Friday, January 30, 2009

Carlsbad, NM

P1290274 Arrived at Brantley Lake State Park  2 days ago.  Much nicer campground than Bottomless Lakes.  We’ve got a nice view of the lake and dam, and even have several pine trees at our site. Our first day here we hiked one of the trails and saw several mule deer and a jackrabbit,  today we had a roadrunner at our site.


Since we are near Carlsbad, we spent the day yesterday at Carlsbad Caverns.  We were both ambivalent about going since we’ve been to Mammoth Cave, Luray Caverns, and even Marianna Caverns in Florida. Seen one cave,  you’ve seen them all, right?  Well, we were pleasantly surprised!  We opted to just go on the 2 self-guided trails, each 1.25 miles long. It is amazing they just let people walk through with no guide. We were alone most of the walk, seeing only 2 rangers and a few other couples the entire time. The first trail was a steep , downhill  hike into the caverns. It was very dark, although there are some dim lights. P1290251

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We were in awe of the size of the “rooms” and the beautiful formations. It was well worth the time.  It is also a very scenic drive through the national park before you get to the caverns.


Finally had a warmer (mid-60’s) and less windy day today so we went for a bike ride for the first time in a month or so.  It felt good to get back on the bikes, so maybe Jim won’t keep threatening to sell them.  Another good day in paradise!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bottomless Lakes State Park NM



Here we are near Roswell, NM about 12 miles or so away. Got here last Friday afternoon. The lakes in the park are fed from underground streams. They are relatively small but are deep. The deepest is about 90 feet.

The soil surrounding some of the lakes reminds me of Pensacola beach because they are white. The white, however, is not sand but gypsum.



We are camping by Lea Lake in the park.

Since we are in Roswell you must know what that means? Yes, it means new beer to try and no Gayle doesn’t have a drinking problem.



After a six pack the truth is definitely out there. Be sure to double click the second photo and read the text on the carton.

So far this area has been the most featureless part of NM that we have been to but it still has its moments of beauty even without the beer.

We made the required trip to the UFO museum in downtown. Here is a shot from there.


It was more interesting than I had guessed. Yes, it is corny in places but it does make you think. When you see how many people confirmed that it was an alien space ship that crashed it makes you think. Not because of the number of people but who they are. Several military officers some who initially were involved in covering up the truth later revealed the truth.

I certainly don’t know what the truth is and at this point don’t really care but I think we can all probably think of a time where our government has lied to us.

Nothing much more to report. We are headed south to Brantley Lake SP near Carlsbad Caverns tomorrow and will be there for a few days.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Valley of Fires, NM


I liked the name, so here we are, Valley of Fires Recreation Area. The campsites are on a ridge overlooking the lava field. We walked the paved 3/4 mile trail and did a little exploring off the trail on the jagged lava rocks.



Yesterday drove a 100 mile loop in the car. First stop was the Three Rivers Petroglyph Site, even though Jim said no more rock art after Hueco Tanks. It was really fascinating because there were so many drawings (over 20,000) in a relatively small area. We decided those people must have been very bored so they carved pictures in rocks all day to kill time.


P1220204 Jim thinks this one is ElvisP1220210

Our next stop was Mescalero and the Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino. It is owned by the Mescalero Apaches and we stopped by to see the lobby of the Inn. There is a glass wall overlooking a lake and the snow capped mountains. Quite impressive. We also donated a few dollars to the Indians in the slots since we were there.

Our final stop was Ruidoso, a mountain resort town. It reminded us a little of Gatlinburg, TN, with all the shops, restaurants and cabins, only not quite as tacky. There is a nearby ski resort , national forest, and the casino is only a few miles away. It was one of the more prosperous smaller communities we’ve visited in New Mexico so far and looked like a nice place to spend some time.


As we were sitting in the car eating lunch on the side of a remote road, looking at a beautiful mountain view, listening to a Sting CD, I was struck with the magnitude of what we had done in the past year. There were so many times we had doubts about leaving Pensacola and the security of our jobs and running off in our motor home. The economy, the housing market, the stock market. I was so happy we didn’t let all that get in our way because we are truly enjoying life. And for a change, Jim agreed with me….

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, NM

Yesterday 1/19, we left Elephant Butte and headed about 60 miles north to this wildlife refuge. The only camping nearby is a private campground, Bosque Birdwatchers RV Park.

It is basically a gravel parking lot but we are parked at the west edge and have a nice view of the mountains and landscape including lots of Gambel Quail moving along on their busy little feet.

Late yesterday afternoon we headed into the refuge for a short hike and to watch the Sandhill Cranes return for the day. A view from the trail.

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A couple of shots of the cranes.

