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.]

New Mexico – Bluewater Lake to Elephant Butte Lake

After the stop in Winslow we continued on to New Mexico. I was looking forward to using my NM State Park Pass that I had bought at Storrie Lake.  There were several southern NM parks I wanted to visit on my way back to Texas, and the cost would be $4 per night (or $0 if I didn’t need hookups).  After stopping in Gallup for gas and groceries we headed to Bluewater State Park.  Barbara of Me & My Dog wrote that she stayed there for several weeks over the summer and was back at the campground for a little bit before heading to Arizona. I had been following Barbara’s journey from downsizing and selling her condo, to buying a motorhome and getting on the road.  Also, we are members of the same WomenGoSolo RV group online.  I wrote to check if she would still be around by the time I got there and was looking forward to meeting her and Katie.  I got a chance to pick her brain about RV and lifestyle stuff, and we walked dogs and watched the wild horses in the park.  Katie is just SO cute!

Barbara and Katie

Barbara and Katie

Wild Horses at Bluewater Lake, and cool looking sky.

Wild Horses at Bluewater Lake, and cool looking sky.

Riley got some type of illness while at Bluewater and I spent 2 days taking him outside almost every hour.  Poor guy.  Eventually he got better and we did a bit of hiking on the canyon trail.  The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta ended on Sunday (10/14) and 3 Lazy Daze rigs arrived in the park on their way home. I met the owners – Cathy, Gini and Loralee, but unfortunately I forgot to take a picture.

I had arranged to have my dad send my accumulated mail to the park and it arrived on Monday.  On Tuesday we headed on to the next stop – Elephant Butte State Park.  Other RVers had recommended the South Monticello campground, which was the furthest north of the 5 RV campgrounds at the park.  The sites were nice and big, but most didn’t have a good view of the lake due to the drought and low water level.  I found one site next to a couple of Toyota Dolphins that had a bit of a lake view.  Turns out I parked right next to Chris (another member of the women’s RV group), who I had planned to meet at Heron Lake, and her friend, Andy.  They had just left the Balloon Fiesta and were on their way south.

Chris (with Edna) and Andy, with Daisy in front and Riley in back

Chris (with Edna) and Andy, with Daisy in front and Riley in back

We had so much fun hanging out and watching the dogs play.  Edna likes to play and Daisy was game, but Riley just wanted to herd them.  There weren’t any other rigs close to us, so I was able to throw a ball for Riley.  He LOVES to run and fetch the ball.

On Thursday Andy headed back to her home in Arizona.  I moved to the main part of the park  to see how I liked that area and got a site at the Desert Cove campground.  Chris was also moving to that area and got a site across from me.  While there I had some work done by O’Neill Mobile RV Services. Chris had some work done by them earlier, and had recommended them.  It was super handy to have them drive up and take care of a few things on my list.  One thing I had been having trouble with was my awning, which wouldn’t quite close all the way.  Turns out it was rolled up backwards.  That was a cheap fix!  Chris and I stayed at Elephant Butte until Monday, when I drove 30 miles south to Caballo Lake State Park.  She was waiting for a mail package, so stayed in the campground, then was planning on heading to Caballo in a couple of days.  Some of her friends had just moved from the Balloon Fiesta to Caballo and we were planning to meet up with them there.  Will write about that and further travels in the next post.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Coverage and Closing

Next we moved to Heron Lake State Park.  I have read about RV’ers that really like it there, and one of the ladies on the Solo Women RV Yahoo group I’m on was working there.  So, I make a reservation for 3 nights.  I looked at the available sites on the Gov reservation site, and photos of the sites on campsitephotos.com to see which to select.  One thing I didn’t check was my coverage app.  It shows where the Verizon coverage is, so I can see if my Mi-Fi device will work.  Turns out Heron Lake is in a big donut of zero coverage.  That might be OK most of the time, but not when I am just a few days away from closing on my house.  I would need to be in communication with the realtor’s office and get the HUD docs for review as soon as they were ready.

Heron Lake

Heron Lake Sunset

So, we just spent 2 nights at Heron Lake and moved to Navajo Lake SP, just south of Durango Colorado.  Durango is where I planned to go for closing.  Navajo Lake is pretty big and there was a trail leading down to the water from the campground (which is on a bluff above the lake).  Bev climbed on top of this HUGE rock.  The campground is very twisty and I was glad to have a 22’ motorhome.  I don’t see how big rigs negotiate the turns/sites in that park.

Navajo Lake site

Navajo Lake

Bev on top of the rock

The next day we drove to Durango, stopping at the Walmart on the way in.  We hadn’t really decided on where to stay yet.  There was a place south of town that we had found online the night before, but drove through and kept on going, hoping to find something not so run-down.  While at the Walmart I fired up the Ipad and looked at my All-Stays app.  Found a commercial campground on the north side of town that listed they were on the trolley stop.  We had noticed a trolley stopping in front of the Walmart.  Called and found they had space available.  So we stayed there Friday, 8/10 through Tuesday, 8/14 (closing day).  We would use the laundry, take the trolley into town as needed, and generally get things done.  Turns out, it was also right on the Animas River AND the Durango-Silverton (tourist) railroad goes right through the campground.  It was a fantastic site!  We really loved Durango.

