Friday, August 23, 2013

New Mexico

We use a web source to locate pubic campgrounds that is more extensive than any other one, but it has a glitch. The co-ords for each CG are in the center of the CG, never the entrance.  The shortest way to the center of a campground may or may not involve using a road. That was the case today. We were advised to Navigate Off Road, which in this case meant driving down a steep hillside about 50 feet until we got to the maintenance yard for the CG. We declined the instruction and kept on driving and found the paved entrance a mile or so down the highway.

There is something about the sun in northern New Mexico that is different from anywhere else that we know of. Fifty miles over the Colorado border and the sunlight is somehow softer. We especially noticed it at sunset yesterday. 

We have left the San Juan's and the scenery is just not as exciting.  We have camped in New Mexico State Parks. They are nice and not expensive. The very sad thing is that the drought has the water levels about 75 -100' below normal.  That's a whole lot.  You can look and see where the water used to be and think how pretty the park was back when there was water.  If only some of Alabama's water come could out here - then everyone could be happy.

Sunday, August 18 - Off the mountains, down to Durango to fill the larder. Shopped at both City Market and Wal*Mart. Dorothy made our food last for three weeks, buying only bread, milk and eggs in Silverton. City Market is our fav grocery in the country. Beats Publix handily. Drove down a rural NM road to Navajo Dam State Park.

Monday, August 19 - Our second night at Navajo Dam State Park. We needed another day to veg out. Hot days but cool nights.

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Navajo Lake State Park with bonus rainbow

Tuesday, August 20 - Stayed at Heron Lake State Park. It was cool and we had no need of hookups. Dorothy made a yummy Tex-Mex dinner.

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Can you see the soft light we do in New Mexico?

Wednesday, August 21 - US64, aka Paseo del Pueblo Norte, from Tierra Amarilla east to Taos affords some scenic views on a rural and very lonely road. It tops out at 10,500 and it's a long grind to the top. We were not passed nor did we pass anyone. We saw may a dozen on-coming cars on the one hour leg to Taos.

Taos has not changed much from the first time we saw it in 1994. Still a sad place. I think fewer "artists" now and more wanna-be hippies. It now has Earth Biotecture colony. These are rammed earth structures that look like something out of Mad Max. They are built by plaited hair guys driving rusted out Mercedes that run on bio-diesel.

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Bottles in mortar and earth

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 The Earth Biotecture colony just west of lovely Taos

US64 east of Taos is a narrow winding road with plenty of tourist traffic following the Enchanted Trail Circle. We made it to Eagle's Nest which is a golf and ski getaway town in a wide valley. The CG was fairly new and the parking pads were level. You have a view of what's left of the lake, which is low like all lakes in the area.

Thursday, August 22 - The plan today was to get from Eagle's Nest in northern NM to Conchos Dam, NM in the east central part of the state. From 8,200 feet to 4,200. From mountain valley to desert scrub. From 72 degrees to 104 degrees. Had to be done. It's the way to Dallas. It's the way to Alabama. Glenda routed us on NM 434, which starts off as a narrow winding road through pasture. Then it gets more narrow. Then it's unstriped, 1.5 lanes narrow and winds down Coyote Creek. Then I gave an on-coming truck too much room and crushed the sidewall of a tire on a sharp rock. Blowout. Found a pull-off a 100 yards down the road where I could change the tire. No cell phone coverage and many miles to nearest town. I have not changed a tire in over 10 years. Did not know if I could break the air hammer tight lugs or not. Fortunately we had a flat gravel surface for the jack and in only an hour, we had it changed. Quite a few cars were on 434 with us, most with out-of-state plates following their GPS.

Don drove until we got to Storrie Lake SP at Las Vegas, NM where we had lunch.  You don't want to go there!  I started driving and it was a wide road with wide shoulders and straight.  UNTIL we started going downhill - lost about 1,000' elevation in just 5 miles.  And the road for the last 35 miles was a paved washboard.  Driving 50 mph was rough.  We were exhausted when we arrived at Conchos. The lake was not low. The COE is keeping their water. Not a drop was being released. Our outside thermometer indicted 105. Inside it was 74.    

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Git er done!28 New Mexico14 resizeI like Llama's. We have seen more herds this year. This herd was about 80 to 100.

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Friday, August 23 - From Conchos, NM to Littlefield, TX. The first day of the slog home through terrain we have seen too much of. Oh well, it will green up when as we get close to Dallas. Tonight we are parked in a city park that has some connection to Waylon Jennings as this was his home town. The price meets with our approval - free. Texas does not have any public lands but almost every small town has a city park for RV's. 

In two jumps we will be near Dallas where we will tour 'W's library and pick up some money from the printing press there.

We will post again after we tour the three presidential libraries in Texas.



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