El Malpais National Monument

August  22, 2019.  There is not a single soul here except The Chiweenie Brothers and me. I park MissAdventure get The Boys leashed and we head out to walk the trail as far out as we can get before this lovely clear blue cloudless day begins to heat up.

 

DSC_0016 (1)Part of the trail at El Malpais

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The lava caves remind me of the areas around Burney CA in Shasta County and Modoc County.  In an effort to keep white nose-syndrome that affects bats from spreading or being introduced into the caves—which are accessible if one wants to enter them—there is a shoe cleaning station at the beginning of the trail.

There are many caves in this area, and The Chiweenie Brothers and I enjoy our early morning walk although we didn’t make the full loop.  I’d say we walked two miles in before it started heating up to a point where I was feeling decidely uncomfortable and we forego seeing the crater that is farther out.

Interesting area to explore!  It’s early enough that we can travel on Hwy 53 to El Morro.  See you there!  Hugs, Shawna

 

Leaving Cuba NM

Told by the camp hosts, a sweet couple from Georgia, that we can stay as long as we like, reluctantly we have to say goodbye. The solar is acting up again and I need to keep the laptop charged.

After spending a night lower down the mountain in a boondocking site about a couple miles from Rio De Las Vacas we head on down the mountain and hit the library before heading back onto Hwy 550 and head toward Albuquerque.

At Rio Rancho I spy Whataburger.  My favorite burger of all time.  I cannot resist and we stop. DSC_0113Whataburger.Bernalillo NM

Driving through Albuquerque on I-40 is a bit unsettling; I haven’t driven on freeway going through a big city for quite a while and I white-knuckle it all the way through.

Our goal is El Malpais National Monument.  Driving through Grants I spot a laundromat and pull in.  Hefting the laundry bag up a little higher on my hip I trudge into the building grateful it is cooler inside and get the washing machines going.  While my clothes do the hokey pokey I go back out in the very warm sunshine and walk The Chiweenie Brothers until I think it’s time to to remove the clothes from the machine.

Turns out to be good timing. I remove the clean clothes and put them in the dryer.  Not going to air dry this time around as I plan on staying at the Joe Skeen Campground tonight.  It’s a free campground I am told, but if it’s privately owned wouldn’t feel comfortable hanging the wash outside.

As I close the door on the dryer I attempt to put my coins in. It won’t take them and I glance at the LED and it looks funny.  Staring at it a few seconds I realize it says free.  Really?  Can’t be.  But it is.  Free today! How nice! The load begins to tumble, and it’s back out to get The Chiweenie Brothers out of the van as we wait for the load to finish.

Once the clothes are dried we catch Hwy 53 toward El Malpais looking for the campground.  I don’t find it so we continue on.  Finding the road into Malpais I discover we must walk to see any of the caves.  It’s too hot for that, so back out on the highway we go and begin looking for a place to stay.  BLM land abounds here behind fences.  Gates allow entry with signs asking to keep them closed.

Driving down the volcanic rock road in search of a spot to park for the night the road begins to look a bit sketchy.  I turn around and find a spot behind a big  juniper tree.  This will do, we aren’t even going to set up camp it’s just a place to park for some shut eye. There’s a few cow pats around.  That explains keeping the gates closed!

Moring comes early. It’s get dressed, walk The Chiweenie Brothers a bit, then jump in the driver’s seat.  We head back to El Malpais National Monument and take a nice long walk.

Thanks for stopping by!  Hugs, Shawnai