Storrie Time

Well, our time at Storrie Lake State Park is about to end.  We have pretty much spent the summer here.  The weather has been really great, plus it’s close to town and has good Verizon signal.  I don’t watch a lot of TV, but there is good broadcast TV signal here, too.  Several of my friends have spent time here (Barbara, Roxanne, Annie, Nancy, Lorna, Ryan), and I’ve met some new folks (John, Jan, Renee, Patty, Brad, Dave).  And Riley got to make some new friends, too.

The weather is a big factor.  Here is the August weather in Las Vegas this year.  Highs in the 70’s and low 80’s, lows in the 50’s.  I’ll take it.

Las Vegas Weather

And here is Austin in August 2011, the last time I spent August there. (We’ve been on the road since 8/2/12.) Thirty five years of this is enough.  No more.

Austin Weather

Austin Weather

They have a Carnegie Library here, and I was able to get a temporary library card, so that was nice.  It’s a pretty place, sits on a whole block.  The homes surrounding the library block are being restored.

Carnegie Library

Carnegie Library

Library Square Houses

Library Square Houses

Renovation of a house across from the library into a gingerbread cottage.

Renovation of a house on the corner across from the library into a gingerbread cottage.

Las Vegas has a nice plaza, with the historic Plaza Hotel on one corner.  Threadbear is a quilt and yarn shop I visited a few times.  It’s just across the street from the Plaza Hotel.  There is a farmer’s market here on Saturday mornings, plus other major events like the Rough Riders biker rally in July.

Plaza

Plaza

We did a LOT of dog walking together.  We’d often do two-a-days.  Katie has a bad ankle and can only walk a short distance, then rides in the doggie stroller.

Riley walking with his friends Jake and Katie (Katie has a bad ankle and can only walk a short distance, then rides in the doggie stroller).

Riley walking with his friends Jake and Katie.  (And my friends Annie and Barbara.)

Awww, she's so cute.

Awww, she’s so cute.

I did a bunch of weaving on my new inkle loom.  I REALLY love making bands on it.  I have made a few things for my friends (belts, a dog leash, a camera strap) and have just finished some dog collars.  Probably will work up some stuff for my Etsy shop.

Dog Collars

Dog Collars

Weaving in the shade

On hot days (about 95 was the hottest in July) I took the inkle loom out to our shade structure.  Riley loves hanging out there and I would visit with John and/or Barbara.

So, we are about to head out of here tomorrow (9/3) and go to Santa Fe.  Iska and Larry are going on a trip and I get to house/pet sit.  Yay!  It will be good to visit with them a bit, and I love staying out there.  On the 18th we go up to Taos for a Lazy Daze ladies (Ladeze) gathering.  Then to Albuquerque for some Ford scheduled maintenance and the Balloon Fiesta.  Lots of fun times with good friends planned.

A couple more Storrie views:

I moved to the far north end. by the dam and boat ramp.  Nice view from there.

We moved to the far north end, by the dam and boat ramp, before the Labor Day weekend.  Nice view from there.  Moved back to the loop on Sunday.  It’s better (nicer, quieter) here.

Another lovely day

Another lovely day.  I will miss this.

[By the way – the dump station here is broken and closed.  They will not have it fixed this season.  We have been going to the RV park across from the Walmart since the end of July.  They charge $5.00 and just have you pull into an empty site to use the sewer connection.  FYI for anyone planning a visit.]

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Catching Up

I’m always behind in my blogging.  I need to catch up.  We are back at Storrie Lake State Park in Las Vegas, after spending a week at Iska’s in Santa Fe again.  So, briefly, here are some shots of the past 3-4 weeks or so.

Here is one reason I haven’t blogged lately – my new toy.  An inkle loom I found in Santa Fe when we were at Iska’s the first time.  It makes bands: belts, straps, trim, etc.

Inkle Loom

Inkle Loom and book, with my first project warped, ready to start weaving.

Working on my first band

Weaving my first inkle band

I have made several bands and am getting better at it.  It’s a nice, small loom.  Easy to weave in my RV, or take outside and use it on the table in my shelter.  Just finished weaving a band with Rasta colors today.  Still need to finish the ends and get a couple of D-rings to make a belt.