View from our site. I especially like the old yellow pinto. My first car was a 1974 green pinto.

Durango-Silverton train

On Tuesday the 14th, we loaded up, dumped the tanks, and headed into town.  Checkout was at 11AM and my closing was at 4PM, so we had some time to kill.  Of course there’s always a Walmart run.  We also went by the information center.  On the way out we noticed a squirrel just standing on the sign.  I said that must be a little statue, then it moved his head.  So Bev got a picture real quick.  Little dude must have been waiting for a ride.

See the squirrel right under the Kiwanis seal?

Trolley

Durango has a really nice network of parks.  There is a hike and bike trail all along the Animas River, and there is a major skate park.  We killed some time down at the park right behind downtown.  Then, as it got close to 4:00 we parked in front of the title company building, I went in to sign docs for about 15 minutes, and then we were off to camp alongside the Dolores River.

Animas River – lots of rafters and tubers

Downtown Durango

On The Road

Initially I planned to leave after the house closed, around the first of August.  But, closing ended up set for August 14th.  Leaving at the first of the month would allow my sister-in-law, Bev, to join me for the first few weeks of the trip.  She works for the school district and had about 3 weeks off between the summer and fall sessions.  When my realtor’s office said I didn’t actually have to be in Austin at the closing table I got crazy-busy getting rid of stuff and clearing out the house.  I said goodbye to my house of 15 years on 8/1 and we hit the road Thursday, the 2nd.

Bada-Bing! Thanks Andy Allen!

Thanks for taking this picture, Bev. I hadn’t thought to do that!

The first goal was to make a beeline out of Texas and into the higher elevations of northern New Mexico.  We got to Littlefield, TX on the first day and stayed at the Waylon Jennings RV Park.  It’s got water and electric hookups and is free, but they do accept donations.

Littlefield, TX

On the 2nd day we got to Storrie Lake State Park in Las Vegas.  It was about 20 degrees cooler than Austin, so we were quite happy.  The plan was to get up to even higher elevation at Coyote Creek, Eagle Nest or Cimmaron Canyon State Parks.  (I also looked at Morphy Lake SP, but the max length is 17’.  I guess it’s more of a tent/small trailer type park.)  But, we decided to stay at Storrie Lake for an extra day.  I really needed to organize.  I had stuffed everything into the RV in a hurry and wanted to resort.  It’s amazing how much stuff will actually fit into a Lazy Daze, but not everything was efficiently stored, so I had to optimize.  Bev had many suggestions and we got a lot done that day.

It was super windy at Storrie Lake and raining all around us. There is smoke from a fire in the hills on the left side.

On Sunday we moved to Coyote Creek State Park.  I had purchased the New Mexico park pass, so we were going to be staying at state parks along the way in NM.  (It’s $225 annually for non-residents which waives the $10 site fee.  So, a site with no hookups or just water is $0 and a site with electric hookup is $4.  Best state park deal in the country.)  Coyote Creek had electric hookups (Eagle Nest and Cimmaron Canyon don’t), so we chose that one.

I had seen pictures, but we were really surprised at how beautiful Coyote Creek SP is.  The electric sites were full, plus they are all right next to each other in a row, which I don’t like.  So, we drove around to the no-hookup/water-only sites, which are more spread out.  We chose the one at the top of the hill, above the dump station.  It was a fantastic site, and even the rangers that drove by as we were setting up said it’s the best site in the park.  We set up the awning, knitted, watched the rain, walked the campground, and basically enjoyed ourselves.

Our initial site at Coyote Creek

Coyote Creek Stream

We met fellow campers, Clive and Curtis when I was outside cleaning windows.  Curtis is a fantastic photographer and Clive is a wealth of RVing info. The next day we hiked the trail that runs most of the way around the campground.  It starts just past the electric sites and quickly climbs into the hill/mountain beside the park.  Pretty strenuous at first, then it becomes just a stroll along the ridge above the campground.  There is a side trail that connects to our site.

View of the lower campground from the start of the trail

View along the trail

But, after a day and a half off-grid my batteries were dangerously low.  I ran the generator, but it did no good.  We would need to find an electric hookup.  Fortunately the ADA accessible site had vacated earlier in the day and the camp host was able to give us that site.   So, we were able to stay at Coyote Creek another night.  I would like to go back to Coyote Creek another time and stay longer.  The weather in the summer is just fantastic.  I could do it now, too, since I had new batteries installed in Laramie, WY.  But that’s a story for later.