October 28

Television and the Old West

Hot times in southern New Mexico, upper 80’s around Las Cruses. Thankfully I have electric and can turn on the A/C in the late afternoon.

Organ Mountains
Organ Mountains

I’ve moved south to Leasburg  Dam State Park. I was here in March of 2014. It was a bit colder back then. Less global warming I guess!

I’ve actually watched TV the last few nights. I caught the PBS/BBC show “The Durrells in Corfu.” I’d heard about it and found it very funny.

The one thing I don’t miss are all the drug ads. They are everywhere, and for whatever ailment they  convince you, you have. There must be at least six to eight drugs I’ve never heard of before. I better “ask my doctor.”

On the outside of the trailer, I find a whole lot of Quail. On walks with Geordie early in the morning, we scatter 20-30. From my National Geographic bird guide, I found they are Gambel’s Quail. Also saw a few Roadrunners and have heard at night the wailing Wile E. Coyote at night after a day of mishaps.

After starting this weeks post, I decided to stay next week too, since I can watch the Cubs on TV in the World Series. As you see in my Instagram post, I’ve flown my “W” flag after the first win in game two. Everyone here already knows I’m a Cub fan and has commented on my cap and the team. Game three tonight in Wrigley Field.

Made it to the vet for Geordie. She strongly suggested I see a veterinarian ophthalmologist to check his eyes, so we have an appointment next week.

Took a trip to the laundromat this morning. Aren’t you all excited!?

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Later, I went down the road to old Fort Selden. The fort dates back to just after the Civil War. Many of the soldiers were in the Battle of Glorieta Pass.

Barracks
Barracks

The fort was used to protect the trade route between El Paso and Santa Fe and the farmers along the Rio Grande River from the Apache raiding parties.

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One young boy, son of the fort commander, grew up to be a famous general. His name was Douglas MacArthur.

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As you can see, many of the buildings, being adobe, are in decay but the layout can be seen and you are allowed to walk around the fort. The museum and video are well worth it. You’ll find artifacts from the fort and an understanding of a soldiers life in the fort.

Horno or wood oven. It's used by the Pueblos and Spanish to bake bread and roast meat. Can you smell the pizzas?
Horno or wood oven. It’s used by the Pueblos and Spanish to bake bread and roast meat. Can you smell the pizzas?

I’ll be moving south to the KOA for one night on Sunday and return to Leasburg Dam SP. Somehow I didn’t plan my stay here very well with the World Series going on.

Thanks for reading.

Rob

October 21

Light News

It’s been hard to put words together the last few weeks, because nothing real exciting has happened.

I moved over to Caballo Lake State Park last week. I came to this park last year. This year it feels strange to be here. I don’t know why?

One thing I’ve noticed in the morning hours, I awake to the ‘baw’ like calls of cranes moving south. I can’t tell if they are Common cranes or Sandhill cranes. Either way, just about 6:30 to 7:00 AM they start forming their V like formations and head south. Waves of them ‘baw’ out.

Since this ‘lake’ is just one of many along the Rio Grande River, the cranes and many other birds have been using this as a flyway for centuries. If you look at a map, the Rio Grande starts in Colorado. In the San Luis Valley in Colorado is another area of this flyway for the many birds that head south. Russell Lakes is a marshy area in the middle of the valley that allows a stop over for the birds life. I assume, going backwards, they come from the North near the Arkansas River then up from the North Park area I was in this past summer and to Wyoming and parts further North to Canada. Now they fly south, just like RV ‘Snowbirds.’

I’ll move farther south next week. I have an appointment for Geordie at the vet. He needs a rabies shot and I want to check his eyes again. I’ll camp at Leesburg Dam State Park closer to Las Cruces, NM.

Wish I had more to write. Sometimes the words don’t come.

Thanks for stopping by for this brief post.

Rob

October 7

City of Boulders (not that one in Colorado)

Well, best laid plans turn to dust. I left the boondock camp south of Glenwood, NM and went looking for a place to boondock in the Big Burro Mountains southwest of Silver City, NM. As I started up Tyrone Road I found that the recent rains had done a good job of creating ruts and washboarded the road. I found all the off-shoot roads far too rough for anything but an ATV. So after a half hour I decided it wasn’t possible to camp there.

