El Vado State Park

July 21st, 2018

El Vado Lake

It was a struggle putting Honda’s tire back on the rim. I ended up with a couple bruised fingers and a sore back from all the bending, but it is back together and so far holding air. I drove as far as the dam overlook last night for a test ride and decided to venture out on a long trip to a neighboring state park today.

El Vado State Park is only a few miles south of Heron Lake, but just like getting to the east shore of Navajo Lake from the west side, involves a 40 mile road trip, half of which is in the opposite direction. It was a nice ride, however, and I found a Family Dollar and gas station in the little town of Tierra Amarillo only 10 miles from here.


El Vado lake is not very pretty and the camping area is basically a field on top of the hill. The lake is quite low making it look like a pond in a big hole with rings of exposed shale for banks. A lot of the campsites overlook the lake but they are out in the open. Some sites on another loop do go back into some scrub trees but only a couple sites were level enough for an RV. Strike three is 2 bars 1x cell service.

I may go over there next week just to say I stayed there. It is certainly not a park where I would spend much time.

Sketchy Ride

July 16th, 2018

Down for a few days.

A few days ago when I was still at Navajo Lake, I noticed Honda’s front tire was a little soft. I pumped it up and it held overnight, only losing a few pounds by morning. It was a very slow leak and I thought maybe a can of fix-a-flat would solve the problem. I purchased the fix-a-flat, pumped it into the tire, drove a few miles to seal the leak, and waited to check the results. After two days the tire was still up, and I had driven twice to a town 20 miles away and once exploring all the campgrounds in Heron State Park. I thought I had the tire fixed but yesterday proved me wrong.

Chama, New Mexico is only 20 miles away so I decided to make a quick run to the market to pick up a few groceries. I got kind of a late start and almost turned around because of rain clouds building in my direction. I decided to chance it and kept going. I reached the store just as it began to sprinkle and parked under an outdoor canopy. When I jumped off of Honda, a store employee called my attention to a soft front tire.

I looked for more tire goop to put in to get me home but the store was out. There was a service station next door and I slowly rolled over and pumped air in the tire. I could tell the tire was not going to last long because I could hear air escaping at an alarming rate. I jumped on and headed for home anyway.

I think the tire lost most of the air very quickly. My tires are quite good quality Michelin with very stiff sidewalls and I discovered that keeping my speed up caused the centrifugal force to hold the tire somewhat rigid. The tires are so stiff that it is a job to pull the tire bead open enough to replace a tube. I sat far back on the seat to take as much weight as I could off the front end and road just ahead of a rainstorm chasing me all the way home.

No sightseeing on this trip.

I took the tire apart today and found that the valvestem was torn at the base. I have patches but no home remedy for a torn valvestem. I talked to the camp host about a store nearby that might have a tube. He gave me a couple suggestions that proved fruitless when I gave them a call. He also told me that he gets Amazon shipped here and supplied me with an address. I told him my 14 days were up soon and didn’t know if I would be here that long. He told me not to worry about it because no one would care if I had to stay longer.

So I texted Daryl and had him order the tube for me. After quite a turmoil trying to get Amazon to recognize my address, he finally got it to take. I should have the tube in three days.

Heron Lake State Park

July 10th, 2018

These sites not for big RVs.

After five days at Navajo Lake State Park, I decided to drive 80 miles east to Heron Lake. Navajo is a nice park but too warm this time of year without air conditioning. While I was there, I fortunately had an electric site so I could run AC and stay cool. Navajo Lake is around 6000′ elevation and Heron Lake is 7200′. Logic told me to put the money for electric in my gas tank and drive up to the higher elevation.

There is a good road to Heron that curves up to the north and swings south at Chama. Unfortunately, my GPS saw a lot shorter route through the Apache Indian reservation, and beckoned me on another shortcut. It was a mistake! The road was sort of paved most of the way, but dangerous potholes littered every bit of the black top. That was bad enough but then the road turned to dirt. With all the rain in the last few days many places along the road were washed out and muddy. I half expected to come to a dip filled with water where I would have to back-track many miles.

I made it as you can tell. The campground I’m in is quite pretty with trees and views of the lake. I’ll do more exploration tomorrow. There is a thunderstorm firing up this afternoon and forecast is for more all week. The temperature is 82 degrees.

Navajo Lake State Park

July 6th, 2018
Swallows nests in Bluewater canyon.

Swallows nests in Bluewater canyon.

My 14 days were up at Bluewater Lake State Park so I packed and headed 150 miles up to Navajo Lake State Park. I was a little worried about finding a spot with it being a holiday week. Navajo Lake is over 1000′ lower than Bluewater so I was hoping I could find an electric site to run my AC for a few days. Forecast for Navajo Lake was high 80’s through the weekend.

I pulled into the main campground, called Pine, and drove a couple of loops looking for a site. Everything was filled or reserved, even the non-electric sites. I thought for sure I would have to go up to one of the loops on a back dirt road look for an empty site, but I turned the corner in the last electric loop and there was one electric site open. It is fairly small but Minnie fit fine. After I parked and paid the extra for hook-ups, I walked all the loops and discovered I got the last one.

Rain on the way.

Rain on the way.

Later that evening we got a pretty good rain storm. The dark clouds brought a pretty rainbow before the rain began.

This morning I unloaded Honda and rode around the lake to Sims Mesa campground. Sims Mesa campground is only a mile across the lake as the crow flies, but it is 40 miles on paved road as the motorcycle drives. The campground over there was as crowded as this one. I drove the loops to check it out and headed back after a butt rest.

Navajo lake from shortcut road.

Navajo lake from shortcut road.

On the way back I noticed a dirt road that followed the lake shore, and a sign announced it as the Navajo Dam shortcut road. I’m all for shortcuts but it usually means a rough road. The road lived up to my imagination and bounced me all 10 miles to the dam. A lot of the road was so rough that I had to stand on the pegs to keep my internal organs in place!

Nice view of the dam and San Juan River below.

Nice view of the dam and San Juan River below.

I was here a couple of years ago and parked down below the dam by the river. There is a campground along the river called Cottonwood but I didn’t get any cell signal there. All the campgrounds here are nice but warm for this time of year. I will probably move on after the weekend and look for something a little cooler.

Good Deal

July 3rd, 2018
Free is good!

Free is good!

I rode into Grants today with my camp neighbor and friend John. He was getting brake work done on his truck and wanted to pick up groceries and do laundry. He had mentioned before that this laundromat was newly open and offered free dryers. The washers were reasonable, and free drying made it a good deal.

Each day the clouds move in in the afternoon but so far no rain. The temperature has fallen into the low 80’s which is a good thing. I will move in a couple days. Happy 4th of July everyone!

Malka and Nate.

Malka and Nate.

This is a picture of my grandson Nate with his girlfriend and her Dad on her college graduation day.