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It is tough to get good shots of the birds with my camera. It only has a 7x optical zoom and the birds are just too far for that. Also, I attempted to shoot them in burst mode to hopefully freeze the action of them landing but found that the lighting at that time of day is too poor to take good shots.

We met Kate and Terry Klein at the RV park and got to see more of her photos taken with a Panasonic digital camera with an 18x optical zoom and they were very good.

We left there today 1/21, and headed to Valley of Fires campground 3 miles from Carrizozo, NM. More on that in another post.

Forgot to add that while at Elephant Butte I made a few changes. We got our portable water softener and that has greatly improved the condition of the water here both in feel and taste. It is a Mark 8000 made by Flow Pur company.

Also, I added four halogen, two over the sofa and two over the barrel chairs. While the fluorescents provide plenty of light it is often way more than we need. I took this shot with no flash, all four of the lights were lit.



Friday, January 16, 2009



P1140162  No, the coyote was not after him. I love seeing these guys because they are so funny running across the road. This one showed up on our hood yesterday but jumped down before I could get the camera. He stayed around the camper for a few minutes and I caught a few shots with the zoom.

P1140166  Here he had jumped on the parking berm and opened his feathers between his wings apparently to soak up the sun for a few minutes.

We have had a flurry of mail and packages in the past few days. Since I have learned that the front of the car is getting rock chips from being towed I installed a bra and ordered some headlight film to protect the front end.

We got the water softener and that has made a big difference in the water. So far have filled the rig’s holding tank twice with that.

Two days ago we went into Las Cruces to take Andy to the Honda dealer so he could buy a new car. Prior to that his only transportation was his rig. He bought a Honda Fit and got a good deal as they had plenty on the lot.

We picked up a new bathroom faucet as the one in the rig was cheap and did not work too well. The kitchen faucet seems to be of better quality so no changes there.

Today got 4 halogen lights that we will install above the sofa and the dinette. We saw them in a 2008 LD and wanted a little less light over those areas. Couldn’t find them anywhere so ordered them from Lazy Daze.

Yesterday we hiked up Turtle Back mountain which is adjacent to Truth or Consequences. Pretty steep climb and we got worn out fairly quickly. I got an extra carrot from Gayle for being good.


The photo above is taken from that climb and is looking towards the north and Elephant Butte Lake. The mountains on the opposite side of the lake are said to be part of 640,000 acres owned by Ted Turner.

Here is a shot of Truth or Consequences and the Rio Grande River taken from the same location.


Latest Gayle story: Today we hiked a little and as my reward I was to get my normal thimble of ice cream. Now bear in mind that this is fat free, no sugar and no tasted added stuff. However, it was pretty frozen so Gayle cleverly thawed it out for about 3 minutes in the microwave. Best ice cream I ever drank.

Oh yeah, her butt is much better. I know you were worried.

I leave you with a photo taken just now of the view from our window.

As usual to se a larger version double click on any photo.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Mishap at Elephant Butt

Remember to double click on any photo to enlarge it.


First the good news. Saturday we drove into Truth or Consequences, henceforth known at TorC. Anyway, we went into town with two of our camping friends and had a pleasant lunch at the Cafe Bella Luca. This is a very nice Italian restaurant with great food, pizza and more importantly beer.

Mike, if you run across Steel Toed Milk Stout by the Ska brewery try it, you’ll like it. Pleasant food and company, what more could you want on a beautiful day. Here is the gourmet pizza we ordered and can you believe it was a large one. Roasted garlic, marmalade onions and roasted red peppers.


Now for the bad news. As you are well aware small electric heaters can be dangerous. Please don’t let children or pets play with them and apparently this would apply to Gayle as well.

We had one of those 1500 heater fans in the bedroom. Last night Gayle took a shower and no I didn’t toss it into the shower. While she was drying off she backed into the fan butt first. I am not sure how many minutes it took before she realized she was up against the front of the heater. She later compounded the problem by using two small old band aids to try and cover a 4”x5” burn. The band aids promptly disintegrated but stayed stuck to her butt.

I helped her pick this stuff off and it was painful, not for me, for her. We then used our remaining piece of Tegaderm, great stuff and she feels better. Here is a tastefully edited shot I took but don’t tell her I posted it on the blog.


Friday, January 9, 2009

It’s been a quiet week in Lake Elephant Butte…

P1080164  Hard to believe  another week has gone by. We paid for 9 more nights here today since we are enjoying it so much. The views from all of our windows are spectacular and we can’t believe how pretty the sunsets and almost full moon have been. 

P1080162Have spent the days hiking, doing things around the RV, reading, cooking, etc.  Met our other LD neighbor, Debbie, who has been full-timing with her dog and cat  since Feb ‘07.  I went for a bike ride yesterday for the first time in  almost a month. It was finally warm and not windy, which hasn’t happened much here so far.  Jim stayed home and bored our other neighbor, Andy, with insurance talk. Actually Andy is the one who asked for Jim’s help since he is buying a car and wanted some advice. They were still at it when I got back from my ride.