Plan #2 was to head further south to a spot farther from Silver City or plan #3 was to head to City of Rocks State Park. I took option three.

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I was glad I came to City of Rocks. I’ve seen other bloggers posts on this magical place and wasn’t disappointed. This park was formed almost 35 million years ago in a volcanic eruption. Then it took rain, snow, and wind to come to this point.

This is an amazing spot. Out in the middle of nowhere are these volcanic tuff rocks on the plains of southern New Mexico. If they weren’t all jumbled together, you’d think this was a Stonehenge or an Avebury like spot. It’s an adult sized playground of rocks to climb on.

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When I drove in I found only two spots open in the electric section and paid for 10 days.

The weather has been just right for wandering around the park, though rain is due tonight and tomorrow.  In the mornings I’ve been taking Geordie up to the lookout section of the park. It’s a separate jumble of rocks higher up a hillside. We often wander the park during the day, and so far haven’t encountered any snakes. There are trails into the scrublands around the park, we haven’t hit those yet.

Morning to the east. An old volcano.
Morning to the east. An old volcano.
Morning at City of Rocks.
Morning at City of Rocks.

This park is also for the astronomers. I’ve seen a few folks with telescopes out, and there is a small park observatory. There are ‘star parties’ listed on the events page at the visitor’s center. The next one it on the 22nd, but I’ll be gone by then. If you haven’t been out at dusk, the sliver of moon sits to the upper left of Venus.

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I’ve done a few jaunts to Silver City for food and to have the truck’s oil changed. It’s a bit of trek up there.

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I will most definitely put this park in the “return trip” column, maybe for a star party.

Thanks for reading,

Rob

September 30

Nuts!

Here we are the last day of September. It’s been getting colder over night and the day time temps have dropped into the mid 70’s.

I stayed a couple nights longer at Datil Well Campground. I’d been looking at some of the campgrounds farther south along US 180 and found most are free and without water. Some are limited in their RV lengths as well. I also looked at the cell coverage and it looks very spotty.

The time I was at Datil Well I noticed in the campground and along the road I walked Geordie on, lots of piñon trees with their cones opened. At the campsite I poked under a tree and found a good amount of pine nuts. I spent a few minutes over the next few days and started collecting them. Pine nuts are expensive to buy and there is a reason for that. They do not produce every year and it is a bit of a headache to open the raw hard shell variety. I don’t know how a commercial producer does it but the best way for me is a dentists nightmare. I suppose a hammer and a light touch could be used, but with a bit of a learning curve. The other way it to roast them in the shell. I have a video of how a Navajo harvests and roasts the nuts. You’ll want to eat roasted nuts right away.

One harvest batch
One harvest batch

I’ve looked on the internet for ways to crack that hard shell on raw nuts but I can only find information on the soft shell piñon that grows mostly in Nevada and parts of California. Colorado and New Mexico species are hard shell species.

One tub filled
One tub filled

If you’re in an area with piñon trees, it would make a fun outing with kids. Just beware that there is a lot of pine pitch on the cones and ground. Wear old clothes, hats, and have some vegetable oil on hand to dissolve the pitch.

By freezing the unshelled raw nuts you can keep them for a couple of years, from what I’ve read. But if you’ve got them use them!

Lots of cones
Lots of cones

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Most of the pine nuts you find in stores these days are grown in China. There are US sellers online.

The nutrition of the pine nut is very good and healthy. With about a cup you receive about 18 g. protein, 18 g. carbohydrates, and 92 g. fat, most of that is polyunsaturated, that cup is 900 calories. While most of us won’t eat a whole cup it is still a good food source which is why the First Nations and Hispanics gathered the nuts as a staple food source for winter.

I’ll probably collect pine nuts as I head south. Might as well harvest while I can and stock up.

I moved over to Quemado Lake on Tuesday. I found a couple of pretty campgrounds, Juniper and Piñon. Juniper has a section of electric and water sites for RVs. They are double sites, two right next to each other. At this time of year, it was empty but for the camp host. The RV section will close today. The rest of the campground stays open all winter.

