El Morro National Monument

It’s about 20 miles from El Malpais to El Morro.  It’s a nice drive along Hwy 53, two-lanes with not much traffic.  We climb a little in elevation and get into some timber. I make a mental note to look for an entry onto BLM land here, and almost as soon as we are in the timber we are heading back down out of it.  Dang!

Entrance Sign With El Morro in the Background

DSC_0032 (1)Informatiave Sign for El Morro
Click the photo to enlarge

El Morro, famous as a wayside and the Blue Pool that provided water to travelers in the 1800s and prior, is an interesting place. Travelers left messages for others on the sandstone cliffs known as Inscription Rock inscribing said messages or just a “I was here” with whatever was available to them: a knife, a stick, perhaps an eating utensil.
Talking with the friendly staff in the visitor’s center I find The Chiweenie Brothers are welcome to take the walking tour with me. Come on Boys let’s check this out!

DSC_0033 (1)El Morro     DSC_0041Path Along the El Morro Loop

DSC_0039The Blue Pool
The Blue Pool, which was destroyed, in a flood if I remember correctly, was repaired then fenced off.  Hard to get a good shot of this amazing water source out in th middle of nowhere.

 

 

DSC_0055Magnificent El Morro

An easy interesting walk, a walk around the rock would be nice, but it’s getting hot.  We continue the loop that takes us back to the visitor’s center. The Boys eagerly jump into the back and slurp up fresh water.  “Refreshed guys? Let’s go check out the campground!”

El Morro National Monument has a small free campground with water, a vault toilet, tables, and fire rings.  The few choice shaded spots are all occupied.  We try staying a bit in one of the sunnier spots but after just a few minutes it is apparent that it will be too hot to stay here long enough for the sun to get low enough to make it bearable.

Sadly, we will not be making the walk around El Morro’s perimeter, and we head back out to Hwy 53 and search for a spot back where the pine trees and juniper make an appearance.  Fortunately we find a lovely well-shaded spot to park for the rest of the day and stay the night here. It’s quiet and peaceful behind a closed gate.

August 23rd — It’s our Vanniversary!! We’ve been traveling for two years, and what a wonderful two years it has been! So many beautiful places, so many wonderful experiences.  And a big THANK YOU to all of you have come along for the ride.  Yes, this is my personal journal of our adventures, but how nice to have you all come along with us. Again, THANK YOU! Hugs, Shawna

Durango, Colorado and Mesa Verde National Park

After the marvelous tour of the Aztec Ruins we get back on Hwy 550 and head north to Durango, Colorado where we find Walmart and get our supplies and ice before catching Hwy 160 toward Cortez, Colorado.

Looking for a place to stop for the night we come up short and end up staying in a rest area just a mile beyond the entrance to Mesa Verde National Park. Any port in a storm, right?

We are up early and 2DogsTravel can’t wait to go through another ancient ruins area.  My senior pass gets us into the park for free, but guided tours here require a purchased ticket available at the visitor center that is located below the entrance to the park itself.

The ancient people who settled here were cliff dwellers and the tours involve a lot of climbing,  some steep stairways, and ladders so I forego the tours, choosing instead to get the best photographs I can from afar, which of course, I haven’t found for this marvelous stop either. *SIGH*.

The park is huge, and we spend almost the entire day here. Lots of driving, and climbing in and out of the van getting photographs of this land the Pueblo people made their home over 700 years ago.

One can see the dwellings just fine, but you miss out on a lot of information by not taking the tours.  I do purchase several informational brochures so I don’t think we miss any of the facts by not taking a guided tour, but I know I miss a lot of the personal observations a guide would have given.

  • The park protects over 4500 known archeological sites including 600 cliff dwellings.
  •  The cliff dwelling known as Cliff Palace includes 150 rooms, 75 constructed open areas, 21 kivas, and two “kiva-like” structures.
  • Balcony House has 38 rooms and two kivas.  The site is divided into three plazas or courtyards with associated rooms:  Lower Plaza, North Plaza, and the Kiva Plaza.
  • The six-mile long Mesa Top Loop Drive shows the full range of architecture in this national park from the earilest pit houses to the cliff dwellings. 
  • The Puebloans lived here for six centuries, from around A.D. 600 until about 1300.

Read about the magnificent Mesa Verde National Park HERE , and if you are in this area it is MUST SEE.  They have a campground in this park, places to eat, and much more.

The Boys and I end up back at the rest area where I observe a guy go to the back of the rest area where he goes through what looks like a locked gate. He’s gone for a while, but once he comes back out we go to inspect the area where we find the gate isn’t actually locked, but a sign cautions to keep the gate closed.

