Rio De Las Vacas F. S. Camp Ground

The steady climb up Hwy 126 takes us up to over 7000 feet so it’s nice and cool compared to the valley below.  The Chiweenie Brothers, heads out the window, give our new temporary home the once over.

I back in, then begin getting The Boys’ cabled run set up.  I like them to have as much freedom as possible and the 25ft coated cable allows them some wandering room while still being in compliance with the ‘dogs must be leashed rule’.  Once the cable is looped around two trees and secured I get the two wiggle worms on their leashes and the leashes attached to the cable.  I begin setting up camp.

DSC_0081Campsite Lucky 13 in Rio de las Vacas FS CG

This camp ground consists of a small loop that contains 15 or so campsites.  There is a vault toilet and water.  Each site has a picnic table, fire ring, and paved parking. We get lucky 13, a nice shaded site in the afternoon.

DSC_0091On Site Workout Machine. Rio de Las Vacas CG - Copy

The water pump also serves as a good upper body workout device!

The campground loop itself serves well as a good cardio walk as it is not level, but there is also a trail that goes back into the forest.  Wildflowers are abloom, too.

The view out our backdoors DSC_0056Looking Out Our Back Door Rio de las Vacas CG - Copy

The Boys spend time digging for squirrels and chasing lizards,

and these cute little golden mantle squirrels abound!

We thoroughly enjoy our almost two weeks here in the mountains near Cuba NM.

 

We Made it to Cuba

Last night’s temps in Farmington NM made it all the way down to 70.  A hot and sticky night.  We’re outta here!

Still heading east we get very close to the beautiful little town of Aztec again. If I had known at this point that my photos of  the Aztec Ruins were gone forever I would have gone back and taken the tour again. But I didn’t know, and we continue on oblivious to what we are letting go.

At Bloomfield we catch Hwy 550 heading south.  It’s a long, hot drive. I don’t  run the air conditioner in the van.  Sounds stupid, I know, but it seems to make the oppressive heat even worse when we stop so I keep it off.

There isn’t much out along this piece of New Mexico, but there are gas stations and a few tiny towns.  The Chaco Canyon and more ruins are along this stretch of highway, BUT, as much as I would like to take that in I am not wanting to bump along 20 miles of washboard dirt road to get there in this heat. Another time—in the dead of winter—would be good time to see it.

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550 goes from blah flat desert with nothing but greasewood to these interesting sandstone bluffs and rock formations.  What starts out as a boring, hot drive, turns into an interesting hot drive.  It actually goes back and forth between the two landscapes.

We eventually make it to Cuba.  Not THAT Cuba. Cuba, New Mexico, a tiny little town with all the basics: Family Dollar, gas stations, a grocer, laundromat, AND a small library. I get the chores done.

A search on freecampsites.net yields a review of Hwy 126 to Fenton Lake State Park, the place we are looking for.  It’s a shortcut that takes 70 miles off the trip to the park. The reviewer says the last six miles are rugged.  Slow and steady would make six miles okay, but I also ask the tattooed, earring wearing clerk at Family Dollar about this Hwy 126.  Is it good road? “Sure is, as far I know.  Good road all the way, but it climbs and is a twisty turny mountain road,” he says. We can deal with that!!

Supplied up, things on ice, and plenty of gas in  MissAdventure  we head back to the beginning of Hwy 126.  That clerk wasn’t kidding.  The road begins to climb almost immediately and we are soon twisting and turning our way into heavy timber.  The air is getting cooler. Oh my, I love this!!

About 18 miles in, and this is just a guess, we come to the dirt part of the road. There is a sign that says ’26 miles of dirt road, not maintained’.  WHAT??? That reviewer on freecampsites must have made a typo, or was being a smart alec.  Six miles is one thing, 26 is another. Ain’t happening.

I get the van turned around just in time to get out of the way of a small white car barreling down the dirt road enveloped in a cloud of dust.  Some days I am just so happy with the decisions I make, and I pat myself on the back to just saying NO to this road.

We explore a few of the roads leading back into the National Forest where we could easily boondock, but nothing appeals to me.  I am tired from the drive in the heat along Hwy 550. I remember a Forest Service campground back a ways, and I decide to check into that.

