Storrie Lake State Park

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.

DSC_0023The 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.

The afternoon breeze keeps things from getting too unbearable.  Without the adobe shade shelter we wouldn’t have been able to stay.DSC_0020

DSC_0018

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

Villanueva State Park

July 6th to the 9th. 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 I 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!

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.

DSC_0005Villanueva State Park Sign

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. DSC_0001 (1)MissAdventure and the Giant Cottonwood Tree

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 puddles everywhere, and the air feels so fresh and clean. The Pecos River is running so muddy it looks like thick, brown chocolate milk. DSC_0027Foot Bridge and Reflection

The Chiweenie Brothers were leery of crossing the foot bridge at first, but soon  felt at ease. DSC_0021Wild Weiner Dogs of the Footbridge
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.

DSC_0004Apartment Dwelling, Nature's Way
Crow or raven’s nest with swallows below

DSC_0020Sandstone Bluff Above the Pecos

DSC_0015The Conquistadores Were Here in 1540   DSC_0022 Path Along the Pecos River

It has some hiking trails, and a lovely visitor’s center along with a playground made entirely of recycled materials.

DSC_0025Playground at Villanueva SPDSC_0003 (1)Play Structure Sign

Villanueva is definitely one of my favorite parks so far.

Thanks for coming along with 2DogsTravel.  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

Percha Dam State Park

June 29th. We are again heading north on I-25, destination Percha Dam State Park

. Shade, I need shade and a few days to just lounge around in it. I feel horrible. These past few weeks dealing with ever increasing heat has given me a bit of heat exhaustion I think. I sweat like crazy, can’t drink enough water, and just feel like I am burning up from the inside out.
Prayers are answered with Percha Dam. We find a shady spot down by the Rio Grande River with a view of the small dam. Lots of activity with locals coming and going picnicking, fishing, ect., but although I have to move the van around a couple of times a day to stay in the shade it feels wonderful. DSC_0012 (1)DSC_0013 (1)Looking at Percha Dam From Our Campsite
A little glitch with my solar system and an email to my solar guy (thanks Chuck!!) gets things sorted out and we are back in business churning out power from the sun and the inverter quits overheating because the button on the charge controller got pushed to a different type of battery — or whatever it was causing it to shut down. The fan goes for hours and pulls the cool from a wet sports towel I have wrapped around my neck and shoulders.
INTERESTING PEOPLE: I meet a guy and his wife who are trying out their new-to-them Rialto. He grouses that several things do not work in it, but they’re managing and will get stuff fixed in time. We chat and the usual topics come up: Where you from? Are you full timing? What did you do in working career? He discloses they are from Hawaii and plan on settling in Silver City. WHAT? WHY? Who leaves Hawaii for Silver City?

They were organic farmers on Kuai and according to him the small island has been “discovered” and has over the past few years become a crazy madhouse. Not what they wanted for their golden years so they sold the farm and ended up in New Mexico.

Percha Dam State Park is fairly large. The upper area has the electric sites along with the flush bathrooms and showers. The lower area is along the river and where the primitive sites are located. There are a few shade covers, but most are just a parking spot with a table, bbq, and fire ring. Water spigots are located near the dumpsters and vault toilets. Most spots have decent spacing between sites.

DSC_0016 (2)Mama Squirrel and BabyThis cute guy drove the Wild Wiener Dogs crazy!  Notice the two little ones in the hole in the trunk on the bottom left.  🙂  Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel. Hugs, Shawna

Current Read: The Grace of Dogs by Andrew Root

It’s Here!

Friday, June 28th. Having gotten almost everything loaded up last night, we are up early. This isn’t unusual but actually it is a bit earlier than our normal routine. The dogs are put out on the lead to do their business while I gather items for a quick shower before leaving City of Rocks for the last time. The generator will be here today!

The shower feels marvelous, but what is going to feel even better is getting up into a higher elevation. This has been a tough few weeks dealing with ever increasing heat, but it is finally going to end, and I am excited.
We head to Deming where we pass the time waiting for FedEx to deliver the goods by checking supplies—we’re okay—getting ice and water, and a session at the dog park.
The boys romp while I visit with an elderly veteran. He and his wife settled in Deming a few years ago. He flew planes in Vietnam and had always wanted to become a commercial pilot after the war, but his eyesight was a smidge off and he was declined. Instead he bought a small plane and learned aerial acrobatics! He no longer has his plane, but keeps busy with his own two rescue dogs as well as volunteering at the local shelter. Another very interesting person.
The call from MotoTech comes in around 12:30. The genny has arrived, and we’re off to pick it up and be on our way to Las Cruces to get another problem solved.
It is very hot and quite humid in Las Cruces. As we are stopped at a red light I hear yelling and warnings to our right. I see a man with a gun. Oh shit. It takes a beat or two and hearing the words GET DOWN ON THE GROUND. DOWN ON THE GROUND NOW!! Before it registers that it is the law that has the gun, and as I am pulling up my camera two more vehicles, unmarked, pull in front of a black SUV with a very damaged front bumper and left fender. I get a nice shot of the unmarked’s. DSC_0005 (2)LEO Take Down in Verizon Parking Lot, Las Cruces
The two gals they had on the ground were in tank tops and shorts. That pavement must have been broiling hot!!
NOTE: Later after getting another SIM card for the Mobely (internet hot spot) and getting it working once again we head over to Wally. I see a piece of a black bumper and a left fender just lying in the parking lot. Looks like this is where the black SUV got into trouble! Wish I knew the “rest of the story.”
Our next stop is Leasburg Dam State Park a bit north from Las Cruces. It’s an okay park and there is a Fort Seldon nearby to see, but one night here is all we do.

In the morning, I reorganize the back between my bed and the back doors to once again accommodate the generator. I’m thinking maybe we will do one more night in the now vacated spot that overlooks the river below, DSC_0008 (2)We Were Going to Stay Here For Night Two, but ...

but go back to Plan A and we head out after spotting this guy crawling around the shade shelter in broad daylight. DSC_0007Bat Closeup

Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel!  Hugs, Shawna

City of Rocks, Third Time’s a Charm

So here we are —- back at City of Rocks and believe it or not we didn’t see it all the first time. Blessed with lots of wildlife as we wait on that genny.

 

 

I am happy to report that yes, the generator is here, and we are now on the road to more adventure, and hopefully some higher elevations and cooler temps.
Short post, lots of photos. Thanks for stopping by! Hugs, Shawna

 


DSC_0039Early Morning Can you see anything in these Rocks


The I Heart City of Rocks DSC_0034 I Heart the City of Rocks

CURRENT READ: Sully by Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot who landed US Airways flight 1549 in the Hudson River with not a single fatality.

Pancho Villa State Park

While I patiently (cough, cough) wait for news that the new generator has arrived, the Chiweenie Brothers and I are up early each morning for a walkabout. Just before the sun peaks over the horizon is just about right. The park is just three miles from the Mexico/US border and being farther south is a wee bit warmer.  UGH!

DSC_007White Winged Dove
White Winged Dove

Pancho Villa isn’t just a pretty park, it’s a historical site with an interesting story and you’ll see more photos than I can put in this post.  Learn more about it HERE.

DSC_0077View of Park from Cootes HillDSC_0079Pancho Villa State Park II

We are rousted by the park ranger from our second spot in the park (I had moved the van hoping to utilize a more east-to-west orientation to minimize the amount of sun hitting MissAdventure). He won’t allow us to be at an electrical site even though we are not using any electricity. We move to the perimeter, but it leaves a lot to be desired, although we do have a water spigot at our spot. The way the primitive sites are arranged there is no way to have the van oriented with the sun, east to west, and it’s getting even hotter. Two nights of this and I decide to head back to Deming, check on that stinking generator, then head back to City of Rocks. From here in Columbus that’s about 60 miles so maybe we can have a few degrees shaved off the daily highs of 98+.

DSC_0074Site of the last hostile action sign

DSC_0088the first grease rack

As I am breaking camp I glance over to the site across the road and can’t believe my eyes. There are two owls seeking shade under the canopy covering the picnic table. I inch back around the van and grab my camera. They are still there, and I grab a few shots.

DSC_0095Pair of Great Horned Owls Staying out of the Heat
I think they are young owls trying to get out of the heat of the sun

Out of nowhere the wind does its thing and a sudden grab-your-hat gust of wind blows through and the owls disappear. I continue breaking camp, but I sure don’t remember those owls flying off very far, but they are gone. I wonder if they are in the tree next to the shade cover. I slowly and cautiously meander over toward the tree and discover that yes, they are in the tree. I get two shots, one of each owl, before they are spooked and fly off. Only one shot comes out. DSC_0096 Great Horned Owl
I finish loading up and we head back north to Deming where we will do the weekly thing: Supplies, ice, dog park, gas. I call MotoTech and speak with James. Cassie isn’t in yet, but he will have her call me. I try to call Westinghouse only to get a recording that “I have used up my allotted calls for the month.” WHAT THE HELL??? Excuse my French, but is this for real???
I am so angry at this point I . . . need to calm down. Evidently they have other customers who aren’t too happy with them as I am sure they didn’t install this little feature just for me. And if calling once a week to check on progress is too much, wellll, let me just say that I won’t be buying any more Westinghouse products. Ever. This is just the last straw. I fuss and fume my way through the weekly errands.
Just as we are ready to head north back to City of Rocks, I call Cassie who is the one who tells me that Westinghouse did not get the new generator shipped out last week as planned, that it will be going out today. A few hours later I receive a tracking number from the company. The generator is supposed to arrive this Friday, June 28th. Do I dare hold my breath?

Thanks for coming along on what has been a crazy six weeks. Not exactly what I thought our tour of New Mexico State Parks would be like, but it’s bound to get better. We have seen three very different, very pretty state parks. More than once it turns out, but it is what it is.  See you at City of Rocks AGAIN! Hugs, Shawna