Interesting Person, Sylvia Lee

Late afternoon, August 31st, a SUV pulls into the campsite just to the north of us. An older lady gets out and bustles around getting her camp set up. She notices me sitting outside reading while The Chiweenie Brothers play nearby and she walks over.

She very politely asks if I would help her plug her extension cord into the electrical box at her campsite, explaining that her hands are too weak to get the plug pushed in. Of course I’ll help! We walk over to her camp.

Meet Sylvia Lee

Sylvia is from Phoenix and is on her way to Minnesota to visit friends, then she will cross the middle of the US and head eastward to South Carolina to visit family. She travels in her SUV, a Toyota Forerunner she calls 4titude setting up a tent and sleeping on a pad on the ground. Or on a picnic table if conditions aren’t good!

DSC_0084Sylvia Lee, getting ready to leave for MinnesotaShe actually has two tents. A small one for if she gets to her destination too late in the afternoon, and a “mansion” of a tent if she has more time to set up and plans on a longer stay. I begin to ache just thinking about sleeping on the ground, pad or not. I am in awe.

She didn’t even bother with either tent last night, she just slept on the ground. The next day we visit more, and I learn more about this amazing woman.

Sylvia was a nurse. After her children started school she went back to school and got her degree. She is 78 years young (and incredibly tough from my viewpoint!)

She says she has always enjoyed camping and once she retired she began her long trips in earnest. Currently she is cutting back some as she is fostering several cats and must provide care for them while she is gone on her journeys, so she won’t be doing any more long trips. She sounds a bit wistful as she tells me this.

Sylvia is a volunteer at the Boyce-Thompson Aboretum near Superior, Arizona (we toured their beautiful gardens last spring) where she leads a history walk the first weekend of each month. I must say, she is dedicated. That’s a 200 mile round trip … and she’s been doing this since 2005!

DSC_0085Sylvia Lee

Sylvia has her own blog, Lee’s Rambles,  writing about her camping trips, outdoor experiences, tent camping, and light hiking. You can get an invite to her blog by emailing her at sighly@cox.net.

She is also an author having researched and written a book for Boyce-Thompson called The Abundant Arboretum. Talented woman, Sylvia.

I admire this woman so much; she does’t let much of anything slow her down. She is knowledgeable and interesting to talk to. We have tentative plans to do a little camping together next season or maybe sooner. I hope it works out.

Thanks for stopping by!  Hugs, Shawna

Bluewater Lake State Park — Las Tsusa

Three weeks into August. The days are very warm, but the nights at least are cooling down in the higher elevations of New Mexico. 

After a night in yet another BLM-behind-a-gate camp The Chiweenie Brothers and I are up early as usual. In happy antiacipation of our next destination The Chinweenie Brothers are tethered outside while I make coffee and get their breakfast.  No walk this morning boys,” I tell them, You’ll get your exercise once we get to Bluewater. Scoot over to that tree for your morning business, and I’ll be right back with food.”

With the Boys devouring their soaked kibble and raw hamburger meal, I grab my coffee and walk around the area looking for anything that may have escaped our garbage bag and pick up a few items left by others who have come this way.  Our motto has always been and always will be ‘leave your camp as clean or cleaner than you find it’.

We’re soon back out on the highway heading back toward Grants where we will pick up I-40 and head west to Trudeau where our mail should be waiting. I spy a sign for Bluewater State Park   —— division, but Trudeau is farther up the road.  I’m a little puzzled because Bluewater, on the map, looks to be closer to Trudeau. Oh well, on the Trudeau to get the mail then we’ll figure it out.

Before long we’re at the exit for Trudeau and a sign that says Bluewater Lake Stata Park, Las Tsusa.  Oh, nice! There’s two sections of this state park. We’ll be able to get well into September between two weeks at each side.  Loving these cooler nights!!

Mail in hand, I search for a grocery store.  Finding a small mom and pop, I dash inside and pick up a couple of things that I can’t get at Dollar General for Family Dollar.  Oh my word, the prices are outrageous.  What in the world do local people do?  Probably the same thing I am doing, buying only the essentials and only those that can’t be purchased elsewhere.  Grants is 20 miles back if memory serves, and Gallup is 30 miles farther west.

Back in MissAdventure I back out onto the highway and we are headed north to Bluewater. It’s a nice 11 mile drive.

As we pull into the this state park I can’t believe my eyes.  The lake, a pretty blue color (With a name like Bluewater, I didn’t expect it to be any other color. Ha!), is the only thing beautiful about this park.

DSC_0069Bluewater Lake SP, La Tusas

There are two vault toilets, one here on the flat, one higher up on the knoll.  Picnic tables are metal and rusted, none looking very level.  Fire pits are circled with rocks.  Here and there broken glass can be found, and there’s very little shade.  NO WATER AND NO GARBAGE. Dirt roads, no pavement anywhere.

A small travel trailer and a tent are parked along the shore of the lake; other than that there is no one here, except for a white pickup which turns out to be the ranger. I ask him about this area,  He must read my mind from the look on my face because the first thing he does is tell me there is another section to the lake.

I remember the freeway sign back by Grants. I tell him that I was looking for an electric hookup as my solar setup isn’t working.  He assures me the other part of Bluewater has electric and is all but empty since school started.  I ask about the country road that looks like it might take one back to the other side without going back out on the freeway, but he says it’s not a good road and is about an hour and a half drive even though it’s the shorter route.  Back to the freeway takes about 20 minutes.

Because we need to spread out our travel a bit more—Quartzsite in August/September is still broiling—I decide we can at least stay one night here.  The phone can be charged with my backpacker’s solar unit, and that’s the most important thing.  I have a couple of movies downloaded from Netflix that can be watched offline, and my Kindle for reading so we’re good for another day.

We take some long walks, biding our time, and get a great night’s sleep.  This side of Bluewater may be lacking in amenities, but it is long on quiet.

The Boys are anxious to get moving, and we head out early.  DSC_0070 (1)MissAdventue and Fries at Bluewater Lake La Tusas side

On the way back out to the freeway I spot these wild horses on the other side of the highway.  Beautiful animals!!

DSC_0071Stallion on the bluff, love this shot
The Stallion

DSC_0072Mare Navigating the Path     DSC_0076 (1)Wild Horses

 

 

Thanks for joining us!  See you on the other side of the lake! Hugs, Shawna