DSC_0054Searching for a Camp Site in the Sante Fe National Forest Hwy 126 out of Cuba NM

The Rio De las Vacas campground in the Santa Fe National Forest is $5 per night with senior pass.  We pull into a spot that will give us afternoon shade and set up camp.  It’s a wonderful 78 degrees here, and here we will stay at least through the weekend.

Thanks for stopping by!  Hugs, Shawna

 

Hopewell Lake

July 29th continued. Beyond Earthship and past the Rio Grande Bridge we continue along Hwy 64 coming back into the Carson National Forest and into the trees and green meadows again. It’s beautiful here. I get out in several places to photograph the scenery: Old buildings, beautiful green meadows, and the afternoon storm clouds gathering.

It isn’t long before the bruised and angry looking clouds begin dropping, a few fat tears. I begin looking in earnest for a place to stop. DSC_0027

Rounding a corner among the tall pines I spot a Carson National Forest sign for Hopewell Campground. It’s off to the left and I gladly turn onto the road. It’s not far to the campground, and I speak with the host who gives us directions to a shaded site. Turns out it isn’t quite the shady spot I had in mind, and is rather out in the open. Thunder is rolling. I feel too exposed here.

As more thunder rolls I decide to move, and we head around the hard packed dirt road searching for a better camp site. We’re heading around the bend, Boys Not around the bend as in nuts, but maybe that’s true, too, but around the bend in the road. Ha! I find a site I feel much more comfortable with, and we settle in to wait out the storm before making camp.  We have this guy watching over us. DSC_0034 (2)

We spend a couple of nights here. The days are warm and the nights cool. And the view!! MissAdventure is backed right up to the table, doors thrown wide, and as I look out the back I see a gorgeous green meadow strewn with many different kinds and colors of wildflowers backed by stately pines and aspen trees whose leaves are dancing in the breeze. It is truly breathtaking, the prettiest high mountain meadow I have ever seen.

DSC_0036DSC_0044 (1)Aspen Trunks and flowers

DSC_0049 (1)MissAdventure, Our Camp At Hopewell Lake Forest Service Natil CG

This forest service campground offering vault toilets, water, tables, fire rings, good dirt road, gorgeous scenery, and peace and quiet is $16 per night, $8 with senior pass.

Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel.  Hugs, Shawna

DSC_001 (3)Hopewell Lake
Hopewell Lake

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

Sloway and Cabin City in the Lolo National Forest

When we leave the Big Pine Fishing Access campground and continue our westward journey on I-90 I keep my eyes open for an improved campground, meaning one with pavement, water, garbage, tables, firepits.  We don’t need electricity or sewer so I’m not looking for THAT level of improvement, but we need something out of the mud.

It isn’t long before I spot a sign advertising a forest service campground called Sloway.  Sloway is in the Lolo National Forest and it is indeed an improved campground.  Being a national agency we will get half off the going rate.  Considering the retired, white-haired old lady I have become, that suits me fine!

I pull in, sign us up for a night just to see how it goes before committing to anything longer than one night.  We are in campsite 15.

This campground is chockfull of offerings. It has a picnic area, a launching area for canoes, kayaks, and rafts, a horse camp (which has it’s own entrance up the road), a section for large RVs with 7 pull-thru sites, 20 tent/car sites all with tables and fire rings. There are several vault toilets, 2 garbage collection sites, a recycling area, water spigots, and a camp host.  $10 per night, half that with senior pass. It’s right off the freeway, but traffic isn’t bothersome.  There is also a train that rolls through several times a day/night across the river, but I am either getting used to those sounds or going deaf. Not sure which it is.  What’s that, you say?  🙂  Lots of pines for shade.

We end up staying three days total, and you know what? I didn’t take any photos!  The old lady is losing it I guess!A

Before we get out of Montana we stay one night in another USFS campground called Cabin City. Much smaller than Sloway in the way of offerings, but has the basics: 2 loops of 12 sites each, tables, firepits, water, garbage, vault toilets.  It’s a pretty campground, but not so pretty getting there.  We drive past some drop-dead gorgeous homes and then at the turn to get to Cabin City, some pretty darn dumpy places.  All is well though, once you are in the campground. We saw a wild turkey sneaking through the undergrowth on one of our walks.  As in all of Montana, it’s bear country so keep your food inside your vehicle.

Thanks for stopping by!  Hugs, Shawna

CURRENT READ:  Still reading Colony by Anne Rivers Siddons … Good one!

Life is short 

 

 

 

 

Dry Creek Road

From Montpelier Canyon Campground we again head north on Hwy 89 and back into Wyoming. At every turn is a scene I simply must photograph.

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Or a wildflower calls out not to be forgotten.  They are everywhere!
DSC_0048 (2)Surely the westward travelers were uplifted and encouraged by the sights of this area when they marched ever onward toward Oregon and California. How sad it would have been to be too downtrodden with exhaustion to enjoy the beauty around them, those who travelled this area when the grass was new and the wildflowers burst forth.

As we get closer to the little town of Afton, and the even tinier town of Smoot, I begin searching for a forest service road somewhere along the highway in the Bridger-Teton National Forest when I spot Dry Creek Road.

The dirt road takes us back into the forest DSC_0053 (2)

and with all the rain up north, Dry Creek is anything but Dry. The roaring creek claws at the banks and the roots of the trees and bushes lining its path.

We drive back farther than I like to be without cell service and turn around, heading back to the very first camp site I saw once past the houses on private land.  It’s very shaded!

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We take long walks and long naps, spending two nights here.

 

 

 

 

The boys smell something in the air

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Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs!

CURRENT READ: Sweet Hollow Women   by Holly Tierney-Bedord

 

 

 

Three Camps

May 7, 2018.  After our one night in Piute Reservoir State Park we once again head north on 89.  We need supplies and I don’t feel like searching for a campsite so it’s going to be a Wally night in the town of Richfield, UT

Before settling down in our spot on the macadam at Wally World I find a Lion’s Park  and The Chiweenie Brothers and I spend the majority of the day in the shade of some large oaks .  I read, the boys enjoy the lush grass on their long leads attached to the stakes I push into the soft carpet of grass.

Next morning, up early, I purchase our supplies, and we move on to a camp off Gooseberry Road that runs alongside I-15 near Salina. It’s a nice, quiet, free camp with about seven or eight spots next to a muddy little river. It has a vault toilet, fire rings, and metal tables.  And lots of fox tail weeds.  They are green so not much of a problem, but I wouldn’t want to be here when they dry.

After two nights here we move on to a spot in the Manti-La Sal National Forest near Spring City, winding through houses, then farms until we get to the Forest Service road that takes us to the top of the mountain. The road is a little wash boardy and narrow in a few places,  but the road ending at a trail head has a vault toilet and several real nice tent camping sites.

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This is the hiking trail not the road we came in on!

 A couple are coming down off the trail with their golden retriever.  The man puts a set of goggles on the dog after he helps him into the back of their pickup; the man explains the dog has allergies.

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The Chiweenie Brothers and I hike a ways up the trail, but don’t get too far.  I am not sure what the altitude is here, but I get out of breath enough to decide to head back to the van. I decide to take a nap., and it’s not long before I hear a hearty shout. “Hello! Anybody home?”  It’s a gentleman who works for the utility company and he’s here to ride his ATV up the trail to check on things.

We chat for a bit, and after talking with him I decide to go back down nearer civilization. The bears are awake he tells me, and they’re hungry; don’t leave food out.  He also says a storm is coming in.  AND …. as I’ve already found out for myself,  there’s no internet up here. I thank him for the info and he loads up his ATV and heads down the mountain.  Worried that rain may make the road a snotty mess we head back down, too.

It was a good decision as later that afternoon a storm does indeed blow in and the mountain’s top is wreathed in fog. We are here until Monday as the weather is worse, according to my weather app, the farther north you go.  And we have internet down here 🙂 and a lovely little burbling creek to lull us to sleep at night. It’s a wonderful four days in our little camp.

DSC_0008We are up early —- let me rephrase that—- I am up early on Monday and finish the last little bit of stuff that needs doing before we head out. The boys are still snuggled under the covers because it’s kind of nippy this morning. They soon rally forth though, once they realize I am fixing their breakfast.

I take them for a quick walk after they eat and then I climb into the driver’s seat and they clamber up on their front passenger platform and settle in.  Off we go.

I make a few stops in town as I had noticed these old homes on the way to our camp and I wanted to take some shots of them before heading to Spanish Fork to pick up the mail and find a boondocking site.

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And THIS is the school!!!   DSC_0014

Hugs from me and The Chiweenie Brothers. Thanks for stopping by.

All we have to do is