Best Laid Plans

July 25th. Goodbye Cimarron Canyon. We’re up before dawn and heading west along Hwy 64 as the first pale rays of the sun pierce the morning sky. Looking forward to heading Taos way, I enjoy freshly brewed coffee that was the only thing I did before we headed out. We make a stop just before we leave the park, and I feed the Boys and take them for their morning walk while enjoying the rising sun casting a warm golden glow on the Palisade Sills.

We continue on Hwy 64 taking the lower route of New Mexico’s Enchanted Circle that will take us up to Taos. I stop and photograph the lush carpet of lupine and another unknown wildflower that is along the road.

I barely notice that there appears to be someone about a quarter mile up the road standing in the middle of it. One sees all kinds of weird things.

Done with the camera I hop back in the van and drive up the road. Yep, there’s someone in the middle of the road. Stopping traffic. With only one car ahead of me I soon find out that the highway is closed due to a big rig having turned over on one of the curves. He is not sure when it will reopen, but certainly not until late afternoon at the soonest.

We turn around and head to Angel Fire where I find the library. It has good internet signal out in the parking lot so I catch up on blog posts and get a couple scheduled before the Boys get restless. A gentleman is making a call outside his vehicle, and I hear him tell someone that ‘he won’t make the meeting’ as the highway will be closed until tomorrow. Alrighty then, let’s go get the laundry done guys!

Once I have the laundry washed and partially dry, the blue sky is studded with thunderheads. I grab a couple of shots of the ski run that can be seen from most places in this swanky little village. DSC_0114 (1)Angel Fire Ski Run

DSC_0115 (1)Angel Fire NM Welcomes You

Where we gonna stay tonight Boys? What say we head back out to Coyote Creek State Park? We may luck out and find a spot out there this time, and I’d like to be somewhere before this storm hits. We’ll be there before the big thunder rolls don’t worry. It’s only 17 miles.

Coming up to that 3 mile narrow paved goat trail we make it without meeting any vehicles, and we don’t get hit by lightning. 🙂 We arrive at Coyote Creek State Park. I drive clear to the back and even up into the “Forest Area, additional campsites” which no one in their right mind would stay in. Yes, it is that bad. Not a level site to be found in any of the five or so spots, and getting into any one of them is a nightmare: No place to easily turnaround, rutted road, tight corners, if you need to back in you have to do it backing up hill. As we are jockeying around trying to turnaround, some poor couple pull up towing a trailer.  The main part of Coyote Creek State Park has lovely sites and good dirt road.

We motor back down to the entrance I find the camp host and ask if there are any open spots with shade. There is, but it’s right in the circle where those who need electricity line up like cord wood. It looks to me like the spot blocks the road, but camp host says to take my pick of the two spots there. Not ideal, but I am not fond of the idea of going back to the national forest road where we could probably find a boondocking spot, but the mere thought of traveling along that ridge in another lightning storm makes my stomach churn. We’re staying here guys.

I barely get the Chiweenie Brothers out for a short walk and back in the van when BOOM! BOOM! Boom-boom-boom-boom-boom pierces the air like artillery fire. The storm is here and it’s vicious. Fries wants under the covers of the bed, and I let him in while I start rubbing his side and back with small circular motions, never taking my hand off of him. This was the technique I used, called T Touch, to get him used to thunderstorms to begin with, and after a bit I can feel him relax even as the storm drops buckets of water, bolts of lightning light up the sky, and the thunder continues to roll. As has been seen elsewhere, the temperature drops about 20 degrees.

We end up staying here for several days, attend a flag lowering ceremony put on by the Boy Scouts to show support, and take long walks to the back of the park and back again, sometimes twice day.

Friday morning, coffee in hand I pour over the map making note of the roads that lead out of Taos trying to decide where we should go from there. I have a good idea of where we will head, but the final decision will be made once we get to Taos and do our supply shopping. Taking the last swig of my now cold coffee, I make a face, grab the leashes, and take the Boys for their morning walkabout. That done, we motor out of Coyote Creek, taking Hwy 434 back to Angel Fire and head up Hwy 64 where we begin to climb and twist and turn along the snakey mountainous highway.

