history along the Pecos River. Early Spanish explorers were believed to have traveled through the valley, and later the area became part of the Santa Fe Trail. The town of Villanueva was a busy crossing when the Pecos was part of the border between Mexico and the United States. Supplies brought in by traders heading west were heavily taxed by the Mexico government.

Trail above the Pecos River.

In the morning I hiked up the valley to a mesa where early Spanish settlers built rock walls as a place to thrash wheat. They would fill a large, round, stone walled area with wheat and walk cattle in a circle to separate the grain. Then they would fluff it into the wind to remove the chaff.

After my morning hike, I packed up and drove 80 miles south to Santa Rosa State Park. Santa Rosa is 2000′ lower than Storrie Lake and the heat was definitely in full swing when I reached the the campground. I drove the non-electric camp loops and only saw a couple sites occupied. It was the opposite when I looked at the electric sites. Luckily, I found a couple non-reservable sites open and snagged one for the next seven days.

Santa Rosa Lake lookout.

I haven’t explored much of the park yet. The lake is not a place where I can launch my kayak so I will just hang out and enjoy the electricity. I did ride Honda into Santa Rosa today and met Richard and Dianna on their trip back to Tennessee. We had a quick lunch at McDonalds and then they continued on east. I will not see them until next year.

Das Boot

August 22nd, 2018

10′ Lifetime sit-on kayak.

Now I know why Richard and Dianna got a motor for their kayak – paddling is hard work!

On the water.

With my knee not getting any better and walking becoming more difficult, I rationalized that maybe paddling a boat would at least give me some exercise, so I bought a cheap kayak from Walmart through their online ordering system. You can order something and have it shipped to one of their stores for free. Most of the time I’m in a state park or backwoods road with no address so shipping to a store works well for me. The only trouble is it takes way longer to get something from Walmart than it does from Amazon Prime. It took almost two weeks for this kayak to find it’s way from Las Vegas NV to Las Vegas NM. Tracking showed it even went to California before coming back this way.

I’m not really sure how I’m going to carry it yet but I will figure it out. When I picked it up, I went to the store, left my motorcycle here at Storrie Lake, and tied the kayak to my ladder. The kayak only stuck up a foot above the roof and rode fine the four miles back to the lake.

Easy to carry if I didn’t have Honda.

Of course the weather has turned windy and rainy today so I have only tried it out for a couple quick jaunts. I made sure I stayed close to shore and paid attention to the storm clouds moving in.

The hardest part is launching. The lake is so shallow here where I’m camped that I have to walk the boat several yards into the water where it’s deap enough to float with my weight once I sit down. If you get in too early, you sit on the muddy lake bottom and your stuck.

Walking out into the water where it is deap enough to launch wouldn’t be a problem except for the consistency of the lake bed. I bought a pair of cheap sneakers to use as water shoes but the mud sucks them in like quicksand trying to pull them off with each step. Maybe I’ll get the hang of it before I have to move.


August 10th, 2018

Eagles Nest SP.

I drove north yesterday and stopped at Coyote Creek SP. It’s only 40 miles from Storrie Lake State Park which makes it a good place to serve my time away from the 14-day limit rule for New Mexico state parks. The rule is that you have to be out of a park 6 days, then you can go back for another 14. Some people will stay a week and then go out for 3 days to make it legal. I figured the weekend at Coyote Creek would give me another batch of time at Storrie Lake.

Both parks have pluses and minuses. Storrie Lake has great cell signal, a lake, and the city of Las Vegas only 5 miles away. Coyote Creek has trees, dump station, cooler weather, and hiking trails. It’s hard to pick one that I like best.

This morning I woke to chilly temperatures and overcast sky. I was planning on riding Honda 30 miles north to check out Eagles Nest State Park, Cimarron State Park, and a couple attractions on the way. After thinking it over for a while this morning, I decided to drive Minnie up to the state park and stay for a couple days.

The road North from Coyote Creek was under construction. For about 5 miles the road wound steeply up to a higher Alpine landscape. At times the road was only a little over one lane wide and I’m glad there was not much traffic. Once I broke out of the forest into wide valley meadows, the road was wide and nice.

I stopped in Angel Fire to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park. I walked around for a while looking at all the memorials to those who served during that war. The visitors center had many displays of all things pertaining to the war years. It was a sad place to visit, but important to remember those that served and the 58,000 young men that gave their lives.

No match for a tornado!

I arrived at Eagles Nest SP shortly before noon and was lucky enough to find one site open. The camp host came by after I parked and recorded my documents to put me on the time clock. He mentioned to me that there was a tornado that came through the park yesterday and showed me a 5th-wheel RV down the road that was tipped on it’s side. He said there were three other campers that had broken windows, but thankfully, no one was hurt. The people that own the 5th wheel we’re not there at the time. Tornadoes are so rare in this county, I guess I should feel safe tonight.

If the weather is good tomorrow I may explore some nearby places. I talked with another camper that told me it was 38 degrees this morning. That’s not good motorcycle riding temperature!

A Hike

August 2nd, 2018

Here are a couple pics of Coyote Creek on the trail above the campground. Most of the nice sites are back in the woods where they can’t be seen from this trail. The big loop is where the electric sites are located.


Electric sites all in a row.

I’m back in there somewhere.

Coyote Creek SP

August 1st, 2018


There are five state parks a few miles north of Las Vegas, New Mexico, and the one I’m camped at has the only working dump station. I left Storrie Lake yesterday and drove 40 miles north to a nice little state park named Coyote Creek. Coyote Creek SP is small but quite pretty. It’s in a wide valley surrounded by mixed pine and hardwood trees with a small stream running through the park.

There are about 10 RV sites with electric and about the same number of developed, non-electric sites you could get a small RV into. The electric sites are packed together in a side-by-side, crowded line. One road to more camping spots, crosses the stream and runs up the hill, and is mostly for high-clearance vehicles and tenters. There is also a small field down by the river for overflow camping.

At 7700′ of elevation, the temperature has been nice. It was a bit chilly this morning but warmed up into the 70’s quickly. Today I hiked a trail that circles the stream side of the park and climbs up the hill for a mile. Of course, every afternoon the monsoon thunderstorms move in and chase everyone inside.

Looking over the trees.

I get 3 bars of 3G on Verizon. It’s not great but adequate. I had to put my dish up on Minnie’s roof to get above the trees. I get enough sun to get a full charge every day and all this rain is keeping my panels clean!

I’m heading back to Storrie Lake State Park on Friday. I ordered something from Walmart that should be at the store in Las Vegas by then. All the good spots at the state park will undoubtedly be filled on Friday, so I will park in the field down by the lake.