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.  🙂

Storrie Lake State Park

On May 6th we left Santa Rosa and headed to Las Vegas, NM.  The route took us a little way on I-40 to pick up Hwy 84, then a few miles on I-25 to reach Las Vegas.  As we drove up 84, gaining elevation as we approached I-25, I remembered the first time I drove that stretch of road.  It was July 2011 and my sister-in-law Bev and I were driving to a casita we had rented for a week in Arroyo Seco, near Taos.  Texas was HOT and we both needed some cools and some time away.  In that stretch of highway you leave the desert-y scrub of southern New Mexico and get into more pine-y type vegetation.  Santa Rosa is at 4,800 ft. elevation and Las Vegas is at 6,500, so it’s a decent gain.  I had such a happy feeling (like back in 2011) that we were on our way to a cool and pretty place for a while.  When we arrived at Storrie Lake I was right.  The mountains across the lake are pretty, the field between the campsite and the lake was a nice blue/green grass and the lake was a pretty blue.  I felt like I was living in a watercolor painting.

Arrival

Arrival

The Verizon connection is 4 bars of 4G here, so that’s a great improvement.  And, there is a Walmart on the north end of town, just 3 miles away.  The town itself has lots of history and plenty to see and do.  First, we did some exploring of the park so Riley could check all the smells and I could see what’s what. Storrie Lake was our first stop in New Mexico when we first took off on our RV adventure back in August 2012.  But, I didn’t explore the park much then, spending a lot of time just getting settled in the Lazy Daze.

We were the only RV in the south loop when we arrived, and there were only 2 other rigs in the entire park.  The office didn’t open until May 15th, the Riverside camping area was closed off and the restrooms were closed.  Oh.  Guess we were a bit early.  Not to worry, though.  We were fine in our self-contained home.  Within a couple of days other RV’s started arriving and filling in.

We were able to explore down by the Riverside campground, even though the road was closed to traffic.  The road leads to an old wooden bridge across the Galinas River that flows into the lake.  It’s closed off and is a termite buffet now.  But, the “river” is just barely a trickle at that location, so we are able to walk across it and explore beyond it.  Once, I brought Riley’s ball and and let him play over there.  There isn’t really an off-leash dog area in the park and there’s no one across the bridge, so he wasn’t bothering anyone over there.

Old Bridge

Old bridge, still worthy of sniffing

It was a bit chilly when we arrived at the park, but got pretty cold by the 12th.  I ended up backing up about 25 yards to the next site, which had electric hookups.  I wanted to run the space heater, so took that site for 2 nights.  It started snowing in the afternoon, so I popped outside and grabbed a picture.

Snowing

You can see some snowflakes starting to fall.  The scooter is cozy in the shelter.

I watched a movie in the evening and was surprised when we went outside at about 10PM for Riley’s last potty break.  There was a blanket of about 2″ of snow on everything!  In the morning it had melted on the bare ground, but was still there a bit in the grassy areas.

Snow

Snow

The guy across from me had to remove the snow from his slides before they could turtle-up and head out.

Snow on slides

Slides are good until you get a snowstorm.

Anyway, the next day was still cold, but I still had my heater going, so we were cozy.  Then I saw a brown Lazy Daze drive in.  I racked my brain for who I knew with that color RV, towing a jeep.  Turns out it was Jan, a fantastic photographer, and friend of Andy Baird.  I remember reading Andy’s blog posts about all the cool sites he and Jan visited on their photography trip in Colorado.  It was great to meet Jan and we had a chance to visit a few times while she was here for 2 days on her way to CO.  I hope we can cross paths again on our travels.

So, back to Storrie Lake info.  The campground has several camping areas.  There are 17 sites in the south loop where I am, both electric/water and water-only, and reservation sites and non-reservation.  There are another 30 or so electric or water-only sites between the north end of the park and at the Riverside campground.  So, there are plenty of sites, most with the adobe shelter buildings.  Then there is primitive camping closer to the lake.

Primitive Access

Primitive Access

There is a big field there, plenty of room if the park is full.

Primitive Area

Primitive Area

There is also a peninsula where a lot of the fishermen park their autos or RV’s.  The fishing must be good at this lake.  There are ALWAYS people fishing down there.

Lakeside Camping

Lakeside camping with the fishermen

New Mexico state parks allow 14 days maximum at a park, then you have to be out for 6 days.  (Basically 14 days in a 20 day calendar period – you can split that any way you want.)  We spent the full 14 days at Storrie then went away to Villanueva State Park, about 40 miles away.  We hadn’t been to that park before, but had heard good things, so wanted to check it out.  Will post about Villanueva separately.