Coyote Creek State Park is known for its good fishing. There is a large group site here, a small area with electrical hookups, but you’re packed in as you would be in a commercial campground. Showers, water, garbage, and a dump station are available. A few sites scattered about have shade shelters, most have picnic tables. The roads around the park are dirt, but nice and smooth and there’s no dust.

Thanks for joining us! Hugs, Shawna

Sugarite Canyon State Park, NM

July 17th, Sugarite Canyon has two tiers. One is along the creek that flows along the bottom of the canyon and into Alice Lake, the other is up on the mountain.

We cruise through the tiny lower tier and there is nothing available. Although tiny and crowded there are rows of shrubs and trees that keep each small site private. This is very appealing.
The upper tier has two campgrounds, Gambel Oaks, a group site, and Salt Pocket, a large area with many campsites. Each has a gravel parking pad, sunshade over a picnic table on a concrete pad, fire ring, and a bear box. Water and vault toilets are nearby.
Everyone must keep food, cosmetics, and anything else that may be enticing to a roaming bear, inside the box. The ranger talked to more than one person just in our area about not putting their foodstuff away. A bear entered two campsites last week and they are taking no chances. New Mexico doesn’t remove and rehome a wayward bear. If they cause any problems other than just walking through they are not given three chances. It’s two times and your out, as in euthanized.

Sugarite has several hiking trails, all with at least some uphill climbing involved. The one we walk every morning isn’t too bad. I am not interested in the one that is several miles long that goes to a high mountain lake. Vista Grande Trail is at the upper end of the park and each morning the Boys and I head out, rambling through the campground and onto Vista Grande where I look for wildflowers to photograph. I got several new ones here.

The vista around the campground isn’t too shabby.

Monsoon season has begun here in earnest. Almost every afternoon we get a thunder and lightning show. Moisture ranges from a few fat drops to a downright deluge, the temperature dropping 15 to 20 degrees. The days are warm, the nights cool and perfect for sleeping.

Pat, a roving ranger came up during one evening here at Sugarite and gave a wonderful talk about the night sky. She brought in an 8” diameter telescope and we took turns looking at Jupiter with it’s distinctive belt, and Saturn with it’s rings. Did you know New Mexico, due to it’s lower population and less light polution along with fewer big cities, has some of the darkest skies in the nation? Perfect for stargazing.

July 20. It’s early morning, around 5:30 and The Chiweenie Brothers go beserk. The berserk kind of bark that says, ‘MOM! There’s something out there. You HAVE to get up! NOW.’  Pulling my eyes open as best I can I sit up and look at my Boys. They couldn’t be any more excited, and I wonder what in the world …  Looking out the open back doors I see a big black shape ambling along the bush line about 150 feet from us. Big. Black. Bear. She pays no attention at all to the little dogs barking their heads off, she just keeps ambling along head to the ground, and eventually wanders out of sight. The Boys keep barking essentially asking if they can go get ’em. Nope, no way guys. You’re not bothering her! Well, that was exciting!!
July 23rd. It’s time to move on. I hate leaving our shady site, and will miss our daily walks along the Vista Grande Trail, but we need supplies and ice and I’ve already made a couple of trips to town from this camp.

DSC_0077 (1)cliff clouds yellow flowers, a favorite

Sugarite is only 15 miles from the Colorado border and there are roads up into Colorado but really no other way to go but back west along Hwy 64. It’s about 100 miles back to Cimarron and that’s enough driving for one day so Cimarron here we come.

DSC_0002 (2)Outcrop of Rock in Sugarite Canyon SP
Thanks for stopping by! Hugs, Shawna

Manzano Mountain State Park

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. DSC_0049Shrub Cactus

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!

DSC_0054Nature Trail at Manzano Mtn SP
One of the Walking Trails in Manzano

DSC_0057Outer Trail at Manzano Mtn SPNot 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.

Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs Travel.  Hugs, Shawna

BOYCE THOMPSON STATE ARBOREUM

Sunday, May 19, 2001 we point MissAdventure’s nose north. At 3000 feet it is cool and overcast; a perfect morning to take in the Boyce Thompson State Arboretum off Hwy 60 in Superior AZ. The palo verde trees are at their peak of bloom here and it’s a gorgeous drive.

They allow dogs to go along on the walk, and the boys are beyond excited to tag along.  I attach their leads and Fries grabs the leash dashing ahead trying to pull me along.

I pay the $12.50 entrance fee and we begin the mile and half loop, with many side trails to explore, that meanders through the canyon showing off its collection of desert plants and trees. It is spectacular!

A nice surprise as we come down off the trail and back to the beginning, a docent suggests the demonstration garden near the parking lot and exit.  A rose garden!!Delightful!

Continuing on we stop at Oak Flat Camp Ground nestled off Hwy 60 in the Tonto National Forest to camp for a couple of days. It is cool here with shade. Not much has changed since we were here two years ago.

Monday is cool, but windy, and we get some rain during the night. Enough moisture to dampen the ground, but being parked under the trees MissAdventure comes out of it looking like a spotted green thing of unknown origin.

This is a free Forest Service campground with tables, fire rings, and vault toilets.

Thanks for stopping by! Hugs, Shawna

The Desert Turns Green

Quartzsite, Arizona, our winter refuge, is cool with lots of moisture; it is turning green.  Lush, spring grasses and plants put on a show that is beautiful in its simplicity.  One would not even notice if you hadn’t spent several winters here, or at least experienced a few of the winter months at some point.  Usually the greening of the desert is so brief it’s hard to imagine it even happens.  This year it happens.

DSC_0132Green Desert Clouds, and Buttermilk Clouds
A Buttermilk Sky

DSC_0139The Desert is Turning Green, Plant with Rock

The spring flowers put on a colorful show and all of it with the “purple mountain majesty and the brilliant blue sky depending on the hour, is breathtaking.

The middle of February brings unusual cold, even frosty temps, lots of cold wind and some rain.  Many hours spent inside reading, planning, writing.

The boys need a little walk a couple of times a day and I bundle up and take them out.  It’s cold enough that my little Fries doesn’t mind at all when we head back to the van.

DSC_0005torms a Brewing

They play, nap in the sun if it has made an appearance, and just generally go with flow.  On Occasion there’s a row, but for the most part they get along splendidly.

Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel! Hugs, Shawna

CURRENT READ:  Mary, Queen of Scots

 

Shore Acres and Cape Arago Lighthouse

Once we leave Sunset Bay we head south to Shore Acres State Park.  This park used to be the summer home of lumber Baron Louis J Simpson who built a magnificent home on the rocks of the shore overlooking the ocean with a gorgeous flower garden complete with a Japanese inspired pond.  The gardener’s quarters and the restored gardens are all that is left of this magnificent estate.

During the winter holidays from Thanksgiving through New Year’s metal sculptures depicting ocean-related themes and creatures and are brought in and festooned with over 300,000 lights. I’ve visited here before during this time and it is absolutely gorgeous. And very crowded, but worth it!

The Simpsons’ view from their cliff top home. Read more about this Oregon State Park and its benefactor’s HERE 

Cape Arago  lighthouse from afar.   Somehow, some way I missed the road to get to this lighthouse.  Dang! A good excuse to go back!!!  DSC_0045Read more about it HERE

Thanks for stopping by!  Hugs, Shawna

CURRENT READ:   The Return Journey by Maeve Binchy

Florence, Oregon, The Place to Be Now

FLORENCE, Oregon.  I chose Florence as the place to hangout and spend some time idling in order to keep out of the inland heat. I am really missing family, and now that the Boys and I are so close it’s hard not to just make a dash south and east into Cali; only about five hours away!!! But the heat. And another fire near Redding, this one north of the city, makes me listen to reason and just kick back for a time.