The method for keeping the gate closed involves a heavy chain that is looped around a post and one of the links is to be inserted into a channel cut in the iron.  This keeps the gate closed and from afar it appears to be a locked gate.

It is BLM land!  BLM land means public access is allowed, and we trot back to MissAdventure , fire her up, drive through the gate closing it behind us, and find a spot to camp for the rest of the week. It’s good to be shut down for a few days and just kick back in the cooler temps of the mountains.  Warm days, not hot days, and wonderfully cool nights make for some good rest.

On August 12th, rested up and rarin’ to go we head to Cortez, a short 10 mile drive, where we find the dog park.  The Chiweenie Brothers get their freedom to roam for a couple of hours.

Once The Boys are worn out and ready for a nap, I then mark the required Walmart stop off our list, and begin planning our next stop.  Do we take in Canyon of the Ancients? Four Corners? Hoven Weep?  All three?  Decisions are to be made, but we’ll worry about that tomorrow.  Walmart is our stop for the night, and as I lay my head down on the pillow a decision is made on where we’ll head tomorrow.

Thanks for coming along with us on our adventures. Hugs, Shawna

CURRENT READ:  What you Did by Claire McGowan

HERON LAKE IS A NO GO, Navajo For the WIN

After our stay at El Vado, the park’s sister lake is up next. Heron Lake. The drive there is short, around ten miles. I speak with the camp host who says site #1 and site #15 are both available. We drive the loop. Number 1 has no shade at all, so that’s out. Site #15 has lots of shade but someone has just pulled in there. Dang. A check of the other campground sections provides no place for us. Read about Heron Lake State Park HERE

Onward, Boys, there’s no room at the inn.
Back onto Hwy 95 and then Hwy 64 we head to Chama and buy a veggie delite Subway sandwich, a few groceries and ice, and fuel. We travel through the Jicarilla Apache Indian Reservation, then through some oil well country on BLM land. We are back in high desert and there isn’t much of anything but juniper so shade is scarce.
We end up traveling clear to Navajo Lake State Park through some interesting rock formations which I stop to photograph, of course, but for the most part it is quite a lonely drive. Not much traffic along this two lane highway, but we eventually gain the lake, find a temporary spot for the night, move the next morning to another temporary spot, then finally get to one of the sites with a covered table and blessed shade. Here we stay for a few days so I can catch up on some rest.
Navajo Lake is very pretty, and this is a busy campground on the weekends. Thanks to school starting and Monday rolling around we get this lovely shaded site. Campground hosts are from Albuquerque. I chat with them for a while and the wife tells me they took a couple of weeks off to make a trip to Alaska earlier in the summer. THEY TOOK A TRIP FROM THIS CAMPGROUND IN NORTHERN NEW MEXICO TO ALASKA AND BACK WITHIN TWO WEEKS’ TIME. Wow, just wow. I don’t think I’d recover from that kind of traveling, but to each their own. I gathered it was more of an opportunity to check it off their bucket list than a chance to enjoy Alaska.

Read about Navajo Lake HERE.

Where to from here? There are several choices: To the other arm of the Navajo Lake and another campground? North to Chimney Rock National Monument in Colorado? Durango? Mesa Verde National Park? Four Corners? Canyon of the Ancients? All of them?
Thanks for taking time out of your day to see what we’re up to. Appreciate you and love reading your comments, Hugs Shawna

Current Read: Mrs. Everything, by Jennifer Weiner

January 2019, Round Two

In mid-January we head to Bouse where I attend another Bouse Genies’ class, this one on using the Legacy program. Interesting and informative. The boys get their time in the dog park before and after class.
The third week in January we head toward Yuma. This adorable church nestled in an agricultural area caught my eye.

DSC_0081Pause Rest Worship sign
DSC_0078Little Church

On to Fortuna Pond we find “our” spot unoccupied and we settle in. On day three I pull a filling and part of a front bottom tooth out while flossing and make an appointment with my dentist in Los Algadones. We spend the night at Walmart, and the boys get to visit the Bark Park just up the street the next morning. Another night at Wally and we head back to Fortuna Pond, this gem of an oasis nestled near Yuma’s luscious fields of crops, where we spend about a week.