Quemado Lake half full and a storm on the way
Quemado Lake half full and a storm on the way

I spent two nights here and I should mention, as with most lakes, the lake was more than half empty. Still, I had the pleasure of hearing about four bull Elk bugling all night. Fall is here.

From Quemado Lake I had planned to stay for a night in one of those free campgrounds but I found them lacking in desirability. Too much road noise and too cramped. I found myself going further south to just at the edge of the Gila National Forest land and to Little Dry Creek Road, south of Glenwood, N.M. What a night last night. It must have been the last hurrah for the monsoon season. Thunder, lightning, and a ton of rain. I’ll stay here through the weekend.

Gold on gold
Gold on gold

Thanks for stopping in.

Rob

September 23

Contact

I had a few frustrating days last week. I had gone online to update a few things on WordPress and my domain, and for some reason my credit card was declined.

I went over to my credit card billing page and it said I’d called in “a lost or stolen card.” I hadn’t called in at all. In fact, I had no phone service the whole time I was at Heron Lake. I found I didn’t have coverage from Chama down to Tierra Amarilla.

At first I thought my phone got cut off until I found it was on another credit card. It wasn’t until I left and hit the US 550 corridor that I had cell service. Then it wasn’t until I camped my second night that I found voice mails from my card company asking to verify purchases.

I was able to use the Heron Lake State Park office phone before I left and learned it was a precautionary move by the credit card company that my card was cut off and I was to receive a new card.

What a pain in the backside!

I’ve traveled further south, after I had stayed a couple of more days  at Heron to cool off from the chaos. I camped up NM 4 at Vista Linda campground north of San Ysidro, NM. It’s a pretty campground in the canyon. There were only about 12 campsites. It might have been more quiet had it been further from the road. Still it was nice enough for $10.00.

The rough part of heading south is there are no other routes around Albuquerque from that direction. I did eliminate going through Espanola and Santa Fe by heading to US 550.

It seems I hit I-25 at the right time of 9:30AM, as the traffic was not too heavy.

It was a long day to get down to Socorro, NM and west to the small (tiny) town of Datil. I had planned on a stop just west of Socorro but I found Water Canyon campground a little lacking. Sometimes I have a weird feeling about camps and that was one of them for me.

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The two draws to this area are the Very Large Array radio telescopes between Datil and Magdalena, NM. I went over this morning to the visitor’s center. I have to say it was a very impressive self-tour. The visitor’s center has a really good video to watch and narrated by non other than Jodie Foster. If you remember the movie “Contact,” it was here that they filmed. For a virtual tour you can go to https://public.nrao.edu. On the tour I walked right up to a dish. I decided to take an Instagram shot with my phone and turned it on. ( You must turn your phone off or to airplane mode at the VLA. Turns out that a cell signal is something like billions and billions times stronger than the radio signals they detect from space.) When I turned my phone on, still in airplane mode, the dish moved. All the dishes moved. I thought I had done it and I was going to be arrested. Freak out! No one came and cussed me out or hauled me off. I took the shot and turned off the phone.

I moved that with my phone...I think, maybe not.
I moved that with my phone…I think, maybe not.
One arm of the Y shaped axis of the array.
One arm of the Y shaped axis of the array.

The other attraction in the region is Pie Town just west from Datil. The Pie-o-neer cafe serves pie, lots of pie. Go figure! After my tour of the VLA, I drove over and picked up a cherry, cherry pie and a blueberry. Oh, so, good!

You just gotta' go
You just gotta’ go

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Blueberry and Cherry, Cherry pie. Sometimes you jus have to have a couple of slices for lunch!
Blueberry and Cherry, Cherry pie. Sometimes you just have to have a couple of slices for lunch!

The campground I’m in is Datil Well. It’s a BLM campground with water spigots around the campground. At $5.00 a night it can’t be beat.

Really glad I came this way. Now I have to find “Contact” and watch it again.

Thanks for reading.

Rob

September 16

The Low Down

We took a drive by Heron Lake on Saturday, and to say the lake is low is like a bath tub with three inches of water. We drove south and found the only boat launch open near the end of the lake near the dam.There weren’t more than six vehicles there with boat trailers parked.