Rasta color Belt

Rasta Belt

Anyway, we’ve been camping with the gals again lately:

Barbara and Katie

Barbara and Katie

Annie and Jake

Annie and Jake

We had a nice 4th of July cookout with John, our camphost and friend:

July 4th Cookout

July 4th Cookout

John took a picture of us gals one day when we were out walking the dogs and he was out taking pictures of some baby birds.

Me, Annie and Barbara with Riley, Jake and Katie

Me, Annie and Barbara with Riley, Jake and Katie

We were all parked together in a row. A nice neighborhood:

From left - Barbara, Me, John, and Annie

From left – Barbara, Me, John, and Annie

After 2 weeks at Storrie, Riley and I headed up to Heron Lake.  The plan was to bounce between Heron Lake and El Vado Lake for a month or two.  We had to pass through Santa Fe, so stopped for a week with Iska and Larry.  We caught another couple of bands at the Plaza – The Rifters and Ballroom Thieves.

The Rifters playing at the Santa Fe Bandstand

The Rifters playing at the Santa Fe Bandstand.

Santa Fe Plaza concertgoers

Folks enjoying the Santa Fe Plaza concert

Sunset at Iska's

Sunset at Iska’s

Plans changed when Barbara went up to Heron Lake and found out the Verizon tower up there was out, due to a storm.  She came back to Las Vegas, and Annie and I decided to do the same.  We ran into Ryan here, who Riley and I saw at Quartzsite and Yuma in Jan./Feb. last year.

New Age Nomad Ryan

New Age Nomad Ryan

Ryan has been out to Heron and El Vado (when the Verizon was working), and more recently, Coyote Creek State Park.  We picked his brain on how the Verizon is up there.  Sounds like it’s workable (plus the campground has wifi), so Riley and I will probably try Coyote Creek once our stay is up here at Storrie.

Nancy is here, and Renee, who we met here a couple of weeks ago.   Annie got back here just after Riley and I pulled in on Wednesday.  Then Roxanne drove up after getting her new cast in Las Cruces.  Annie and Roxi and I are sharing a site (it’s been great!), but plan to spread out when 2 electric sites open up tomorrow.  Barbara got back on Thursday.  She and Nancy are sharing the site next to us until Nancy heads out in a couple of days.  And we met Paula, but she left today.  We have all been hanging out and walking dogs. We had a happy hour the other day and grilled together yesterday.  Life is good.  🙂

New Mexico Sunset

New Mexico Sunset (with Roxanne and Annie)

All caught up.  Yay!

More from Santa Fe

After Hyde Memorial State Park we moved to Iska’s place, just outside Santa Fe. She and her boyfriend Larry have a lovely adobe home in the country there, with room for Riley and I to park for a few days.

Parked at Iska's place

Parked at Iska’s place

It was so nice there.  Iska has a big corral with a garden in half of it and also keeps bees in the other half.  I really enjoyed learning about what she was growing and why.  Plus, what it takes to be a beekeeper.

The garden

The garden  (Early morning, facing east, not a good exposure.  Oh, well…)

One of her friends, Kate, that tends the bees and garden with her was there, checking on everything.  She was an expert guest on the Albuquerque NPR station for a show about bees a couple of days earlier.  I was able to pull it up online and listen.  It’s interesting what a cooperative community a beehive is.

The Bee Side

The Bee Side

This gives the bees a handy water source.

This gives the bees a handy water source.  (Can you tell there is water here?  Kate had just filled it up with water, over the rocks.)  It’s a bee-bath!

Iska and I enjoy some of the same activities.  Like making salves and lotions.  We exchanged little pots of concoctions like kids just back from the candy store.  Also, she showed me how to make pesto with garlic scapes from her garden, and I picked mint leaves then dried them to make mint tea.  Always nice to learn new ideas and recipes.

It was a bit hot in Santa Fe (and in my RV), getting up to the low 90’s.  But, the house was always nice and cool.  Even without air conditioning.  The adobe construction keeps it at a very nice temp.  And the east facing porch was a great spot (with a bit of a breeze) to sit and read.  Especially when I was doing my laundry.  How great was that?  I got to do laundry in nice machines in a house, not at the laundromat.  Thanks Iska!  What a treat!

Santa Fe has lots of cool things going on in the summer, including a free concert series at the Plaza.  We went down to the Plaza to hear The Wheeler Brothers, an Austin band.  I hadn’t heard of them, but really enjoyed the music.