Not a ton of things to do here, but there is beach access in a couple of places.  Great sea food at Mo’s. Pretty Oregon scenery all around. But one of my favorite places is the marina in the Old Town section of Florence. Watching this cormorant dive for his dinner was fun . . .

These super petunias lining the boardwalk are so pretty…

DSC_0006Old Town Marina

DSC_0005 (2)Boats in marina. Old Town Florence OR

And it’s beginning to look a lot like autumn

DSC_0002Turning Leaves, Florence Oregon

A ride on Hwy 36 along a fork of the Siuslaw near Swisshome shows just how parched the Oregon Coast is. This river is so low! I find the flat rocks showing in the riverbed interesting.  I know, I’m a rock freak.  LOL

20180903_123723Flat Rock on a fork of the Siuslaw River

Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs! Hugs, Shawna

 

 

Cape Meares

Sunday, July 29th.  Cape Meares is on my agenda for today. In a quest to photograph all the light houses on the Oregon Coast this is the first on the list. Our first attempt to get to the park meets with this . . .

DSC_0001 (3)Cape Meares Road closure signI turn the big green machine around and find this, that I obviously missed on the way in, and read about a town that didn’t make it around here.

DSC_0002 (1)City of Bay Ocean Park sign

Backtracking and taking Hwy 131 we finally get to our destination.

DSC_0003 (2)Capes Meares sign

 

It’s a wicked winding road to get to this park … sounds familiar doesn’t it?  Once in the park proper The Chiweenie Brothers and I take a hike. It’s a steep trail leading to lighthouse.  Down, down, down.  Lots of informational signs regarding the birds and wildlife of the area dot the paved path.

The lighthouse is gorgeous!  I shoot several angles. Climbing back up to the parking lot I am totally out of breath by the time we get to the van. I upload the photos to my laptop only to find blurry pictures! Dang it!  I will be so glad to have my camera looked at once back in Cali when we go for a visit with family and friends. I leave the boys in the van for a second hike down to the lighthouse.

DSC_0008 (4)

Huffing and puffing my way back up the trail to the parking lot I get a light-through-the-trees-and-fog opportunity.

On the opposite side of the parking lot is a trail leading to the “Octopus Tree” which I want to see. Two hikes down and back up from the lighthouse has taxed my energy, and I leave the boys in the van. I can’t deal with the rambunctious Chiweenie Brothers right now.  They don’t like this, but, it is what it is!  Sorry guys.

I am thrilled to find these foxglove with an industrious bumble bee!

It’s been a delightful day, and I am pooped! I find a small wayside on Hwy 131 once we leave the park, and we spend the night here.  Thanks for coming along on our adventures. Hugs, Shawna

Fishtrap BLM Campsite

June 26, 2018.  We are up early — and have been most every morning since leaving the mountains of Montana and Idaho.  Dang! Sunrise is early when there’s no mountains to delay it! We really don’t mind because the air is deliciously cool.  I feed the boys and make coffee, and of course the morning walk. It’s quick, quick, quick, no longer than needed to take care of business. I am anxious to leave the city behind; some peace and quiet is needed.

We head to the Laughing Dog Park so The Chiweenie Brothers can get in one last romp here. It’s all but empty, but we three walk the perimeter a couple of times, then back in the van, and I poke the van’s nose out into traffic from the on-ramp and head west on I-90.  Spokane traffic is unbelievable, but I suppose that’s just me.  Not used to it, and don’t want to get used to it.  However, we are soon out of the city proper and traffic thins.

We are headed west is all I know at this point, to eventually get to Moses Lake, when I spot the sign for Fishtrap with the little brown triangular sign that signifies camping. And what do you know, it’s BLM land.  It’s easy to find the designated site, and there’s only two other people here, camped at the only table.  There’s room for four or five very close campers, but we’re only here for a night or two. We’ll deal with it.  There is a vault toilet and gathered-rock fire rings.

The campsite is on a bluff that overlooks Smick Meadow and a lovely little pond.