Heron Lake
Heron Lake

I let Geordie out and threw the float out for him a dozen times. Afterwards we drove further south to find El Vado Lake just as empty. These lakes are more than half empty as opposed to half full!

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No sailing today!
No sailing today!

I’m finding this campground (‘Blanco’ with water and electric) pretty nice. There is a path that runs all the way down to the dam and is called “Salmon Run.” Geordie and I have walked a good portion of it.

The campground is really quite this time of year. On Monday this loop was about 20% occupied. As of next week, all the sites are “Walk up.” Meaning no more reservations are taken for the season.

Monday morning, I took a drive up U.S. 64 up to Hopewell Lake, which is on the way towards Taos. Hopewell Lake is at 9,500 feet and it was windy and cold up there. We had a good rain overnight Sunday night. That, I’m sure, added to the damp, chilly temperatures at that elevation. I had expected snow that high, but none seen…yet.

Brazos Cliffs
Brazos Cliffs

I’m debating where to go next week. My prepaid time is up on Sunday and I think I’ll pay for a couple more days and leave on Tuesday. I’ve thought of going up to an area north of Chama. Another plan is to head south and get past Albuquerque by Thursday and head into the Gila National Forest. I’ve never seen that area and I would drop down in elevation.

It got cold this morning at 34º, so I may head south. I’ll see how the weekend temperatures look.

I read a blog post from Sebastian at “Simple Living and Simple Travel” yesterday. Sebastian is the person I learned of the Nash line of trailers.

Sebastian noticed a pain and redness in his arm and chest and went to the hospital. It was discovered he had flesh eating bacteria and was airlifted from Kanab, Ut to Salt Lake.

If you go to his site, be warned it has some disturbing photos and text.

On a lighter note, I was sitting at the dinette reading early in the morning last weekend and noticed a movement. I looked out to see a coyote walking through the trees in back of camp. With Geordie tied up and sleeping under the trailer, I immediately jumped up and opened the door. The coyote noticed me and trotted off.

I’ve also been hearing bull elks bugling in the distance. Fall is here and the elk are starting the rut.

I really enjoy experiencing the changes in seasons by what’s outside, rather than looking at the calendar.

Ripening acorns means fall
Ripening acorns means fall

I took Geordie out for a walk on Wednesday evening a saw the moon rising. The full Harvest Moon comes up tonight. Go out tonight and take a look, and notice the season changing.

Geordie's new spot
Geordie’s new spot

Have a great fall weekend, and thank you for joining my journey.

Rob

September 9

Heron Lake State Park

Sorry about last week’s missing post, folks. Something weird happened when I returned after making a quick town trip last Friday. I came back and came down with uncontrollable chills and shivering, and a headache. I just couldn’t get warm.

After an eleven hour sleep, I was still a little foggy in the brain, so I skipped posting.

I had been tucked up in the mountains north of Pagosa Springs, Co. over the Labor Day weekend.

It was a nice camp until I discovered I was on a hiking trail and ATV trail. I guess that was better than being closer to town with the Four Corners Folk Festival going on over the weekend.

I found a road off Turkey Springs Road (FR 629). To reach that you have to go up Piedra Road from Highway 160. The road I camped on was FR 923 almost to the end. The road had a few tough sections and I was glad I had higher clearance on both the truck and trailer. I did hear a scrap on the truck on the way in, but on a few trips out I found the other side of the rocky section better.

Today you find me down at Heron Lake State Park in New Mexico, just south of Chama, NM. I have to keep using that pass I purchased. I also thought with the forecast with rain this next week, I’d like electric. I can even listen to the Cubs on Sirius radio.

Another reason for moving is hunting season. I saw many hunters (bow), hunting by truck and ATV near camp. A hiker had reminded me to put some ‘orange’ on Geordie. I put some orange  flagging around his neck. Rifle season is also a few weeks away.

Haven’t yet gone down to the lake here, but I did notice driving in it was very low. I’ll let Geordie go swimming a bunch and I’d like to take a few paddles.

There are two lakes here, Heron Lake and El Vado. Heron is a “no wake” lake, so only electric motors. Also paddle and sail is allowed. El Vado is a motor lake.

