As we head back onto Hwy 64 after our visit to the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial the day is still bright and sunny with just enough of a breeze to keep things nice. We pass by Eagle’s Nest State Park. It’s really crowded with those who like to fish, and I would just as soon not be stuffed in between two RVs; they are lined up like sardines in a can. But the lake is pretty.
Cimarron is located in a canyon between what is called the Palisade Sill. Interesting rock formations and wildflowers abound along the narrow two lane road that winds this way and that through the canyon.
Our first shot at a campsite is nixed due this section being reservation only sites, but a state park worker points me to Maverick or Black Jack just up the road. We get back out onto the highway and peek at Black Jack. It’s a tent area and we drive on to Maverick. Very small and mostly full, but we do find a site.
There are two fishing ponds in this camping area with a nice trail around them both. Campsites have tables, fire rings, drinking water is nearby along with toilet facilities . NO showers or dump station. Sites are pretty close together and in places can actually make a person feel uncomfortable, but if you have good neighbors it works.
Thunderstorms gather in the late afternoon on most days, and we get a few really good drenchings. It’s nice to have the tarp, cut to size, to fasten over the open side doors to keep it comfortable inside MissAdventure. Nights are wonderfully cool.
DUE TO A MAJOR GOOF-UP ON MY PART THERE WILL BE NO PHOTOS FOR SEVERAL POSTS COMING UP. DURING A SESSION OF ORGANIZING PHOTOS INTO ALBUMS I INADVERTANTLY DELETED A LOT OF MY PICTURES. I AM BEYOND SICK ABOUT THIS!
After our lightning scare, we continue on to the ski resort town of Angel Fire. Beautiful high mountain area where you can see the ski run from most places in this little village.
From there it’s onto Hwy 64 and we stop at the this heart wrenching memorial
While The Chiweenie Brothers wait in the van, I stroll the grounds. Vietnam was an unpoplar war and our boys, who put their lives on the line, were not treated well when they returned home. . . Those that were blessed with their lives and returned home.
July 14-16th, 2019, Early Sunday morning after breakfast for the Boys and a shower for me, we drive toward Morphy Lake State Park. No camping here, but it’s on our way to Coyote Creek State Park. It’s only 40 minutes north of our current camp.
An Internet search says Morphy will be closed through Spring of 2019, but once we arrive to the turn off we’re met with this sign. CLOSED
We just keep rolling along this country road under a brilliant blue sky enjoying the scenery: Old churches, mountain vistas, horses in fields, and horses on porches.
As we gain the tiny town of Mora I stop to photograph this old grist mill.
And this old building as we head on north . . .
We eventually find Coyote Creek State Park and pull in searching for a spot to land for a few days. There are none available, and I am sorely disappointed as this is a beautiful little park along Coyote Creek and I would have loved spending time here.
We pull back out onto that country road and head north again. We haven’t gone but about four miles and the road narrows. I mean as in MAYBE a half lane wide. God forbid we meet a big ol’ diesel pusher here! Fortunately we do not, but the storm clouds have gathered and it begins to rain. Thunder rolls.
As we creep along the ridge of this paved goat path I see a bolt of lightning out of the corner of my eye. A half beat later the loudest clap of thunder I have ever heard shakes the van. I am pretty sure I screamed. The Chiweenie Brothers are used to thunderstorms by now, but we’re back to square one after this and they are both in my lap. “It’s okay, guys, we’ll only hear the thunder AFTER the lightning has struck. We lived to tell the tale, so calm down,” I tell them. Thankfully that narrow strip of what they claim to be roadway is only three miles in length.
July 10-13, 2019 Leaving Las Vegas we motor the short three miles to Storrie Lake State Park. It’s a smallish park that gets lots of use from locals who love water sports from fishing to boating, and everything in between
There isn’t much shade for use by us primitive campers, but we check out several places before settling on one of three shade shelters in a dirt turnout next to the main road. It turns out to be a spot used by all those parked by the lake that do not want to use the paved road because it has speed bumps. Busy and dusty, we settle in anyway, because I was fortunate enough to get the one shelter that is on the lake side and has a small shade tree.
The Boys and I enjoy long, leisurely morning and evening walks and in between The Chiweenie Brothers take turns trying to dig out a squirrel. They were unsuccessful, but had a terrific time in the attempt.
Man, Squirrel Diggin’ is hard work!
Keep Going Fries! You Almost Got ‘Em!
The afternoon breeze keeps things from getting too unbearable. Without the adobe shade shelter we wouldn’t have been able to stay.
Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel. Hugs, Shawna
CURRENT READ: Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier. Historical novel based on the life of Mary Anning, first woman to be acknowledged as a fossilist and dubbed “The Greatest fossilist the world ever knew. The British Journal for the History of Science, 1995
July 10th. Having packed up last night we are ready to roll this morning. Oh wait. The Chiweenie Brothers, those 2Dogs who Travel, are DEMANDING their breakfast this morning. They are usually pretty patient as long as they get to hike a leg first thing, but this morning they act like they are starving. Surely I didn’t forget to feed them their dinner last night … Hmmm. I forget coffee and get their breakfast served. You guys eat. I’ll wait for McDs coffee.
We leave Villanueva behind us, catch Hwy 3 near the church, turn right and then it’s I-25 N to Las Vegas. Las Vegas, New Mexico, about 30 miles away. It’s a gorgeous drive. The higher elevations in this state are still lush and green. Juniper and a few small pines dot the landscape.