We got back to Storrie Lake on Memorial Day and I noticed an RV across from the visitor center as we drove in that looked like Me and My Dog’s Barbara.  I knew she was recently in Albuquerque, but thought she would be going to Bluewater Lake.  She likes to summer there and we had met her and Katie there in October 2012.  So, I was surprised and happy when Barbara and Katie came by to say hi a couple of hours later.  We had a great visit and got caught up.  We have been walking dogs each morning and afternoon and enjoying visiting.  Katie has an ankle that swells up when she walks too far. so when she is unable to go further Barbara has the stroller ready.  It works out great.

Barbara and Katie

Barbara and Katie

Also, on Memorial Day fellow Lazy Daze owner Nancy stopped for the night on the way from Santa Fe to Colorado.  We met her at the Lazy Daze campsite at Quartzsite last year.  It was nice to visit with Nancy again, too.

I put up my hummingbird feeder and am getting a lot of customers.  Even this guy:

"How do I get the seeds to come out?"

“Hey lady – how do I get the seeds to come out?”

More soon from Las Vegas.  I have pictures of the historic downtown and up in the mountains.

Riley at Storrie Lake

Riley enjoys the breeze at Storrie

 

Santa Rosa, NM

After Oliver Lee State Park, we headed northeast 200 miles to Santa Rosa Lake State Park.  I planned to stay the 14-day limit there.  But, there was almost no Verizon signal there.  My “Coverage” app, which gets their info from the carriers (Verizon, AT&T, etc.)  about signal coverage, showed good 3G, possible 4G, signal there.  Nope.  Occasionally I could get a 3G signal, but it would go away almost immediately.  Also, I couldn’t get much of a signal on my AT&T iPhone.  It’s hard to be without signal for more than 2-3 days.  Also, most of the sites are quite unlevel.  I did find one that was mostly level across from the rest rooms and stayed there.

Typical Santa Rosa SP Site

Typical Santa Rosa SP Site.

The site we ended up in.

The site we ended up in.

Anyway, we did stay there for 6 days, as I had arranged to get a General Delivery package from my folks.  Something had come that needed a signature, and I needed to get mail sent already.  Darn it!  I would have left within 2-3 days otherwise.  Plus, it was quite hot there.

So, we stayed and did a bit of hiking around.  I scooted in to town a few times, using my MiFi at the McDonald’s or at the Library.  On the way in to town the road goes past an auto transfer yard next to the railroad.  I had seen this on the Google Maps when researching the state park and town and thought it was weird.  Seemed like a lot of cars parked next to the railroad, with no businesses nearby.  When I got to Santa Rosa and passed by the site on the way to the park, it made sense.  The autos had window stickers on them.  They come there on trains, then get offloaded onto car carrier semi-trucks for delivery to dealerships.  There was always some activity going on – cars coming off and getting parked, or getting onto the semi’s.  I guess Santa Rosa is a central location with cheap land.  Anyway, I thought it was interesting.

Auto Transfer yard

Auto Transfer yard

Auto transfer yard loading

Auto transfer yard loading

While at Santa Rosa Lake I wove a shawl for my friend, Margaret, who I had met at Grand Tetons National Park back in 2012.  I took a picture to show what it takes to “warp” the loom in a small space.  The fold-up table that I got to use between the couches and/or outside is placed in the aisle with a peg on the end to wrap the yarn around.

Small Space Warping

Small Space Warping

Then the yarn is spooled up on the bar on the far side of the loom, and woven on the near side.  The woven cloth is wound around a bar on the near side as it’s worked.  Once the warp is all woven, it’s done.

Shawl in progress

Shawl in progress

Then cut it off and finish the ends.  It seemed like it would be hard to weave in a small space, but it’s workable.  And enjoyable.

Finishing the ends with hand-twisted fringe

Finishing the ends with hand-twisted fringe

Other sights around Santa Rosa:

Santa Rosa Library

Santa Rosa’s Moise Public Library

Santa Rosa Courthouse

Santa Rosa courthouse and square

Santa Rosa1

Santa Rosa is on the old “Route 66”

Next up, I will catch up on Storrie Lake State Park, where we are now.  Will try to get that posted in a day or 2.  Spoiler – I love, love Storrie Lake and Las Vegas, NM!  Four bars of 4G – yay!!  And ran into some blogging friends!