P1070152 P1070153 Jim took these cactus photos on the trail from the campground. These are the only ones with flowers this time of year. Looking forward to seeing the others in the spring.

Got a package from Jim’s brother, Travis, today. A pair of 32” waist jeans that he couldn’t wear.  Jim was pleasantly surprised that they fit him perfectly.  We are awaiting our new water softener and a bra for the car that we ordered this week. The visitors center here is kind enough to allow mail or packages to be sent here so we are taking advantage of it.

P1080161 Leaving you with a view from our campsite . Until next time……..

Monday, January 5, 2009

Elephant Butte Lake State Park, NM


Got here yesterday afternoon. This is the largest lake in New Mexico. There are two camping areas in the park. One is almost in Elephant Butte and the second, where we are, is about 8 miles north. After having seen the main campground today we are glad we are here.

Very few campers in this one and it has expansive views of the lake.

When we arrived we were surprised to see two other Lazy Daze campers. We knew one would be here but not the second. Andy Baird, the moderator of the LD group on yahoo had been here almost three weeks. The second LD is owned by a woman who is also living in it full time. We have not had a chance to meet her up to this point.

Andy was able to repair my new camera. The one I dropped. He created a new part from a tin can with scissors and a Dremel drill.

Enjoyed meeting and speaking with him at length about rving in general and living in one full time.

He has made the most out of his rig in terms of livability and organization.

Today we took a short walk but spent the better part of the day doing laundry and shopping at Wally world.

I also broke down and ordered a water softener. The water in the west is very “hard” which leaves lots of spots on everything and builds up calcium deposits on everything including the hot water heater and plumbing.

They aren’t cheap and weigh about 19 pounds and stand 21” tall. On the one hand we want it because of the spots. I also want it in hopes that by removing the minerals it will improve the taste. The built in water filter just isn’t taking care of the taste that I believe is imparted by the minerals but that remains to be seen. If that doesn’t work it will be bottled water for me.

As always, for more photos click the link in the upper left corner and check the Elephant Butte folder.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Jim is engrossed in a book so doesn't have time for the blog. Hung around the campground today and did a few chores. Visited with a neighbor this afternoon. He is a 62 year old guy who's been living and traveling full time in his camper-van. It has a little pop-up roof but is not very big. He seems to be happy as he's been doing this for 2 1/2 years now and has no plans to quit. Spends the winter in New Mexico parks due to the $4/night price. Hard to get excited about leaving the state and going back to normal state and national park fees. We paid anywhere from $15-$29/night on our journey so far until we got here.
Took a hike up the A mountain yesterday.It's got a big tower and what looks like an observatory at the top and a big A painted on it. It was hard to figure out the trails so we just went up where it looked like everyone else had gone. Boy was it a steep trail up! The view of Las Cruces and the surrounding mountains was worth the hike,though. No pictures because Jim forgot the camera. 2 young guys came JOGGING up just after we got to the top. They said there was a road we could walk down about a mile and a half instead of the trail. I noticed another smaller gravel path that looked shorter but it was even steeper going down. All Jim kept saying on the way down was that he was never going to listen to me again. We'll see about that!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year


Jobless AND homeless. What a great way to start 2009! Jim has been trying to get me to write a post since he started this blog so I thought I would start the new year out right. Unfortunately I am not quite as witty as Jim so bear with me.


We spent a quiet New Years eve watching a movie and being in bed by 11, as usual. Today we went back to Aquirre Springs and hiked the Pine Tree trail, 4.5 miles up to the base of the Organ mountains. There was even  snow at the higher elevations .


We are still in Las Cruces. Lots to do in the area and Wal-Mart, Sam’s and a mall. After a few weeks in Big Bend and west Texas we needed to do a little shopping. Don’t think Jim mentioned the fact that he has lost some weight since we left Pensacola. Mostly due to the fact that the food Nazi he’s married to has been monitoring his intake of  junk food.  He did get a bowl of fat-free, no sugar added ice cream after our hike today. His pants are getting pretty loose in the waist and after almost 3 months of searching, we have been unable to locate the 2 belts he thought he brought. Guess they got put in the thrift store box by accident. So he bought a new belt and no longer has to worry about losing his pants.

I got another haircut yesterday and it’s even shorter.  Jim shaved his beard tonight so this is the last picture you will see of it. He’s back to the goatee. I told him he was beginning to look too much like the guy in the blog picture.

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Hope I haven’t bored you to death. I’m sure Jim will continue to be the main writer. Try to live your dreams in 2009. Life is too short not to enjoy it!