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Published on June 28, 2018, by admin in New Mexico Summer.
Will it rain?

Will it rain?

We have been getting lots of dark clouds the last couple days. I’m hoping it means the monsoons will get here soon and cool it off some. It has been up in the 90’s this week.

I made a trip to Grants on Honda a few days ago. I was mainly looking for RO water and some lettuce from Walmart. I rode all over town looking for a water machine outside a store and finally had to text my friend John to find out where he found it. It was off on a side street outside a Family Dollar store.

Today I rode west on interstate 40 to Thoreau. Thoreau has a couple gas stations, two restaurants, cheap propane, and a Dollar General. Every little village I’ve gone through this last week has a tent set up on the outskirts of town, selling fireworks. I’m thinking maybe New Mexico has a relaxed regulatory on firecrackers. I hope people are careful this year because setting off fireworks and rockets in the forest are how some forest fires get started.

While I was in Thoreau I drove up the back road behind Bluewater Lake to check out a nice boondocking spot I found a couple years ago. The person here at the visitors center told me the forest was all closed over there and I couldn’t go in. It was a good thing I was skeptical because the forest road and campsites were all open. The recreation area on the other side of the lake is closed, however; that’s probably what she heard about.

Every day I look for an open electric site here. There are only five, and if one opens up, it is grabbed almost immediately. There are several reservation electric sites that I noticed are sometimes empty every day. Other state parks will allow you to stay at these sites if no one has reserved them. I walked down to the visitors center to ask them why they didn’t rent out these reservation sites if no one had reserved them. She gave me some story about a guy that wouldn’t move because he was drunk the night before and couldn’t drive. It was such a hassle that they don’t do any temporary occupancy. Sounded like a good scenario for a heafty ticket from law enforcement to me. I think they just don’t have the staff or energy to coordinate the reservation system with first come campers.

 
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Published on June 24, 2018, by admin in New Mexico Summer.
Overview

Overview

A couple of days ago I slipped on some gravel beside my RV and fell on a landscape timber. I had some sore ribs for a while, but today I felt up to taking a hike.

Coming down to the river.

Coming down to the river.

There is a short trail – no more than a mile I would guess – that loops down into a canyon beside the campground.

The trail is quite steep going down but switchbacks make it easier to navigate.

Stepping Stones to cross stream.

Stepping Stones to cross stream.

At the bottom the trail follows the stream for about a half mile and then climbs back up to the campground.

More of the canyon.

More of the canyon.

It’s quite pretty walking along the water with the cliff walls towering over you. The stream is overflow from the dam that creates Bluewater Lake. I was told that a certain amount of water has to be released for the Indian reservation down below.

View from above.

View from above.

At the bottom of the canyon you can turn upstream and hike to the dam. That will be for another day.

 
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Published on June 21, 2018, by admin in New Mexico Summer.
Elephant Butte Lake.

Elephant Butte Lake.

I left Datil Wells campground on Wednesday and drove south on Interstate 25 to check out two lakes and state parks established years ago by building dams on the Rio Grande River. Both these lakes are not very pretty. The landscape surrounding the lakes remind me of what you would see if someone put a lake in Quartzsite.

Elephant Butte is the biggest lake of any New Mexico state parks and also the most crowded. Even this time of year with temperatures hitting 100 degrees, the campground and lakefront were busy with campers and boaters. Quite a few RVs were plugged in to electric so they could run their AC but there were several that camped in non electric sites. I bought a season pass for $225 and also sprung for electric for the night. After I was settled I unloaded Honda to explore the park and surrounding towns.

You can actually park down by the Lakeshore if you are brave. Some places are sandy and easy to bury a vehicle. I talked with one camper that said he had to be towed out of a bad spot. The toy of choice for water fun seems to be the jet ski. I saw many of them buzzing around on the lake.

Walmart has a good selection of Kayaks.

Walmart has a good selection of Kayaks.

The surrounding town of Elephant Butte is the typical tourist trap – lots of restaurants, fishing shops, ect. Fifteen miles south is the city of Truth or Consequences where you can get anything you want.

Caballo State Park along the river below the dam.

Caballo State Park along the river below the dam.

The next morning I drove a few miles south of Truth or Consequences to Caballo State Park. Caballo is way less crowded and I think prettier than Elephant Butte. Below the park are very nice sites along the river. I think I will visit and spend some time there when the weather gets a little cooler.

It was a long drive north today where I found myself at Bluewater Lake State Park. Even though this park is over 7000′ it was still 90 degrees when I pulled in. I could probably spring for an electric site or run my generator some. I’ll see how much I can stand.

 
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Published on June 19, 2018, by admin in Adventure.

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While I camped at Datil Wells campground in New Mexico, I rode Honda a short side trip over to the VLA. The VLA, which stands for Very Large Array, is a group of 28, giant, parabolic dishes, built in a remote section of windy, New Mexico desert, and used to capture radio waves from distant reaches of the universe. With these radio telescopes they have photographed galaxies, black holes, and thousands of cosmic objects millions of light-years away.

I have been here before but it’s an interesting stop. The visitors center costs $5 for a senior, allowing you to browse the rooms of displays, watch a movie, and take a walking tour out to one of the dishes. All this science and astronomy is all quite boring, of course, but what is exciting and interesting is that Jodie Foster filmed a movie here! She even narrated the movie you watch in the visitors center.

There have actually been several films that have used the VLA as a backdrop for visuals in parts of their story. It pricks the imagination to wonder what alien and unknown things might be out there and movies are good at exploiting our curiosity and making us think about it.

It has been quite warm here. Even though this campground is at 7800′, the temperature has been in the high 80’s. I’m pretty close to Elephant Butte State Park so I may drive there to take a look. It will not be a place to camp, however, because the park is located at 4000′ elevation with temps approaching 100° this time of year. I’m definitely going to have to find someplace high up in the mountains.

 
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Published on June 15, 2018, by admin in Adventure.

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I’m doing a little wandering now that all the legal hurdles of residence in Arizona have been taken care of for the next year. I found out that insuring Minnie in Arizona is way, way more expensive than South Dakota, and getting an emissions test every year is more of a hassle, but it feels good to have all my legal pieces of residence in one place.

I still go by the philosophy that inquiries about my travel plans are best answered: “Wherever I end up, I guess.” Right now I’m in the Apache-Sitgraves National Forest at the Rim campground above Payson. I have been here several times before. The campground is full this weekend, mainly because the fire closures have limited choices for campers, and partly because this is a Father’s Day weekend.

It still bothers me that people take a trailer or tent or some other piece of camping gear, drive up to the campground several days before they intend to camp, and leave the gear in prime sites to reserve the place for the weekend. I talked to the camp host about it and came to the conclusion that even though it is illegal, no one is going to do anything about it.

Last night a young couple parked in front of my camp and walked through two adjoining campsite looking for an open site. The site next to me was occupied by a vehicle left to reserve the camp for the weekend. My site is large with room for more than one camper so I told them they were welcome to camp here with me. They were very happy to have a place to pitch their tent. They were courteous, respectful, and quiet during the evening. In the morning when I awoke, they were gone.

There is a storm headed this way. The remnants of hurricane Bud are expected to dump some rain on eastern Arizona and western New Mexico in the next two days. I was planning on moving east into New Mexico but decided to wait here until the storm passed. That’s the nice thing about traveling with no specific time table, you can always stay put until you feel like moving.

 

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