Travel days mean McDonalds coffee and sometimes a McMuffin if the next town on the map has a McDs. Las Vegas is a nice size historical town so McDonald’s coffee it is. With three cream please.
I’ve done a bit of research and Las Vegas is not only a historical town, a lot of the old homes are not only still standing but are being lived in. I love old architecture, and I relish driving through old town, sipping my coffee and photographing the old homes and other buildings.
July 6th to the 9th, 2019. I am up before the sun even thinks of cresting the horizon. I did not sleep well due to the loud neighbors partying until the wee hours of the morning, and I want to get moving and get our new camp set up so I can crash. Villanueva here we come!
I give the boys their breakfast then stake them out to do their business and get in their last sniff and hike session while I finish loading the few things that are outside.
The trash needs to be taken to the dumpster. It’s right across from us next to the noisy neighbors camp. I walk over and open the lid, drop in my small bag of trash, and let the lid fall down on its own. It’s very loud. I grin. I hope they heard that! I know, I should feel terrible, but I don’t. It actually felt pretty darn good. I think about lifting it up again and letting it fall once more, but I don’t, and I think to myself, again, Dang! That felt good!
Come on 2 Dogs Travel we’re outta here, and we motor out of the park, smiling all the way out to the highway.
We take Hwy 41 to Moriarty then I-40 east. Chugging along behind a slow-moving wide load—this makes for good camouflage; people think it’s the slow-moving wide load that is denying the right lane their right to drive 80+ !!—I spot TWO CELL TOWERS on the right. There is a turnoff to Cline’s Corners and I know from my truckin’ days that they cater to all travelers. One of these has to be ATT. This will be the ideal spot to park while getting caught up on scheduling blog posts! Our new camp will have to wait.
We take the off-ramp and park in the dirt lot, empty at this time of the morning. I walk the dogs and then get down to business. There is no signal. THERE IS NO SIGNAL! How can this be?
Okay, surely the store has free WiFi and I take a peek. Yes, they do! I see two bars looking back at me. That’s not terrific, but we’ll take it. Four hours later I have four posts scheduled. I try for a fifth, but lose the signal as more and more people pull in and most, no doubt, get onto the same connection. That’s okay. I’ve got four posts scheduled! I always feel better being a bit ahead of the game.
Storm clouds are gathering as the day warms up We need to get to our destination before it hits. Our exit, just up the freeway from Clines’ Corner, places us on a very narrow two-lane road. About 30 miles in we come to the little village of Villanueva (New Village). This old church still stands!
Our Lady of Guadalupe
The road to the park is on the right and it takes us on an even narrower road that twists and turns and drops into the canyon. It levels out as we enter the park.
And right there waiting for us is an empty primitive site under the shade of the biggest cottonwood tree I have ever seen. It is ginormous.
We have a table, fire ring, vault toilet one side, water spigot on the other, and we just get settled in when the storm breaks. I should have bought more supplies. This looks like a squatters spot for sure!!
By morning the neighbors across the road are packed up and gone. The young man and his son in the tent to the left of us are also gone. There are rain puddles everywhere, and the air feels so fresh and clean. The Pecos River is running so muddy it looks like thick, brown chocolate milk.
The Chiweenie Brothers were leery of crossing the foot bridge at first, but soon felt at ease.
We spend the next several days exploring the park and enjoying day time shade and cool, crisp nights.
Villanueva State Park is nestled between two sandstone canyon walls along the Pecos River. The storms that rumble through have a different quality and a kind of echoey sound as the thunder talks.
Some tree trimming had to be done in the park while we were there.
High rise apartments, Mother Nature style. Select to enlarge.
It has some hiking trails, and a lovely visitor’s center along with a playground made entirely of recycled materials.
Villanueva is definitely one of my favorite parks so far.
Thanks for coming along with 2DogsTravel. Hugs, Shawna
July 1st to the 5th. After our lovely walk through the Abo Ruins we head to Mountainaire where we take the turnoff that delivers us to Manzano Mountain State Park where we spend the long holiday weekend. There isn’t a pine tree in sight, but the park information page says there is. I enjoy these high desert cactus that cover the land on both sides of the road.
Manzano is a small park with spaces pretty close together, but it has a couple of trails that the boys and I walk every morning, water, and a dump station. A few sites have shade/shelters, and all have a table and fire ring. The road up to the park and in the park is dirt, and becomes very dusty as more and more vehicles come in. Although our spot has no one on either side of us, we are by the dump station and it is heavily used and the dust is pretty bad. We are, however, blessed with shade!
Not only are the trails nice, there are some wildflowers blooming along the way.
I have no idea what these brown things are. I thought they might be dried up snow plant, but on closer inspection, not.
July 1st . Up early as usual we are once again heading north on I-25. A stop at the very close Caballo Lake State Park (Come to find out Percha is part of Caballo) we can find no primitive spots with shade so we continue on.
We bypass Elephant Butte State Park as I have read many others’ views of this park and it is usually packed tight and the wind can be terrorizing at times. Not into packed parks so we keep going. A stop in Truth or Consequences which is a much smaller town than I imagined and find the library. It doesn’t open for another hour. I try McDonalds but can’t get a connection there either so we make a quick stop at Wally where they provide shaded parking in the way of solar panels!
I want a place to light over the Fourth of July weekend and it looks like Manzano Mountain State Park is up next. It’s almost a hundred miles, and we make a stop at the Abo Ruins on the way .
This place is wondrous—I love ruins and imaging what life was like for ancient peoples, and this place doesn’t disappoint.