The campground here is pretty nice. Lots of Juniper and Pinon trees separate sites. I’m in the ‘Blanco’ electric/water section.

The one negative is the limited internet signal. I’m on an”Extended” signal or one bar 4G on my Verizon Jetpack. I have no signal on my Straight Talk phone in camp.

More as I explore this state park, plus photos.

Thanks for following and using my Amazon links.

Rob

August 26

The Feeling of Fall

Today there was a distinct feeling of fall. When I woke, there was no sunshine streaming through the windows. No sounds of birds, happy and chirping. Taking Geordie out, the sky was grey from horizon to horizon, north to south, east to west. It reminded me of Midwestern late falls and winters. The year of the sun is sinking south, with shortening days.

While most of the week was sunny in the morning. Mid-afternoons the dark clouds filled the sky. Tuesday there was a very heavy rain, with flood warnings for the area. On Wednesday morning, the local radio station mentioned the mountains around Silverton received four to five inches of snow on the peaks.

I celebrated my two year “on the road” anniversary last Monday. Hearing about the snow reminded me of my first camp. It rained and snowed on the mountain peaks back then too. I’ve enjoyed the last two years. Most of the 730 nights, I’ve spent it out in nature. Nothing better than seeing elk, wild burros, coyotes, and moose. I’ve watched meteors, sunsets, lightning,  rain on the horizon, and overhead. I’ve even been near a flooding river and driven around fires.

I never got fished my favorite mountain stream, with all the rain. While fish don’t care if it’s raining, I don’t care for getting stuck in a small canyon, with lightning all around.

That’s about all the words I have for this week. I’ll leave you with some photos of the high country.

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Fireweek
Fireweed

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As you can see, summer is coming to a close.

Thanks for stopping by.

Rob

August 19

New Things and Old Things

New things are always great. The one great new thing is a new title, I am now a great uncle. I mentioned Geordie’s birthday on the 11Th, well my great niece shares the same birthday. Caedyn is her name. Of course, as you can imagine, the whole family is pleased we have new addition.

My new great niece.
My new great niece.

I’ve moved off the mountain on Monday and stayed one night at the KOA in Durango. I was clean out of water and it was a pleasant stay, except for the noise. This KOA is right on U.S. highway 160 and is a major artery for folks going into and leaving Durango. That said, the host there are very friendly and helpful. The grounds are loaded with flowers and they even have a garden with herbs. Guests are welcome to cut herbs for their own use. They even have a couple of pizza ovens and you can order by phone and they’ll deliver to your site. Pretty good pizza too.

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I loaded the water tank and now you find me back at my old camp in the Sauls Creek area. I camped here back in May, of this year.

Aspen understory
Aspen understory

I’ve been thinking of checking my glasses prescription over the last month, and I thought I should get it done with the old optometrist.

Another reason for staying here again is, I want to head up to one of my favorite mountain streams and cast a few flies. It’s a pretty little stream maybe ten feet across in most areas. I’ve caught lots of fish on this stream. Not trophy sized by any means, but beautiful Brook, Rainbow, and a few Cutthroat Trout. Biggest might be in the 10-12” range, but it’s a whole lot of fun catching 20-30 fish in a quarter mile stretch.

Another reason for coming back, is to stock the freezer with a bunch of green chiles. There are so many ways to incorporate green chiles into your food. Scrambled eggs, chicken and chile stew, I even put them into Charleston Crab soup, a recipe I found in the Joy of Cooking. Of course there is nothing better than a green chile on a burger. Just slap on a whole chile on top of the burger with melted cheddar. Is your mouth watering? Yep, mine too!

Playing around with old photo from Utah, with Photoshop
Playing around with an old photo from Utah, with Photoshop

While you can get cans of chiles in the market, you are limited to “mild” and “hot.” Honestly, the “hot” is not. The hot you get from at the farmers market is one you keep your hat on for. It will blow your brains out. At least it did for me. I get the medium chiles. Just the right amount of heat.

After the eye appointment this morning, I went to the natural food market for the Reed’s Ginger Beer I like. They’re the only one that carries it in town. There out front was a chile roaster. I got my chiles!

Now I wait for the new glasses, and I’m set to see the world.

Until next week,

Rob