On The Road Again – In New Mexico

After 5 months in Texas, we are back on the road.  As mentioned previously, we left on April 14th and pointed the Lazy Daze towards New Mexico.  I plan to have a ‘Touring New Mexico State Parks‘ sort of year.  Last year was quite expensive, traveling through half of  California, visiting San Francisco, then back to New Mexico and Colorado.  Buying a new RV and scooter was not in my annual budget!!  So, I figure maybe when we have a spendy year traveling, then I’ll make the following year a less expensive year.  The NM state park system fits that bill.  I bought my annual pass ($225) after Balloon Fiesta last October, so we’re good until 10/31/14.  We can park in primitive, developed and water-only sites for free.  If we need an electric site it’s just $4 per night.  Plus, with all the parks at various elevations across the state, we should be able to adjust to the weather pretty easily.

Anyway, we got to Horizon City (just east of El Paso) on the first day. I don’t normally do 515 miles in one day, but I just wasn’t tired of driving until that point.  The next day we got to Pancho Villa State Park in Columbus. Columbus isn’t much of a town, but it’s just 3 miles north of Las Palomas, Mexico, and I needed a dental checkup.  I had looked at other Lazy Daze owners blogs (Jim/Gayle and Andy Baird) about Las Palomas, as I remembered reading they had been there for dental or vision care.  I have a good Obamacare plan now, but no dental.  It would cost $150 to have my previous dentist do a checkup and cleaning, so made an appointment at American Dental in Las Palomas for the morning of the 17th.  The place was a perfectly normal dental office, instruments came out of a sterilized sealed packet, nice competent doctor, no problem.  Cost was $35 cash, no additional work needed – Yay!

Las Palomas, MX

The dentist office (American Dental) is just next door to the Pink Store

Next, we headed up to Rockhound State Park.  We had liked it there previously.  This time there was only one site available and it was hard to get level there.  Plus the flies were horrid!  So, I decided to not stay and just go straight to our next planned stop – Oliver Lee Memorial State Park near Alamogordo.  We hadn’t been there before, so wanted to work it into this trip.  I really liked it!  Good hiking, close to a decent sized town, good space between the sites, and I was able to get a pretty level no-hookup site away from the electric/reservation section.

Oliver Lee Site

Oliver Lee Site, at the base of the Sacramento Mountains

The next day I got our site all set up.  I don’t normally put a lot of stuff outside, but if I plan to stay in a site for several days, or 2 weeks like here, I get the big rug out and Riley’s ex-pen.  He loves to hang out outside with me.

Set up for a good stay

Getting set up for a good, long stay

We hiked the Riparian Trail, a short nature trail from the visitor center along a creek.

Riparian Trail

Riparian Trail

Then we hiked the Dog Canyon Trail.  That is actually a long, several mile, all-day hike, with major elevation gain up into the forest.  We did part of it, 1 mile or so then back.  That’s all Riley could handle.  On another day we did 2 miles, then back.  He really does not like the rocky trails and can only go for a few miles, then wants to lay down a lot.  We need to build back up to longer hikes like we did last year.

Dog Canyon Hike

Dog Canyon Hike

Looking down on the campground from the Dog Canyon Trail

Looking down on the campground from the Dog Canyon Trail

On the way back down I noticed all the solar on the visitor center.  I really like to see the alternative energy efforts of the state parks.

Oliver Lee Solar

Solar on the Oliver Lee Visitor Center

When we got back to the RV Riley was tuckered out.  Didn’t quite make his bed, and did not care.

"Close enough, I'll just lay like this for a while..."

“Close enough, I’ll just lay like this for a while…”

So, Oliver Lee is definitely one park I will keep on my list of go-to NM state parks.  It’s pretty close to Alamogordo with decent shopping – Walmart, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Lowes (the food one), good hiking, good Verizon signal and TV, and a good breeze (high enough up above the town).  It’s a short ride to town on Hwy 54, but that is too major of a road (65 mph) for me and the scooter, so I found a back way in on lesser roads that I could go 45 mph or less.

After about 2 weeks we headed to Santa Rosa Lake State Park.  Will post about that next.  Currently I’m at Storrie Lake State Park, with plans to visit Coyote Creek, Eagle Nest Lake, Cimmaron Canyon, and Hyde Memorial this summer.  Hyde Memorial State Park is near Santa Fe.  Chris and I spent a couple of weeks there last June.  Having a free spot to stay just a few miles from Santa Fe is great.  Unfortunately, there isn’t any Verizon signal at the campground.  Will have to go in to town for internet.  But I have the scooter now, so no problem!  More soon….

Oliver Lee Sunset

Oliver Lee Sunset