DSC_0115Blue Heron with In Focus Eye
DSC_0117Heron Taking Off of Fortuna PondDSC_0103Coot on Fortuna Pond DSC_0099Coot Taking Off

 

 

Star gazing is wonderful out here where no city lights can obscure the night sky’s brilliant display, and if it’s a moonless night and the crop dusters aren’t flying the sky is even more captivating, diamond strewn and sparkling against the inky blackness.
One night I see three orange globes—or perhaps one winking on and off as it fell—bigger than an exercise ball fall from a low altitude out of the sky. Two nights later a white basketball-sized meteor fell from east to west lighting up the area for about five seconds before disappearing, its long tail fading behind it. Oh for shots of those two displays!
And the coyotes put on an unbelievable concert. I’ve never heard what sounded like an army of them, and the vocalizations were fierce, perhaps taking down an animal. A few nights later they could be heard again, not so many, and one howling away. Fries answered him with a howl or two of his own. Next day I research coyote “talk” and my heart skipped a beat when I read that the howl is given when the coyote wants others to know his location. Cute as it was, Fries will not be answering anymore howls!
Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs! Hugs, Shawna
CURRENT READ: Halsey Street by Naima Coster

Ch, ch, ch, chhick …

At least that’s how I think one would spell the sound of the tiny ratchet wrench the implant doctor uses to set the molly screw-like pins into my lower jaw after drilling two tiny holes.  Once that’s completed Dr. Cochran sets my crowns.  It’s interesting that the zirconium, unlike porcelain crowns, are adjusted by grinding off the top rather than removing the crown and taking off product from the bottom, putting the crown back on and removing again if it isn’t right. This process goes so much faster.  And, according to Dennis (the dentist) I can now chew nails!  ;-).

Richy takes me over to the pharmacy and I get antibiotics, pain killers, some ibuprofen, and a bacteria killing mouth rinse.  All that is left is to return next fall to have the crowns put on the then healed bone. If it weren’t so dang hot here in June they could do it then as the bone will have filled in and anchored the screw within six months, but it is too hot and The Chiweenie Brothers can’t be left in MisAdventure  in June!

Leaving Los Algodones, the boys and I head back north with a friend we met in Q and ran into at the dog park in Yuma.  Ann has two pups and is living in her Rialto.  She’s from Nebraska (and a very interesting person if I can get her to let me post about it!) and never wants to go back.  She wanted to cross the border with us, so now we are headed to Fortuna Pond where she will catch up with us there after she resupplies.

DSC_0039Sunrise Over Fortuna Pond
Sunrise over the pond

Fortuna Pond is on BLM land and is a small fishing pond for locals.  It’s a bit tropical looking with sunny spots on the north side and shady spots on the south side, a few palm trees, and lots of green reeds. Guess which side we choose?  *smile*

As we are walking around the pond and pass a passenger van I hear, “Shawna, is that you?”  What the heck?  A small woman with short black hair and a wiry little tan colored dog  walks around the front of her van, extends her hand, and introduces herself as Sherry.

“Sherry!  I know you! Through the blog!  How nice to meet you in person!” I tell her.  It always astounds me to cross paths with a reader.  It will be fun to get to know her.

DSC_0054Blue Heron at Fortuna Pond
Heron with sun gilding the tops of the reeds. Love this shot, but wish the blue heron had been clearer
DSC_0045
Osprey searching for a meal

Love this camping spot!  I will be back before this winter is over.

Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs!  Hugs, Shawna

 

We’re Back in Q

                                                                Life is short

November sure has whizzed by.  The Chiweenie Brothers and I made it to Arizona, spent a couple of nights at Craggy Wash in Lake Havasu where some guy tried to roust us from our spot beside a nice shade tree by whining about how this was the third time he’s lost out on this spot and HE needed shade­­­—like we didn’t!—and when I refused to give it up  he hopped in his rig and peeled out spraying us with small rocks and dirt!

When we left a couple of days later I got the tires rotated on MisAdventure, and then we spent some time at the SARA dog park. SARA Park has much to offer besides a wonderful dog park: Hiking and biking trails, an equestrian area, and more.

We move on to Parker where we spend one night off Hwy 62.  Last year’s camping area is inaccessible. Not sure if it was due to flash flooding or just the fact the road has been graded, but nothing looks familiar and I can’t find a spot with shade. One night here and we move on. Q (Quartzsite) here we come! 

I drive straight into town, get ice and fill up the generator (I love being able to use my Instant Pot!!) then head to the dog park.  Big surprise here.  The “Big Dog” side is closed for some unexplained reason and all are using the “Small Dog” side.  It isn’t working too well as the big dogs have pretty much taken over and there are plenty of little dogs that don’t like being in with them.  But, it is what it is. We will either spend more time in other areas of La Paz County or we can change our preferred time to be at this dog park to later in the afternoon. We’ll work it out!