DSC_0008 (7)

On the bluff to the left is an old barn. I leash the boys and wander over to the sign that tells all about the area.  This is Folsom Farm, or what’s left of it, from the early 1900s. The barn still stands along with another outbuilding.  The house is long gone from a fire.  The farm was sold many times between it’s beginning and end.


DSC_0001 (7)     I am pleased to see that no vandalism has occurred here.  How nice!!!

All is quiet here during the night except for a distant train on occasion.

DSC_0040 (4)

In the morning I hear a coyote howl which reminds me of Arizona, which reminds me of the glorious sunrises and sunsets in the Arizona desert.  As if in answer to a silent yearning, the second morning we are blessed with this

DSC_0023 (5)There are no trees to give shade in this camp and considering it’s almost July, it’s beginning to warm up.  Too warm.  We head out, to once again take I-90 west.

I can’t resist stopping for a few moments to get shots of the wildflowers blooming with abandon along the road into Fishtrap Camp.

Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel. Hugs, Shawna

 

CAMP AMENITIES
Water:  No                                   Garbage: No — pack it in/pack it out
Bathrooms:  One Vault Toilet  Electricity: No
Tables: One in Camp area        Shower: No
Fire Pit: Makeshift fire rings   BBQ:  No
# of Sites:  Room for four/five Fee: Free
Other: There are picnic tables past the gates (they ask you that you keep the gates closed) and a hiking trail down to the pond.  

 

 

 

 

 

Missoula and Fish Creek

June 17, 2018.  We leave our overnight camp in the Drummond City Park with a light mist falling. Hoping to find some sunshine we chug along through this tiny town and find the freeway entrance to head west on I-90.  I don’t like to travel the freeways unless it’s necessary, and in Montana it is quite often necessary. Due to the gorgeous, towering mountain ranges connecting roads are, more often than not, non-existent. It’s the long way, the freeway, or no way!

We gain Missoula and spend a night at Wally. I do absolutely no scouting; the traffic in this city is horrendous! There is a dog park here that is supposed to be a really nice one, but although I find the park next morning, the access is by footbridge, and I can find no place to park.  The businesses must have gotten tired of dog people parking in their lots and there are signs everywhere threatening being towed if you park in their lot and are not a customer.  I’ve learned my lesson and do not mention DOG PARK, so The Chiweenie Brothers don’t know they are missing out.  

Our next camp is found along Fish Creek at the Big Pine fishing access area.  It’s about 4 miles in off I-90, the last mile or so dirt.  Or should I say mud.  The clouds are breaking up so the hope is that it will dry out a bit and we can stay here a few days.  

There are five or six camp sites at Fish Creek, and only one is occupied.   Lots of trees and bushes separate the campsites giving wonderful privacy. I choose a site down a short “driveway” leading right to the river and park so our view out the side doors is of the rushing water, the driver’s side–which has the cooler–in the shade.  We head out exploring.

DSC_0067 (3)

This fishing access camp along Fish Creek is home to the largest known ponderosa pine in Montana.  

There are also some beautiful wild rose bushes here.  DSC_0007 (5) and this shrub with the white flowers.  Any guesses as to what it is?   DSC_0008 (5)

The boys settle down for a little nap.

One night here, and we leave. It’s raining again and it’s just plain muddy.  The road out is fine even though it’s soup.  I need to find a spot where I can walk the boys without bringing Mother Earth inside the van every time we step outside. 

We stop at a wayside along I-90, kind of a mini rest area for lack of a better word. There is room for a truck and a couple of cars and it has a vault toilet.  This sign tells the story of the building of the road through these mountains.  I try to see where the cut was made but I don’t find it here. nor do I find it once we get moving again. There is road work going on and I daren’t ogle the scenery much.

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Thanks for stopping by! Hugs, Shawna

Fish Creek Fishing Access is a boondocking site, but it does have a vault toilet, tables, and fire rings.  NO water and no garbage (pack it in/pack it out).  Cost:  Free.  There are one or two spots big enough for a medium sized trailer. Walk the “driveways” before pulling in as several of the sites have no way to turn a vehicle and a trailer around. Unless your really good a backing up 🙂