Sunday, December 23, 2007

Rockhound and Beyond

Wednesday we drove north from Deming, NM, to check City of Rocks State Park, the copper mine and Silver City, NM.

We had been told by several people to visit the copper mine to see the big trucks. There is an observation area that overlooks the mining roads where the trucks run. The trip was a disappointment--there were no big trucks running on Wednesday.

We did enjoy City of Rocks State Park! Bob and I can't wait to go back and stay there for a while. As you drive through the desert, the rocks suddenly appear in the distance.You drive to the top of the nearest mountain to view the area. Rocks line the drive to the observation area. This picture shows the mountain lined with rocks in the distance.Christopher and DeAnna enjoyed playing on the rocks, as usual.

The parking area is landscaped with native vegetation.

We all had fun running around on top of the mountain and viewing the sights.

There are no towns near City of Rocks so the night sky must be great. There is an observatory located near the camping area. Bob and I will visit it on the return trip.

We had a picnic at Fort Bayard just south of Silver City. We started at the picnic table, but finished in the car because of the bone chilling wind. We were at a much higher elevation than at Rockhound State Park.

From Fort Bayard we drove to Silver City. The town has a lot of history, but because of the cold, we didn't stop to look around.
We returned to Rockhound State Park and had a restful afternoon.

Thursday, December 20, we stayed around Deming. Bob scheduled the motorhome for an oil change and installation of a steer safe stabilizer (to help when we are in strong winds) on Friday.

We hiked the Thunder Egg Trail from start to finish.

Christopher is a true hiker. He hiked the 1.1 mile trail with no problem. DeAnna is still working on her hiking legs. She walked about a quarter of the way, then Grandpa carried her in the hip hammock. What a lifesaver!

Christopher and DeAnna both walked to the finish when they caught sight of the "big car" at the bottom of the hill.

Christopher was concerned that the moon was "awake" while the sun was still up. The beautiful clear sky was something to behold.

Friday, December 21

We took it easy on this day as we were leaving the campsite after lunch to make our appointments in Deming.

We were glad we had the steer safe installed because the trip back to El Paso was extremely windy. We didn't feel like we were being blown all over the road, even when semis passed the rv.

The winds kicked up so that we stopped in Anthony, NM just west of El Paso for gas and to wait for the winds to die down.

We pulled in next to a horse trailer where two horses were hitched on either side of the trailer. Christopher and DeAnna enjoyed watching as the owner put a blanket on the horse close to us.

We stayed at the Flying J for 2 hours then began the journey around the mountain. Traffic was so bad on I-10 that we turned around at the first exit and drove over the Franklin Mountains on the Trans Mountain Highway. That was not an option when we lived here 1977-1980. The elevation at the crest of the highway is over 5000 feet.

Christopher and DeAnna were glad to get home, but they can't wait to go in the "big car" again.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Rockhound State Park, New Mexico

Monday afternoon we enjoyed exploring the campground. Christopher and DeAnna became Junior Rangers after visiting the visitors' center. They also enjoyed playing on the playground near our site.
We decided to let them both sleep on the fold down dinette. They had a good time helping Grandma fix it.

Tuesday we went into Deming, New Mexico to do some sightseeing. Along the way, we did a couple of geocaches.

In Deming we saw a train at the visitors' center.

It was nap time when we got back. DeAnna took the sofa.

Christopher took the tent under the dinette.

After naps we went hiking on the mountain trail.
We enjoyed all the rocks in the area. The large boulder we are standing next to marks the first turn on the trail.
There are many rock outcroppings and places to leave the trail for rockhunting.

This area is known for thunder eggs. We found a few, but the insides were nondescript. We will look again later.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Monday, December 17,2007

Since our last post, Bob and I have been visiting Bobby, Cathy and the kids in El Paso, Texas. They have a nice, new home on the east side of El Paso. Christopher and DeAnna warmed up to us quickly even though we had not seen them since last March.
Christopher and DeAnna gave Bobby a back massage.
After being in one place for over a week, Bob and I had itchy feet--it was time to travel. So we packed Christopher and DeAnna's clothes in the rv and took off for Rock Hound State Park in New Mexico.

