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.
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!
Our Lady of Guadalupe
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
July 1st . Up early as usual we are once again heading north on I-25. A stop at the very close Caballo Lake State Park (Come to find out Percha is part of Caballo) we can find no primitive spots with shade so we continue on.
We bypass Elephant Butte State Park as I have read many others’ views of this park and it is usually packed tight and the wind can be terrorizing at times. Not into packed parks so we keep going. A stop in Truth or Consequences which is a much smaller town than I imagined and find the library. It doesn’t open for another hour. I try McDonalds but can’t get a connection there either so we make a quick stop at Wally where they provide shaded parking in the way of solar panels!
I want a place to light over the Fourth of July weekend and it looks like Manzano Mountain State Park is up next. It’s almost a hundred miles, and we make a stop at the Abo Ruins on the way .
This place is wondrous—I love ruins and imaging what life was like for ancient peoples, and this place doesn’t disappoint.
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.
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.
This 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
Late in the week we need to make a supply run so we break camp and head to Silver City, north of here. The Chiweenie Brothers are excited to be on the move; they always think we are headed to the dog park. In this case they are correct; Silver City has a dog park. WOOF, WOOF!
As is my usual M.O. I look up addresses for: Dog parks, Walmarts, libraries, places to buy block ice, laundry if needed, ect., and plug them into my GPS before we head out. It is important to arrange our errands according to how early we get moving and how hot the day will be, because the boys’ comfort and safety always come first.
Attractions and sightseeing are left to chance depending, again, on the boys; are they welcome? Is it too warm to leave them for an hour or so? Shade? Can I park somewhere that doesn’t get a lot of foot traffic so they won’t be constantly barking and bothering people? Whether or not I go do something depends on the answers to those questions. I glance over at the two hooligans on the passenger side wiggling around and play fighting, bursting with excitement. Yeah, they’re worth it.
This morning I need to go to the library to schedule blog posts, download a couple of books from my library in South Dakota, and also download a few movies to my Kindle tablet.
I spot this as I circle the block to find appropriate parking.
The library is a nice one and has a beautiful entrance and an interesting sculpture.
All our errands complete The Chiweenie Brothers get to spend time at the dog park and then we head “home” to City of Rocks, stopping to photograph the flowers that are blooming along highway 180.
And some local history
Heading up our driveway, we take the loop around the park.
I just love this place.
We can see far out into the valley or look up into the rocks with the summer blue sky and white drifting clouds above us. Or we can look at George Washington, The Egyptian, or The Lady. This rock profile seems to change depending on the time of day and the shadows that are cast. Which one do you see?
There are not a lot of people here and traffic is minimal so it’s nice and quiet. As with the two other parks we have been to here in New Mexico, Bottomless Lakes State Park two years ago, Rock Hound, and now City of Rocks, the park is clean and tidy.
Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel. The Chiweenie Brothers and I hope you will continue to tag along on our summer adventure. Hugs, Shawna
Just on the other side of these rocks we discover not one, but two Arizona white oak trees that offer some wonderful shade. We do get late afternoon sun, but it is not nearly as bad as yesterday’s camp.
It’s several degrees cooler here at City of Rocks than it is at Rock Hound. Between the lower temps, some shade, keeping the windshield covered, and side and back doors open we get the benefit of every little breeze. If the breeze dies down—and that’s not often—there is more than enough sunshine to keep the solar panel working at storing energy in the house battery to keep electronics charged and our 12 volt fan running. It’s lovely!
The Chiweenie Brothers and I take a walk every morning before the sun comes up then it’s back to MissAdventure for breakfast and coffee taken in the open air of our beautiful camp.
We will be staying her for two weeks or until the generator is fixed, whichever comes first. In any case there’s a lot of exploring to do here.
Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel! Hugs, Shawna
What’s in the night sky? June’s planets: JUPITER—at opposition—will be bright in the sky from dusk to dawn. SATURN can be seen from mid-evening until dawn, and VENUS appears for a bit in the dawn. Around mid-month MERCURY and MARS will give us the closest conjunction of two planets during the year.