Wheeler Brothers at the Santa Fe Bandstand

Wheeler Brothers at the Santa Fe Bandstand

Me with Iska and Larry

Me with Iska and Larry at the Santa Fe Plaza

Crowd

Iska and Larry like to dance, and they had lots of opportunity with this band.

They have free concerts at the Bandstand almost every night throughout the summer.  Maybe we will catch another concert.  I’m heading back to Iska’s tomorrow, after leaving Storrie Lake State Park, where Riley and I have been for the last 2 weeks.  We have been here with Barbara and Annie.  They have been better bloggers than me, and have posted more regularly.  I will try to catch up here in the next few days.  I’m really looking forward to spending more time with Iska and Larry.  I had just the best time with them when we were there!

Santa Fe, NM again

So, we had 2 weeks at Storrie Lake, then 6 days away at Villanueva State Park, then back to Storrie Lake for 14 days.  I was thinking of a place to go next.  Maybe a little north to Coyote Creek State Park?  Maybe Hyde Memorial State Park in Santa Fe? I realized I needed to get my next scheduled service done on the scooter, so Santa Fe it is!  Centaur Scooters had closed in Feb. (the owners retired), but Mateo and Eddie had spun off the service shop just around the corner, so I made an appointment for June 10th.  We had to leave Storrie on 6/9, so just headed to Santa Fe and planned an overnight at the new Walmart near I-25.  First up when we got to town was a visit to Trader Joe’s to stock up on some goodies. The next morning we dropped off the scooter, then ran a few more errands.  By noon we were loaded back up and headed up the mountain on the way to Hyde Memorial.  The park sits at about 8,400 ft. elevation, so is nice and cool.

HydeHyde has about 8 RV sites with electric hookups lined up in a row right along the road.  But, I hoped to get site 19, on the main camping road, in the forest.  Chris and I stayed at #19 last June.  It was long and level.  We were able to fit both of our RV’s plus Chris’ truck in the site.  Luckily, it was available when we got there.

Site 19

Site-19It’s a very shady site, but I parked so I got sun by about 11:00 AM, then had sun through the afternoon on my solar panels.  Unfortunately, there were also bugs hitting my roof.  Some little inchworm thingies would lower themselves off the trees via thin strands, so I would either walk into them on the trails, or they would drop on my RV.  They were small enough to get in through the screens on my roof vents.  Fun times.  After a few days I moved to the RV/electric sites.  They don’t have any trees overhanging the sites.

Moved to site #38

Moved to site #38 in the RV row.

Anyway, I already knew there was no internet connection at Hyde.  But, I figured Riley and I could hike the Circle Trail up to the ridge-line where there was Verizon signal.  Or I could scoot into town and hang at a coffee shop.  Every other day we did the hike and every other day I went in to Santa Fe.  That worked out OK, although it’s always nicer to have connection whenever/wherever.

The Circle Trail is a lovely forest hike, although moderately strenuous.   The section from the campground to the ridge is about a mile and gains 1,000 feet elevation.  Riley and I both got better at it each time.

About to head up the trail

About to head up the trail.  Little Tesuque creek runs through the campground and there are lots of little mini-waterfalls.

There are 2 tables at the top of the ridge.

There are 2 picnic tables at the top of the ridge.  Plus you can see a LONG way from up there.

Heading back down

Heading back down

I rode in to Santa Fe on Saturday and got to take in the Farmer’s Market at the Railyard.  There was a good band playing at the entrance. Had to get a picture since they have an upright bass player (I used to play in high school).

Band1

Farmer's Market

They have some GOOD looking produce at this market.

They have some GOOD looking produce at this market.

And another band.  (There were 3 total.)

And another band. (There were 3 total.)

The RailRunner train connects to Albuquerque and runs right next to the Farmer's Market

The RailRunner train connects to Albuquerque and runs right next to the Farmer’s Market

On another day I rode the scooter in to town to run errands and get online.  I picked up a new pair of hiking shoes at REI, 2 sets of jersey sheets to use to cover the couches, and refilled a gallon jug of water.  Then I stopped at the post office to see if my package was in.  Cliff, the former owner of my RV, found some couch bolster pillows and had sent them to me in Santa Fe.  Can you believe I fit all this stuff on the the scooter?

Unloaded

Canvas backpack, shoes, water, box of couch pillows, 2 sets of sheets and my laptop bag with iPad on top.