Once the boys are ready to leave the dog park I drive to the library and try to get a blog post done.  I no longer have mobile internet as ATT said I used too many roaming hours and they cut me off everywhere there is no ATT cell tower.  Hmph!  This may be a long winter with fewer posts. Not surprisingly I still have to pay until my contract is up so I won’t be getting anything different at this time. Again … It is what it is.  I’ll work it out!

Meanwhile, out in the desert we settle onto BLM land with a sweet, shady spot at the Hi Jolly 14-day area.  Long walks with the boys in the chilly air of morning, some reading, checking email­­­—fortunately I can get my email and get onto the internet with my phone, but no way can I do a blog post from it— and I am able to make an appointment with my dentist in Los Algadones. But, before that happens we will head to Bouse and stay a night or two.  The boys will get to romp in the HUGE dog park there, I will get veggies from the truck that brings in produce fresh from the fields, and I will also attend a get-together with the Bouse Genies, the local genealogy group. 

This trip to our wintering grounds has brought some frustration, yes, but there has been blessings, too:  Lying in bed one night with the back doors open I watch the space station glide silently through the night sky.  Early mornings, before sunrise, I watch Venus hanging huge and glittering, low in the east as day tries to make her disappear for another 24 hours, Sun demanding her time in the sky. One morning Venus was next to the quarter moon; so beautiful!   

Some mornings Sun brushes past the distant mountains with a silent but huge burst of light, other mornings she makes a magnificent entry wearing a cloak of the softest pinks and lavenders or bright red and gold if she’s feeling brassy.

DSC_0072

Coyotes howl across the desert.  I do consider this a blessing, although it’s not much fun when they come in close trying to trick The Chiweenie Brothers into coming out to play which they did three nights running at one point.  Sends a chill up my spine.

Gorgeous sunsets and sunrises.  They make my heart sing in their beauty.

Thank you for stopping by 2DogsTravel. We appreciate you coming along on our adventures, and appreciate your patience while we get through this little internet glitch. Hugs, Shawna

Edson Creek Campground, Sixes Oregon

 

It’s almost the end of September. We are about 10 miles inland from the coast, and the nights are cool and the days pleasant. Sparse traffic makes for a peaceful camp, and The Chiweenie Brothers and I enjoy lots of long, leisurely walks along paved road.

DSC_0007

I had not planned on staying so long here, although it’s a lovely campground, but an order I placed with Amazon is taking its sweet time to arrive. Part of the order has been delivered,  but the other half is napping in Salt Lake City ….

DSC_0001

My phone doesn’t work here, but I can text. My Mobely hotspot signal comes and goes, but at least it works sometimes.  It’s all good.  The boys and I deal with what’s handed to us and make do, happily.  Most times. Ha!

Beside the walks, I read and crochet and check Amazon  a dozen times a day to see where the other half of my order is languishing. We drive into Port Orford to purchase ice and a few supplies and drive down to the harbor. The view of the bay provides a gorilla’s profile in the large rock in front of us. Do you see it?

DSC_0012Bay at Port Orford ORHow about a cow’s face in a tree at our camp site? DSC_0001

Back at camp I fill out another tag and write out another check for three more days then take the boys for a walk where we discover Mr. Wooly Bear caterpillar. Next spring he will become a tiger moth.  Folklore says you can predict the weather by how much black is on the coat of the wooly bear. The more black on their coat the colder and wetter the winter will be. Looks to me like it’s almost a tossup this year.
DSC_0008We continue to bide our time over the weekend, and finally, FINALLY, on Tuesday the package is delivered. Amazon’s Prime 2-day delivery only took a week :), but you gotta love UPS! Those dudes will deliver anywhere; right up to our campsite at Edson Creek Campground in Sixes, Oregon.

It’s late in the afternoon by the time my Amazon order arrives so we will stay another night here then head south early tomorrow morning on the last leg of our Oregon Coast summer trip. Getting so excited to see family and friends.

Thanks for stopping by!!!  Hugs, Shawna and The Boys

CAMP AMENITIES
Water:  Yes. I spigot near Host’s site    Garbage: Yes
Bathrooms:  Yes, vault                            Electricity: No
Tables: Yes                                                Shower: No
Fire Pit:  Yes                                              BBQ: Grate on fire pit, but is non-adjustable
# of Sites: 20                                              Fee: $8 per night, seniors with pass $4
Other: