August 15, 2019
Shiprock. The rock that inspired a town.
Cruising along the all-but-deserted two-lane Highway 160 after our stop at Four Corners we catch Hwy 64 heading back east. The windows are down and we enjoy the fresh air. We are back in New Mexico. Shiprock juts up on the horizon.
I begin photographing waaaay before we even get close, but it’s just so fascinating. Me, who finds faces and animals in rocks everywhere, just can’t “see” the ship in this rock pushing up out of the ground around it. Someone did, though, and I continue to stop and snap photos.
As we get closer the haze lessens. I kind of get the sense of the sails on a ship. Read about this interesting rock, it’s formation history and Indian legends HERE
Thunderheads form quickly in the Southwest.
Finally getting enough of this huge outcropping of rock, we head into the town of Shiprock. Located along the San Juan River there is some farming going on here, and once out of town and heading on to Farmington, I again stop to photograph rock. I love the way the verdant green of the cottonwood trees contrasts with the buffy brown of these sandstone cliffs.
It’s warming right up and we spend some time along the highway in the shade of the cottonwoods. I take The Boys for a walk in the abundant shade even though it’s along the highway. There’s a wide band of dirt and plenty of room to park.
Our next destination is over 100 miles away, and I do not want to begin that journey so late in the day, so we continue on to Farmington about a 40 mile drive.
It’s sweltering here, and road work on the main drag is in full swing. I am ready to call it a day. We find Walmart and a spot with some decent shade and wait for evening. Hopefully when the sun gets lower in the sky it will give a bit more relief from the heat.
I am not anticipating a cool night and good sleep, but am grateful for the shade we do have. With the doors open and the fan going it’s tolerable. It’s time like these, in a public place, that my lace curtains on the side doors do what I meant for them to do —- keep us out of the public eye, but I can see out and some air can get in.
July 24th. We leave the beautiful Sugarite Canyon. This park is up near the Colorado border and there are no roads heading from here back west; we must drive back along Hwy 64. I don’t want to travel east even though there is another state park about 80 miles from here—and one I would like to see—but the elevation drops, and I don’t want to get down into the heat. Perhaps another trip. My park pass is good through May of 2020, so ….
It’s a lovely soft morning of summer, blue sky and cool morning air. Enjoying the drive and keeping an eye out for things to stop and enjoy I notice a horse and a very shaggy old donkey next to a ramshackle barn. Of course I have to stop!
The Boys don’t quite know what to think of this woolly little creature standing perfectly still and content while I snap his photo. Llamas are the next attraction, a bit far away for a good shot, but I try anyway.
We end up back at Maverick Campground in Cimarron Canyon State Park and are blessed with the shady spot!! The camp host here welcomes us and says she had kind of promised the spot to someone, but there were other sites they could go to and we could stay as long as we. liked. Not sure what that was about because this spot isn’t a reserved site so they can’t hold it. I soon find out.
It’s not long before the neighbor on the right wanders over. Friendly small guy with a bit of an accent who practically tells me his life story before he gets around to why he is really here talking to me. His wife plays the dulcimer, and they come to this campground every year at this time from Texas to attend a dulcimer festival in Red River NM. It’s well attended he tells me, and this is the closest they can get as sites closer are always full.
Their group has made this “their” campground. All this said in a very friendly conversational way. I smile and think to myself, I get it buddy, but I’m here for the night. Rest assured I will be leaving in the morning.
Thanks for stopping by! Hugs, Shawna
NOTE: I have reclaimed some of the lost photos PTL! The Cloud warned if I delete any photos, which I did after uploading to a thumb drive, they are permanently deleted from the hard drive. Wellll, I found some of the photos. I had indeed moved them to a folder to be deleted. All the photos that I had transferred and then deleted were in the trash. Still missing some, but am going through each and every folder in the trash before I empty it. Hopefully Azetec Ruins and Mesa Verde National Park will show up as well.
Here are a few photos of Cimarron Canyon State Park
It’s a beautiful cloudless morning when we pull out of Maverick Campground in Cimarron State Park. Heading east on Hwy 64 the plan is to stop at Dawson Cemetery, near the little town of Cimarron, New Mexico. It’s an old mining town. It’s dirt road, but it’s decent dirt road, and we drive the 7 or so miles in taking it nice and easy, just enjoying the drive. Charlie has his head out the passenger window and Fries is doing his thing with front feet on the dash and back legs planted on the passenger platform—the dog seat if you will.
Nothing left of the town that I can see except for a couple of old buildings.
We soon arrive at the cemetery and walk up to the bill-board type memorial board and read about the many Italian coal miners (and those of other nationalities) who died in two separate explosions at Dawson, New Mexico’s biggest mine in the 1920s.
I’d stay here tonight if there was some shade but there is just the dirt parking area, no trees. We head back out toward highway 64. I spot this big guy, bigger around than my forearm crawling across the road. Its head is triangular and looks like a rattler, but there are no rattles on the tail. Unfortunately I was obsessed with getting the head up close as I safely could, and didn’t get the whole snake in the shot. In any case, we’ll just let him crawl across the road and continue on with his snakey business. You’ll have to use your imagination, these photos, too, lost forever.
Pulling my gaze away from the distant mountains and marveling at how green everything is we stop to watch these guys cross the road in what seems like an unending line. There must be 200 animals in this herd. I have never seen so many elk in one spot before! What a gift to witness this!
See photos of Dawson Cemetery HERE
We gain Raton, NM and I find the library with the intentions of getting some posts scheduled. I work at it a bit, but soon, even with the windshield shade in place it becomes too hot. The boys are panting and circling trying to get comfortable. “I know babies, I’m hot too. Let me get this machine shut down then I’ll take you to McDonalds for a treat, ‘K?”
Tummies full we jump on I-25N and catch Hwy 72 to our next campsite. See you there!
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!
Read more about Cimarron Canyon HERE.
Thanks for joining us! Hugs, Shawna
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 … Hmmm. Well, 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.
Below, the Las Vegas Carnegie Library
Read about Carnegie Libraries HERE .
Read more about Las Vegas history HERE .
Thank you for stopping by 2DogsTravel. The Chiweenie Brothers and I appreciate your interest in our blog. Hugs, Shawna
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.
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 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