We were afraid that the state park might not have sites, but it still had a few. This is a view of our site--it's big!There are rocks everywhere and the kids couldn't wait to start collecting.

There are many big cacti in the area so the kids have had a lesson about the stickers on them.

We have a great view of the Florida Mountains and the Little Florida Mountains.

Tomorrow we are going to hike up the mountain trail to find some rocks. There is a 15 pound per person limit per day.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

December 9--El Paso, Texas

Friday we visited the museum dedicated to UFOs and aliens in Roswell.

The entire town is alien oriented. Even the streetlights are aliens. The McDonald's is one of six or seven themed McDs in the states--the play area is shaped like a flying saucer.

Along the way, we collected more caches. The ones we found near Eastern New Mexico University campus were well camouflaged. This was one of our favorites. The limb in the center has the cache.
The limb has a hinged opening containing a pillbox with the cache log. Bob found this one by accident--I was ready to leave.
We enjoyed our stay at Bottomless Lakes State Park. Friday we walked around Lea Lake and a little up the cliff. This was the view. Our rv is the white dot toward the upper left of the lake.
This is a zoom shot.

We saw much wildlife in the area. Kestrels and red tail hawks fly over the fields constantly looking for food. We saw sand hill cranes in a field near Dexter. These are some pronghorns we saw in a field near the state park. Dead wildlife along the roads included a badger and so many skunks that we lost count. Saturday, December 8, was a travel day. We left Bottomless Lakes State Park near Roswell around 9:30 a.m. We arrived at Bobby and Cathy's around 2:30 after an adventure in the land of no gas stations!

Bobby had to drive 28 miles east of his house and bring us a couple of gallons so we could make it to his house.

We were able to fill up near his house. There were no gas stations from White's City, New Mexico until we got to El Paso. The station in White's City was charging $3.42 a gallon. The gas in El Paso was $2.88 a gallon. Hmmmmm.... what was the difference--130 miles with no gas between the two.

It was great to see Bobby, Cathy, Christopher, and DeAnna. We had not seen them since last spring. Christopher and DeAnna sure have grown. We will post pictures later.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Camping in New Mexico--December 5,6,7

We have been camping in New Mexico State Parks for the last few days. We started at Oasis State Park between Clovis and Portales. We arrived there after dark on December 4. We pulled into a boondocking site when we first arrived. After looking at a map and walking around the area, we moved to an electric hook-up site. Boondocking sites in New Mexico state parks have water hookups!
As you can see in the picture below, our site was nice. All electric sites have a covered picnic area and a grill.
The next morning we hiked their trails and talked with the rangers (one was retired army) before leaving. They are in the process of renovating the fishing lake. It is usually stocked with trout and catfish. This picture is a view of the dry lake.We drove from Oasis to Bottomless Lakes State Park near Roswell which was about a 2 hour drive.The lakes are not really bottomless, they range from 8-90 feet deep. They were originally formed from water passing through limestone (creating sinkholes). The picture above is one of Mirror Lake. There are 2 sides to the lake--the right side can support game fish, but the left one is too saline for fish to survive.

The next picture is of us at Lazy Lagoon. It is the largest of the bottomless lakes.

As you can see, the terrain is different than what we are used to seeing. We are at an elevation of about 3500'. There are some small hills in the area, but most of the area is flat.

We went geocaching Dec. 6. One cache was south of the campground and overlooked the park.

It was one of a series of caches hidden in each of New Mexico's 33 counties. We hope to get them all in the next few months. Joyce is holding the Chavez County cache.

After caching, we walked the 1.9 mile trail between the campground and the visitor center. We got back to our campsite too late to get the sunset picture. We were rewarded the next morning with a fantastic sunrise.

We used our coffee to toast to another adventure filled day of retirement.

December 7 is a museum day. We have to go see the aliens!