Shoes and water in the top case at the back, box of pillows bungeed to the top case base, laptop bag on the floorboard (and hanging from a hook under the handlebars).  Canvas backpack is under the seat, I didn’t need to use it.  It scrunches up and lives there in case I need extra carrying ability.

Loaded

The scooter has been so handy.  It’s fantastic to be able to scoot wherever I need to go.  I only wish I could take Riley with me.  It would be nice to take him places to go hiking.  Maybe one day I will upgrade to towing a car.  Maybe some day.

We stayed 7 days at Hyde.  I thought I would move back to Storrie, but didn’t want to get back too soon.  Las Vegas, NM has a big celebration over several days for July 4th.  So, I wanted to get there closer to June 24th or so, so we could have our 14 days stretch past the 4th of July holiday.  I had a standing invitation to visit with my friend Iska who lives in the country on the outskirts of Santa Fe.  She is a longtime friend of Chris’s and I had met her a couple of times last year when he and I visited while in Santa Fe.  I called and we arranged to head to Iska’s on the 17th.  That’s next.  I will sign off with a hummingbird photo.

Lots of hummingbirds at Hyde

Lots of hummingbirds at Hyde

Villanueva State Park

On 5/20 we had to leave Storrie Lake State Park, having used up our maximum 14 days in a 20 day period.  Would have to find somewhere else to go.  I wanted to get back to Storrie ASAP, since the weather was nice, the Verizon and TV signals were decent, good town/shopping and it’s just a pretty park.  Villanueva was just 40 miles away down I-25 and I had never been there before.  I had heard it was a pretty park, so we would do 6 days there and then be eligible to go back to Storrie Lake for 2 weeks.

From reading other blogs and looking at Campsite Photos, I decided to go directly to the upper “El Cerro” campground.  Supposedly there is a bit of signal possible up there.  But, I didn’t get any Verizon up there at my site 25C.  I wandered around a bit with my MiFi, never found anything.  Not a huge deal.  I could always scoot someplace to connect and check email or whatnot.  (Which I did a couple of times.  There is signal at the nearby “town” of Sena.)

Our site

Our site and rock shelter

Most of the sites have these rock shelters.  Made a nice area that I could close off with Riley’s exercise-pen and make a little private sitting area.

Our rock shelter

Got my chair and a complimentary beverage for relaxing…

It was a really pretty park.  The Pecos River flows right through the park and has some good hiking.  The visitor center is a nice looking building.  Had some interesting displays in there.

Villanueva Visitor Center

Villanueva Visitor Center

There are 3 trails in the park – the El Cerro Trail above the upper campground, the River Trail and the Viewpoint Loop Trail on the other side of the Pecos. We did the El Cerro Trail first.  It’s not hard and not long.

The view from the El Cerro Trail

The view from the El Cerro Trail

Riley at the top of El Cerro

Riley at the top of El Cerro

The trail is pretty rocky in some places.

The trail is a little rough in places

Cactus Flower

Trail cactus.

On another day we went across the bridge to the Viewpoint Loop trail.

Pecos River

Pecos River

Sit....Stay...

Sit….Stay… Awww, isn’t he cute?

The trail is mostly rolling or level, with a couple of spots on each end where it’s like a rocky StairMaster and you get the elevation gain.  The Verizon is good up there.  I brought my Verizon MiFi hotspot and iPad and was able to get 3 bars of 4G.  I could see the towers over by I-25 from up there.  So, you just have to get high enough to line of sight.

4G Territory

4G Territory

There are 3 shelters at the top of the Lookout trail and 2 of them have picnic tables.  If I went back again, I would just hike the trail once a day and check in online.  It’s less than 2 miles.

Chillin' like a villain...

Just chillin’

Nice view of the park from up there, both the lower and upper campgrounds.

Villanueva CG

Villanueva CG

Not having internet is good for getting other things done – lemon oiled all the wood in my RV, did some bookbinding, reorganized a couple of cabinets, rented movies at the Villanueva General Store, read, made dog treats, etc.. Lots of back-burner things finally get done when I’m bored.

I figured maybe I wouldn’t go back there again, no internet at the campsites.  But, I’m just spoiled.  I want to go online anytime any little thought passes through my head.  A once-a-day hike and internet session isn’t the worst life in the world.  Maybe I should consider going back sometime.  It’s entirely possible.  🙂